Sunday, January 19, 2014

976-EVIL (Robert Englund, 1988)

During the day, her legs are not sheathed in anything. But when night falls, look out, honey, her legs are sheathed in the finest stockings money can buy. (Oh, brother, I should have known you were going to open your review of Robert Englund's 976-EVIL with a line about Lezlie Deane's first-rate gams being lovingly poured into a pair of black fully-fashioned stockings.) You got a problem with that? (No, it's just I thought you might have done the whole bait and switch routine.) Huh? (You know, pretend to talk about how this film shows the evolution of the telephone as not only the world's most important communication device but as an object of menace, and then, blamo, hit them in the face with some perverted knowledge about Lezlie Deane's toothsome legs being strangled to death by black nylon perfection.) If you want, I could start over. (Don't bother, you have already come too far.) You're right. Besides, it's too hot to start over (please note: it might be "too cold" by the time I get around to submitting this piece to my editor). I've just got to stay focused on Lezlie Deane and her black stockings, as they're the key to unlocking the appeal of this movie. Sure, the amazing Stephen Geoffreys (the original Evil Ed from Fright Night) yet again plays a nerdy dweeb who gets in touch with his inner demon (this time thanks to a malevolent psychic hotline), and Roxanne Rogers gives good snark as the perpetually unimpressed waitress at Dante's Diner. But make no mistake, Lezlie Deane and her black stockings are the key. (Um, I think you already said that.) Really? Well, I'm saying it again. In fact, I might end up saying it five or six times when all is said and done. (Wow, that many, eh? They must be important.) You got that right.

(Don't forget to perform a demented soliloquy about Lezlie Deane's jet black panties.) Do you even know what a soliloquy is? (No, not really. But I do know what demented means, and I guarantee the demented soliloquy about Lezlie Deane's jet black panties you're about to unleash is going to be the best demented soliloquy about jet black panties anyone will hear this year.) What do you mean, "this year"? (You're absolutely right, it's going to be the best demented soliloquy about jet black panties anyone will hear during this or any year.)

I'm sorry to disrupt the thought of the jet black panties and the jet black stockings clinging to the lower half of Lezlie Deane's dainty frame, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to lay down some perfunctory exposition. (Aw, man, do you have to?) I know, you would rather hear me talk about Lezlie Deane and her top-notch wardrobe, but the rules and regulations that dictate film criticism clearly state that you must describe the film's plot to some degree. (I don't know who came up with these "rules and regulations," but that sounds like crock of shit.)

"Out of the darkness and into the light comes your horrorscope on this dark and stormy night." That's the first thing you hear when you dial "976-EVIL," the psychic hotline...from Hell! After that, the operator prompts you to push 666 and you'll quickly be welcomed to the caverns of the unknown by your psychic fiend. See what I did there? (Where?) Instead of writing, "psychic friend," I wrote, "psychic fiend." (Awesome.)

Whisked into the projection booth of the El Diablo Theatre, we're about to witness motorcycle enthusiast Spike (Patrick O'Bryan) loose his shirt playing poker with a bunch of dirtbags. Lead by Marcus (J.J. Cohen), the dirtbags, which include Darren E. Burrows, seem to relish in taking his money. Unfortunately for Spike, he owes the dirtbags more money than he actually has on him. This means he's in danger of losing his precious Harely-Davidson, which he put up as collateral.

While at home, Spike comes across a flyer for something called "976-EVIL Horrorscope" (the second 'o' in horrorscope is shaped like a pentagram). Calling it, Spike is told that there's money nearby that is technically his and that he should go claim it. Figuring that the money the 976-EVIL guy was talking about is over at his Aunt Lucy's house, he heads over there (she lives next-door) to "claim it." This, of course, doesn't sit too well with Aunt Lucy (Sandy Dennis), a Bible-obsessed cat lady who lives with Hoax (Stephen Geoffreys), her dorky teenage son. (Hey, wouldn't that make Spike and Hoax cousins?) Boy, you're on fire today. You're absolutely right, they're cousins.

When word gets out that it rained fish in Aunt Lucy's backyard, Marty Palmer (Jim Metzler) from Modern Miracles Magazine comes a knocking on her door. (Wait, why did it rain fish?) How the fuck should I know? I'm just watching the movie, I didn't write it.

After paying Marcus the money he owes, Spike stops his friends from dunking Hoax's head in the toilet in the boy's washroom at school. (How does he stop them?) How else? With physical violence. Don't be fooled by the ponytail, Spike is one tough cookie. Though, I'm surprised the 976-EVIL hotline guy didn't advise Spike to 86 the ponytail, as it made him look like a West German porno actor; don't ask me why looking like West German porno actor is necessarily a bad thing, it just is.

(Is Lezlie Deane going to appear onscreen soon? I'm getting a little tired of wadding through all this nonsense.) It's funny you should mention Lezlie Deane, as she's just about to make her debut any minute now. And...Boom! There she is. (How come she isn't wearing stockings?) Didn't you read the opening line? Suzie (Lezlie Deane) doesn't wear stockings during the day. (Oh, I see.)

Anyway, check out Suzie's jean jacket, she totally cut it in half.

To remind us that there are deadly consequences to dialing "976-EVIL," we're shown a woman in pants, red high heels and a white blazer tormented by ringing telephones (car phones, payphones, you name it, they torment her) before being killed by the glass from, you guessed it, a telephone store. What's cool about this scene, besides the woman's perm, is that a red high heel shoe phone rests near her head as she expires.

Waiting to be picked up at the spot they had agreed in the previous scene, Suzie, who has since put on a pair of black stockings (which are kept aloft with the aide of suspenders attached to a garter belt), hops on the back of Spike's bike.

You'll notice that the act of sitting on the back of Spike's exacerbates the sexiness of Suzie's stocking-covered legs. You know who else notices this? That's right, Spike does. Who takes a quick gander at Suzie's legs as she desperately tries to plant her black heels onto the bike's rear foot-pegs.

Instead of going out, Spike and Suzie head straight to his place for some chair-based sexual intercourse. Straddling Spike with the breadth of her moist undercarriage, Suzie repeatedly hurls her vagina towards his cock with an unusual amount of vigor. While vagina hurling with a side order of vigor is not an uncommon sight in the annals of heterosexual copulation, it is something you rarely see in a on the cusp of being mainstream horror flick; seriously, Suzie humps the living fuck out of Spike's dick, and, presumably, a smattering of his not even close to being woebegone teenage ball sack.

As Suzie enjoys a post-coital cigarette break, she starts to smooth out the creases on her stockings, which, no doubt, lost some of their sheer appeal during sex. After she's finished feeling up her own legs, Suzie tosses her jet black panties at Spike. Like car keys attached to a key chain, jet black panties are easy to catch. And Spike has no problem catching them. Putting her jet black panties, like any sane person would, in his mouth almost immediately after catching them, Spike must being thinking: What will Suzie wear for the rest of the evening? Already two steps of him, Suzie grabs a pair of boxer shorts from the laundry basket and slides them on without hesitation.

Women who wear men's underwear are hot. Women who wear men's underwear with black stockings, fishnet fingerless gloves, Madonna-friendly crucifix bracelets (Suzie used to go to Catholic school), cut-off jean jackets, plaid skirts are mega-hot.

Heading out to catch a movie at the El Diablo, Hoax, who was watching Spike and Suzie through a telescope this entire time, pops over to Spike's place after they leave. Picking up Suzie's jet black panties, Hoax savours them for a moment (mmm, jet black pantie savouring), then decides to call "976-EVIL" (the flyer was on the floor, probably next to Suzie's jet black panties).

The "976-EVIL" guy tells Hoax that he will meet the girl of his dreams tonight. And before you know it, Hoax having a late night snack with Suzie at a local pizza joint. (What the... How did he manage to pull that off? I mean, Spike must have blown it big time.) Well, I wouldn't say, "big time," but he does blow it (he would rather play poker in the projection booth than watch a movie with Suzie). At the right place at the right time, Hoax and Suzie seem to be having a pleasant evening, when a daddy long legs ruins everything. Actually, Marcus and his dirtbag friends are the one's who ruin things. But the daddy long legs is the catalyst.

On the bright side, the daddy long legs does cause Suzie to cower in a manner that managed to aggravate her legginess. (So, what you're saying is, the daddy long legs made Suzie's legs appear longer?) That's exactly what I'm saying. Didn't anyone else find it strange that Suzie seemed was offended when she found out that Hoax was carrying around her jet black panties in his back pocket? I sure did, as it seemed out of character. In reality, it was merely a ploy by the filmmakers (including screenwriter Brian Helgeland) to accelerate the demonization process of Hoax, who is becoming increasingly dependent on "976-EVIL" (while most callers eventually tire of the Satanic hotline, Hoax fully embraces it).

This, of course, means trouble for Suzie. Who is the first to feel the wrath of Hoax. (Don't tell me...) I'm afraid so. Well, at least she goes out with her stockings on straight.

(Does anything of interest happen after Hoax sicks a bunch of spiders on Suzie?) Let's see... Hoax rips out a couple hearts ("Would it open with a pair of hearts?"), removes a hand, and throws Maria Rubell down a flight of stairs. Oh, and Cynthia Szigeti (Hunk) briefly appears as a phone sex operator and Robert Picardo plays Mark Dark, the man behind "976-EVIL."


  1. Actually, you had me with "look out, honey, her legs are sheathed in the finest stockings money can buy"...ha, this one's a horror classic for sures, great post Yum-Yum!

    1. I'm glad I was able to had you so early. Wait, that didn't come out right. Ah, whatever. Thanks. ;)

  2. Ms. Lezlie Deane looks quite LeeAnne Baker-esque here.

    1. You might be on to something there. All she needs a haircut and some platform shoes (L.A.B. is around 5'10").

    2. Is she as extraordinarily luminous? For LeeAnne Baker, just the act of walking across the screen is a highly erotic art form.

  3. Love this movie. Sort of makes me think what you might see somewhere late at night if you were to stumble on to the abandoned part of a movie lot.
    A light on in the top room of an old movie theater, where guys are playing cards and its the 1950's.