Reviews | Written by Alan Boon 17/10/2020

976-EVIL (1988)


Coming right at the end of the 1980s VHS rental boom, curious horrorphiles were attracted to 976-EVIL by its director (Robert ‘Freddy Krueger’ Englund), its star (Stephen Geoffreys, who’d been a hit as vampire Evil Ed in Fright Night), and by its awesome poster art. What they found when they popped the tape into the machine, however, was lesser than the sum of its parts.

Released on Blu-ray in the UK for the first time by Eureka Classics, the movie is very much a product of its time, with dangerous bad boy Spike trying to look out for his nerdy cousin Hoax, only for Hoax to fall prey to a hotline to hell in the form of the titular dial-a-demon. Englund’s direction is all over the place, failing to properly knit together some cool set pieces, but Geoffreys is still a charismatic antagonist, and it’s a shame that he turned down Fright Night 2 to appear in this.

For those who remember the film fondly, however, the Eureka release is a decent package, with commentaries from the director and his set decorator wife, new interviews with special effects producers, and an SD version of the expanded home video release, which included scenes not featured in the cinematic version, which is presented in 1080p here.

The thirty-odd years since the VHS boom have not been kind to many of the movies that found an eager audience back then, and 976-EVIL is no exception, but it will fill a gap in the collection of those obsessed by Fangoria back in the day. Englund only ever directed one other movie, and Geoffreys was out of the business within two years of its release; 976-EVIL was a call they probably never should have made.

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