Tag: cameron cairnes

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Stylized shot of David Dastmalchian speaking to a live audience in Cameron and Colin Cairnes's "Late Night with the Devil".

Eyes on the Dream: David Dastmalchian in “Late Night with the Devil” (2023)

I often joke about how I enjoy horror films as ‘light entertainment.’ Well, it’s not a joke really, as I do view them as light entertainment, which in turn, results in a bemused expression from the listener. But they are light entertainment! However, what I mean is that I enjoy them for their attempts at suspense and eeriness more so than for anything intellectual, as the best horror will be able to at least build the viewer’s curiosity without resorting to clichéd jump scares and gore.

This is how I felt watching Cameron and Colin Cairnes’s Late Night with the Devil, starring David Dastmalchian as Jack Delroy, a 1970s talk show host for the late-night fictional variety show Night Owls. The show, mirroring many of the variety hours throughout the 1970s, can’t seem to reach Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show ratings. And while I do not find the film scary, it is at least clever in its delivery. With the orange carpet and the multi-colored striped set, the filmmakers did an excellent job detailing this era—combining character sketches, spinning wheels, channel interruptions, and words from their sponsors. While initially successful, over the years Night Owls’s ratings begin to drop, which resorts to Jack desperately pandering to more Jerry Springer-type routines. […]