Where Nightmare Radio is worth your time is as a showcase for some exceptional horror talent. The opening story, In the Dark Dark Woods (directed by Jason Bognacki), plays out as an interesting twist on the invisible man narrative, hinting at a subtext that just about manages to elevate the material. Pablo . S. Pastor’s Into the Mud manages an ending that makes some its initial dependence on genre tropes worth while. Meanwhile Joshua Long’s Post Mortem Mary is a wonderfully creepy period piece, following a mother-and-daughter photography team who capture a last portrait of the deceased. It helps that this short never outstays its welcome, crafting a supernatural story with a sting in the tale, performed well be an accomplished ensemble.
But probably the best of the bunch is The Disappearance of Willie Bingham. Matt Richards’ short feels less strictly horror and more a dystopian drama. It’s essentially a particularly mean Black Mirror episode playing out in the space of ten brief minutes, effectively satirizing our often cruel penal system.
There are issues with A Night of Horror: Nightmare Radio. With a net cast wide there are segments that leave a greater impression then others. The connecting story feels particularly lackluster as our radio DJ seeks ways to link such a disparate collection of stories. Portmanteaus particularly work when it feels like there is a strong connection through them, which feels absent here. And it can’t help but leave an impression that the roster of directors whose works are in this film are an all-male collective, seemingly reflecting the troubling history the horror genre has had with diversity. Speaking as a love of all things grisly and spooky, the widest range of voices we have the better for the viewer. It is just something to reflect on as this anthology reaches its climax.
Nightmare Radio gives fans of horrors a snack box of bitesize horror treats. If aspects of its don’t quite click together, there is enough here to recommend seeking, even if it is just for the two or three shorts that manage to bury under the skin and live an impression.