Tuesday, 18 October 2011

976-Evil II (1992)

Well, it's pretty unlikely that people got to the end credits of 976-Evil and thought "that was great but I really want another movie using the same concept and throwing in a bit of astral projection madness" but here we are anyway with 976-Evil II, a movie directed by Jim Wynorski (a name familiar to purveyors of schlock and perhaps still best known for the fantastic fun of Chopping Mall).

The plot is so silly that you expect someone from the Monty Python crew to come along and stop proceedings at any moment. Mr. Grubeck (Rene Assa) is the latest person to be seduced by the telephone number that offers a very specific horror-scope for each individual and he's been on a bit of a killing spree. Apprehended by the police, things get confusing when the killings continue while Mr. Grubeck is safley locked in a prison cell. Will nobody put 2 and 2 together and realise that the killer can astrally project himself anywhere while he's asleep? Spike (Patrick O'Bryan) doesn't know exactly what's going on but he does know, from bitter experience, just how dangerous that 976 number is. Perhaps Robin (Debbie James) can help him put all of the pieces together before more people are dead.

While it follows on from the first movie in some ways, mainly the use of the phone number and the returning character of Spike, 976-Evil II could just as easily have been moulded into an original movie that could have been just as silly and unscary while not needing to tarnish the good name of a fairly decent movie. There are no characters you really get to care about (Spike and Robin aren't really great leads while the script meanders from one limp set-piece to the next), no impressive death scenes and no real sense of the fun that's obviously supposed to be coming from the screen.

I knew that the movie would have some issues when the first sixty seconds featured some gratuitous nudity. Hey, I'm certainly not averse to nudity (gratuitous or otherwise) but it's never a good sign when a) it occurs within the first minute and b) it's not followed up by plenty more. If you offer nothing else then at least have the decency to go all out with the gratuitous nudity. One fleeting glimpse of nakedness at the start of a film does not make up for 90 minutes of tedium.

There is some fun to be had with the supporting cast - featuring the great George 'Buck' Flower, the lovely Monique Gabrielle and a bizarre cameo role for Brigitte Nielsen - and one scene utilising a twisted version of It's A Wonderful Life is genuinely entertaining but the rest falls flat. The script, written by Erik Anjou and based on a story by Rick Glassman, is inept in a way that fails to raise even unintentional laughs while Wynorski provides uninspired direction.

In summation, I was genuinely more entertained by the last Jim Wynorski movie I watched, which was Cleavagefield.



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