REVIEW: 976-EVIL 2 (1991)

“Here is an ancient text that discusses 976-EVIL.”

976-EVIL 2: D-

976-EVIL 2: Spike, the wise-cracking, barely shaved motorcyclist is back, battling a haunted jerk-off hotline for another 90 minutes. This time, instead of Spike’s cousin getting mixed up with the demonic forces of erotic landlines, it’s a dickhead teacher (played by a guy who looks like he’s a dickhead in real life) who dials 976-EVIL and projects himself onto the astral plane so he can murder people.

Professor Dickhead has a thing for killing blonde co-eds, which he demonstrates in the opening scene where he impales one with a fake stalactite backstage at the school theater. “Welcome to my Hell!” exclaims Professor Dickhead, and then there is an eruption of red corn syrup and an abrupt cut to Spike riding his motorcycle.

Spike has presumably been on a nomadic bender since the end of the first 976-EVIL movie, where ostensibly harmless occult phone sex led to him throwing his cousin through a portal to Hell. Now wherever Spike goes, phones ring ceaselessly, which makes him glare like a badass. At a crusty bar in a small town, he finally picks up the phone, right after befriending… a blonde co-ed…

Spike, the blonde co-ed, and Professor Dickhead are quickly entangled in a deadly triangle of evil jerk-off astral plane warfare.

From here, the movie showcases an array of unoriginal ideas. Just like the last movie, using 976-powers eats away at your physical form, so Professor Dickhead gradually starts to resemble an “after” picture of a decade long meth addiction. The Professor is very Freddy Kruger-ish (a nod to Englund, who directed the first 976-EVIL movie, or just unoriginality?); he likes to make jokes, laugh, and teleport around while he kills people.  From there, the similarities start to resemble borderline plagiarism; nothing that is straight-up theft, but the lack of ideas is clear: there is a scene where a room gets possessed, just like in Evil Dead 2 (talking animal head and all); a scene where someone is zapped into a black & white TV show, just like in Pleasantville; the owner of the Satanic bookstore is a clone of Elvira with bleached hair. I suppose in the first place, you shouldn’t sit down to watch 976-EVIL 2 with very high expectations, but there was literally nothing new to see here.

After some research at the Satanic bookstore, Spike winds up killing himself (they actually blow up a truck for this scene; how they got the budget to do so, I couldn’t tell you) so he can become Ghost Spike and save the co-ed from Professor Dickhead. He (very anti-climactically) succeeds and then explodes into a multi-colored constellation of floating dots which dissipate into the heavens, much to the glee of the unscathed blonde co-ed. Lucifer’s phone sex avatar has been defeated and the main character looks like a fucking Dark Side of the Moon laser light show. I guess that’s a happy ending?

Oh and then the co-ed is arrested for all of Professor Dickhead’s murders because, no blonde co-ed, we don’t believe that some jerk-off phone sex ghost killed everyone until some guy you just met became an anti-jerk-off phone sex ghost and stopped him.

REVIEW: 976-EVIL (1988)

976EVIL

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.