976 Evil Review
Robert Englund has done a lot for horror. However, this film is probably a step backwards in regards to horror film and releases. RObert Englund directs this film, and at times you really have to wonder if Englund was just used for his name and Freddy credentials rather than skill. His skill as a director is not really known, because the majority of the actors are on cruise control. If you haven't heard of this film, you're in for a small treat. 976-Evil came out in 1989, and I'm not sure if it did well upon its release. I always thought the movie poster was cheesy, and still believe it to be so. So without further ado, I present to you a review of the 1989 Robert Englund directed 976-Evil!
976-Evil, as stated before, is a film that was directed by Robert Englund. If you aren't sure who Robert Englund is, than you need to really look him up. He's a huge horror movie icon, and hasn't gotten that mainstream crossover that other people have enjoyed. He's locked into horror forever, and that can be a blessing and a curse at the same time. He did do a cool cameo and part in "Zombie Strippers" but that's nothing to be too proud of, if you ask me. 976-Evil is a basic story about a kid that is bullied, and stops taking it, so he fights back. How does he fight back? Instead of stabbing people to death, like in Terror Train or other revenge horror films, he calls a mysterious pay per call number and invokes Satan for help.
Here is a trailer for the film 976 Evil:
The movie doesn't look very good, even for 1989. The movie looks terrible, and it doesn't look like it was filmed on location, but rather in a back alley lot somewhere in a film studio. The movie quality, even on dvd, is grainy and terribly edited. If you're a film snob, you are going to hate the way the director of photography placed each shot, and how the director instructed his actors, it's really in poor taste. However, to give this film some credit, it was filmed on FILM. It is not a straight to dvd piece of junk, it is not filmed on vhs tapes, it's a real film with a real (although small budget). However, giving that sort of compliment to this film is like giving pornographic films of the 70's and early 80's credit for the same things.
The movie has a small round up of characters. It's really divided between the Bullies and the kid getting picked on for half of the film. This kid is just getting beat down, but his cousin (who happens to live with him in a different part of the house) hang out together. The phone number is introduced via a flyer and Spike (our cousin/cool guy) calls it. The number is just for novelty horoscope line, and nothing crazy. Spike loses interest in this sort of thing, but his cousin finds the number and calls it all the time.
Hoax is our kid's name here, the one getting bullied, and he is an introverted weirdo. When his attempts at seducing a woman (spike's girlfriend), fails, he goes and calls this number, only for it to introduce him to Satan! Hoax does a complete 180 at this point, and he invokes satan to kill those that have done him wrong, first the girl, then the bullies, and he now rises from the shadows as a "werewolf" like person with super strength and just starts mopping up. Hoax then tries to kill his cousin, but as Satan begins to consume his soul a portal to Hell opens up and boom....the end?
Is 976-Evil scary?: Yes. The movie is scary in a couple of weird ways. First and foremost, being totally introverted to the point where you are an older teen and your mother controls you with super religious tonality, things are bad. I understand strict homes, and I understand super religious parents, but when they are smothering you into oblivion and you are infantilized and can not even defend yourself at all from bullies, then this is a scary thought. The scariest thing is that people like this exist. I knew a girl in college that was so introverted, due to her parents, that even if you tried to befriend her she'd get scared. I tried to be this girl's friend and eventually she started to open up, but as soon as her parents pulled the chain, she got so scared that she transferred schools! No, I wasn't trying to "get" with this girl, I was just being friendly, as I like introverts, I think they're cool. People like Hoax exist today, and it is sad that some of them are so saddened by their situation that they turn to the occult and some of them even turn to self inflicted wounds such as cuts and being goth. Lame.
The second scary notion of this film is Satanic possession. Once again, Satanic possession pushes its ugly head into this blog. I'm skeptical of satanic possession, but am not completely convinced that it is not real. I'm a Christian, so I believe a lot of things, and to make matters worse, I am an immigrant from Mexico. I've seen some crazy stuff in my days and I have seen somethings that I would have to be led to believe that they are works of Satan. I know, I know, you're probably reading this and are starting to tune me out, but that is what is scary! Ok, if you don't think that satanic possession is scary, then let us consider Schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is scary, and that seems to be what we are dealing with in this movie. That's right, we are dealing with a person that has been bullied so much that he started killing his bullies. But real life can be stranger than fiction, so let us consider a real life story to further explain why this is scary.
On April 20th, 1999 there was an incident at Columbine High School in Colorado. Some kids that were being bullied finally snapped and shot down a bunch of kids. They had snapped! They were bullied! This sad situation is stranger than fiction as you start to unravel the layers of these things. So to see a revenge plot in a horror movie, is not too far fetched and to consider that bullying is not going to turn out well for anyone, can in turn be somewhat scary.
So maybe I'm wrong. Bullying is the scary point of this film, not demonic possession, right? I don't know. This film has scary themes, and it is scary to think that in our society people snap to the point of murder. This film is an example of that scary notion, but put into a supernatural and occult structure. This is a fantasy land, it is a fantasy movie, and it is scary. It is a horror movie, that should be considered a little deeper than the sum of its terrible demonstration of acting, and film quality.
I recommend viewing 976 Evil at least once. Robert Englund does a mediocre job at directing this film, but come on, there's not a whole lot to work with. The movie is adequate, but for 1989 it looks dated. It seriouly, not that great, but I have to admit that this is somewhat a guilty pleasure for me because I really like horror films, and dare I say, like bad horror movies. The best part about all of this is the fact that this movie was trying to be somewhat serious, yeah, it turns out that it's comical. 976 Evil is available on dvd now, and it is worth a look, maybe even two.
Oh, and if that wasn't enough, the guys that brought you this film put out a sequel. That's right, there is a 976 Evil 2 and it is currently out there somewhere...just not readily available. Yeah, horror movie sequels seem to be like porno films. Well, at least in that there are sequels made even if the first didn't do all that well. Of course, Pornography has a huge one up in the sequel category, but come on, do we really need a 976 Evil 2? Come on!
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