Weekly Shudder is an ongoing series of blogs/reviews of movies that are part of the online streaming service, Shudder, library.
There are a few films I watch, and enjoy, but I think “I really can’t suggest someone watch this.” There are just movies that I like that I know most people will not. For a recent example, I really really really completely loved THE LOVE WITCH. But I realize that there are more than a handful of people who just won’t like it or understand it. But I do know a few friends who will absolutely adore it. On a side note, those few friends are the best people around.
WNUF HALLOWEEN SPECIAL is a movie that I think I’ll have a hard time selling to most of my friends, but I know there are a special handful of you that will immediately be on board with what this movie is. Is it a horror movie? Yes, but it’s more than a horror movie, it’s a love letter to 1980s local television. Which is to say, it’s a love letter to the era of television that I grew up on. In other words, it’s cheesy.
At its core, WNUF is a found-footage movie. We, the audience, are watching a VHS copy from a 1987 news broadcast of a live call-in séance emanating inside a legendary local haunted house; hosted by local news personality Frank Stewart. Throughout the movie we are shown some background into the house’s bloody history, lovingly borrowed from AMITYVILLE HORROR, and brought up-to-date on the status of the abandoned house that is allegedly haunted by the victims of a long ago murder.
Sprinkled throughout the show are news updates from the in-studio news anchors as well as commercials for local businesses. It’s in the performance of the news anchors and the realism of the hokey 80s commercials that the movie rings true and makes my heart leap for joy.
Is WNUF scary? No, I would say it leans more toward a charming comedy, but it’s the ending that leaves your hair a little bit on edge. There is a noticeable difference in the end of the “live footage” and the news broadcast that ends the tape, which leads a viewer to ask themselves, “whose tape are we actually watching?”
Based on the comments/ratings on Shudder, this isn’t a movie for everyone. If you’re expecting jump scares and BLAIR WITCH style filmmaking, WNUF is not the movie for you. But, perhaps, if you grew up in the 80s and early 90s, as I did, then WNUF might just tug at long forgotten memories and hit the right notes for you.