Format: Streaming video from Tubi TV on Fire!
As someone who came of age in the 80s, there are some elements of culture that don’t really translate to younger generations. Older Millennials will remember some of these specific sensory and cultural touchstones, but for anyone mid-30s and younger, experiences like the smell of purple mimeograph ink, pulling off the strips of tractor feed printer paper are not anything that can be specifically described or understood. They had to be experienced. Part of that was our relationship with phones. Calling collect was its own thing and 976 numbers were the scourge of late-night television. 976-EVIL is a film that is very reflective of that time and because of that, doesn’t really translate to a modern audience.
For those not old enough to remember, 976 numbers were reserved for pay services, most famously used by the Psychic Friends network shilled by Dionne Warwick. These numbers were used for novelty services like kids calling Santa Claus, but also stranger and more prurient services as well. That’s the conceit here—there’s a 976 line that is essentially being operated Satan himself to lure in lost souls. Essentially, people call the number (which is naturally 976-EVIL), get their “horrorscope,” and find that the predictions they get come true. Eventually, though, they have to pay for their sudden good fortune with their lives (insert ominous thundercrack).