->''"Out of the darkness and into light, comes your horrorscope on this dark and stormy night."''
-->-- '''976-EVIL's greeting message'''
''976-EVIL'' is a 1988 horror film directed by Creator/RobertEnglund.
Spike (the bad boy) and Hoax (the introverted nerd) are cousins who live with Hoaxís overly religious mother. They stumble across a mysterious premium-line phone number, 976-EVIL, which appears at first to be just a fun novelty hotline that offers creepy fortunes to those who call, but they soon discover that itís a direct line to hell--literally. Spike loses interest, but Hoax uses the powers the number gives him to exact revenge against everyone who has wronged him, inadvertently allowing his soul to be slowly taken over by Satan. Spike must race to stem the tide of destruction Hoax is perpetrating, hoping like hell that he can save his cousinís soul.
Along with ''Film/ANightmareOnElmStreet4TheDreamMaster'', the first screenwriting credit of Brian Helgeland (who helped ''Film/TrickOrTreat'' writer Rhet Topham develop his story; and while ''976-EVIL'' was finished first, to the point Englund recommended him for the next Freddy Krueger script, ''The Dream Master'' got to theaters before), who would win an UsefulNotes/AcademyAward with ''Film/LAConfidential''.
It was followed by a sequel, ''Film/NineSevenSixEvil2TheAstralFactor''.
!!Tropes associated with ''976-EVIL'':
* AssholeVictim: Marcus, and the other punks who bullied Hoax throughout the movie.
* AndShowItToYou: Possessed Hoax kills two bullies offscreen, and returns to the poker game they were part of with their [[BeatStillMyHeart still-beating]] hearts in his hands.
-->'''Hoax:''' Would it be possible to enter the game with a pair of hearts?
* BigBad: Hoax eventually turns into one due to his reliance on the eponymous phone number.
* BigNo: This is Hoax's reaction when his supernatural spider-prank against Suzie ends up killing her.
* TheCorruption: The 976-EVIL phone number works this way, initially giving Hoax a means of revenge against his tormentors, but the more he uses it, the more outwardly monstrous he becomes.
* CrazyCatLady: Hoax's deeply religious mother keeps dozens of cats around the house. [[spoiler:After Hoax kills her under the evil phone line's influence, they feast on her corpse.]]
* DeadMansHand: Marcus gets a pair of aces and eights in a poker game before he ends up being killed by possessed Hoax, but not before getting his hand cut off.
-->'''Hoax:''' ''That's'' a dead man's hand.
* EvilPhone: Spike (and others who declined the phone line's offerings of power) get evil calls that mock and try to kill them.
* EvilSoundsDeep: Hoax's voice becomes deeper as he gives in more and more to the 976-EVIL's influence.
* FingerlessGloves: The evil phone number tries to persuade Spike to steal a pair of these, but he proves to be a better person than that. Because of that, supernatural forces try to have him killed.
* FromNobodyToNightmare: Hoax uses the powers granted by the phone line to get back at everyone who's wronged him. He then becomes DrunkOnTheDarkside and goes on a general killing spree.
* GreaterScopeVillain: The 976-EVIL phone number. It gives the demonic powers to Hoax, who becomes the main antagonist of the film; but while he is stopped, the number goes on existing.
* HauntedTechnology: When Spike won't comply to the evil phone line's demands, an unmanned car starts up and tries to run him over.
* IKnowYoureInThereSomewhereFight: After Hoax becomes fully possessed, Spike reminds his cousin about their youth to help him fight it. It only partially works, [[spoiler:as it gives Hoax just enough time to sacrifice himself]].
* ManOnFire: When the man in the opening finally caves in and answers a demonically ringing phone, he is set on fire and the phone booth that he's in exlplodes.
* NumberOfTheBeast: To get their "horrorscope", the person calling the eponymous phone line must punch in the number 666.
* PoorMansPorn: Early in the film, Hoax can be seen reading from a ''National Geographic'' magazine for this use, but his religious mother catches him red-handed.
* RealityWarper: Hoax's demonic powers eventually include the ability to warp the environment, as he turns his own house into an arctic wasteland and opens a portal to Hell in the yard.
* SinisterShades: When Hoax starts to embrace being possessed, he also starts wearing rounded sunglasses.
* TitleByNumber: By phone number, to be exact.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: Or in this case, what happened to the skank? We never see the fate of Airhead's girlfriend after he is impaled on the neon pitchfork. Last we saw her, she was screaming in terror a few feet away from Hoax. Given how evil Hoax was, we can assume she perished soon after.