A Night of Horror: Nightmare Radio
Directors: Oliver Park, with various segment directors
Writers: Mauro Croche and Guillermo Lockhart, based on the concept by Michael Kraetzer, with various segment writers
Starring: James Wright, Kera Obryon, Clara Kovacic, Michelle Costello, Ian Costello
The most important thing is that they look alive.
Are all you ghouls and freaks settled down? Good, because A Night of Horror: Nightmare Radio is here to bring you several tales of hauntings, tragedy, and all-around horror. Rod Wilson (James Wright) is the voice of Nightmare Radio as he guides us through folk tales and horror stories from the past and present, including a woman trapped with a black soul, a girl who photographs the recently-deceased, a young woman who experiences haunting visions in her apartment, and more. All the while, Rod Wilson is experiencing his own ghostly apparitions. Will he survive the night?
There’s a lot to like about A Night of Horror: Nightmare Radio, and the most immediate strength of the film is the special effects. We see a woman rip off her flesh like cloth to reveal an invisible soul underneath, a white-caked ghoul smearing blood all over his face, and a whole lot more. It also makes great use of different stories with a folklore bend.
The problem is, the stories aren’t all that attention grabbing. It’s hard to figure out exactly why. I don’t know if it’s that we have an over-abundance of this kind of macabre menagerie — be it the Lore podcast and TV show, Black Mirror, and more — it just felt like the stories get washed away by the current climate where we can stream just about any scary story we desire. There’s also the fact that I’ve pretty much seen this movie before in the form of A Christmas Horror Story where it uses the same format of a radio host telling scary stories. Just swap out William Shatner with James Wright, take out the holiday elements, and there you go.
Some of the stories were memorable — and the story with the woman in the haunted apartment had some truly horrifying imagery — but there were some stories that felt overly long. I get that they were trying to give us slow-burn horror to build up dread, but it ended up feeling more like a Family Guy joke that goes way past its prime.
And when it came to the plot involving Rod Wilson, that whole chase and conclusion felt forced, like they had to make him an interesting character. I wish they had just left him alone to be the distributor of stories.
A Night of Horror: Nightmare Radio definitely has moments of brilliance, but overall, it suffers from static-y fuzz that is borderline forgettable. Ultimately, you end up just wanting to change the channel.