976-Evil - VHS
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This underrated teen-revenge horror film starring Stephen Geoffreys (Fright Night) was the directorial debut of Robert Englund, best known as Freddy Krueger in the Nightmare on Elm Street series. Geoffreys plays Hoax, a picked-on nerd who lives with his religious-nut mother Lucy (the marvelous Sandy Dennis). One day Hoax calls a 976-line for a "Horrorscope," and the demonic voice at the other end starts giving him wicked advice. Before long, he has killed his brother's girlfriend with tarantulas, slashed the face of a teen tough with his newly-sprouted talons, and gutted several of his tormentors. Only a well-meaning journalist and a sexy schoolmarm can stop the now-demonic Hoax before he sends the whole neighborhood straight to Hell. Granted, the screenplay is rather confused and slow-moving, but Geoffreys and Dennis are great, the effects work by Kevin Yagher is skillful, and this is one of the few teen-horror films with characters that are actually interesting. Look for Robert Picardo (The Howling) in a fun cameo as the diabolical Mark Darke. After a brief stint as a teen star, Geoffreys went on to appear in gay porn films as "Sam Ritter." ~ Robert Firsching, Rovi