I watched an interesting documentary this evening. Midnight Movies: From the Margin to the Mainstream takes a look back at the birth of late-night cult cinema, from David Lynch’s nightmarish Eraserhead to Alejandro Jodorowsky’s classic western El Topo.
I think that any film buff worth their salt has had a phase where they indulged in midnight movies. I recall just before the days of DVD when most of these films required driving endlessly between mom & pop video stores hoping to find a place that actually carried a copy of Eraserhead, so it was a communal experience when one of us got our hands on it that usually resulted in some Saturday night get-together where twelve of us would drink beer and wait for midnight so we could see what all the fuss was about.
While the film focuses primarily on the role these films have had in shaping the mainstream, it would have been nice if the director had given some kudos to those directors who are still proudly carrying the flag. Certainly Shinya Tsukamoto’s Tetsuo: The Iron Man and Begotten spring to mind.
Personally I miss the freedom and open-mindedness of my youth which allowed me the liberty to drink half a bottle of Nyquil and stay up all night nodding to the Coffin Joe trilogy. To be 19 again…