Merry Scary Christmas: New Year’s Evil

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New Year's Evil, Emmett Alston, 1980New Year’s Evil
Directed by Emmett Alston
Starring: Roz Kelly, Kip Niven, Chris Wallace
Golan-Globus Productions
90 mins
R, 1980

You know what I like? When a movie doesn’t hide its misogyny. There’s no metaphor. No hiding sexism behind women who “choose” to be objectified or subservient to men. Nope, none of that. Just some straight-talking misogyny and armchair psychology about Mommy Issues. 

And that’s exactly what NYE is. Set in the punk, New Wave scene of the late 1970’s/1980’s, NYE centers on a serial killer who calls into an American West Coast music show and threatens to commit a murder for every time the New Year strikes in each of the American time zones. 

The killer calls himself “Eeeviiiil” and uses an electronic voice manipulator lodged in his mouth like a phallus to alter his voice into what I assume is intended to be a scary. Except, the killer doesn’t sound “eeeviiiil;” he just sounds like a shitty Star Wars villain. Combine that with the feathered hair and 70’s porn stache, which was just a regular stache at the time, and it’s hard to take “Eeeviiiil” all that seriously.

The show “Eeeviiiil” calls into is hosted by television personality “Blaaaaze;” a mom who puts her career before her pouty son. Son, Derek, is trying to tell her how he got a part all on his own without using his last name due to his talent as opposed to his generic, Aryan looks. It’s hard to feel any sympathy for the kid when he’s just an angsty, pretty boy, and it becomes clear pretty early on that he has an Oedipal complex. #mommyissues

SPOILER ALERT! The serial killer turns out to be none other than “Blaaaaze’s” husband Richard, and son-with-the-Mommy-issues is looking to follow in his father’s footsteps.

NYE could be interesting. This was a time of the serial killer in public consciousness. Ed Gein, the inspiration for Norman Bates, was sentenced in 1968, and the Zodiac Killer sent his final letter in 1974 though hoax letters followed. Ted Bundy was first arrested in 1974, the Son of Sam in 1977, and John Wayne Gacy confessed in 1978 to murdering 25-30 people. Additionally, Jeffrey Dahmer had begun killing in 1978 though he wasn’t apprehended until 1991. These are some of the most infamous serial killers of the century, most of whom operated or were apprehended during the 1970s. Arguably, the slasher flick as we know it hit its peak during this time (beginning with Halloween in 1978 and ending with Nightmare on Elm Street in 1984). 

Confession: I had a macabre fascination with serial killers in junior high. I wanted to be a forensic psychiatrist, and I read extensively on serial killer research.

While women were often the targets of serial killers (Gein, Bundy, most of Son of Sam’s victims, some of Zodiac’s, and many other less infamous serial killers), several of these infamous men who murdered only males (Dahmer and Gacy) were reported to be repressed homosexuals. Much of the theorizing around serial killers had a conservative bent to it that was only amplified by the feminist backlash of the 1980’s. The serial killer literature reported traumatic childhoods with neglectful, depraved, and often single mothers, and the motives of all these killers stemmed from these traumatic childhoods rather than sexism, homophobia, and other systemic problems.

And that’s all NYE really is: our public fascination with the serial killer extended to the point of banality. NYE even directly riffs off the now-classic Jason Voorhees’ sound effect. Notably, Friday the 13th was released in May of that year, and NYE in December.

I mean you could watch this on Netflix, but why would you? If you want a shitty New Year’s horror movie, just watch End of Days. Feeling nostalgic for some slasher flicks? Go for Friday the 13th.

 

 

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Smashing the patriarchy with glitter, pink lipstick, and cowboy boots. You can follow her on Instagram @ginnistonik

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