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21.2.16

WNUF Halloween Special (2013)


Director: Chris LaMartina, James Branscome,  Shawn Jones, Lonnie Martin, Scott Maccubbin, Matthew Menter, Andy Schoeb
Starring: Paul Fahrenkopf, Aaron Henkin, Nicolette le Faye, Richard Cutting
Not Rated 83 minutess

It's Halloween night in 1987, and a film crew from local news station WNUF is doing a live broadcast from the Webber House, a purportedly haunted house. Led by disinterested reported Frank Stewart (a great Paul Fahrenkopf) and accompanied by a pair of paranormal investigators (obviously based on huckster couple Ed and Lorraine Warren), the crew venture into the infamous house to expose the claims of ghosts and other weird goings on. And being live broadcast, the event is wrapped in commercials for everything from carpet to movies and shows airing on WNUF, a local station UHF station.

The "found footage" approach of the film is only marginally convincing, as its humorous tone is distinctly modern. Despite that, WNUF HALLOWEEN SPECIAL is a good-natured tribute to a time before the big, syndicated media conglomerates ruined the airwaves by homogenizing programming and taking the fun out of local TV in the process. There was a wild west feel to television at the time; you never knew what would appear on the airwaves, for better or for worse. To that end, WNUF is successful in capturing that spirit. However, the act starts wearing thin about halfway through. Perhaps sensing this, the makers conveniently lean on the fast forward button (seriously) as the film heads towards its surprise conclusion.

While it's certainly nostalgic fun for those of us old enough to remember the glory days of local late night television, its charm may be lost on those below the age of thirty-five. If you were fortunate enough to be alive during the era, it's worth a look.

3.5 out of 5.

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