Roomcap: ‘Night Shift’ is camp horror galore

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Best Line: “Should she come knocking at my door, who am I to deny a date with destiny?” — Ted

Episode MVP: Ted (Josh Fadem)

Last week’s episode of “Room 104” put camp horror on a pedestal. The episode begins with VHS tape footage of men in costumes getting ready to shoot a film. The camera is handheld as it navigates a fuzzy set, until it lands on two men arguing over a scene and a beautiful woman painting a moon in the background. She gets down and helps one of the men with his belt — the camera freezes on this. 

The shot cuts from the unknown set, blurred by the static of VHS footage, to the familiar yet discomforting Room 104. Inside the room, an older version of the man in the video is being interviewed for young punk rocker Nina’s (Marielle Scott) podcast. The man is revealed to be Ted (Josh Fadem), the creator of a show called “Night Shift.” Nina is playing Ted old footage from his own show. 

Ted is supposed to be a 60-year-old man, judging by when he was doing “Night Shift.” But this is not what a 60-year-old man looks like — he looks exactly the same as he does in the video, only with elaborate gray hair. Nina seems to think he is simply wearing a costume from the show. 

The score of this episode is deeply campy with aggressive synth and violin plucks. It’s reminiscent of the exact cheesy horror Ted was the creator of. In the same way, every one of Ted’s lines has this same eeriness. When Nina asks him why he is talking to her now, after all this time, he tells her that at some point the things that have been buried have to come out. 

Ted goes to the bathroom to fix his makeup and when he comes back he has brought Nina a can of soda and himself a glass of wine. But as he drinks the wine, viscous and red as blood — all signs begin to point to him being a vampire. Ted begins to tell Nina about his co-creator Robert (David Paymer) and how they forged their friendship with a late-night show on their college TV channel. As he speaks, he begins to stare at Nina, attempting to hypnotize her into some type of trance — but it is broken by a knock at the door. 

At the door stands a much older man, Robert. Robert joins the interview with Ted, but their conversation is tense and aggravated. The two of them clearly have a long and tumultuous history. These long-harbored angers come to a head when Camille is mentioned — the woman from the video Nina showed at the beginning. Camille had fallen for Ted, but when she told Robert that she had been turned into a vampire, Robert and Camille bonded over this secret. Robert stole Camille from Ted, Ted being left in his vampire state for eternity. 

Robert begs Ted to forget the past — to resume their friendship, but Ted can’t. He lunges and attacks Robert. Robert begs Nina to open the parcel that he brought with him, which is full of vampire hunter goods. Ted backs off, seeing the threat to his life here, but Nina is already on the move. She is running at Ted with a wood stake, but accidentally stabs Robert instead of Ted in the neck. 

Nina takes off at this, leaving Ted to tend to Robert who is bleeding out. His only option is to bite Robert. And so he does — sinking his teeth into Robert’s neck and condemning him to the same fate he has lived all these years. 

The episode ends with the two of them watching old footage of “Night Shift,” laughing together as old friends. Two vampires, together for eternity.

Maisy Menzies covers television. Contact her at [email protected].