976-EVIL (1988)

Hoax and Mama, a normal evening at home.

Hoax and Mama, a normal evening at home.

When I first found out Q had a copy of 976-EVIL, my reaction was something along the lines of “ugh, get rid of that thing!” Naturally, it was ripe for the cull.*

Turns out my initial feelings for the film did not change much after a second look. The story’s about a punk named Spike whose Aunt Lucy and cousin Hoax are real god-fearin’ folks. Spike’s own mama left this earth a while ago, and he’s been under Aunt Lucy’s tender loving care ever since. Spike doesn’t give a crap about anything but poker, drugs and sex, and his cousin Hoax is envious.

Spike is the type that’s always wanting more, so when he sees an ad for a telephone number that will deliver your “horrorscope” he of course can’t help himself, and fatefully dials 976-EVIL. At first, the voice on the other end of the phone gives Spike courage to do things he wouldn’t have

A typical day in the life of Hoax: looking up at a bunch of punks.

A typical day in the life of Hoax: looking up at a bunch of punks.

done before, like steal all his inheritance from his loving Aunt. While doing so, he drops the ad in Hoax’s kitchen. Hoax, wanting to be just like his cool cousin, calls the number and starts doing bad things, like taking revenge on the punks who dunk his head in the toilet and disrespecting his mama. Mama’s often wrong about things, but this time she’s right when she says Hoax has bought a one-way ticket to Hell.

Bah. The tone in this movie is just wrong. But what would one expect from a movie directed by Robert Englund? While this movie has a lot in common with Trick or Treat, there are some pretty significant differences that make Trick or Treat the better movie; namely the main character’s nature. In Trick or Treat, young Eddie at least learns the errors of his ways and tries to end the carnage he began. Here, Hoax just rolls with it, all the way to the bloody end, and I am NOT rooting for him. The truly unfortunate thing is that

Mama's House

Mama’s House

976-EVIL looks really damn good. I just wish it had better things to say.

*Q and I have decided it’s time for a great cull; an early spring cleaning. We have a large number of movies we have not yet seen. Are these movies any good? This is the question we are out to answer. If it’s no good, out it goes.


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