Shitty haircuts, shitty clothes, and even shittier music, that pretty sums up the 1980’s in a nutshell. The one thing the 80’s had going for it was some great low budget, cheesy horror movies.
976-EVIL certainly falls into this memorable time in horror cinema. It takes some of the best elements the films had to offer and combines it was a ridiculous story. It also doesn’t hurt that it was Robert Englund’s directorial debut.
The film starts out following Spike (Patrick O’Bryan), a high school tough guy that wears a leather jacket, rides a motorcycle, smokes, and gambles. He lives with his Aunt and nerdy cousin Hoax (Stephen Geoffrys). He stumbles upon a flyer for 976-EVIL, a automated horrorscope line that will tell him exactly what he needs to do, and supernaturally helps him gets what he wants. After not following the dark, raspy-voiced advice he disregards the flyer.
The bullied Hoax finds the flyer and decides to give it a ring. The devilish powers within this 976 number grant him powers, making the once weak and bullied Hoax into a strong, no one can fuck with me high-schooler. Hoax embraces this power and set out to seek revenge on anyone that has ever caused him any pain.
This movie is cheese gold! You have great performances by Geofferys, great makeup effects by Kevin Yagher, a lot of cool camera setups by Englund, and it’s a no holds barred fest of over the top-ness. I could not, in this day and age, see a filmmaker pitching this story and it getting picked up by a studio, or even have funders jump on board. In any other era, and in the hands of any other filmmakers, this film would have failed horribly. But there are enough winks at the audience to know that the film was to be nothing more than fun…and that’s exactly what it is.
If 976-EVIL was “before your time” and you haven’t seen this classic cheese fest, you must get your hands on it. It’s a thrill ride like no other and you will thank me for it!
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