Home » 976-Evil Retrospective – Evil is on the Line

976-Evil Retrospective – Evil is on the Line

Poster for Robert Englund's 976-Evil.
Poster for 976-Evil.

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Hoax (Stephen Geoffreys of Fright Night) is a sweater vest wearing high school outcast that desperately wants to be well liked by his peers and score with the ladies. Hoax’s mother is bat-shit crazy and does nothing to help his lot in life. When Hoax starts dialing 976-Evil for advice, he begins to think that his luck is changing for the better. He starts getting noticed by attractive girls and is able to exact revenge on some of the creeps that have tormented him. But things quickly get out of hand and Hoax begins a murderous reign of terror. As things continue to spiral out of control, The Horror-Scope line spells bad news for Hoax but good news for Satan.

976-Evil was co-written by Brian Helgeland, who went on to write Mystic River and L.A. Confidential and Rhet Topham, who went on to write 976-Evil 2. It is directed by genre film regular Robert Englund. In spite of the involvement of a gifted creative team, the film really, really sucks. This remained Robert Englund’s sole feature film directorial effort for twenty years and that may very well be because industry executives were hesitant to work with him as a director after the shit-fest that is 976-Evil. I love Robert Englund. He is an icon and a legend. I have the utmost respect for him but unfortunately he didn’t do anything to help this film. It is bad in every way that a movie can be bad and even fails in other ways I didn’t realize a movie could fail.

All of the performances in 976-Evil are extremely poor. None of the characters are remotely likable. Stephen Geoffreys fails miserably in attempting to separate himself from the Evil Ed character in Fright Night. Evil Ed is a tough act to beat and Geoffreys doesn’t even come close to the greatness that he achieved in playing him. Hoax is too similar to Evil Ed for Geoffreys to break out of that role and dissimilar enough to aid the film in completely falling apart. Hoax is a poorly written character that audiences have almost no hope of identifying with but Geoffreys did nothing to help bring him to life in any kind of a relatable way. He made the character even creepier and more loathsome than he appeared on paper.  

The effects in 976-Evil are some of the worst I’ve seen in a horror movie. They are poorly constructed, edited together badly, and are ultimately very unconvincing. The FX look like they were orchestrated by a team that flunked out of movie makeup school and were working with a nonexistent budget.

976-Evil film is riddled with continuity errors and all around poor production value. The cinematography is bleak and depressing; it was meant to give the film a gritty and dark feel but it totally backfires.

Like all other aspects of the film, the pacing in 976-Evil is very poor. It builds up to a disappointing third act that is capped off by an anticlimactic finale that makes the viewer question why he or she just wasted 92 minutes of their life watching an idiotic film with paper thin characters and no justification for even existing. My advice is to skip this dud and check out anything else. How a sequel to this heap of trash was ever green lit is a mystery to me.

WICKED RATING: 1/10  [usr 1]

Director(s): Robert Englund
Writer(s): Rhet Topham, Brian Helgeland 
Stars: Stephen Geoffreys
Year: 1988
Studio/ Production Co: New Line Cinema
Budget: Unknown
Language: English
Length: 92 Minutes
Sub-Genre: Supernatural Horror

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/976-EVIL

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Written by Tyler Doupé
Tyler Doupe' is the managing editor at Wicked Horror. He has previously penned for Fangoria Mag, Rue Morgue Mag, FEARnet, Fandango, ConTV, Ranker, Shock Till You Drop, ChillerTV, ComingSoon, and more. He lives with his husband, his dogs, and cat hat(s).
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