976 Evil (1988)


Directed by: Robert Englund

Written by: Brian Helgeland & Rhet Thompson


Stephen Geoffreys .... Hoax
Patrick O'Bryan .... Spike
Sandy Dennis .... Aunt Lucy
Jim Metzler .... Marty
Maria Rubell .... Angela
Robert Picardo .... Mark Dark
Lezlie Deane .... Suzie
J.J. Cohen .... Marcus
Darren E. Burrows .... Jeff
Gunther Jenson .... Airhead

Release Dates: Theatrical: December 9, 1988 (UK);
March 24, 1989 (USA)




A juvenile delinquent named Spike (Patrick O'Bryan) lives with his crazed religious fanatical Aunt Lucy (Sandy Dennis) and his nerdy cousin Hoax (Stephen Geoffreys) since his parents have passed away.
He sees a flyer in his magazine about a horrorscope as the number to call is listed as 976-Evil he calls it and gets the scoop on what will happen. Suddenly it rains fish and his aunt thinks that it's a miracle from God. Spike doesn't know what to think about what has happened and calls the horrorscope thinking that it might help him. Yet, he almost gets himself killed as he realises that he might be making a deal with the devil.
Hoax finds the flyer and dials it up. He gets heavily involved with the horrorscope to get even with his school bullies and get the girl of his dreams come to him which is of course Spike's girlfriend Suzie (Lezlie Deane).
Things turn really nasty for him as he gets carried away as he accidentally kills Suzie with his voodoo magic using his pet tarantula. He turns nasty and then he slowly becomes posessed as Satan uses his body to kill the bullies, his mother and then he to tries to kill Spike but Spike tries to get some help from a detective named Marty (Jim Metzler) to save him from the 976-EVIL telephone line and to try and rescue Hoax from his own posession from Satan.


The film seemed impressive with a dial tone exposing the title credit here in which looked cool to watch as well as spotting a troubled man trying to run away from a situation as well as hearing a creepy phone ringing and the phone zapping him with the evil Mark Dark telling him about the deal which looked impressive for a start on a horror flick like this one giving it a dark low budget feel here.
Nice shots on a theatre revealing as a horror all night marathon as well as inside with a bunch of roughnecks playing cars and smoking cigarettes since we need these types of teens for the plot here also involving one of the main character's Spike.
Plus there's nice scenery with Spike's Aunt Lucy spotting her nerdy son Hoax reading a porn magazine and chastising him in which she shows a religious fanatical situation with him. The discussions looked pretty corny but in a fun way. There's also a good moment with Hoax watching Spike from across his window and sending a message to him on a tube they created as kids which also brings in more good imaginative fun here.
There's a good situation with Spike rebelling against his Aunt Lucy on getting money that she has kept from him which was well put in as someone who doesn't let anyone push him around.
Also a nice shot on Spike making a call to the 976 line as it says what is going to happen and a perfect shot looking down on the character's Aunt Lucy and Hoax spotting fish falling from the sky which looked pretty zany and a different twist for a horror flick like this one adding interesting comedy here. This was one of my favourite scene's since it looked highly entertaining and memorable to anyone who watched this film.
A good cheesy discussion with the detective Marty questioning Aunt Lucy about the fish falling from the sky as well as opening a fridge door and a bunch falls on him offering more good timing with the slapstick situations here.
There's another great situation with what we might spot as a hooker burning a flyer of the 976 number along with hearing the creepy ringing as well as Mark Dark telling about their deal and she tries to escape the phone call as well as good shots on phone's at a window of a store ringing and the chanting of Mark Dark speaking evilly as well as perfect shots on windows exploding and more suspense and terror piling up which was perfectly put in to this short scene.
We spot some cheesy but disturbing situations with Spike's roughneck friends bullying Hoax in a grungy boys room dunking his head in a toilet with good close up shots on this. Certainly looked convincing though with mean kids picking on a wimpy one. It's impressive when we spot Spike saving the day beating some of his friends up for doing this along with funny one liners by one of them telling him what his name is which is Airhead making his personality typical for the name that he got for it. You wouldn't expect a bully to have a name like that in a horror flick even if bully's are really that way. More interesting moments with geeky Hoax trying to act brave making out that he will beat these bullies up with him and coming across as typically annoying and acting humiliating too. This was well done.
There's also a nice moment with Spike trying to come across the beautiful rebellious girl in school Suzie which their discussions looked fairly cheesy but fun nonetheless. Also a good dweeby looking motorbike scooting up with Hoax wanting to race with Spike as well as having a nerdy type of charm towards Suzie which seemed to show off well here. Plus a good racing away with Spike and Hoax trying to catch up but wiping out on his bike as this looked strongly done.
More corny moments with Marty going to an office where he spots people doing their job with employees in each room doing their job on those chat lines that people pay to call in which you could tell a scene that wasn't meant to be taken seriously and campy fun by spotting all of this as well as him talking to the head manager about Mark Dark with cheesy situations on all of this. Plus the setting looked perfect when they go into that room where there's cobwebs and spot no one there but has a device which almost looks like an answering machine when someone calls as we all have a deep feeling that Mark Dark is from hell and transfers from that office with his own device down there. This moment for sure looked genuinely creepy.
Also a great dark shot on Spike calling the line and cussing out on what is supposed to happen which there's a good moment saying look both ways before crossing the street in which we spot a nice slow motion shot on him crossing and his change falling out as well as a car roaring to life looking ghostly while charging towards him as this looked very suspenseful and another favourite scene of mine.
There's a real good situation with Hoax having pizza with Suzie at a diner in which he seems to act decent and not too nerdy here in which this scene looked nicely lit here and flowed very well with the two of them having a fun discussion. Good wiritng here. Plus nice camera shot looking up on the roughnecks about to bully Hoax smearing pizza all over him as this showed good timing with assholes having their fun once again. Plus it's disturbing to find out that Hoax has panties of Suzies causing the brush off and storming off.
Great camera shots looking down on Hoax when he does some witchcraft from that 976 line using his tatantula to do a prank with Suzie heating up some dinner and then a good shot on a leg of a tarantula crawling out of some foil along with good shots on Hoax cackling which shows some nice horror moments here. Then it looks great and suspenseful when Suzie opens the tray and the spiders spring out and start attacking. Also things look very intense when Hoax freaks out realising he went too far by killing his spider which doesn;t look pleasant to watch but was powerful at the same time with a perfect camera shot looking down on him afterwards. Another great pointer here.
Another effective situation is when Spike throws Hoax around after what he confessed on what happened to Suzie as well as later on swearing that he will get him back big time for pushing him around. Plus a great one liner with Spike telling him when hell freezes over adding some perfect taste as we all know that this is what will happen later on once we continue to watch in the story later on.
There's impressive situations when Hoax spots on what's happening to his hand turning hairy and wearing gloves in which this almost paid a tribute to those old fashioned werewolf flicks making things seem a bit chilling. Plus there's a good moment when two bullies try to torment him and he lashes out with his claws as well as speaking coldly to another one to not mess with him in which this looked perfect for a vengeful moment after the times he was tormented. This looked good and cold with the writing involved as well as spotting it on the screen.
Things looked more terrifying when he calls the line and wants more power in which there's nice cheesy effects on his body changing into a demonic character showing great close up shots on this and his evil expressions too.
Perfect shocking moments and dark humor with Hoax entering the theatre when a strip oker scene happens as well as a great lashing moment on him throwing the head bully Marcus in the air as well as cutting off his hand as this doesn't look pleasant at all as well as this moment looking powerfully intense on what he tries to do to wrap his cut off hand with toilet paper while hiding in the thatre washroom. Also great shots looking down on a washroom as well as Hoax slickly opening the washroom doors trying to find him which also adds some good witty suspense and terror here.
The terror really gets going later on when both Marty and his assistant Angela try searching for Aunt Lucy and Hoax in which there's great settings on a floor about the break apart as well as having certain rooms looking like a freezer with a blue light shining on all of this. Plus a good creepy ghostly calling from Hoax upstairs with Angela walking up as well as spotting a good shocking situation with Aunt Lucy dead on a bed with cats surrounding her and licking up some blood. This looked perfectly shot.
We spot a cheesy special effects with both Angela and Marty clinging onto a pole when the ground opens showing the fires of hell as well as inside the house with struggles on Spike against Hoax as alot of this looked perfectly strong to watch. The effects for this moment looked terrific. Also good strong moments when Spike tries to talk to Hoax and reasoning with him as this was well concentrated with what the two of them were doing.
A perfect effects shot on a body falling into the pit of hell and the floor closing up.
Then there's more good dark humor at the end of the film when we spot the head of Mark Dark in his chair looking at some picture files adding a great touch.
Bottom line: Yes you got it! Freddy Krueger himself Robert Englund directed this piece. The story was both dark and Freddy Krueger type humorous with the jokes etc. Plus there's great shots on the scene's here.
The story gets really exciting when Hoax turns evil and starts killing but at times has many leaky holes yet it starts up again to make things look incredible to please any horror fan watching this. A great party horror flick too which looked fairly simple with what is happening here.
This is a neat film with interesting topics. Some scenes were borrowed heavily from the film Carrie like with the shy nerd being picked on by bullies and living with his religious fanatical mother. Its a very still type of film with not too much goings on in it which is good as you can concentrate on the story unlike most films of these types.

The acting is really good. Stephen Geoffreys (Hoax) does a great job as always in fact I found this to be his best performance ever. He does well by acting hyper and excited when he sees something falling from the sky in which was brought to life big time here. Also does a great job acting anxious when he is bullied in a washroom as well as getting good and hyper as well as full of life when his onscreen cousin comes to the rescue acting wild and annoying just rolling with the punches here. Plus he also does well acting persistent like asking him to race with him which looked lifelike as well as shwoing a good charming type of attitude too. Plus he shows a nice calmness to what he does while having a somewhat romantic conversation as he shows a good versatality here. He does a great job with his laughter and acting crazy while doing a spell plus in the end does a great job freaking out as well as letting out a wild scream just putting everything he's got into all of this. Does well acting anxious towards his cousin with a good nervous and spooked reaction here. He also does a nice job with his vengeful reactions towards him. His reactions were very natural when he is not feeling well along with showing a good striking blocking while attacking a bully. Plus does a great job with his evil and cold speaking towards one of them as well as having a good wicked expression on his face. Shows a nice fast blocking and aggressive speaking towards his onscreen mother coming across as truly intimidating. He really gets into it when he turns possessive and shows alot of great dark wit with what he does having a great demonic expression as well as showing some powerful blocking whenever he acts forceful. He shows a good ruthless attitude towards his onscreen cousin just getting into a great powerful rage here. He also does well with his weak attitude and acting upset which looked good and emotional too. He was excellent with his lines, emotions and energy in general. Although he was good in Fright Night he can definetely beat his part in that film compared to this one.
Patrick O'Bryan (Spike) also did very well as a tough but kind hearted toughie. He knew on how to act tough with his attitude in the beginning of his performance while playing cards with his onscreen buddies and smoking a cigarette in which he shows an interesting James Dean type of presence here. Plus he does a good job acting tough and talking back to his onscreen Aunt in which he looked powerful while doing this. He also does a great job with his forceful blocking by punching someone as this looked very powerful. There's a situation on him trying to make a move on a higschool girl as his performance seemed pretty average here which needed to look a bit more convincing. He does a nice job swearing on the phone which shows a good attitude here as well as later on getting aggressive while talking to someone at a diner. This looked very energetic too. He was impressive while getting forceful and demanding towards his on screen cousin in which he shows a perfect gruffness to his behavior here. Does a great job acting aggressive while shooting a gun and getting into this big time. He also really shows some great emotions later on trying to talk to him which shows alot of enthusiasm and great effort making this look believeably convincing here. He has the perfect built tough looks for this role in which this was a perfect plus to his character. He was a nice choice for the role if I do say so myself.
Sandy Dennis (Aunt Lucy) is very witty is the fanatical relgious type which brings humor to the films darkness. She does a great job with her high pitched nagging behavior and getting aggressive too in which she seemed like a total fruitcake while doing all of this which is the perfect intention here. She also does a great job acting joyful and in surprise while fish are falling from the sky as she acts like a total nutcase while doing this talking about a miracle and so fourth which really draws your attnetion to her witty energy taking place here. She also acts very off her rocker while having a serious discussion with the onscreen detective as she does this well too. She also shows a great intimidated reaction after her onscreen son gets sharp with her which looked good and natural here. Shows more great nagging aggressions and really comes across as someone believeably annoying and someone not to take seriously. She was a natural ham in her performance here and had the most effective part in the flick too. A worthy character actress indeed.
Jim Metzler (Marty) brought some nice seriousness to his behavior as the detective in the flick. He had the right mature looks for this plus knew on how to get into a situation as well as trying to talk about it all. He brings this all quite strongly and studied this part pretty well here. He also does a good job trying to talk to someone in a diner and trying to be patient about it which shows off well here. Plus he does a good job with his energy while trying to survive the terrors that are happening around him. He seems to know his craft in an okay fashion here.

Maria Rubell (Angela) is seen half way later on in the story but yet she has the nice looks for someone helping out with crimes as well as having a nice sharp type of behavior in her role. Speaks very clearly in her conversations which shows off perfectly onto the screen. She also shows a good worry some attitude while looking in a house as well doing a great job with her screaming and scared reactions while spotting a corpse. Plus she does a perfect job struggling against someone attacking her as well as trying to survive showing some good adrenaline here.
Robert Picardo (Mark Dark) mainly was just a voice over character and doesn't reveal his face but just the side of his head in the end of the film as he shows a great dark type of speaking in his voice as well as getting aggressive which shows off terrifically well too. He knew on how to be someone who is wicked and intimidating with his voice as well as showing some good dark humor to his attitude as well. A good pat on the back for this guy.

Lezlie Deane (Suzie) has the perfect lustful tough girl type of looks which was impressive and of course a must for a horror flick like this one but can she act? Well for the most part yes. She seemed a bit lacking while she acts lustful for a suggested sex scene and didn't really get into it as well as she should have. However does a great job when she gets angry letting it all out which was highly energised. Plus does a good job while acting outgoing and showing some great spunk while getting into a discussion while eating pizza at a diner. She certainly made her performance memorable in this scene. She shows off a ton of great intensity when she is attacked by spiders as her reactions were perfectly natural here.
J.J. Cohen (Marcus) does a nice job playing the head bully who runs the club at his theatre in which he had the perfect gangster type of looks to his appeal as well as getting fresh with things. Shows a great aggression too which was another good plus. He also knew on how to swing into action with a fight like flipping out his switchblade. Plus he does a great job howling in pain in another situation alonng with showing a perfect panicking reaction while trying to hide from someone. He seemed to know what he was doing here without a doubt.
Gunther Jenson (Airhead) brought his attention nicely as a big looking type of punk who is believeably stupid in what he does. He shows some interesting characteristics into what he portrayed here. He also does well acting like a clown when he tries to act tough too. Plus does a great job with his panicking type of behavior when he is trying to get away from a terrifying incident which shines off nicely here.

Lezlie Deane does a quick flash while showing off her tattoo.

A bullies face is slashed by claws formed on Hoax's fingers
Two other bullies have their hearts torn out
The third bully's hand is cut off
The fourth one is stabbed through a sharp electrical light.
A torn up stomach of Aunt Lucy is revealed in her bed.

I enjoyed the composing of Thomas Chase and Steve Ruckner using nice chilling classical music throughout the film with high pitched intense quiet violin type playing. There's also good windy type howling effects for the still and dark moment revolveing a phone ringing outside of a pay phone in the dark streets which works in perfectly making this look perfectly bone chilling. Plus good windy sounds too. Nice metal banging sound effects too sounding perfectly dark as well. Also great sounds when the house has hell freezing over it which sounded very powerful as well as hearing the odd riffs playing too for the terrifying moments here. Also there's good clanging and other types of creepy dark music for the rolling credits with the odd guitar riffs too. All in all the composing was superbly done. They also did a couple of songtracks for the flick but one that stands out in my mind is a tune that was playing in a juke box at a diner called "I'm a Wild One" in which there's some good bopping vocalising with this song and sounding very jive like. A perfect partying type of song.

Hoax: Once you've been to hell, everything else pales in comparison!

Pet Parrot: [After possessed Hoax slashes and kills his mother and blood splatters onto the sofa]
[Repeated Line]
Pet Parrot: Not on the couch! Not on the Couch! *squawk
Hoax: [Possessed Hoax reaches into the cage and squeezes the bird to death] That's what the plastic's for, asshole!