BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

976-EVIL (1988) - Blu-ray Review

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976-EVIL - Blu-ray Review

3 beers"Thou shall not steal!  Thou shall not steal!" 

For anyone long overdue for some nasty revenge by way of a supernatural phone call, this is the film, warts and all, for you.  And all you have to do is pick up the phone and dial seven digits.

The phone is ringing.  Do you dare answer?  If, by chance, you are as unlucky as the punks in 976-EVIL, then picking that line up might just blow you to bits.  Directed by Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger in Nightmare on Elm Street), this film comes out of the darkness and into the light courtesy of Sony Pictures’ new 1080p release.  It’s a release worth tracking down, too.

Now, I am sure you have heard all sorts of complaints about this film.  It’s slow and cheesy and, with a whole slew of unlikable characters, almost completely without any sort of appeal.  The criticisms are true enough to be not totally dismissible, yet there is something so entirely smarmy about the whole production that one can’t help but think twice about the horror comedy and its gruesome affect.

And then there is Sandy Dennis as Lucy who absolutely nails her role as the overprotective mother to Stephen Geoffreys’ Hoax, the local nerd who can’t fight for himself and definitely can’t land his high school crush.  Lucy (Dennis) is also guardian to Spike (Patrick O'Bryan), a motorcycling bad boy with more rough edges than the cracks in the neighborhood sidewalk.  Hoax looks up to Spike.  Spike just doesn’t have enough time in the day to fully protect Hoax from all the threats circling him.

It’s only a matter of time then that Hoax stumbles upon a line of digits that Spike is already bored with.  Dialing 976-EVIL might get you some horror-themed fortunes but, for the unluckiest of dweebs, it also grants a whole hell of a lot of wishes as all those who wronged you suddenly get their comeuppance.  The digits are, of course, the short and straight communiqué to Satan himself and, when these two cousins, dial, well, the devil is going to pick up. 

And he’s all about the party line down in the fiery depths.

Combining Dennis’ hilarity with the performances from Geoffreys and O’Bryan, 976-EVIL delivers a solid punch when it comes to characters and their main interactions.  Sure, plenty about the rest of the cast is throwaway but these three tackle their roles and deliver a nice level of commitment, making their contributions so very important to the film's longevity.  As a result, the low budget flick is equal parts hilarious and awful, never knowing which to land on for very long.  You will laugh and, as the movie never takes itself seriously, take note of the surprising moments when the effects actually work.   

It’s a z-grade movie that, sadly, wouldn’t get made today; it’s just that slight and short of everything sympathetic in the story department to really matter, even for a cult title.  Yet, those exaggerated performances match the new wave punk scene that is at the core of this title.  Even the sets suggest a swagger that could only be matched by poorer end of the late 1980s slew of slasher titles.     

Touch-tone telephones go to hell in 976-EVIL.

976-EVIL - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R.
92 mins
: Robert Englund
Brian Helgeland, Rhet Topham
Stephen Geoffreys, Patrick O'Bryan, Sandy Dennis
: Horror
When Spike dialed 976-EVIL, he knew it was an expensive toll call, but he didn't know that he'd have to pay for it with his soul.
Memorable Movie Quote: "That's what the plastic's for, asshole!"
Theatrical Distributor:
New Line Cinema
Official Site:
Release Date:
March 24, 1989
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
October 3, 2017
Synopsis: People who dial 976-EVIL receive supernatural powers and turn into satanic killers.

976-EVIL - Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Sony Pictures
Available on Blu-ray
- October 3, 2017
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: English SDH, French, German, Portuguese, Spanish, Korean, Mandarin
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0; French: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono; German: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono; Spanish: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Single disc; UV digital copy; Digital copy
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Sony Pictures presents 976-EVIL in a 1.84:1 aspect ratio and a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track.  The 1080p transfer is strong one, detailing the both the clothes and the shadows in this b-movie.  There are a few moments where the print damage is noticeable, but not enough to be concerning at all.  For the most part, this release is superb, handling strong black levels and an upgrade in the color dynamics, too.  While there is an age to the sheen on the film, this is the absolute best the film has ever looked.  Details are crisp and colors look sharp.  Black levels are deep and solid.



  •  Provided by Director Robert Englund and Nancy Booth Englund, the commentary is detailed and does a good job discussing the movie.

Special Features:

We get a VHS version of the movie which runs about 12-minutes longer.  It’s fun and captures the whole VHS spirit nicely.  A UV digital code is also included with the purchase.

  • Alternate Home Video Version (85 min)

976-EVIL - Blu-ray Review

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