976-EVIL 2Lions Gate Home Video

“Look, Daddy! Every time you hear a bell, a zombie takes us all to hell.”

A mysterious telephone service transforms Professor Grubeck, the dean of a small California college, into a diabolical killer who uses the dark art of astral projection to slay the school’s most beautiful co-eds. Spike, the bad boy hero introduced in the first 976-EVIL installment, teams up with Robin to battle the supernatural forces in this cult horror film from director Jim Wynorski.

A year ago, I subjected a few of my friends to a hunk of stinky 80s cheese known as 976-EVIL. Which, as it turned out, was a lot more fun to watch than the actual “good” movie that we brought along as the second in that night’s double feature. A lot can happen in a year, and though I was unable to gather the usual gang with me (gee, I wonder why) to suffer through this, the second movie, I nonetheless soldiered forward, watching 976-EVIL II and taking it like the good horror fiend that I am.

Now, the first question that usually pops in people’s collective minds is, “Why make a sequel to…this? Of all movies?” Hey, it was a different time. Back then, they didn’t need a really good reason to make a sequel, let alone a movie. Which actually does explain a lot of movies back then. And remember, the first couple of years of the over-rated 90s were really just a hangover recovery period from the 80s, so those get a pass as well. So it’s really no surprise that there was a sequel made to one of the more obscure cult horror titles out there.

And honestly? Unlike a lot of needless sequels to equally needless movies – one needs to look no further than Weekend At Bernie’s II…or the stupid-inducing Mannequin II – 976-EVIL II I found to be a much more fun watch than its original predecessor. And the original was chock full of the cheesy goodness. I do suspect that 976-EVIL II may have started life as a wholly separate stand-alone movie, and then got the sequel-izing done to it at the last minute, for whatever reason, probably cocaine. Because the 976-Number-From-Hell angle seemed tacked on, as did the bringing in of the Spike character from the first movie, now a leather-n-Harley drifter sporting bigger hair than the female lead. Mostly, this is a movie about a creepy old dude who can astral project and kill people with his spirit, and the two hapless college-age kids who try and stop him. Sure, it’s shown that the guy got the powers from that entity on the other end of that phone number, but that’s rather incidental. Eh, doesn’t matter, as the movie’s a lot more fun to watch, as the lead evil guy has fun with the character and chews up all the scenery with gleeful abandon. The effects are silly, the overall acting is hammy and things haven’t aged well…but in this instance, who cares? The unintentional humor was hilarious, and at least they used an angle that’s not really looked into a lot in the horror genre.

Overall, I found 976-EVIL II to be just as amusing as the first movie. By itself, and stripped of all the ties to that movie, and this would have still been an amusing B horror movie. Recommended watching for cheese freaks like myself.