With Halloween just around the corner, Towson alum Chris LaMartina will use a VHS tape to bring a retro Halloween to Baltimore. Premiering at the Creative Alliance on Oct. 18 at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., “WNUF Halloween Special” brings old-fashioned horror to horror fans old and new.
“’WNUF Halloween Special’ is our contribution to the found footage sub-genre. Imagine if someone taped 80 minutes of local television on Halloween night 1987. It follows the exploits of an egotistical television host as he attempts to explore the town’s haunted house and score some decent ratings, but his plan gets sidetracked when supposedly “real” paranormal entities stir up trouble,” LaMartina said.
The film was first released on limited edition VHS-only format. Just a simple black sleeve with a handwritten title on the side, much like many VHS tapes that people had in the 80s and 90s. It took LaMartina, with the help of his producing partner, Jimmy George, and his film crew, six months to finish the film.
“We shot most of the film in under ten days…,” LaMartina said. “The editing took much longer….”
When the film was finished, LaMartina and his crew started leaving VHS tapes of the film in different places, such as thrift stores, horror convention bathrooms, even on the side of the road. They even released the film on a torrent site before its official release.
“It was all in an effort to create a creepy buzz,” LaMartina said. “We wanted the audience to get behind the idea that the special was actually an exclusively rare TV program that had been whispered about for decades. It was about the experience of finding the movie and dusting off your VCR as much as it was about the narrative film itself.”
The film is currently being played in a couple of film festivals across the country, as well as in Canada. And it’s a hit among the horror movie aficionados who love the 80s and 90s classic horror films.
“We made this flick for a very specific audience—the generation of guys and gals who gorged themselves on late night television and bootleg VHS tapes,” LaMartina said. “It was the film and the type of release that I wanted to see as horror fan and so far, the response has been wonderful.”