Godawful silly '80s terror trash about a nerdy teen (Stephen Geoffreys, aka "Evil Ed" of "Fright Night" fame) whose calls to a "Horror-scope" fortune telling phone line eventually connect him to Satan himself and transform him into a demonic, homicidal something-or-other who gets even with his high school tormentors. Cheap looking nonsense directed by Robert "Freddy Krueger" Englund, who should've known better. Avoid.
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James B. (wandersoul73) from LINDALE, TX Reviewed on 3/2/2010...
I adore this 80s cheesefest. It's corny all around & loads of fun!
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
DON'T CALL US WE'LL CALL YOU
Michael Butts | Martinsburg, WV USA | 10/05/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Given a boost from the delightfully manic performance of Stephen Geoffreys (Fright Night), 976-EVIL is a tidy little thriller served up by screenwriter Brian Helgeland (Mystic River) and director Robert "Freddy Krueger" Englund. Geoffreys plays a nerdish teenager who gets picked on all the time, a la Carrie White. He finds a vengeance via a telephone service called 976-EVIL which gives him satanic powers to wreak vengeance on those who have wronged him. While there are some weaknesses in the plot (just who is Jim Metzler anyway, who comes on the scene as some kind of private investigator, but without any previous indication as to his involvement in the plot), 976-EVIL has some chilling moments and Geoffreys (who left mainstream movies to make soft porn flicks) is effectively cast. Sandy Dennis also makes an impression as his somewhat eccentric mama."
Excellent! Well, the DVD itself isn't so excellent
just some guy | USofA | 02/02/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"One of the best "fun" horror movies of the 80's. Perfect atmosphere, great acting, nostalgic for those of us in our 30's. I think most people writing the reviews before me summed up the movie nicely. But I'm here to talk about the DVD itself, since you might buy it and think it's going to be top quality. We all expect top quality when we buy DVDs, so we're always disappointed when we buy a great movie like this and find that it's presented in FULL SCREEN. Also, no features. It's a cheap production, and the movie isn't as sharp and clear as should be. But it's not bad, it's serviceable. I don't think it's worth the price they're asking, but it's a hell of a lot better than the VHS copy I have."
"If you value your life, I'd suggest you leave me alone."
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 12/12/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Directed by Robert `Freddy Krueger' Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Phantom of the Opera), 976-EVIL (1989)...interestingly enough I once dated a woman who had the same phone number...stars Stephen Geoffreys (Fright Night, At Close Range) as a nebbish mama's boy who becomes entangled with satanic forces through a 976 phone number after becoming weary of suffering the torments of his nerdly existence. Also appearing is Patrick O'Bryan (No Holds Barred), Oscar winner Sandy Dennis (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?), Lezlie Deane (Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare), J.J. Cohen (Secret Admirer), Robert Picardo ("Star Trek: Voyager"), and Jim Metzler (River's Edge).
Stephen Geoffreys plays an annoying, smarmy, little doofus (i.e. his standard role) named Hoax Arthur Wilmoth, a high school student who lives with his mother Lucy (Dennis), a holier than thou, pestering, overbearing, unpleasant woman whose home is full of cats, religious icons, and furniture wrapped in plastic. Living in the apartment above the garage is Spike (O'Bryan), Hoax's cousin and part time student/professional juvenile delinquent, and, subsequently, Hoax's idol. After losing the pink slip to his motorcycle during a poker game with some other greasy delinquents, Spike comes across a magazine insert featuring a 976 phone number, one that give you your `horrorscope', whatever the heck that is...anyway, Spike calls, and soon his fortunes change, but he has sort of a falling out with his skeevy girlfriend named Suzie (Deane). After Hoax suffers various embarrassing situations at the hands of Marcus and his goon squad (including, but not withstanding a toilet shampoo in the boys' bathroom at school), he also comes across the flyer and begins calling, but where his cousin Spike got turned off on the experience (after a mysterious near death incident), Hoax becomes hooked calling regularly, so much so he begins to go through various physiological changes, along with attaining some interesting new powers. This newfound power allows Hoax to do something which he hadn't be able to do before in terms of standing up for himself, and even returning some of the pain and suffering on those who've abused him over the years. Things get out of hand, though (big surprise), as a demonic force begins to take control of Hoax resulting in a number of deaths. As Spike finally realizes what's going on, it may be too late as Hoax is no longer Hoax, but a demonic entity intent on bring about the Armageddon...
I remember seeing a film similar to this, one released back in 1981 called Evilspeak, featuring Clint Howard as a military school who invokes satanic forces in order to help him overcome various, abusive elements within the school. Given the similarities I found Evilspeak to be much more entertaining, mainly because it had a solid story, which really isn't the case with 976-EVIL, but also due to the fact I like Clint Howard a lot more than I like Stephen Geoffreys, the latter whose character elicited no sympathies whatsoever due to his inherent creepy and skeevy nature (and that was before he became possessed). There was some potential here, but the follow through falters seriously resulting a relatively tepid horror film with demonic overtones. I actually thought Robert Englund did very well in directing as he obviously knows how to set up shots but real weakness here is in the material. The plot is terribly anemic, and suffers from a lack of positive, forward flow. The film feels a lot like just a series of sequences strung together, some not matching up entirely with that which followed. Can anyone who's seen this film tell me the point of Jim Metzler's character? He plays a private investigator snooping about, apparently interested in the various goings on, but it's never detailed what exactly he's looking for or who actually hired him. Seems like his character was tossed into the mix as a means to a bit of expository crud in terms of the guy who operates the Horrorscope number, played by Robert Picardo. The story skimps on details throughout, and while I've seen this in other films, in terms of the filmmakers giving the audience the credit of having the intelligence to fill in the blanks, that's definitely not the case here given the overall shoddy nature of the story. If you can get past this aspect there are some fun bits, including Hoax developing a lizard like appearance and his voice dropping a few octaves (he finally became a man, albeit one possessed by a demon). There was a really odd part for me in the movie, one that features Marcus and his meager gang (four, including Marcus), all of whom hung out in the projection room of a local movie house (apparently one of them had a job in the theater as a projectionist). At one point, near the end, as evil Hoax arrives to confront them, we see them playing strip poker. Okay, fine...except there's only one, skaggy girl in the room, and she's fully dressed whereas Marcus' friends are in their boxers. Would you really want to engage in such a game where the majority of the players are male, and the one female involved is better at cards (as indicated from her fully dressed form) than said males? Another strange aspect, given Robert `Freddy Krueger' Englund's direction I was half expecting a decent amount of blood, but there's really not that much as the goriest bits took place off screen. Lezlie Deane provides a nice topless shot, if you're into that kind of thing. All in all 976-EVIL was mildly entertaining but I'd not something I'd recommend someone to go out of his or her way to see unless it was a really cheap rental or playing on cable. A sequel, of which I haven't seen, titled 976-EVIL 2: The Astral Factor (1992) was released, with only Patrick O'Bryan returning in the role as Spike.
The picture on this Columbia/Tristar DVD release, presented in fullscreen (1.33:1) pan and scan, looks decent enough, but I don't understand why the studio couldn't have released this in its original aspect ratio. Sure the film isn't all that great, but I find it annoying not to be able to see the film in its original aspect ratio. As far as the audio it's presented in Dolby Digital stereo, and comes across well enough. There aren't any extras included, other than a couple of trailers for the films Hollow Man (2000) and Fright Night (1985), both of which are better than this feature (of the pair I'd recommend Fright Night). There are subtitles available in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Chinese, and Korean, for what it's worth.
A strange note on Stephen Geoffreys, a few years after this film, specifically after appearing in Roland Emmerich's excremental feature Moon 44 (1990), Geoffreys began appearing in a number of hard core homoerotic features under the pseudonym Sam Ritter, apparently after developing a serious issue with drugs, according to information available on the Internet Movie Database. "
Have you tried nerd love?
JGC | 10/14/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love this movie. I remember watching it back in the day when it was shown on Up All Night hosted by Rhonda Shearer (remember that show?) But I haven't seen the movie in ages. The other day I was looking for something to watch on the old b00b tube and found "976-EVIL" available on-demand. There was a sequel to the movie that came out a few years after this one (that Patrick O'Bryan was in) and there is talk of an all-new remake, as well.
The movie is directed by everyone's favorite keeper of sweet dreams, none other than Mr. Freddy Krueger himself, Robert Englund. And surprisingly the movie wasn't nearly as gorey as one might think with a talented director like this. Instead there were many sensitive and reflective scenes that are almost never in horror pictures. But truth be told "976-EVIL" is hardly a classic horror film. This isn't a movie that's gonna cause you to piss your pants, unless you piss from laughing too hard. But that's OK too because sometimes a good laugh is just as important as a good scare.
The first half of the movie centered around rebel without a cause Spike (portrayed by '80s b-movie actor Patrick O'Bryan). We see Spike loose a hand of poker to his scummy friends. We see Spike threaten his kooky born-again Christian aunt Lucy (played by the late Academy Award winner, Sandy Dennis). We see Spike defend the honor of his nerdy cousin Hoax (you gotta love that name) (played by Stephen Geoffreys) when the boys in the bathroom try to flush his head down the commode. And we even get treated to a brief sex-session between Spike and his blonde nymph girlfriend Suzie (Lezlie Deane) who thinks nothing of putting on Spike's tighty wighties. Spike also calls some ludicrous horoscope hotline but since he's not a total geek doesn't have much interest in it.
During the second half of the movie we see a lot more of the progressively less geeky Hoax. When he starts calling the hotline his luck starts to change, he even starts to grow hair on his chest too! I love the part when Hoax took revenge on the guys who effed with him when he was just a lowly nerd. I suppose if they'd known who they were messing with they wouldn't have roughed him up so hard. Then he gets revenge on his crazy mom who spends all her time watching the PTL and stroking her playful pussie.
The movie also includes many great lines, such as when Hoax said to Spike, "hell finally froze over cousin." I also like the complete and total b-movie feel of the entire movie. It was like a throwback to the great pictures of the '60s because all of the special effects were so fake-looking. I suppose that had more to do with the budget but it was still funny.
I really like the transformation that both of the cousins went through because it was a total 3-60. It wasn't just Hoax. Spike wasn't the same person because it was almost like their roles were reversed. Although Hoax kinda resembled Marty McFly he was certainly the more brazen of the 2 because he had the balls to make all of his dreams come true (hell really did freeze over). The moral of the movie is not to call too many pay phone lines, unless you're some geeky kid from the '80s who doesn't have anything better to do.
Bad Transfer And Scenes Missing!!
Dead Elvis 1988 | Atlanta, Georgia | 04/23/2008
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD is well below the decent quality standard mark. Short scenes and shots are missing or have been omitted for some strange reason and the aspect ratio is completely incorrect. I hope someday someone fix these problems with a correct re-release. The version I'm reviewing is the Sony Pictures release."