7. IT CAME FROM THE SCREEN: One where a TV is a major part to the story.
I grew up directly between Youngstown, OH and Pittsburgh, PA, which meant that growing up, I got to see UHF channels from Cleveland, Wheeling, Stuebenville and everywhere in between. There are still local jingles that I know by heart — Youngstown’s Remnant Room — and when I see the staticky look of this ancient television, it warms my heart beyond belief. Beyond Superhost and Chilly Billy, I can remember characters like Barnaby and the local news teams that had no hope of ever working for the networks.
The WNUF Halloween Special could have been horrible, but I get the feeling that its creator Chris LaMartina grew up watching plenty of Baltimore TV* (he probably knew Captain Pitt as Captain Chesapeake on WBUF (but we both may have not known that he was also Ghost Host), because this is so authentic that I thought that I went back in time.
A home recording of WNUF’s Halloween special that aired on October 31, 1987, this tells the story of Frank Stewart’s investigation of the Webber House, the site of the Spirit Board Murders. He’s brought along a priest and Louis and Claire Berger, psychic investigators who use a cat named Shadow to speak to the dead.
By the end of the night, the evil inside the house will show itself. And no one is safe.
The story may have been told before, but its the entire package that is perfect. There are references to Dust Devil, R.O.T.O.R. and so many more movies, plus it captures that strange moment of the pre 90s when UHF stations would air just about anything, when major bloopers happened almost every day and something like a series of occult murders could happen live while you watched.
*Producer Jimmy George confirmed that WNUF TV28 was inspired by Baltimore’s WNUV TV54, a similar TV station that was independently owned until the mid-90s.