HORROR BUSINESS Episode 32: The Kids Aren’t Alright (EVILSPEAK & 976 EVIL)

Greetings, and welcome back to Horror Business, the most unholy podcast in all the land. In this episode we’re talking two films dealing with teenagers turning to the dark power of Satan to help them find their way in the world: 1982’s Evilspeak and 1989’s 976 Evil. We’re joined on this episode by longtime friend of the podcast and friend in general Andrew McArdle from Washington D.C.

First and foremost we want to give a shoutout to our sponsors over at Lehigh Valley Apparel Creations, the premiere screenprinting company of the Lehigh Valley. Chris Reject and his merry band of miscreants are ready to work with you to bring to life your vision of a tshirt for your business, band, project, or whatever else it is you need represented by a shirt, sweater, pin, or coozy. Head on over to www.xlvacx.com to check them out. Thanks!

We begin by talking about what horror related things we had done lately. Andrew discusses catching a screening of Ringu in Pittsburgh, Liam talks about attending the Brooklyn Horror Film Festival, and Justin talks about recently watching the Netflix original The Babysitter. Liam and Justin then briefly discuss the recent screening of Get Out at Lafayette University, hosted by Liam himself!

Up first is 1981’s Evilspeak. We begin by giving a basic outline of the plot. We talk about how Clint Howard’s unlikely characterization as a normal sympathetic character in this film. We briefly discuss the dynamics of race in this movie, in that Howard’s character’s only friend is a black student who likely experiences being ostracized at the military academy and feels sympathy for a fellow outcast. The heavily dated portrayal of computers in this movie is discussed.

The task the film has of taking a character that will eventually become the villain and making them initially sympathetic is touched upon, as is the character arc of the bullies who harass Howard’s character and drive him to embracing whatever dark power is behind all of this. The concept of “male rape” and how the hyper masculine and threatening nature of the antagonists plays a heavy part in the how they relate to Howard’s character and how that in turn relates to the films scant portrayal of women as hypersexual objects is discussed. The emphasis of masculinity in the world of magic and Satanism is likewise touched upon.

The sad quality of Howard’s character turning to evil not out of a lust for power or fortune but instead merely to belong in the world is examined, as is the nature in theology of God coming off as the ‘god of the bullies’ while Satan comes off as the ‘god of the underdogs’. The various special effects of the film are talked about, and Liam touches upon the disjointed and nonsensical nature of the chaplain’s sermon in a particularly FX heavy scene. The especially effective climax of the film is examined. The threat of rape against male characters is examined again, as is the sexual overtones of all the attacks on female characters.

Up next we talk 1989’s 976 Evil. We begin by talking about how popular the film was in the early 90’s and how often it was shown on cable TV, as well as how hyped it was due to the involvement of Robert Englund and Stephen Geoffreys. We begin by giving a basic outline of the plot, followed by a brief discussion of the somewhat obsolete phenomenon of the 976 number.

Stephen Geoffreys tendency to play characters who come off as somewhat creepy, whether or not they are sympathetic and still like i.e. Evil Ed from Fright Night, or Hoax in 976 Evil is discussed, as is Geoffreys strength as an actor.

The differences between Hoax and Evil Ed are dissected. The difference between Howard’s character in Evilspeak and Geoffreys’ character in 976 Evil are discussed, especially in the difference that Geoffreys is unsettling and off the whole time as opposed to Howard who has to be seduced and lured into embracing evil. Some of the horrific imagery of the film is touched upon, as is the concept of the entitled ‘nice guy’ that Geoffreys embodies in this movie.

The possibility of the film having homoerotic overtones similar to Fright Night is discussed i.e. Hoax seeing his cousin as the male ideal and his lusting after that possibly transmuting into lusting after his cousin himself. The satisfying nature of the climax, despite the choppy and uneven nature of the rest of the film, is examined. The depiction of the punk subculture in the film, and the depiction of punk in Hollywood as a whole, is discussed.

Special thanks to Andrew for joining us for this episode and for recommending both of these films. If you yourself ever want to recommend stuff for us to watch or even appear on an episode, let us know! As always thanks to everyone and anyone who checked this episode out, or shared a tweet/shared a post on FB/gave us love by recommending us to someone. We love you forever for listening. Any questions, comments, suggestions for movies and guests, or if you yourself want to join us for a movie viewing or even an episode, can be sent to [email protected]. We would love to hear from you! Thanks always to Justin Miller and Doug Tilley for their technical contributions and fliers, Mike Smaczylo for the shirts and fliers (you can check more of his work out at here), and also thanks to Josh “Cooperdick” Alvarez for the theme song, Chris, Brad, and LVAC for the support and buttons (check them out at www.xlvacx.com), and a HUGE thank you to anyone who retweeted us or shared something on Facebook that we posted. Follow us on Twitter at @thehorrorbiz666, like us on Facebook at facebook.com/thehorrorbiz66, and remember to rate, review, and subscribe to us on ITunes. In fact, if you write us a review, email us with your mailing address and we’ll send you some free pins and stickers! Check out www.cinepunx.com for more info on some of our other podcasts, some ultra stylish Cinepunx related merchandise, and how you can donate to our Patreon! Until next time…thanks!