Daily Archives: Tuesday, April 2, 2024

  • Late night with the Devil – 2024

    Late night with the Devil – 2024

    Directed and written by Cameron Cairnes and Colin Cairnes

    Company logos seen at the beginning – IFC Films, Shudder, Image Nation Abu Dhabi, VicScreen, AGC Studios, Good Fiend Films, Future Pictures, Spooky Pictures, Cinetic Media….  I think I got them all.

    On walking in to the film, I spoke about the film we were going to see with the woman at the box office.  She said she hasn’t seen it yet but imagines it to be something like 1992s ‘Ghostwatch’.  That wasn’t something I saw until a couple of years ago.  At the time I was too busy robbing, running and getting high to watch TV.  I understand it has cultural significance for many but with my general dislike of the cheesiness of British chat shows and having been exposed to decades of many great additions to the found footage genre, I find it cheap and obvious.  I also find Ghost Watch to be a complete failure in the area of being scary.  Saying that, ‘Late night with the devil’ isn’t scary eitherand I loved it.

    ‘Ghostwatch’ is fictional TV pretending it is reality.  ‘Late night with the devil’ is fiction emulating reality and there is a difference.  With late night with the devil you don’t have to buy in to the premise you are watching real TV.  It starts with the most number of studio and production company logos I’ve seen before any film, ever.  I’m amazed it turned out as well as it did with so many companies behind it.  It starts with quite a long narrated introduction to the history of the show and its presenter, which is a bit annoying as it is tell rather than show but it is expedient to get to the night of the show in question.  The night is Halloween 1977.  It is the 6th year of the late night talk show, ‘Night Owls’ and the show host is ‘Jack Delroy’.  It’s also sweeps and ‘Night Owls’ is losing traction in it TV slot, ‘Jack Delroy’s’ contract is nearly up and the show is on the edge of cancellation.  Something drastic is needed to drive up ratings and attract sponsorship.  The audience is full of folk in Halloween garb, there’s a guest who’s a psychic and another who is a sceptic.  The sceptic is really annoying.  Which is a shame because I’m a sceptic and the character put’s us in a bad light.  After these 2 characters are introduced to us there is another of those tell rather than show segments about a devil worshipping, suicide cult with one survivor, a little girl named ‘Lilly’. Again I forgive it for expediency and the film does roll by at a brisk 93 minutes.  The ‘Lilly’ is now a young woman and is taken in by a parapsychologist.  Both these characters come on to the show to ramp up the weirdness.  Lilly, the girl who survives the cult is really interesting to watch.  She is always looking directly at the camera and talks to Jack in way that she knows everything about him. She often has this smile that says I have been waiting for this and it’s going to be so much fun.  Not for everyone else on set but definitely for ‘Lilly’.

    The real star of the show though, is the show.  The film captures the period and style of a 70s late night talk show and exaggerates it.  The magnificent brightly coloured set design.  The warm up/side kick character who introduces and supports Jack and is somewhat put upon.  The sleazy show runner bullying everyone who wasn’t Jack.  The show’s in house band.  Playing just the right numbers before each guest is introduced and between ad breaks.  Also all the on-set and in studio smoking of cigarettes and cigars.  Also ‘Jack’s’ wife died of lung cancer but she didn’t smoke.  All in all the person I saw it with and me had a hoot watching this.  The style and the caricatures of the late night cast were so much fun to watch.  A thumbs up from me.