Episode #81: 976-Evil II: The Astral Factor
Listen to Episode 81 of the Podcast here while you enjoy the show notes.
SUMMARY - In 976-Evil II, the town of Slate River is being terrorized by a serial killer. A suspect is behind bars, but people are still dying in unexplained ways and local college student Robin (played by Debbie James) is having visions of the murders. After surviving the events of the first film, Spike (played by Patrick O’Bryan) rides into town to stop the satanic dial-in horoscope phone line that he believes is responsible.
Screenplay by Erik Greenberg Anjou; Directed by Jim Wynorski; and released on home video in the United Kingdom on December 31, 1991.
A woman swimming alone at night inside a dark school. What could go wrong?
The opening scene does set the tone well with a fancy school play set and a relatively interesting death.
Spike, survivor of the first movie, returns and is pulled in to investigate the serial killings in this community college town
There, he meets our other protagonist Robin and they share a conversation in the exact same diner we saw in "Sweet Poison" last week.
We didn't fully recognize this at the time, though. Day vs. Night and all that.
Their second conversation ever is Spike telling Robin all about the horrorscope phone number and its powers over people and she is totally okay with all of it.
The main bad guy is the dean of the school and he's learned to astral project himself from his cell to commit more murders.
The deaths in this movie are quite fun and it's tough to capture in a single screenshot how cool this body explosion was
Some of the effects are incredibly cheesy, but that can add charm to the right picture.
The practical effects are really good, though and all of the many car crashes are definitely real and it is an amazing sequence.
Apparently, this car crash was so good, it was re-used in a couple other movies.
We have a cameo from Brigitte Nielsen in an occult store that looks exactly like the set that would later be used in the Buffy TV show.
Our villain is getting more deformed with each projection and death and eventually looks like the Joker a little bit.
Several of the scenes reminded us of the Elm Street series, but we think this did them all better than "Freddy's Dead"
There's this awesome mash-up where Robin's friend is teleported into the TV to be part of "It's a Wonderful Life" and they do a great job of recreating everything for the new angles.
Then it turns into "Night of the Living Dead" in an equally fitting and accurate homage.
People calling the phone is not the impetus for most of the action. The phone calls the characters, but even considering that, this is better than the original movie.
Sure, not everything made sense and the special effects graphics were laughable at times
But it had a fast-moving plot with fun deaths, great action and plenty of interesting moments.
Awards Talk: None to speak of this time.
TRUE CRIME & POP CULTURE
This week we don't have any true crime to talk about and we're skipping music because there's a lot to talk about with New Years Eve TV.
First, we're talking about the Orange Bowl Parade - hosted by Burt Reynolds and Loni Anderson and their toddler son.
Here's the intro segment...
...and here's the closing where the young boy steals the show.
Later that night, you may have watched one of several countdown shows. Well, we found a YouTube video of someone channel surfing between them all.
Of course, for our Up All Night month, we've been looking at 1-900 numbers. What better subject matter to use than a tarot reading? Not exactly a "horrorscope," though.
RANKINGS & RATINGS
Nikki 1-5 star scale - 2 out of 5
Jon 0-4 star scale - 3 out of 4
Would you watch it again? - This gave us virtually everything we were hoping to see in a horror movie. Sure, the computer-based special effects were very cheesy but the practical effects and death scenes were a lot of fun. We like it better than the original and would certainly watch it again.
If you want to watch 976-Evil II, as of this recording in September 2022, it’s available on Hoopla, Digital Rental, VHS, DVD. Check your local listings.
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