**/**** Image B+ Sound B+ Extras B
starring Roz Kelly, Kip Niven, Chris Wallace, Grant Cramer
screenplay by Leonard Neubauer
directed by Emmett Alston
by Bryant Frazer Every 1980s slasher movie needed a gimmick, and New Year's Evil has two: a Halloween-inspired holiday tie-in and a youth-culture exploitation angle. A Hollywood-based serial killer promises to murder a victim at the stroke of midnight in each of the four continental U.S. time zones, announcing his intentions by calling "Hollywood Hotline", a New Year's Eve countdown TV show hosted by Roz Kelly (the erstwhile Pinky Tuscadero on "Happy Days") that features live performances by punkish new wave acts. The results are surprisingly watchable. The psycho-killer story is actually a bit twisty as these things go, with a mid-film reversal of fortune aiming to give audiences a rooting interest in the villain. And though the bands on screen (Shadow and Made in Japan) seem to be employed mainly to help pad out the film's 86-minute running time, their proto-Guns N' Roses sounds are not entirely disagreeable.