December 12, 2004

976-EVIL

$2,995,917. This, according to IMBD, is what this movie has grossed to date. And it was released in 1989. If I understand it right that includes box office, DVD and VHS sales and rentals. Worldwide.

Visually this film is interesting -- downright stimulating. The story is, uh...well...hard to put your finger on. It has something to do with people being somehow induced to call the number that is the title to this film, to get their horoscope. There is not one of there characters who you would believe would be the slightest bit interested in their star chart reading. But, this is the movies.

As you might surmise, Satan is on the other end of the line when these unfortunate dialers connect. And their lives basically go to hell. Especially "Hoax." This is a very interesting name for a character. Who would name their child Hoax? This is obviously some kind of joke perpetrated by the writers. Maybe it's an industry inside joke of some kind. I could be convinced that this whole movie is an industry inside joke.

Hoax is the twerpy little cousin of cool tough leather-wearing motorcycle-riding Spike, who among our main characters, is the first to discover the fated phone number. Hoax finds the number later, and for some cinematic reason, experiences MUCH more in the way of effects. Hoax lives with his psychotically Christian mother.

Like I said, this film is visually stimulating. 976-EVIL is shot very well for horror purposes. And the special effects are pretty darned good. Hell actually freezes over in this film. Those who like a campy slasher movie could do a helluvalot worse than this.

One aspect of semi-old B horror movies, that I find interesting, is the credit listing. This movie has Darren Burrows playing one of the bullies who torment Hoax (Darren is the guy with the slashed face, pictured on your right with Hoax). Darren, very soon after this film, took on the role of Ed Chigliak on TV's Northern Exposure. For some reason, though he only has a bit part, Robert Picardo is the top billed actor in this flick. Picardo played the holographic ship's surgeon on Star Trek: Voyager. The most interesting actor though is Sandy Dennis. She plays Hoax's freak-Mom, and she won an Oscar for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf back '67.

Yep, these films get 'em on the way up, and on the way down. Kind of like bands and dive rock-n-roll bars.

Stephen Geoffreys, the kid who plays Hoax, from what I can see from his IMBD listing, went from this film straight into a career of gay porn movies. He went on to star in such films as Latin Crotch Rockets, Transexual Prostitutes (1 and 2), and Butt Blazer.

I will tepidly suggest to check out 976-EVIL. Only if you really like to laugh at, or study, this kind of movie.

I found this DVD for cheap and was disappointed because I was expecting a different film. Back in the early 90's somewhere, when I didn't even own a TV, I was housesitting for a friend who had HBO. In the middle of the night a film came on that I was sure was called 976-EVIL. I remember this flick for two scenes. In one, a guy dies on the beach and is depicted as ascending (I was into new age shit then). The other was at the end when the producers did a brilliant (I thought) job of melding the story with footage from the end of It's a Beautiful Life starring Jimmy Stewart. I see there's a 976-EVIL 2. Maybe that's the one I saw. If anybody recognizes those scenes could you please let me know the film.

Posted by Wayne at December 12, 2004 12:36 PM
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