Why Are There a Million Title Cards in ‘Late Night With the Devil’?

Courtesy of IFC Films and Shudder
Courtesy of IFC Films and Shudder

Moviegoers are facing an extreme struggle when they go to the theater these days: waiting for the movie to actually start. Once you get through the first AMC advertisement and the half hour of trailers, you have to sit through another AMC advertisement and a Nicole Kidman short film. But perhaps the hardest challenge of all is sitting through an indie film’s opening crawl—that moment when a bajillion production companies you’ve never heard of appear on screen before the movie finally, finally starts.

As irritating as this may be for an audience member, it turns out that it does take a village to make a non-studio produced/distributed movie. Such is the case with Late Night With the Devil, which recently broke Shudder’s all-time streaming record after going viral on TikTok for its bone-chilling premise and, yes, its neverending opening titles.

All in all, there are nine company logos that appear before the horror actually starts. This TikTok shows all of the companies, and is littered with comments that compare the phenomenon to a very similar moment in Family Guy.

We open with credits for the Late Night With the Devil’s distributors, AKA the people who put the film in theaters and on streaming: IFC Films and Shudder. Then, we get into the lengthy list of production companies who financed the film (or helped get it made in other ways): Image Nation Abu Dhabi, VicScreen, Good Fiend Films, AGC Studios, Future Pictures, and Spooky Pictures. There’s also a card for Cinetic, the film’s PR team and sales agent.

All in all, that’s nine—nine!—credit cards before the film itself. Everyone and their mother and their brother came out to get this movie made. Some of the credits relate to the film—like Good Fiend Films, which is lead star David Dastmalchian’s production company, and VicScreen, an Australian government-run film organization—but others feel a bit lesser-known.

Why does the 1977-based psychological thriller have this many title cards? In an interview with Variety, producer Adam White spoke about how difficult it was to get Late Night With the Devil made without a boatload of studio funds.

“I come from low-budget filmmaking,” White said. “You just make it happen. It’s just how it works. We would discover things along the way, even though we were trying to plan it, and sometimes you can have the best intentions of thinking you know exactly how it’s going to happen. But until you start building it, and with the limitations of our budget, it meant we had to find basic solutions.”

Director Colin Cairnes added, “We made the film nearly two years ago, at the tail end of COVID. It was still a pretty dark time. We were in lockdown for 100 days on end, several times. So coming out of that and being able to make a film that has been a labor of love for years has been very special. We feel we’ve made something decent.”

The answer is pretty simple here: If you’re not working with a studio that can provide the budget in entirety (like Universal or Lionsgate or even A24), producers have to find other creative ways to get the money. Late Night With the Devil did exactly that, and although sitting through those titles can be a daunting task, at least indie film lives to see another day.

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