A Night of Horror: Nightmare Radio
‘A Night of Horror: Nightmare Radio’ is an exceptional example of an incredible genre. It shows us the best of horror, through the worst of lives. It leads us through lands without hope, through houses without happiness, and into endings without redemption. And it is all spun with such skill and intensity that you will always stay for the next story, no matter how much more unsettled you will be.
This is the second anthology to 2015’s ‘A Night of Horror: Volume 1’, and is a vastly superior offering. There’s a new array of award-winning writers and directors here to propel you into the darkness and lock the door behind you. Eight short films, who’s despicable details are recounted by a lonely late-night DJ, will take you across continents, cultures and the closed doors of history. And in every corner, in every era, you will find nothing but blood, bitterness and belligerence.
Out of the gruesome eight, all are brilliantly conceived, and everyone will have their favourites. I have four that are remarkable, and they deserve to be separately reviewed in their own right:
‘Post Mortem Mary’, written and directed by Joshua Long, peeks into a mother and daughter’s unique mobile service - post-mortem photography. This is 1840s rural Australia, and the body is already two weeks old. The genius of this film lies in showing the horror through the young daughter’s eyes, and there is much horror to see here.
Adam O’Brien’s ‘A Little off the Top’ glimpses the end-game in a duel between a hair stylist and a supermodel. While this professional pair were once inseparable and sensational, this symbiotic relationship is plainly now parasitic and vicious. No one is forgiving here, and no one is turning back.
Matt Richards’ ‘The Disappearance of Willie Bingham’ charts the descent of a prisoner submitted to a revived punishment - amputation. Astonishingly acted by Kevin Dee as the prisoner, with an impressive supporting cast, ‘The Disappearance…’ captures the anger, the agony, and the rage of vengeance perfectly; and it is a bonfire that burns all.
Sergio Morcillo’s ‘Drops’ (originally released under its Spanish title, ‘Gotas’) is about a demon and a dancer, and the haunting trauma of abuse. Profound, poignant, and horrific, the film deftly shows how what doesn’t kill you may cripple you for life.
These four shorts are a stunning sledgehammer of horror story-telling. The set-ups are tantalising; the characters are believable; the acting is excellent and unnerving; the horror, grotesque but grounded, and the twists, shocking yet serious.
The horror here is not just about the monstrous attention to detail - the scalpels and snapped bones, the stabbings and the slaughter - but also about how one person can inflict an uncontrollable amount of cruelty on another, if pushed, if cornered, if ultimately and irremediably unleashed.
There is no hope left in these protagonists; only one horror replaced by an even greater one; for which there are no winners, only survivors.
If horror was a swimming pool, ‘A Night of Horror: Nightmare Radio’ would be the deep end.
If horror had a jet engine, this would be the danger zone.
Twitter handle: @MarioDhingsa