976-EVIL (1988) (Blu-ray Review)
Directed By: Robert Englund
Starring: Stephen Geoffreys, Robert Picardo, Sandy Dennis
Rated: R/Region A/1:85/1080p/Number of Discs 1
Available from Sony Pictures
High school underdog Hoax Wilmoth (Stephen Geoffreys, Fright Night ) fills up the idle hours in his seedy little hometown fending off the local leather-jacketed thugs, avoiding his overbearing mother (Sandy Dennis ) and dreaming of a date with trailer park temptress Suzie ( Lezlie Deane). But his quietly desperate life takes a terrifying turn when his cousin introduces him to an unusual new hobby – phoning in for his Horrorscope. Hoax is hooked up with a compellingly hideous demonic force that slowly begins to overtake his entire life and now there’s more than just a phone bill to pay for anyone who ever dared cross “the neighborhood nerd”.
Freddy Krueger himself, Robert Englund directed 976-EVIL in 1988. This movie tells the story of a psychic phone number that ends up doing more to you than just telling you your horoscope when you call. The movie focuses on Spike, your typical “cool” 80’s leading man and his cousin, who is all sorts of weird and just so happens to be played by Stephen Geoffreys, the same dude who was Evil Fight Night. When Spike sort of gets smart to the evil ways of the number, the evil behind it sort of sets its sights on his cousin and that brings us to the main conflict of the film. We also have a news reporter on the case as well, but he more or less feels a little forced in and the movie could probably even do without him. It seems like horror movies from 1988 and 1989 had a certain feel to them and that is the case here as well in 976-EVIL. There is a certain vibe to it and I do think that is a good thing, even if by any normal standards the film is a bit flawed.
The movie packs some cool effects and some blood as well. People get their faces slashed, spiders overrun someone’s house after crawling out of a TV dinner, fish fall from the sky, and a lot more interesting stuff. This is another one of those movies I recall seeing as a kid from where I rented it at the video store and it still holds up to being a lot of fun now. This Blu-ray is the first in a new retro style line from Sony. If you want to compare it to anything, it is sort of like the Lionsgate Vestron line. 976-EVIL looks great for the most part but could have stood to have gotten a few more extras. The main extra on this one besides the commentary with Robert Englund is a “home video’ version of the film that sort of just looks like the old DVD version of the movie to me, but it has about 12 minutes of extra footage.
– ALL-NEW: Commentary with Director Robert Englund and Set Decorator Nancy Booth Englund
– Alternate home video version of the film with 12 extra minutes of footage
Quality of Transfer: 90%