A 976 ‘horrorscope’ line is actually a direct dial to the Devil for an awkward teen who’s tired of being pushed around. Hot 80’s pumps, sex, death and one fantastically entertaining religious zealot later and you have a fun way to spend 90 minutes. What else are you doing, loser?
Duane: Ok, I’ll admit it, I’ve always loved this movie. Robert Englund’s (A Nightmare on Elm Street) first and only significant directed work is an absolute blast. The concept of the wimpy teen acquiring satanic powers and exac
ting revenge on all the people who have ever wronged him isn’t exactly the most original, but it’s tried-and-true, and Englund proves he’s more than just a horror icon-turned-cartoon character here. Stephen Geoffreys (Fright Night) is the perfect choice as the aforementioned teen douche-cum-devilspawn. I love how no matter what he’s doing he always looks like he’s gonna jizz in his pants. It’s too bad Englund couldn’t resist inserting some unfortunate one-liners though.
Jocelyn: Interesting that you mention cum and Stephen Geoffreys in the same sentence; how could you not put Latin Crotch Rockets or Guys Who Crave Big Cocks in parenthesis?! You have to admire an actor who goes balls-out (ha!) and leaves legit acting for porn. I hadn’t seen this movie since I was a kid, I remember watching it with my Dad when it came out. We had one of those satellite dishes that was bigger than the pool, so I got to see a lot of movies before my friends. (I didn’t really have any friends, I’m lying)
I fucking LOVED Sandy Dennis (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) in this!! She is fantastic as the uber-religious harpy who keeps her son’s balls safely tucked away in her panty girdle. It was nice to see Jim Metzler (River’s Edge) getting some work too. Lezlie Deane (Freddy’s Dead; The Final Nightmare, Scary Cherry and the Bang Bangs)as the love interest in her lil catholic school girl skirt coupled with garter belt and stockings, pumps and more rosaries than you could shake a stick at sure brought back memories. God, I miss the 80s!
D: Someone really had a thing for shoes, that’s for sure. There are a TON of shots of women walking, close ups of their feet/shoes in this. Also I noticed that everyone in this fucking movie chain smokes like crazy. There isn’t a shot in this film that doesn’t have someone sucking on a fag (sorry, couldn’t resist). This could very well be my 20th viewing of 976-EVIL and I always seem to take away something new.
I’ve always admired the way this was filmed too, all those nice shots of desolate streets lit only by neon signs and misery. The scene where Hoax is in the phone booth, collapsed and sniveling is a beautiful thing to witness. It’s also fun to try and see all the little nods to other films, especially in the poker room scenes at the theater. Also, could that high school be more bleak? It’s like Class of 1984 or some shit.
As you mentioned, the cast all do a wonderful job. I thought Robert Picardo (The Howling) was excellent as the sleazy phone line manager, Mark Dark. There’s so much to see and do in this film, and it absolutely seethes 80s awesomeness.
J: Yea, watching this last night after about 20 minutes I was like…”Oh my god, Robert Englund has a shoe fetish!” It’s definitely a fun movie and while it does have some strikes against it (it could’ve benefited from some more over-the-top violence and when Geoffreys started morphing into the demon it would have been nice to have it consist of more than one latex glove and a little face make-up) the nostalgia aspect kinda makes up for it. Remember how hot 900 numbers were back then?! Phone sex commercials on every channel, psychics rubbing crystal balls begging to unlock your future and for $3.99 a minute Kirk Cameron would whisper sweet nothings in your ear! That’s a big part of my love for so many of these 80’s slashers that we do, I just miss the era so much! While this isn’t the best horror film I’ve ever seen, anything from this time period that’s got to do with devil is pretty much aces in my book.
D: Kirk Cameron charged me $9.99 a minute! Fucker! Agreed, it’s definitely not the best the genre has to offer, but it’s solid and well made. The effects, albeit minimalist (I loved the demon hands popping out of his latex gloves though) are decent and the sets were the sort of thing that they used to actually have to build rather than just inserting some shitty looking CGI bullshit. That’s always a plus in my book. I like how Hoax was creeping in his cousin’s apartment and stole the girlfriend’s panties for later; they should have ran with that a bit more. Even when Hoax had the Principal against the wall near the end, those titties were just begging to be molested and he does nothing of the sort. You could almost tell that Geoffreys was puking in his mouth a little bit being that close to a woman.
J/D: A quirky little slice of 80s nostalgia, coupled with devil worship and a really great cast, 976-EVIL is undoubtedly worth a look regardless of one’s proclivities. They just don’t make ‘em like this anymore.
Official COSDS Nunspank Rating:
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Jocelyn lives on 35 acres of woodland in an undisclosed Appalachian location. When not boozing it up or fighting the power she's tending her organic garden or collecting punk/soundtrack albums. Her best friends walk on 4 legs. She does not own a cell phone.