It is important for me to get the name right- Nightmare Radio: The Night Stalker. Yes, that’s the name. And it is literally centered around a nighttime radio horror show host getting stalked by a creepy dude. But that’s not all. The movie also doubles down as a horror anthology as the show host, her listeners, and even the stalker guy share their own little horror stories. Some of those work way better than the main story; the others fall flat. The movie uses lots of signature horror tropes and leaves quite a lot to your own interpretation. In the recap of Nightmare Radio: The Night Stalker, I will to explain all of that.
Plot Synopsis: What Happens In ‘Nightmare Radio’?
We are dropped right in the middle of the first story, titled “Playtime.” In about three minutes or so, the short successfully manages to get under our skin and scare the hell out of us. It is basically a woman turning off the TV in the dead of night, but then it is automatically getting turned on. There is a creepy doll that screams “Playtime” and a frightening ghost keeps appearing closer to the woman in every alternative second.
In the main storyline, RJ Candy Blues hosts a late-night horror show where the listeners share their own “real” horror stories with her. Candy has stories of her own to share with them as well. On the fateful night when the movie takes place, Candy receives a gift from one of her admirers- who calls himself Jack. There is something ominous about the whole thing, and you can feel in your gut that things are going to go wrong. But before we get there, let us dig into the horror snippets.
I went into the movie without knowing anything, and this horror segment seemed eerily similar to director Lorcan Finnegan’s “Vivarium” (2019). When I checked the credits and found out Finnegan is the man who directed this short- everything made more sense. Easily the best one among all the shorts, “Foxes” puts a lonely, out-of-work photographer and her nagging husband in a house that resembles the one in “Vivarium,” except in this case the husband goes to work implying people can get out of this place. The woman soon becomes fixated on some visiting foxes in their neighborhood. She starts taking pictures of them and acting like them in bed. Naturally, this throws off the husband, who has no idea what is going on. There are obvious questions here- like why is there no one else around? And what are the foxes doing in a place like that anyway? Though, in my opinion, it really doesn’t matter, as clarifying everything would have probably toned down the essential creepy vibe of the story.
Before the next story begins, Jack, aka The Stalker, calls Candy in the pretense of a caller. He intends to share a story, but when the “on-air” conversation gets uncomfortably creepy, Candy cuts the line.
In this horror bit, a security guard finds himself in front of a futuristic security camera, where he can see what will happen in the building a few minutes later. He sees a woman getting attacked by a masked man who violently stabs her to death. The security guard manages to prevent this by distracting the masked attacker, but he fails to save himself. I thought this one showed great promise, but it never quite landed right.
Considering “Insane” had an actually conclusive story, this is a slight improvement on “Playback”. But that’s about it. There is absolutely nothing innovative about it, and the execution is excruciatingly bland. An abandoned asylum where people used to be tortured (is Ryan Murphy aware of this though?) has now become a potential shooting location for a yuppie director. He is taken to the place by a budding realtor. The main deal here is a woman who was tortured while delivering her baby in the same place years ago, and the person carrying out the torture was the realtor’s great-grandfather. I could smell what was going to happen from a mile away, and it went exactly how I thought. The ghost of the tortured woman catches up with these two and simply kills them after an adequate amount of physical torture.
There was either no point in this one, or I failed to see one. The only specialty about this one is probably the de-facto villain of the movie sharing the story. On a pitch-black night, Liz keeps driving with her sister around a deserted road. It is a classic case of “Things are not what they seem” where Liz sees a man who has supposedly attacked a woman who looks all battered and bruised at the backseat of his car. However, she eventually sees the man is in the same state- which indicates that her initial assumption was clearly not what she thought. There is no constructive information to fill in the blanks here, so we can either take our own shot at it or just let it be.
There is redemption for this off-kilter horror anthology in the final shot. Doing justice to the title, this one has a father and son duo running a vineyard. But this is no ordinary vineyard as the father seems to harvest human body parts to make “something” out of it. The son wants to follow in his footsteps, and he soon lures in a mother-and-son duo to experiment on them. There is also a sick mother who somehow needs the “human wine” to survive. Like all the bite-sized horrors of this movie, this one also doesn’t explain a lot of things but still works, thanks to the wry humor of it.
Does The Night Stalker Kill Candy?
The Night Stalker, aka Jack, keeps calling Candy and eventually shares another story. But while his horror story falls flat, the non-horror one puts Candy in a rather difficult position. It is a story of this loner guy finding a girl attractive in a bar, asking her out, and eventually being tricked into buying drinks for the girl and her friends. It was evident that Candy was the girl he was talking about, and Jack was executing an act of revenge. Like most of the things in this movie don’t make sense, Jack somehow reaches the radio station- that too with an ax. What follows is a cat-and-mouse game between Candy and Jack until she takes refuge in a dingy toilet after getting cornered. Jack gives her a surrender or die warning, expectedly.
But Candy was a tough cookie. From the very beginning of the story- she was carrying this no-nonsense attitude. And despite the fact that what happened with Jack at the bar was wrong, Candy certainly didn’t deserve a night full of creepy stalking with the possibility of her own death in the end. So, she decides to take matters into her own hands. And given she is both the hero and final girl of the movie, Jack’s fate was written in the stars. So, we find Jack, bloody and mutilated, in the bathtub of the same toilet. Candy not only doesn’t get killed by The Night Stalker, but she also emerges victorious.