Sunday, October 11, 2015

WNUF Halloween Special

Director(s) - Chris LaMartina (Call Girl of Cthulhu), James Bransome (Video Store Girl), Shawn Jones (Camp Killer), Scott Maccubbin, Lonnie Martin (The Last of the Manson Girls), Matther Menter (Nellie), and Andy Schoeb (Stand and Stan's Excellent Dogfish Head Adventure)
Starring - Paul Fahrenkopf (President's Day), Aaron Henkin, and Nicolette le Faye (The Chainsaw Sally Show)
Release Date - 2013
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "The infamous 1987 live broadcast"
Format - DVD (Personal Collection)

Rating (out of 5):
     With Halloween approaching I wanted to further indulge in more Halloween centered films after reviewing the kid friendly Double, Double, Toil and Trouble starring the Olsen twins before eating disorders and pain medication addiction took over their lives.  I wanted another film that centered around the holiday and not just a body count flick that has nothing to do with Halloween.  I love the holiday and I want to watch films that focus explicitly on the day that only comes once a year.  That pushed me the way of WNUF Halloween Special.  This one of a kind film is something I heard about some time ago but never got around to grabbing a copy until this year when I was at Cinema Wasteland in April and purchased the film from director Henrique Couto.  Couto had nothing to do with the film even though he, himself, is a filmmaker.  He was there representing Alternative Cinema who released the film.  I grabbed a copy with plans on reviewing it for the Holiday season so after watching DDTT I decided it was time for a little WNUF.
     The film follows someone putting in a VHS recording of a live Halloween special from channel 28 WNUF broadcasted in 1987.  The VHS shows several commercials for local businesses including a carpet installer, tampons, and a dentist with a bone to pick with candy.  The commercials then lead to a small news cast with the anchors dressed in Halloween costumes before the live paranormal investigation following Frank Stewart (Fahrenkopf) who leads a team consisting of two elderly paranormal investigators and a priest into the famous Weber House which was the scene of a brutal murder when a young man called a demon from a spirit board and decapitated his parents.  The elderly paranormal investigators sense something evil and try to leave but it is too late.  Something happens to their cat and they try to leave.  Soon the priest is spooked and tries to leave but soon finds himself locked in the basement with Frank.  The two are able to escape and soon find themselves at the hands of religious fanatics that believe Halloween is the devil's work.
     WNUF Halloween Special is one of those films that I had seen so many horror fans praise and recommend but I knew very little about it.  I knew nothing about the film story wise except it was said to be a lost 1987 Halloween special so that made me think that the film itself was just a lost movie that just happened to be recorded on VHS after it's initial airing similar to Chris Seaver's Warlock Home Videos.  However, this is not the case.  The film is made to resemble an actual news channel broadcast with the story involving a horrible situation that happened live on the air and the removal of the broadcast from television rotation.  This was very unique and fun but did get old as the film progressed.  The acting in this one is fantastic.  Everyone channels that awkward public access cable charm.  They all take their roles seriously but are able to keep that playful charm and over-professional demeanor.  The cast hit the nail on the head perfectly in that aspect.  The story for this one is a little different than your traditional horror film.  The film itself consists of several, way more than needed, commercials ranging from several different topics but they all feel genuine and believable.  These were fun the first half of the film but by the halfway point they become a pain in the ass and drag the film down.  The news cast segment itself is spot on and the two look and feel like real news anchors.  If these two are not news anchors then they should consider a career change.  The film's highlight, the paranormal investigation, is the film's meat and potatoes but it does slow down in sports.  This segment is a combination of the dark/haunted house films of the 60s and the religious fanatic flicks of the 70s.  This is a great mash-up that resulted in some serious atmosphere and a great ending.  With that being said, it does move at a snails pace and is very boring in the middle.  Finally, the film does not have any real on screen kills but that is not the point of this one.  The point of WNUF is to take the viewer back to the VHS era of horror and provide that nostalgic feeling that so many horror fans, myself included, miss.  The VHS look and grainy feel is spot on and really brings me back to the times I would rent videos from the local video store.  Overall, WNUF Halloween Special is a Halloween film for you tapeheads out there and those of you that worship analog.  This film is very unique and will put you in the Halloween spirit GUARANTEED!  Check it out.

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