Welcome to Halloween 1987- it’s time to watch the WNUF nightly news with Gavin Gordon (Richard Cutting) and Deborah Merritt (Leanna Chamish), who are bringing us news highlights and some of their very best ghoulish gab because after all, it’s Halloween.
After Gavin and Deborah are done with the news, they toss the broadcast over to field reporter Frank Stewart (Paul Fahrenkopf), who is about to lead a camera crew, a team of psychics and their viewers into the notorious Webber House where years before a young man named Donald went on a killing spree murdering both of his parents in what seemed to be part an occult ritual.
Things begin harmlessly enough for Frank and his ragtag team of paranormal investigators as they search the creepy house looking for answers, but when they begin to suspect they’re not alone, that’s when the WNUF Halloween Special transforms from an innocent holiday special to absolute hell on earth, with WNUF’s cameras there to catch every disturbing moment as it unfolds.
Directed by Chris LaMartina, the WNUF Halloween Special is the probably the most perfect example of how to do found footage right. There’s an air of authenticity to every little nook and cranny that comprises LaMartina’s entire special that makes you feel like you’ve just picked up a dusty, old VHS you forgot about for decades and are just now rediscovering its low-fi awesomess all over again.
There really is an exquisite level of detail on display from LaMartina and company in the WNUF Halloween Special that is just downright astonishing- there’s nothing here that doesn’t seem wholly authentic to the time and perfectly captured what it felt like to grow up in the 80’s and for that alone LaMartina’s wonderfully unique project has definitely become instantaneous Halloween viewing material for me in the future.
From the studio news footage to the pre-recorded interview segments to Frank’s deadly live broadcast to the numerous commercial breaks featuring some truly hilarious retro-style advertisements, you almost have to watch the WNUF Halloween Special a few times to pick up on all the different references and homages jam-packed in there. Clearly LaMartina is a genre fan because his love is proudly on display here with some of the names used throughout the WNUF broadcast were callbacks to some of my favorite horror characters. Even the characters we follow during Frank’s live séance segment at the Webber House feels like they just fell right out of a horror movie themselves, which was just total bliss for me.
Unlike anything I’ve seen in some time, classic genre fans should seek out the WNUF Halloween Special just as soon as you can and, if you grew up in the 80’s, this is by far one of the best closest recreations I have ever seen before. LaMartina should be commended for his creativity, attention to detail and overall enthusiasm for the material. This is, by far, one of the most enjoyable indie horror movies I’ve seen for some time.
Movie Score: 4/5