Sunday, July 12

Some quick thoughts on 976-EVIL (1988)

In some hellish alternate universe ruled by Uwe Boll, this is Rob Zombie's remake of Nakata's Ringu.

Absolutely downright terrible. I was going to watch this on tape months ago, but now I see mercifully my VCR started incessantly rolling the picture after the first couple minutes. I found a $3 copy of the DVD at Big Lots a few days ago. I should have bought a few bags of Haribo gummy bears instead. At least they're good.

There are two glaring problems in this schizophrenic horror backwash helmed by an iconic slasher personality that should have known better. The first being that characters and situations conveniently dumped or shuffled around. Spike (Patrick O'Bryan) doesn't seem too broken up over the horrific death of his girl, even after Hoax (Stephen Geoffreys) admits to the killing. Hell, during this "tense" scene between the two it sounds as if the grunts of frustration from Spike were dubbed in later in post. The feds apparently don't give a shit as well. Hoax's school principal shows up for the climax for a good fifteen minutes after getting maybe two minutes of screen time earlier.

The other hitch is big set-ups for fleeting one-liners. For some reason, Hoax's bullies hang in the projection booth of a rundown theater that's running a CONTINUOUS HORROR MARATHON (tics $1.99). After Hoax in demon form meekly slaughters the bunch, we see a long shot of the theater and marquee on fire with one of the bullies impaled on a neon sign in the shape of a pitchfork. You can laugh now. Later at devilman Hoax's house it's a literal icebox just so Hoax can quip that "Hell has finally frozen over." Laughing yet?

Not to mention fish falling from the fucking sky being an important plot point and driving motivation for one of the characters.

Academy Award winner Sandy Dennis is especially awful as Hoax's domineering Bible thumpin' Aunt. Really the worst portrayal of this familiar horror archetype perhaps in history. So bad the Academy should have raided her home, grabbed the statue, and melted it down immediately in a mobile kiln. That sounds harsh until you experience Aunt Lucy. The sequel (which I actually don't mind) looks to have killed O'Byran's career for good and Geoffreys was a few short years away from delving into the asshole of celluloid. The flick doesn't even have that pleasant insular vibe of other mediocre but watchable genre flicks around the dawn of the '90s like Craven's Shocker or Cutting Class.

The one scene I liked was after bloodily slashing the face of one of his bullies, Hoax calmly lays his hands on him and tells the shocked fellow to never touch him again. Aside from that, big waste of ninety minutes. I'd even recommend the sequel over this. On that note, it looks like Part 2 might be finally arriving on U.S. DVD from Echo Bridge.
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1 comment:

Carl (ILHM) said...

Im so glad I didnt misjudge this one, I was afraid that I had lost touch with my 80s roots, but I just didnt find much to like here either.

...do you dare tread upon the staircase?
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