976-EVIL (1988): D
You would think that since 976 numbers were those nasty phone sex lines from the 80’s that they would advertise for on all the channels no one watched at like 3am, that this movie would have some sort of sexual connotation to it. But it doesn’t. There’s what looks like a demonic woman on the cover art. I remember seeing this VHS at the store a few times before I finally rented it and thinking to myself “I bet she comes through the phone and rips someone’s ballsack off!” or “I bet when you call the number and start whackin’ it, and you hear her voice, she possess you!”
I NEVER CALLED ANY OF THOSE NUMBERS. But I had a friend who did.
Here’s how it actually works: If you call the number, Satan talks to you. He starts turning you into a demon and urges you to commit sins. You get demonic powers which you can wield once you hang up the phone, but the more you do it, the more your soul is surrendered to Hell and the more you unleash evil shit into our world. The only way to recharge your powers is to call and have phone sex with Satan, which is actually a lot like those 976 numbers because you get addicted to them and have to keep calling to feel like a complete human being ACCORDING TO MY FRIEND, ANYWAY; I WOULDN’T KNOW BECAUSE I HAVE NEVER CALLED A NUMBER LIKE THAT.
At first, it seems badass because you have magic powers, but then you realize that your soul is gone and when you look in the mirror, you see the misleading cover art for 976-EVIL. It’s probably hard to look at yourself in the mirror after calling one of those 976 numbers in real life, OR SO I WOULD IMAGINE.
An abused nerd gets addicted to 976-EVIL and he starts getting revenge on the bullies who picked on him. There is death by claws, death by spiders, and someone’s face is ripped off. The makeup isn’t bad, actually. There is a scene where a room gets possessed just like in Evil Dead 2. There’s even a deer on the wall that comes to life.
The movie is nothing special. There aren’t very many “976” scenes, which were the best part; most of the movie involved ineffectively building suspense between each kill. I didn’t really feel attached to the characters, the premise was fucking stupid. 976 numbers aren’t scary. If they were, WHY WOULD MY FRIEND HAVE CALLED THEM SEVERAL TIMES WHEN HE WAS REALLY LONELY LATE AT NIGHT AND JUST NEEDED SOMEONE TO TALK TO WHO WOULDN’T JUDGE HIM? We may never learn the answer to this riddle just like we may never learn how someone thought up the idea for this fairly atrocious movie.