Plot: What’s it about?
Hoax Wilmoth (Stephen Geoffreys) is a nerd persecuted in constant fashion, especially when it comes to his time at school. He faces bullies of all sorts, who love to use him as a punching bag or if he’s lucky, just to insult to no mortal end. He has trouble making friends of course and forget about a girlfriend, as Hoax simply doesn’t have the social skills needed in either case. But his burden isn’t lighter at home, where he has to deal with his religious fanatic of a mother (Sandy Dennis) and her rebellious nephew Spike (Patrick O’Bryan). In an effort to stumble onto something cool, Hoax rummages around in Spike’s room and soon, he uncovers a card that piques his interest. The card is for a pay service that gives you a “horror-scope” and after he calls the number, Hoax learns just how horrific the service is. Hoax is possessed as he listens, turned into an evil creature with a lust for human blood. With his new evil fueled powers, Hoax seeks to settle the score with his tormentors, but is it all worth the final price he’ll have to pay?
A decent premise, an Oscar winning actress, and genre regular Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street) are just three things this movie had on its side, but in the end, nothing could save 976-EVIL. It has some moments of sheer lunacy that entertain, but if you’re after a traditional horror picture, then this probably won’t suffice. Stephen Geoffreys (Fright Night) and Sandy Dennis (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) provide hilarious & off the wall performances, which add to the campish appeal. The writing, direction, and acting all seem to border on dismal, but whenever it starts to get really bad, you’ll be laughing too hard to complain too much. So don’t expect a horror classic or even a few real chills, but if you like “so bad they’re good” movies, 976-EVIL is worth a look. I didn’t expect a full on special edition of 976-EVIL, but Columbia’s disc has not even a single supplement and even sports a modified visual treatment. In other words, even fans have no reason to snag this disc and while it could be a while before a new version is released, to purchase this disc would be like flushing cash down the drain.
Video: How does it look?
976-EVIL is presented in a full frame transfer, which is just not cool in the slightest. No, we were supposed to be given an anamorphic (1.85:1) widescreen treatment, but alas, Columbia has chosen to ignore fans and issue this lackluster abomination instead. I know this is a lower interest genre release, but come on, every movie deserves to be seen as the filmmakers intended, even stuff like 976-EVIL. After you put aside the hacked aspect ratio, the image still fails to impress, though it isn’t too bad. The print is kind of rough at times, but colors and contrast look solid, which gives some good news to this bad news bomb. Columbia, we want original aspect ratio transfers on all discs, so if you want the cash, produce proper treatments.
Audio: How does it sound?
Although the audio here is unremarkable, it is passable and never presents any issues, so I see no reason to complain. This kind of material wouldn’t gain much from a new 5.1 mix and since Columbia wouldn’t even give us a widescreen treatment, I couldn’t imagine them forking out for a new surround soundtrack. The front channels bolster all of the content and that seems acceptable, as no problems arise as a result. The sound effects are clean and the music sounds good, while dialogue is clear and easy to understand also. This disc also includes subtitles in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Chinese, and Korean.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes no bonus materials.