Movie Review - Late Night Double Feature
The brainchild of writer and producer Kelly Michael Stewart, Late Night Double Feature is an absurdist homage to the glory days of television, when TV Stations tried their hand at overnight programming and often showed horror double features usually hosted by an over the top personality bordering on caricature... and it's one hell of a good time. Following the format right down to the overly cheesy commercials placed in between the features, Late Night Double Feature does a great job of having fun with the source material while still treating it with the utmost sincerity. I felt there were some minor pacing issues here and there, but overall this is film will make you laugh even through its most cringe-worthy moments. The film had its' Canadian premiere in the Canadian Film Fest at the Royal Theater in Toronto just last month, and we'll keep you posted on when you'll be able to find yourself of copy of the film.
Late Night Double Feature is an anthology film, containing two short films, three faux commercials, and a wrap around story. The film begins with the closing of a newscast on a local small market television station, before the station launches into its' overnight programming: a live broadcast called “Dr. Nasty’s Cavalcade of Horror.” The wrap around narrative surrounds the chaos that takes place during the screening of a double feature: Dinner For Monsters and Slit. When the aggressively drunk and inappropriate host, Dr. Nasty, and the womanizing director become too much for Samantha aka Nurse Nasty, she reaches her breaking point and snaps.
The first short, “Dinner for Monsters” tells the story a down-and -out chef is hired to cook a special meal for a rich and powerful couple and their friends for a midnight dinner party. But the chef faces an ethical crisis when he learns what's on the menu. And in the second short, “Slit” explores the underground world of people with a cutting fetish. Brad is a freelance "cutter" who charges people for his services. But he meets his match when he encounters a client who is actually a violent sociopath, who wants to take his job from him... any way she can.
The direction of both short films is top notch. Zach Ramelan manages to find just the right balance between the disturbing nature of the subject matter and an over-the-top silliness that provides for some genuine laughs in "Dinner for Monsters," while Torin Langen's homage to art-house horror, "Slit" is somewhere between the earlier works of Darren Aronofsky and the Soska Sister's "American Mary". The narrative story, "Dr. Nasty's Cavalcade of Horror" has a ton of fun and sleazy charm, and a really shocking and satisfying ending. If I have one small critique, it's that they didn't spend enough time developing that story in between the other shorts and commercials, instead opting to tell the bulk of it as the last installment in the film. And although I liked it, I feel like this caused it to feel a little more long winded than it actually is. Regardless, I truly enjoyed all that this film had to offer, from the horror to the comedy.
But for me the commercials were the best part of the film: the Jason Tannis directed “Killer Mortgage Rates," Kelly Michael Stewart's chilling faux movie trailer "Killer Clown," and finally the absurdly hilarious faux film trailer "Encephatopithecus" by Kyle Hytonen and John Michael Forbes. In fact, I wouldn't mind seeing "Night Clown" turned into a feature length film. And it is quite the artistic achievement to create segments that most people would have treated as filler, as entertaining as the short films themselves.
The entire cast understood and played their roles with just the appropriate amount of tongue-in-cheek attitude, but for me the two stand out performances belong to Jason Tannis as Orson and Jamie Elizabeth Sampson as Nurse Nasty who both added cartoony performances that seemed measured and controlled in their insanity. This is a film I would recommend to anyone who likes their horror a little shlocky and totally hilarious. Keep checking back with us or at any of the links below to follow updates on the film as they come. Cheers.
- Leo Francis