Sunday, March 31, 2024

Movies: Devil Horror Double Feature

I like a little bit of counterprogramming for my Eastertide, so today we are featuring two movies about demonic power - one new, and one old.

Late Night with the Devil

Late Night with the Devil has a killer premise. Most of the movie is presented as a long-lost tape of a '70s late night show with one very unusual guest - a girl possessed by a demon. Is it all an elaborate hoax? Self-hypnosis? Or is all hell about to break loose?

David Dastmalchian plays the smarmy host to perfection, and the period touches are all pitch-perfect (aside from a few controversial AI-generated interstitial graphics). Late Night only falters when it cheats the found footage conceit, leading to a somewhat disappointing finale.  There isn't a ton of good indie horror out there, though, so it's still worth checking out.

Rating: 7/10

Prince of Darkness

Barring the occasional (incredibly profitable) megahit like Halloween, John Carpenter movies flop on initial release. Prince of Darkness follows the pattern - it bombed in the theaters, but has since gained a cult following as the second entry in Carpenter's "Apocalypse Trilogy" - three movies that depict world-ending horrors.

Prince of Darkness has the flavor of a Quatermass story - a harried priest (Donald Pleasance) asks a group of scientists to study a canister of mysterious green liquid. The liquid is locked in the basement of an abandoned church and seems to be not of this world...or this dimension. As you can imagine, things go south quickly, and soon the survivors are fighting for their lives against Lovecraftian cosmic evil. It's not quite as well-made or well-acted as an all-time classic like The Thing, but there's a nice build-up and a chilling, famous recurring dream sequence:

Rating: 8/10


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