October Horror Movie a Day: 976-EVIL (1988)


I’m sure most of us remember this one being on the shelves in our childhood. Directed by Robert England and starring Stephen Geoffreys (Evil Ed from Fright Night), the film focuses on an evil hotline that tells people their HORRORscopes, mwahahahaha.

Alright, so the premise is silly, and the movie isn’t much different. Geoffreys plays as a young man named Hoax who lives with his religious zealot mother (Sandy Dennis, God Told Me To, Parents) and his older cousin Spike (Patrick O’Bryan 976-EVIL II, No Holds Barred). Hoax is a bullied youth who is normally protected by Spike, but Hoax comes to resent his cousin for being the person he can not. Spike gets the girls, does drugs, and has a devil-may-care persona that is everything Hoax is not. That is until Hoax is granted supernatural devil powers by calling 976-EVIL!

twoheartsThe rest of the movie follow’s Hoax’s transformation from nerdy mama’s boy to tool for Satan and his quest for revenge becomes more violent and demonic. The highlight of the film is when Spike attacks the bullies poker game (held in a projection booth of a theater showing an all night horror marathon). You can tell Englund’s hand in this scene with puns such as “two hearts”, and Hoax cutting off one of their appendages at the wrist then announcing it’s the “dead man’s hand”.

Some cool scenes follow, like Hoax opening up a portal to Hell in the backyard and using his powers to turn the house into an arctic wasteland before the final showdown between Hoax and Spike.

I have to say enjoyed this film a lot more than I thought I would. I never got the chance to see it back in the VHS days and I first watched it on FearNet a couple years back. I re-watched it this morning on Encore Action and realized how much I really liked this silly little movie. The gore effects are not bad and the transformations that Hoax goes through leave him a totally different character from the beginning, and while it is true to an extent Geoffreys is playing Hoax as a more innocent version of Evil Ed, it still shows his range as an actor. It is unfortunate that he left the horror movie genre at such a young age. He could have offered us a lot more, but whatever, the guy owns here.

So check it out. It’s not half bad.



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