And that’s the exact opposite of what happens at midnight. These are people who are there to see the movie, who cannot, in fact, wait to see the movie. “Because current midnight shows almost always involve sequels, reboots, remakes, genre movies or adaptations of popular books or comics, they draw a very specific brand of hard-core audience,” Huls writes. “Rather than conceive of the theater as a cathedral, these die-hard fans turn the midnight show into a frenzied jamboree.” But it works, because — at their heart — movies are a communal experience, a social engagement, a shared joy.
As much as I love my home theater, and as exhausting as it can be to walk away from it to take my chances at the cinema, I know this much: Films are meant to be seen with a group of like-minded strangers, on a screen that dwarfs mine. For what it’s worth, I would expand the thesis in the Times to include all midnight movies, which have long been a kind of special treat for moviegoers, an opportunity to stay out late and have a good time at the picture show. And I’m not just talking about obvious standbys like Rocky Horror or Pink Flamingos (though you should certainly see them that way too). There are examples all over the country, but here in New York, moviegoers have scores of cult movies and old favorites to choose from at midnight on Fridays and Saturdays; the Landmark Sunshine started it years ago, branching out from the old standbys into ’80s favorites and goofy obscurities (including regular screenings of The Room), and IFC Center followed suit, with Lincoln Center joining in this summer. And make no mistake, it is a very specific kind of moviegoer who shows up at midnight to see The Holy Mountain, Evil Dead II, or Duck Soup — and those who do are going to have a unique experience, one they can’t possibly have in front of the plasma screen at home.
When’s the last time you went to a midnight screening? Share your experiences in the comments.
Main image credit: Cinema Blend