At The Movies

Late Night with the Devil

Directors: Cameron Cairnes & Colin Cairnes
Starring: David Dastmalchian, Ian Bliss, Laura Gordon, and more.

October 31, 1977. Johnny Carson rival Jack Delroy hosts a syndicated talk show ‘Night Owls’ that has long been a trusted companion to insomniacs around the country. A year after the tragic death of Jack’s wife, ratings have plummeted. Desperate to turn his fortunes around, Jack plans a Halloween special like no other, unaware he is about to unleash evil into the living rooms of America.

Okay, here’s the situation. I’d heard about this film and knew there was a little controversy over its release. Still, it wasn’t on my radar even though I’m a fan of the lead actor, David Dastmalchian who stars as Jack Delroy. Ironically enough, if you reach the description, I ran across it one night when I woke up and had trouble getting back to sleep.

Horror fans, like myself, can be arrogant at times. I knew all the demon possession tropes. I thought I knew exactly how this film would go. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Delroy’s show “Night Owls” was close, but just couldn’t beat Johnny Carson in the late-night ratings battle. Not once despite a successful late-night run. When Jack’s wife and muse Madeleine is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, and she doesn’t smoke, she makes a final appearance on his show for a touching episode. It’s the highest-rated episode ever of “Night Owls.” Does it finally beat Carson? No.

A year later, during which Jack disappeared from the spotlight following his wife’s death, “Night Owls” returns on sweeps week with a huge idea for the episode. Jack has booked a parapsychologist and author named June Ross-Mitchell along with the subject of her latest book, the sole survivor of a mass suicide committed by a Satanic church that worshipped Abraxas. Lily, now a teenager, also claims to be possessed by “Mr. Wriggles.”

What could go wrong?

Without giving anything away, I can tell you that “Late Night with the Devil” did not go the way I thought it would. What a refreshing switch-up. This found footage movie with behind-the-scenes content was a clever and unique twist on the horror subgenre. The use of black and white scenes, the egos of the other guests on the show, the mysterious skeleton man, and references to a shady society for the rich elite all come together to make up a really entertaining movie.

The show was true to the late-70s time period. The acting was amazing. With the 1970s frame, the special effects are so much better than they were at the time and the effect is startling. Especially as the film reaches its disorienting conclusion. It leaves a few things unexplained and open to interpretation and here it works in the film’s favor. At the end of the film, I was left with a lot to think about. And a need to know more.

So, here’s hoping there’s a sequel. The film was in theaters for a brief stint and is now available for streaming online. I recommend this one to horror fans, especially those with a fondness for found footage films. This is a good one.

Isabella Jordan