976-EVIL (1988)
posted 02/19/2013

Directed by:
Robert Englund

Stephen Geoffreys ... Hoax
Patrick O'Bryan ... Spike
Sandy Dennis ... Aunt Lucy
Jim Metzler ... Marty

Country: USA
Runtime: 92 min
AKA: Dial the Devil

976 numbers were all the craze in the late 80s and early 90s. These numbers were often used for entertainment purposes and charged an arm and a leg for these services. Kids could call up Santa or Spiderman and adults could enjoy high-priced phone sex with often fat ladies on the other line. Robert Englund, who is famous for playing Freddy Kruger in the Nightmare on Elm Street series, tries his luck with this, his only directorial effort and it left a lot to be desired.

This debacle is about a satanic force that lures people who call the 976 number into performing evil acts. There is much more though on one occasion. We will see how a pampered, still sucking on his mom’s tit faggot, gets caught up with the demonic force and turns into a creature of Satan. Hoax, played by Stephen Geoffreys (Evil Ed from Fright Night, and later several hardcore gay porn flicks!!) is a young man that is under the control of his religious fanatic mother. This dead beat is an abomination on film. I hated this guy. I really wanted him to get sodomized by a mountain goat. Why do I hate him so much? Well he has this annoying way of talking and this giddy gay swagger and to top things off his face is like a smiling man-baby. He is also an asshole! Spike is his leather jacket wearing motorcycle driving tough guy cousin. I liked Spike. He’s a good dude. Hoax looks up to Spike and wants to be like him. When Spike stumbles upon the 976 number he steals some money to pay for a gambling debt but then quits before he can be lured into committing further evil.

Since Hoax is very weak-shit-gullible he uses the number to become a powerful magic demon. I really don’t understand why he turns on people that were good to him. It’s fine that he kills the bullies and his mother because she was a lunatic bitch but then he goes after Spike and Suzie. Suzie is cute and sweet. She treats Hoax well and even goes out to eat pizza with him. Hoax kills her by magically throwing spiders into her house. They don’t bite her or anything so I think she must have died of fright. By now Hoax is weaving the evil force to his benefit and has satanic symbols to perform rituals in his bedroom. He grows a monster hand with black claws and his face turns even more stupid.

Enter Marty Palmer. He works for Modern Miracle Magazine and is also a private investigator. He is not in the film too much but he serves as a detective to track down the source of the evil phone line. He gets to a decrepit office building that serves as a hub for various 976 phone services. There he meets Mark Dark, the man who started 976-EVIL. They briefly talk and Mark explains how he built this automated machine that operates by itself in a cobweb filled dark room. That is all we get on the phone line history. How do demons talk and what dark magic makes it all click? Did the blood of a dark sorcerer drip onto this device? Was their some demon trapped within the homemade gadget? Nothing is explained and that was quite frustrating.

Hoax is running around all demon-like and killing bullies. Then he somehow turns his house into a frozen tundra. The walls are all covered in ice and snow and there is a chasm in the living room floor! Spike and Marty are there too. But why? I mean seriously why? They want to stop the world from destruction? Or maybe they want to kill Hoax? No, that’s not it. Spike wants to turn his cousin back into a man-baby and save the day. Marty is just curious and wants to see how things turn out. I would understand if he was a priest or something, or maybe if he had holy white magic powers to cleanse the place of evil. Anyway Spike is unable to do anything but throw his cousin into the pit. Hoax got his taste of evil and never wanted a normal life anymore, and now he is dead.

This movie was crap, depressing crap. Everything is murky, dirty and full of graffiti. This is the type of movie I might have enjoyed when I was twelve, but now that I know better it is awful. We all want to know how the 976 phone line works and we get nothing. There is a sequel so that might shed some light on it. Mark Dark, who created the machine, and is in the movie for two seconds, appears at the end sitting in an office. What is this last shot in the film supposed to mean? Maybe he is a demon or in league with the devil? That sounds cool, but we never find out. Stay away from this movie because it has no answers and there is no fun times to be had.

- Jorge Antonio Lopez


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