Do you remember what a big deal it was when a television channel dedicated the entire holiday to spook-centric specials? What we have here is an experimental film that mimics this idea of an 80’s news station (WNUF) Halloween Special and wears its love and nostalgia on its sleeve.
‘WNUF Halloween Special’ is a very simple film to explain, but a complicated one to truly fathom before watching it. The WNUF Channel News Station is having their holiday programming line up as it leads up to an actual live-on-the-air walkthrough of an abandoned house where a local man infamously used a Spirit Board and then murdered his parents 20 years ago. The build up to this walk through is almost an hour of mock commercial breaks (which are extremely seasonal and often hilarious), related news stories of things such as the local Religious Group protesting the holiday, a memorial for a child who was murdered last Halloween, and so much more. All this is cute, slightly grim, and nostalgic even to someone like myself who wasn’t alive in the 80s but fondly remembers the one day a year that even the most normal of channels got into the spirit.
The commercials are imaginative and believable, which adds a fun layer of authenticity and humor to this otherwise oddball set up. But the main course in this serving is the actual walkthrough of the haunted house. A lone reporter (whose the perfect blend of typical asshole & charismatic journalist) goes into this building for the first time in 20 years with a team of paranormal investigators (who are basically the even more dramatic versions of the Warrens), and his camera guy. His producer and interns wait outside in a van to survey the building for safety sake.
But of course, at the end of the day this is a horror film. So this walkthrough does not go as planned. The build up is long and juggles dark humor, light humor, and the monotony of regular commercial breaks every 5-10 minutes. But the ending contains decent scares, some out-of-pocket violence, and a believable found footage gem.
While this film is not exactly successful as a real horror film, it absolutely succeeds in being a fun, spooky, Halloween offering that the entire family can basically enjoy. It’s silliness is only preceded by its authenticity, and both are worth the price of admission alone.
“WNUF Halloween Special” is currently only available on a special edition Bluray from Vinegar Syndrome.
‘Til Next Time,
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