Originally broadcast live on October 31, 1987, the 'WNUF Halloween Special' is a stunning expose of terrifying supernatural activity that unfolded at the infamous Webber House, the site of ...
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Originally broadcast live on October 31, 1987, the 'WNUF Halloween Special' is a stunning expose of terrifying supernatural activity that unfolded at the infamous Webber House, the site of ghastly murders. Local television personality Frank Stewart leads a group of paranormal investigators including Catholic exorcist, Father Joseph Matheson and the prolific husband-and-wife team Louis and Claire Berger. Together, the experts explore the darkest corners of the supposedly haunted Webber House, trying to prove the existence of the demonic entities within. Did they find the horrific truth or simply put superstitious rumors to rest?Written by
Complete with fake TV ads, The WNUF Halloween Special really, really nails the low budget, awkward nature that an actual live TV special of the late 1980's might have had.
Unfortunately, I found it a little TOO authentic. After a while, it genuinely feels like the whole point of this "movie" is to string you along to sit through the next commercial break, full of tongue-in-cheek advertisements for businesses that don't exist. They're good fake commercials, don't get me wrong, but just like real TV, there's only so many "we'll find out when we come back after this commercial" cliffhangers you can take before it starts to get frustrating.
Which feeds in to a larger problem: not a lot actually happens over the course of the movie. Characters are almost non-existent, there's barely a narrative to follow, there's very little setup and next to no payoff. Things happen, of course, but they aren't structured to happen.
This is all in service of WNUF's attempts at found footage authenticity. If this was actually recorded off of television as the film maintains, it wouldn't have anything resembling a traditional movie narrative. It's supposed to be a crummy local access broadcast on Halloween. It's as impersonal as a weather report, because that's kind of the point. It's not totally devoid of fun, of course. They play up the awkwardness of live TV, and how the host reacts to audience members or callers is worth some laughs, but those moments are too few and too far between, nor do they really build towards anything.
You also have to consider that if what happens in this "tape" was actually real, it would just be clips on Youtube of only the relevant parts, not the full 90 minute recording with all the commercials still left in (including half of the nightly news that aired prior to the special).
I admire what the WNUF Halloween Special is going for, but its slavish dedication to authentically replicating even the worst aspects of television ended up making it kind of a bore. It's more entertaining on a conceptual level than it is when you're actually watching it. I'm sure there's people out there who are probably way in to something like this, but I don't think I am.
5 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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