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Midnight movie (film genre)

Related: film genre - underground cinema - cult films

Secondary literature: Midnight Movies (1983) - Jeffrey Hoberman and Jonathan Rosenbaum

Titles: Eraserhead - El Topo - Night of the Living Dead - Pink Flamingos - Rocky Horror Picture Show

Definition

Midnight movies were popular in the 1970s and early 1980s, before VCRs became readily available; showings typically began at midnight, hence the name. Musical and cult movies were especially popular fare.

El Topo, Night of the Living Dead, The Harder They Come, Eraserhead, Pink Flamingos, and Monty Python and the Holy Grail were among the more popular midnight movies. Other movies shown at venues such as the Orson Welles Theatre in Boston, the Elgin in New York, and other theaters around the United States, included Barbarella, the Monkees' movie Head, and the Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour (a failed TV movie, which still had cult appeal). In terms of gross and cult following, the most popular midnight movie ever is The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Stuart Samuels wrote and directed a critically successful documentary entitled Midnight Movies: From the Margin to the Mainstream based on his book of the same name. Jeffrey Hoberman and Jonathan Rosenbaum wrote a book about the phenomenon, entitled Midnight Movies (1983). --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midnight_movies [Oct 2005]

Midnight movies

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) - Jim Sharman [Amazon.com]

Eraserhead (1977) - David Lynch

Night of the Living Dead (1968) - George A. Romero [Amazon.com]

Glen or Glenda? (1953) - Edward D. Wood Jr. [Amazon US]

Midi- Minuit Fantastique [...]

Midnight movie

Films that are off-beat, a bit bizarre and only appeal to a small segment of film audiences. They are dubbed Midnight Movies because most theatres will only exhibit these films on or after midnight. Generally, these are not movies oriented for children in any manner. Constituent members in this genre include Glenn or Glenda (1952), Night of the Living Dead (1967-68), The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), and Eraserhead (1976). --http://video.barnesandnoble.com/search/glossary.asp [Oct 2004]

Midnight Movies: From the Margin to the Mainstream (2005) - Stuart Samuels

Stuart Samuels' documentary Midnight Movies: From the Margin to the Mainstream focuses on six films El Topo, Night of the Living Dead, The Harder They Come, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Pink Flamingos and Eraserhead that earned cult status in the 1970s through midnight screenings at venues like Ben Barenholtz's Elgin Theatre in Manhattan.

Samuels wrote an O.K. 1983 book on the subject. There was a much better one, by Hoberman and Jonathan Rosenbaum, which Samuels co-opts by having its authors carry his film's critical narrative. The rest is a brisk mix of clips and interviews with Barenholtz and other exhibitors, as well as five of the six films' directors. Midnight Movies is a pertinent, poignant reminder of an era when all sorts of weird wonders filled the screen, at all hours of the day and night back when progressive directors went about breaking taboos, not surrendering to Hollywood's fondness for feeding on its own carcass. A look at the other picture on display today might convince you that we have truly entered the night of the living dead. --Richard Corliss, May 2005 via http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,1061107,00.html [Oct 2005]

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