Monday, 26 October 2020

31 Days, 31 Screams: A New Beginning- Day 26 (The Lost Boys)

Man, RIP to a real one, huh? The late great Joel Schumacher directed this one, so I figured I'd pay my dues and watch it. Definitely a lot of mirroring with Fright Night, as it's an 80's vampire movie I've only seen once before, 20-odd years ago. Schumacher did a lot of movies that weren't his Batman duology, but the Batman ones will always stick with me. If I may, oh so briefly. I saw Batman Forever when I was 10 and without having seen the Tim Burton movies, which is the absolute perfect way for someone to experience Batman Forever. I still have an attachment to it. Batman and Robin is harder to love, but I can appreciate its turn to full goofy. I will always remember 1997 at the former Bayview Cinema in Grand Bank, seeing that movie on the big screen during my summer vacation. I don't remember how I felt on the movie since the Internet's freakouts over it have fucked with my memory, but I remember the experience. And now, to remember Joel Schumacher for something other than Bat credit cards, it's The Lost Boys.

The Richard Donner production credit and one cast member in particular gives this movie a certain feel later on, but the eerie and evocative mood it sets before all that comes in is a strange one. Santa Carla is a dark carnival of a town, night sky lit up by fairground attractions and roller coasters and flashing lights, but outside the bright lights is a darkness. Missing posters all over the place, people out of work and homeless. There's something bad here even before you get to the goddamned vampires. Once again, we're in a weird world where vampire fiction exists alongside the actual monsters lurking and preying on people in the night, but some people in Santa Carla seem to be in the know that this is happening and believe in it. It's not treated as a existential panic like Fright Night, but just an annoyance and a constant danger. Fuck, vampires are real. That fucking sucks, I'd better be careful at night at stuff. Our new kids in town are not careful and one of them falls in with the wrong crowd.

Ah yes, Keifer Sutherland's merry band of vampire boys. The title's a cute pun here. It's both referring to Peter Pan and his merry band of boys who never grow up, and also using "lost" as a synonym for the loss of innocence. 'Cause they're immortal creatures of the night who go out murdering folks to feed on their blood. Our boy Michael here has his own fall from innocence, and the obvious metaphor is a good boy falling in with the bad crowd. Except, again, the bad crowd in this case go out every night and murder people. That's a big yikes. The movie plays with the interesting concept of half-vampires; that is, you have some vampiric traits and weaknesses but can still walk in sunlight. Only actually making your first kill turns you fully, and that's the precipice Michael is on now. That leads us to his little brother, who gets in with a duo of vampire hunters. One of them's Corey Feldman. So you got your Richard Donner/Goonies connection right there, but that's only kind of what the movie is getting at. Kind of.

The last act of the movie goes balls to the wall, with Feldman and his vampire hunter pal going into the lair of the vampires (which is one hell of a set, gotta say) and staking Alex Winter before he can travel in time in a phone booth. Right, snark aside, this shit's fucked. They're sleeping like bats and the blood pours out and all kinds of other shit, but Keifer Sutherland swears revenge. Then the movie becomes a hybrid between Goonies, Monster Squad, and Home Alone. Bearing in mind the latter had yet to come out at the time, this is impressive. The vampires come, but they get totally fucked up. I swear, the climax of this movie is rad as shit. You got vampires melting in tubs of holy water while their blood spews out of every sink and water pipe in the house, and a vampire shot through the heart with an arrow into a stereo whose HEAD FUCKING EXPLODES FROM ELECTRIC SHOCK! HOLY FUCK! The final confrontation with the real head vampire is brief but he blows up better than a shmup boss, the grandpa gets a good line about how he can't stand the goddamned vampires in this town, and that's The Lost Boys. I really liked this one. Better than Fright Night, at least. What a rad little thing. Thanks, Joel. You really were a real one. 

Sunday, 25 October 2020

31 Days, 31 Screams: A New Beginning- Day 25 (Fright Night)

Last week of October! Woohoo! Just got a few more of these to power through and then the spooky night is upon us! Why, we even have a beloved 80's vampire movie to talk about tonight. Well, I think it's beloved. I dunno. I actually saw this one once, like over 20 years ago. I remembered the general plot beats, and going in again... yeah, I basically remembered all the big bits rightly. It's definitely interesting, to say the least. Funny that I encountered it back then, 20 years ago. I guess this would have been right when I was pushing my own horror boundaries. Post-Alien but pre-Stephen King, in my personal spooky chronology. It absolutely would have scared me shitless 30 years ago. In the present day? Fine, with some gnarly bits. Let's poke at it.

Parts of this feel like Dracula 1985. I don't know if there's a Dracula movie that came out in 1985, but this take on the vampire is very traditional with the rules and weaknesses and all. Has to be invited in, turns into bats and wolves, weak to holy stuff and garlic and stakes through the heart. All stock and standard, but let loose upon the NINETEEEN EIGHTIES! Well, specifically suburbia. Which I guess is 80's enough. The first 50 minutes of this sort of play on the aggravating "NOBODY BELIEVES I SAW A SUPERNATURAL THING" trope. Not as aggravating as it could have been, but you really feel poor Charley's desperation as he finds out his new neighbor's a vampire, tries to stop him and fails, and has nobody believe him even as this vampire is like HA HA HA CHARLEY I AM GOING TO FUCKING KILL YOU TONIGHT. It's spooky shit to have to deal with, but Charley tries to enlist an expert... and this is where we get the wonderful Roddy McDowell as Peter Vincent. The name's obviously meant to invoke Peter Cushing and Vincent Price, as he's a former movie star famous for playing vampire hunters who now hosts a late night horror movie show called Fright Night. 

Actually, let me poke at that for a bit, because this is fun to think about. The universe of this film is one in which someone like Peter Vincent can make a career out of playing vampire hunters in movies. It is also one where fucking vampires exist. When the vampire meets Vincent later for the "test" to try and keep Charley from fucking murdering a guy, he mentions he loves the man's work. It could be bullshitting, but like... Do you think the vampire resents this guy for making a career out of pretending to kill vampires? It's something wild to think about. Either way, 50 minutes into the movie, Peter Vincent finds out vampires fucking exist and damn near loses his shit. Like you would if you spent 20 years pretending to kill a pretend monster for a living only to find the fucking things really exist and want you dead. This leads us into the madcap second half where the vampire goes after Charley's friends. He straight up turns one, but Charley's girlfriend he goes after in a much more seductive way. It's an old horror movie trope where the female lead is a dead ringer for the monster's long-lost lover from 100 years ago or whatever, but I find it all a little weird in an age-gap sort of way. Not even in the fact that the vampire's hundreds of years old, but like... he looks like a dude in his 30s and he's puttin' the moves on this girl on the dance floor. Uh.

To say nothing of the scene where he has her back in his lair and turns her, which. Uhhhh. The last bits of this movie are some wild vampire fightin' action as Charley and Peter Vincent team up. There may be a little metacommentary here. Peter Vincent, earlier in the movie, gets fired from his TV host job because the ratings are down and all kids want to see these days are slasher villains in ski masks. That isn't the exact line, but he's lamenting the changing tastes of the Kids These Days, and the shift from gothic horror of the 60's and 70's to the slashers of the 80's. Except his unique skillset and knowledge come in here, in this situation, so he's relevant again. One wonders if they asked Peter Cushing himself to do this. That would have clicked that whole "old horror hero faces the return of the old monster in a new age" theme click. Anyway, the climax slaps. You got monster face Amy, a zombie dude melting on screen that's really gnarly, and the final defeat of the vampire with some gonzo effects. Yeah, that's Fright Night for you. It's neat. No goth David Tennant, but it's pretty neat. I wonder if there are any other 80's vampire movies I can peek at.

Saturday, 24 October 2020

31 Days, 31 Screams: A New Beginning- Day 24 (Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street)

I didn't really plan on doing this documentary this year. Really, it just popped out at me while browsing Shudder so I was like "the hell with it, that sounds interesting and I can probably squeeze a post out of it". It's horror adjacent, which is close enough for me. The horrors in this documentary are frighteningly real, though. A gay man who lived through the hellscape that was the AIDS crisis of the 80's, who lived through lord knows how much homophobia and trauma and loss. I can't fathom how it felt for the poor guy, but he got through it somehow. He even went and took part in this documentary to tell his story, get it out there, and get his closure. Right, we should probably talk about who the subject of this documentary is, huh?

This is the story of Mark Patton. He's done much in his life, but the thing most people know him for is playing the lead in Nightmare On Elm Street 2. Elm Street 2 is considered the odd sequel out for a lot of reasons. Yeah, you got Freddy coming back to life by hijacking a guy in the living world. You got him coming through to the real world and slashing up teens at a pool party, which gels really weird when you think of the other movies. The biggest thing people want to talk about, though, is the fact that this movie is filled to the brim with gay subtext. I talked about it two years ago for the blog and barely touched it. I didn't feel qualified and wanted to poke more at the alchemical themes of the movie, along with some other stuff. It has to be said, though. It's in there. It's in there and it's done harm and good. Harm in that the writer denied it was there for years, implying that Patton himself added something to the character on the page and made him gay just like he was. That bus-throwing left Patton with obvious resentment to the writer over the years, and as he admits he used the writer as a focal point for the resentment he had from this movie. It's hard to blame the guy. The hateful comments they flash on screen regarding the movie's reception turn my fucking stomach to look at. 

Yet, there's also good to come from it. It inspired and uplifted so many LGBT horror fans, and they get to share what the movie means to them in this documentary. They get to share that, if only so briefly, with Patton himself. For Patton, this grand tour of the horror convention circuit is an act of healing. Between the reception to the movie and the AIDS crisis, Patton withdrew himself from the public eye. He lost partners, he fought HIV himself, and he powered ever onward, making a life for himself. That one defining fact about his life remains, though, and so Patton wants to get his closure from it all. He wants to find the good after 30 years of harm, and so he's off on tour to meet his fans. He's off to share his story with this documentary, and let the world know Mark Patton's story beyond "he was the gay guy from that really gay Elm Street movie". I know it now, and he's a pretty cool guy who weathered through more hurt and heartache than I ever have. He gets to meet his fans, he gets to reunite with cast and crew from his one big movie. He even gets to speak with the writer after 30 years, share his pain over what the writer had said in denying the subtext and shifting the blame all those years ago, and get an apology. An act of healing and moving on if there ever was one. That's really all I've got to say on this. I quite enjoyed the documentary, and I'm glad Patton got to share his story and get his closure. Elm Street 2's not a favorite Elm Street, but it's interesting enough to be up there for me. As for Mark Patton? I hope he's doing good down there in Mexico with his husband and his cute little dog. Guy's earned it.

Friday, 23 October 2020

31 Days, 31 Screams: A New Beginning- Day 23 (Still More Angry Video Game Nerd Halloween Episodes)

At this point, this is a tradition in our little marathons. Me taking an off day to just talk about a couple of shortform comedy gaming videos with a loose horror theme. So here for you, once again, are brief capsule form thoughts on three more Angry Video Game Nerd videos. Eventually we'll run out of these since I do three a year and he only makes one spooky themed video a year, possibly two if we're really good. Even so, we can raid the backlog for a bit yet. That's exactly what I did, actually. All three of these videos are over a decade old, and in fact we're starting with the very first that James Rolfe ever did. That's right, strap in, it's...

You know, I've always been at odds with this video. I had this game growing up. I got it at a flea market in the 90's on the cheap with no preconcieved notions about Castlevania or anything like that. I also eventually was gifted a Nintendo hint book with a chapter on this game. Those two facts definitely skew my opinion of the game. I think it's fine. Pretty enjoyable, even, in the here and now when we can know all the shit. That does poke at an interesting observation I want to make with this video, though. This is the one, though. This kickstarted the whole thing. Not just AVGN, but people hating on this odd little game I liked as a child. The same thing happened with Zelda 2, but Zelda 2 is arguably a better game, and even this video has Rolfe admit it's pretty good. You've got all the standard complaints that have become infamous. The long day to night transfer, the cryptic clues, the need to grind for hearts. Among those are some oddly personal ones like there being few bosses. There are ROM hacks out there to "fix" all that if you truly care. What I find most interesting are the infamous crystal kneeling complaints. They're the sort of stuff that got me stuck as a kid too, but I just had fun roaming around the world in it. Rolfe is right in saying they're cryptic, but said complaint has been seen by millions of people. Those millions now know the solution, even if they agree it's cryptic. The popularity of the video could be argued to have eliminated the cryptic nature of the game. It's wild to think on, but don't think on it too hard. We'll move on.

This one, on the other hand, I remember renting for a while there back in the day. It certainly wasn't the greatest and I never beat it, but I don't seem to have missed much. I said it before when I talked about all the movies on here once before. I have no brand loyalty to Ghostbusters. They're decent movies to me, not tentpole 80's classics (and one reboot like nobody but me seemed to like) so Rolfe's disappointment at the bungling here doesn't hit me as hard. There are definitely some good highlights in this video, though. Even if I know the car vacuum prank call is rigged so it's just one of Rolfe's friends on the line, it's still amusing to think on. It becomes this slow descent into angry nerd madness with all the balls in the air to keep track of while playing. Then we've got that stairwell climb, which... Jesus, that's brutal on your thumb if you have no turbo. I don't think I've ever seen a non-cheated play of it, but I would like to in order to know how in the fuck such a thing is even possible. There's a strange feel to it, especially when that ending screen hits with its wild typos. It's a decent episode, and so we move to the last of the three.

This game has an interesting sort of issue thanks to being reviewed by AVGN. It shares the same fate as Silver Surfer, though on a far lesser scale. A B-list game that, all of a sudden after the AVGN video, everyone has played and deemed one of the hardest games on the NES. I haven't actually tackled it myself (though I bought the cart once) but looking at a longplay it just looks like a really tedious slog based on the bad part of Blaster Master. Unremarkable, but not infamous. Yet Rolfe seemed to think so in part, as he chose to tackle it. There are certain prickly points of the game design he gets to needle, like the gun downgrades and there being no technical continue function. The latter I know is because they didn't have time to program it in after the fact, or just plain forgot. Some oopsie along those lines. I have played about as much as Rolfe has, and I can't say it's the greatest but I don't hate it, either. I've certainly played harder and I've definitely played worse. Even so, it's an enjoyable episode and must have taken a hell of a time to shoot with all the retakes of him as Addams Family characters to put on the screen at once. The Genesis Addams game he looks at seems okay enough as well. That'll put a bow on AVGN for another year. Next time, I dunno.

Thursday, 22 October 2020

31 Days, 31 Screams: A New Beginning- Day 22 (Happy Death Day)

I just keep dovetailing into these, don't I? We went from retro-styled 80's horror to retro-styled 80's found footage to found footage trying to find a unique gimmick. The unique gimmick part is what we've dovetailed into here. This movie's unique gimmick, its premise, its main selling point? It's really easy to just say it. Let us get it out there. It's like Groundhog Day but as a horror murder mystery. I will add that I have never gotten around to seeing Groundhog Day. I bet it's a very good Bill Murray comedy beloved for good reasons. Never got around to seeing it. It happens. No need for pitchforks. Besides, that pitch opens so many wild doors. We'll see the results of them... how about nowish?

Meet Teresa, college sorority girl. To quote another massive tale, bluh bluh huge bitch. She's not a very nice person, as we discover over these opening moments. Total mean girl. Making out with her married professor behind closed doors. The kind of girl you wouldn't blink twice at if you saw her get stabbed to death in a slasher movie. Oops, look at what happened. The babyface mask of the killer here is Ghostface-parallel, but still evocative and creepy. It's a good design and I like it. Shame Teresa got stabbed to death-- OH WELL WOULD YOU LOOK AT THAT? THE DAY'S STARTED ALL OVER! I'll just reveal it right now. There's no in-movie explanation for the time loop that Teresa's caught in. I gather from talking to a pal that A) Groundhog Day didn't explain it either and B) the sequel to this movie goes in-depth on the explanation of it. I don't know if I want an explanation. I had my own gonzo theories as I watched that would have been radical if they were it. The serial killer discovered in the third act could have time loop powers, gathering energy by killing his chosen victim over and over again for nefarious purposes. The professor could have been engaging in an elaborate quantum physics experiment. Even Teresa's dad could be in on this shit, doing something to his ungrateful daughter to revive his dead wife. 

It was fun to theorize as I watched, but the movie wasn't concerned with that. It was concerned with the mystery and the character arc. The mystery we've already explained; who the hell keeps killing Teresa and why? Well, I haven't explained it, but you know already that the time loop part gets no explanation. There's payoff to the killer, but first we gotta get the character arc stuff. This nightmarish hell loop actually makes Teresa self-reflective, and think about the better person she could be if she ever manages to break free from her karmic curse of revival. It's not infinite, though, as there is residual damage in each repitition from all the violent murder. Bit of a race against time, there. I'm pretty sure this is the same story as Groundhog Day. A mean jerk gets caught in a time loop and, over the repitition, learns how to be not such a big mean jerk. I really like the Teresa that blossoms over the movie. She doesn't lose her snarky bitchiness, for lack of a better term, but she does grow empathy for others. In what she thinks is her last loop she's very upbeat and nice to everyone around her, lets all her regrets out, and genuinely tries to be a better person. Then she goes to kill the serial killer fuck who locked her in this loop, she does it, and...

Whoops. Back again. Yeah no, turns out it was her roommate the whole time, who resented her for being a terrible person and sleeping with the professor. Girl even poisoned Teresa's birthday cupcake, and Teresa finally eating it in that last loop is what clued her into the motive. She finally fends off her attacker, and gets to live another day. A new day, even! This breaks the time loop somehow or another, and I'm fine with that. It's symbolic. This was a neat little movie! Such a simple little pitch, tweaking the formula of a popular movie into a different genre. Yet it works! It really works, and it isn't even too gory or violent. I can live with that. Maybe one day I'll poke at the sequel. It might even be soon. Until then, this can sit as a nice little experience, no matter what the bullshit explanation for the time loop may be. 

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

31 Days, 31 Screams: A New Beginning- Day 21 (Found Footage 3D)

I sort of stumbled into this one on accident, but you know what? I was on Shudder and needed something for tonight and this popped out. Pun unintended. I did not actually watch Found Footage 3D in 3D because I don't have a fancy television or glasses or whatever the fuck. It really doesn't impact the experience. At no point beyond the movie introducing 3D cameras did I peg that anything was an obvious 3D gimmick. I can pinpoint moments in hindsight, mind, but I wasn't thinking of it at the time. I was invested. Right then. I have only a little experience with this genre, but you can tell that people are constantly trying to innovate and mash it up with other stuff to make their found footage movie stand out. Cloverfield mixes it with a Godzilla picture, WNUF Halloween Special mixes it with a shitty 80's VHS recording, et cetera. From the title, you'd think Found Footage 3D is mixing found footage with the 3D movie fad of the 2010s. It technically is, on a literal technical level since it is that. Using just that as your hook and filming some cliche cabin in the woods nonsense would be gimmicky bullshit. Thankfully, Found Footage 3D agrees with you. 

No, what it's actually doing is mixing the "self-aware of horror tropes in a horror movie" style of movies like Scream or Cabin In The Woods with the found footage genre. The found footage artifice is a behind the scenes documentary of the making of a shitty found footage movie IN THREE DEE. The filmmakers in charge of Spectre Of Death, the in-universe movie, are right there with you saying shit like the opening titles are cliche, or that the movie needs a big innovative dumb hook like Sharknado had. The people making this found footage movie know the pitfalls and the tropes of the genre, and alternate between emulating them and trying to avoid them. Director Derek is an absolute narcissist of a creator who comes up with the dumbest shit imaginable and lazily tries to justify it by saying shit like "well how would the audience know that?" and calling us dumb motherfuckers for eating this shit up. We're meant to dislike him, and boy howdy do I. He's an antagonistic selfish filmmaker prone to angry outbursts against his cast and crew, and he can't come up with an ending without making himself look good. He tries to make himself sole survivor of the movie, but nobody's having it. Found footage rules, man. Everybody dies. The negativity on set only swells as actual creepy shit starts to happen. Kids, you're not just making a found footage movie. You're in one.

There's a wonderful scene wherein Derek is trying to write the ending, and the producer helpfully critiques that he's explaining way too much about the monster. They have a big waffle about explanation vs ambiguity in these movies, and Derek's eventually only swayed on the side of ambiguity because it means he can explain more shit in the sequel and get 15 bucks a head 'cause it's 3D. The movie itself, however, gets to have its cake and eat it too. It explains the themes and motivations of Spectre Of Death plain as day to you. It's up to you, dear viewer, to think critically and apply those themes and motivations to Found Footage 3D. The artifice of this being a found footage movie about making a different found footage movie means it gets to explain the inner one and leave the outer shell vague when the shit hits the fan. This even gets signposted early on, when the film crew put up some old guys on a bench to do the stereotypical horror movie thing where they ask for directions and the guys say "oooh, stay away, that place is baaaaad". When they then cut from making the movie and mention in conversation where they really are going, the old guys actually tell them to stay away unironically because it's a bad place. A real found footage movie happening inside a fake one. Or, to put it another way, the fake one poking out of its box and influencing the real one.

Yes, what you've got here is a good old-fashioned case of metafiction. Spectre Of Death is all about the crumbling marriage of characters Derek and Amy, played by the director and his ex-wife. Specifically it's about how the negative emotion of their breakup creates a supernatural demon that terrorizes them before ultimately killing them both, but not before helpfully leaving the expensive 3D camera behind for someone to find and show to the audience later. As a found footage movie plot, it's utter stock bullshit. The interesting thing is how you can read it. Shudder's synopsis of the movie seems to agree with this reading, but the movie never explains it in lengthy exposition like Derek would want. Throughout the movie we see the negative tensions on set, and the real raw angry emotion between the ex-lovers as they try to make the film. Pair that with filming in an actual cabin in the woods where murder happened, and bang. The fictional negative energy demon from Spectre Of Death is now haunting the cast and crew of Found Footage 3D. Things escalate worse and worse, and that leads us to our final act with the terrified documentarian running from a murder ghost in the woods while holding his camera.

Earlier in the movie, the producer mentions that a good found footage movie has to answer two questions. One, why is the cameraman filming? Two, to paraphrase: Why the fuck is the cameraman STILL filming when nightmare ghosts or goblins are trying to kill them? Spectre Of Death answers the first quickly, but never gets to answer the second because Found Footage 3D goes ass up with ghosts and murder. Found Footage 3D answered the first question with the making-of documentary. Its answer to the second question is that the goddamned phantom or spectre or whatever the fuck can only be seen via a camera, and thus documentarian Mark has to use it to see if the damn thing is trying to murder him as he tries to get away. It's a unique answer, only playing on the metafictional artifice. Of course the ghost wants to be filmed. It's broken free of one movie and wants to be in another. The end scene, with Amy and Mark in a wrecked van, even plays to this. Amy, possessed, asks for the camera to be on her. That's the ghost, that's her fictional negative energy made manifest wanting its final close-up. Her last line is all about the first rule of found footage movies, she goes monster in 3D, cut to credits. Found Footage 3D is definitely interesting, to say the least. It's got this shimmer of metafiction behind it, and the nesting of one found footage movie within the other lets it poke at the common tropes of bad ones in really interesting ways that I haven't seen before. It really didn't need the 3D, but if that got it greenlit, so be it. I enjoyed it for what it was.

Tuesday, 20 October 2020

31 Days, 31 Screams: A New Beginning- Day 20 (WNUF Halloween Special)

Having just watched this, I'm really more in love with the gimmick behind it than I am the actual execution of what we get. On paper, what a goddamned concept. It's your typical found footage movie situation, exploring a condemned house where grisly murders took place 20 years prior and trying to contact the spirits within with terrifying results. The artifice of it, though, is that it's a 1987 live news broadcast on Halloween night. More specifically, a shitty VHS recording of it complete with fake 80's commercials and some unseen watcher of the tape fast-forwarding through whatever bullshit they deem uninteresting. Paranormal Activity by way of the fucking Star Wars Holiday Special. That's an absolutely gonzo idea in the same vein of The House Of The Devil (and WNUF, too, deals with the Satanic Panic of the time a bit) but going about it in a different direction. It's just crazy enough to work, and it... kind of does? I won't lie. I had a fun time with it and got spooked, but there are some issues. It ain't perfect, and allow me to nitpick.

In the end, I think the commercials kind of overstay their welcome. I definitely get the shifting intention of them, mind. They start as cute nostalgic snapshots of the time, and they're varied. They're also all original in-universe things, which is amazing dedication to the craft. This thing took a lot of work to make, without a doubt. Only a few of the ads repeat, as well. This, along with a snapshot of the Evening News at the beginning of the tape helps to set the ambiance and mood. 1987! Halloween! There's some spooky shit and tragic stuff but we mostly fast-forward past the tragic stuff, and hype up our spooky Halloween special in a real haunted house! There's also some Christians who think Halloween is the devil's night and will pray for it to be stopped, so keep that in mind. Once we get past the halfway point, though, and shit starts going bad in the haunted house and we keep cutting to commercial... that's when it gets a little grating. On the one hand, I get the vibe. It's trying to do the same thing The House Of The Devil did, building tension by making you wade through nothing spooky happening. It also adds some dissonance to the affair, with spooky shit happening and then cutting to the happy 80's commercials. In the end, the different format hurts WNUF. When nothing happened in The House Of The Devil, I was still scared shitless. When I had to sit through two more minutes of fake ads for heavy metal tapes and fake horror movies, I was very much in "GET ON WITH IT" mode and hoping the unseen tape watcher would fucking fast-forward.

Which brings us to another nitpick, the camera. I got completely taken right out of this movie because of the way the camera works. This is a live broadcast on location, and yet the camera keeps cutting and doing its own stuff like shot/reverse shot. Just like a normal movie would. Except this is a live broadcast/found footage movie. You never see these other cameramen, even though you very well should when it's cutting back and forth between the host and the person he's interviewing. I'm full aware this is a nitpick, but it really did lessen the experience for me. It would have felt way more real if we saw these other cameramen, or if they did it in one big take like a real news broadcast. Hell, you've got a producer in the van to cut back to if you need to split the take. Hell, you split the take every three minutes for more of those fake commericals! Despite these annoyances, atmosphere is definitely built up. Are there spooky scary ghosts in this house? Are they fucking with us and will we see a ghost live on camera?

Nah, not really. We eventually get the found footage staple of OH NO SOMETHING'S COME FOR ME and then the cameraman drops the camera and we see a body. In this case it's fuckers with axes. Not ghosts. Everything in the movie is easily explained as "fuckers with axes fucked around while the crew wasn't looking". Even the poor paranormal cat which gets offed. Poor kitty. The station goes off due to technical difficulties, but what we see after that is the tape cutting to the host having been kidnapped by those Christian fundamentalists from earlier, who killed everyone and proceed to cut out the host's tongue before the tape cuts to a news broadcast post-Halloween about how all those guys are missing. I peeked at Wikipedia, I'll admit, after watching. Not to like examine the plot, just for curiosity. Whatever Wiki person wrote this reads this scene as having been dubbed onto the tape by the killers themselves. It's a fucked up reading that totally recontextualizes the way we're watching someone else watch this recording, and opens the door to theories of how it all went down. They taped this. They set the VCR for the Halloween special, knowing full well they were going to kill these fuckers for sinning on the devil's night or whatever. They're watching it back, fast forwarding as they please... and with that knowledge I'd really like to go back and see exactly what ads and things they speed past. It's almost a recursive bit of found footage; footage of a killer watching the VHS recording of the live special in which they lurked in the background and committed their murders. Absolutely wild. WNUF is not perfect by any means. It's got some definite nitpicks for me. Nevertheless, the unique nature of it means it's at least worth your watch.