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Movie Details

Title:   Midnight Movies: From the Margin to the Mainstream
Director:   Stuart Samuels
Year:   2005
Genre:   Documentary
Times Seen:   1
Last Seen:   09.23.06

Other Movies Seen By This Director (0)

Notes History
Date Viewed Venue Note
09.23.06Alamo South LamarThis Screening is part of event: FantasticFest 2006
So this entry was kind of tainted because it's been showing on Starz and Encore for like a year... who cares though, I don't get Starz and I really wanted to see this. As a pleasant surprise, they actually had a 35mm print of it! And what's more, the print actually looked a bit dingy like it's been run a few times... all adding to the subject matter and the atmosphere of the piece.

Basically, this doc talks about the handful of movies that drove the "midnight movie" phenomenon throughout the 70s and changed the way movies are today. El Topo, Night of the Living Dead, Pink Flamingos, The Harder They Come, Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Eraserhead. Film clips, talking head insterviews, some vintage interviews, news footage, news print review blow-ups, and other various supporting visuals make up the doc in surprising quality. It does have a small TV doc vibe but mostly it's just interesting, informative, and entertaining... which I think is all you can ask for in a doc.

I love how specific theaters had importance back then... I suppose they still do today, with the Alamo being a prime example, but it really makes me wonder if it'll be mentioned in docs 20 years down the road like The Elgin is here... if they'll have an aging Tim league in a loud t-shirt talking about when a bonkers-crazy Russ Meyer showed up to talk about his films or when Eli Roth got the kids to show their Raiders of the lost Ark adaptation for the first time... we'll see I guess.

Anyway, I had a lot of fun with this movie... probably the most fun of the 7 I've seen so far. It totally makes me want to read the Midnight Movies book... and I'm sad I missed Lars' intro because I'm curious if he mentioned any sort of split between exploitation movies, which had been going strong in drive-ins and grind houses before this whole "midnight movie" thing started with El Topo... and I guess they both died out at around the same time: video tape. I think it was John Waters though who said that exploitation was gone and sexploitation was gone... I'm not sure what time period he's referring to though because thanks to Lars I have seen PLENTY of both those kinds of movies seemingly centered around 74 which is two years after Pink Flamingos was made... just a little offshoot that interested me, especially because they didn't go after a Roger Corman interview for this and treated that whole world as separate, even though several of the seminal 6 movies started out with standard exploitation releases. I'm hoping the book gets more into that...

anyway, a good end to the night for me... watching a doc on midnight movies at midnight. Tomorrow holds at least one super secret special screening so i'm going to sleep tomorrow to make sure I'm not drowsy for it.
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