So it’s apparently 130 days until Halloween. But when you’re a horror fan, every day is Halloween, right?
I had been dying to watch WNUF Halloween Special since last Halloween, when I couldn’t get my hands on it anywhere. When I spotted it was on Shudder, I told myself to wait to watch it until Halloween season…and well, that didn’t last very long.
WNUF Halloween Special is an absolute delight, I’m happy to say. This movie is like a found footage film, only it’s done in the style of a taped recording of the news on Halloween night in 1987. There are commercials (which get increasingly saucy as the evening gets on), news segments, and promos for upcoming shows and TV movies.
But most important and hyped is channel 28’s Halloween Special, where reporter Frank Stewart plans to go into a local haunted building. The Webber House is where the “Spirit Board Murders” took place nearly 20 years earlier. In “The Devil Made Me Do It Style”, the parents are murdered by their son, who insists he was possessed.
Frank is a bit of a showman, determined to make rating on Halloween night. Invited to his life show are the paranormal experts, Louis and Claire Berger (who are here as Warren stand-ins) as well as a Catholic priest, wo is there to perform an exorcism.
Before Frank and his crew even enter the Webber House, it’s clear that not all is well. He sees a figure pass the window of the closed-up building, but the idea of catching great footage is just too much for Frank. Once inside the house, things only get worse. There is the usual ghost-y nonsense, but when the Bergers’ equipment is trashed, they become increasingly unsettled.
During the live phone-in séance (the first ever!), the group only get harassed by prank calls. The séance gets interrupted by the sound of the Bergers’ cat, which the group find mutilated. The Bergers then claim to be leaving the building.
But no matter how many times Frank cuts to commercial, the situation only increasingly gets out of control. It’s when the remainders of the group go to the basement that things really begin to take a dark turn…
WNUF Halloween Special has an oddly dark and gross ending despite it’s pleasant and fun vibe for the first 75 minutes. It’s a horrible (and successful) way of putting the audience in their place. There was a smile on my face for the entire movie up until the end, which I think is great work.
This movie was everything I wanted it to be. It completely encapsulates the feeling of late 80s/early 90s television news. It was a bit campy, but that made it all the more enjoyable to watch.
The story is fine, but it doesn’t really start until about an hour in. It’s all something we’ve seen before, but repackaged in a wholly original way. My favourite part of WNUF was definitely the little details: the repeated commercials, the unseen viewer fast-forwarding through the boring political segments, the crap SATIN graffiti.
And while Halloween might still be months away, this is already a movie I can envision myself revisiting when that time arrives.