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[Overlook 2023 Review] Satan Steals The Show in Halloween Horror LATE NIGHT WITH THE DEVIL

Colin and Cameron Cairnes’ Late Night With The Devil is a retro-fied joyride through a 1970s late night talk show, during an ill-fated Halloween Night broadcast. In a desperate bid to win back ratings during Sweeps Week, TV’s primetime season, talk show host Jack Delroy (David Dastmalchian, Suicide Squad) invites on clairvoyants, skeptics, demonologists, and a reportedly possessed little girl for an unforgettable night of television. It’s a real treat for anyone at home watching but wait until you see the tricks the spirits have in store.

In the same vein as Ghostwatch (1992) or WNUF Halloween Special (2013), what makes Late Night With The Devil so much fun is how perfectly it captures a hyper specific television experience. That said, it also has people projectile vomiting black goo, slashed throats, exploding heads, levitation, hypnosis, and (my personal favorite) hundreds of worms crawling out of a person’s torn open stomach. Yay!

 

“…a devilishly good slice of 70s occult insanity…”

 

David Dastmalchian’s Jack Delroy is a side-burned, sport-jacketed, smooth-talkin’ interviewer who’s been gunning for Johnny Carson’s crown as the king of late night. He’s also grieving the death of his late wife Madeline (Georgina Haig), a gravely Michael Ironside explains in the opening voiceover. And now, with the loss of his wife still fresh in his mind, and the loss of his empire just over the horizon, Jack and his producing partner make a risky last-minute play to put together a Halloween special so good you’d think they’d sold their souls for better ratings.

Dastmalchian is great as always, but it’s the cast of characters around him that make this goofy plotline sing. Fayssal Bazzi’s Chistou astounds audiences in the first act with a classic Spirit Medium routine that Ian Bliss’ Carmichael Hunt spends the 2nd act disproving as an exaggerated James Randi type. The star of the show, however, is Dr. June Ross-Mitchell (Laura Gordon) and her pre-teen patient Lilly D’Abo (Ingrid Torelli), sole survivor of a satanic death cult and vessel for communication with demonic spirits. Each guest brings something fun and funny to the night’s taping, but Lilly’s appearance is where things start to get kah-razy.

 



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Mixing the classic 3-camera setup from the live broadcast and handheld behind-the-scenes b-roll during commercial breaks, Late Night With The Devil drops you directly onto the set of the Night Owl talk show. The movie (and the set department, the real heroes here lol) absolutely nails all the staples of a late-night talk show from yesteryear, right down to the goofy sidekick co-host, the tight, sorta-jazzy house band, and the shag carpet. I’d watch 10 seasons of this if it were a Netflix series, especially is every episode ended with multiple bodies piled up around the cameras and a terrified audience running for their lives when the devil shows up for the final interview of the night.

You may find that you’ve forecasted some of the major beats of the story in your head after hearing the set-up, but watching the whole production come together is half the fun. All that aside, Late Night With The Devil is a devilishly good slice of 70s occult insanity, boiled down into 90 razor-sharp minutes of renegade retro realism. It’s super fun, surprisingly gory, and a welcome addition your ever-growing Halloween watchlist. It’s prime-time, must-see “television” for horror fans!

 

“…super fun and surprisingly gory […] it’s prime-time, must-see Halloween ‘television’ for horror fans!”

 

Colin and Cameron Cairnes’ Late Night With The Devil was an official selection of the 2023 Overlook Film Festival and hands down, one of our favorites of the fest. Click HERE to follow our continued coverage of the festival, and be sure to tell us what you would ask the devil during an interview over on Twitter or in the Nightmare on Film Street Discord! Not a social media fan? Get more horror delivered straight to your inbox by joining the Neighbourhood Watch Newsletter.

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[Overlook 2023 Review] Satan Steals The Show in Halloween Horror LATE NIGHT WITH THE DEVIL
TL;DR
Late Night With The Devil is a devilishly good slice of 70s occult insanity, boiled down into 90 razor-sharp minutes of renegade retro realism. It's super fun, surprisingly gory, and a welcome addition your ever-growing Halloween watchlist. It's prime-time, must-see "television" for horror fans!
Story
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Design & Cinematography
90
Performances
90
Horror & Special Effects
90
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