I have never been to a midnight screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, but I’ve been to The Room, and it’s every bit as crazy as I could have imagined. These types of screenings are the stuff of myth, usually discovered by a friend, or stumbling on the information within the obscure corners of the internet.
The midnight movie started in 1970 with the release of Alejandro Jodorwosky’s El Topo, this odd, very surrealistic western.
There’s really no way to describe it, except as “weird as fuck!” The picture ushered in an era of oddities in cinema that couldn’t be shown during conventional showtimes. Basically, you were going to smoke a shit ton of pot (usually secondhand) and go on a fucking trip.
But the midnight movie was forever changed with the release, and subsequent flop, of one little musical that everyone assumed would disappear.
Yep. This movie. It’s in the Guinness Book of World Records as the movie with the longest theatrical exhibition at over 40 years. What made it endure all these years has been the audience participation. People bring props, recite dialogue, do the Time Warp (again), you name it. Somewhere in the world, the film is playing at midnight.
As I mentioned earlier that I’ve never been to a Rocky Horror Picture Show midnight, but The Room I just experienced over the weekend. I didn’t see the movie, I fucking experienced it. The recitation of dialogue, talking back to the characters, and noticing things that I never saw before (nobody shuts the goddam door!) are just some of the hilarious things that you get to witness. The fact that ten minutes into the movie, my friends and I are laughing so hard we develop headaches, and try to calm ourselves. Shit, I got hit in the head by a plastic spoon (no, this isn’t a joke or exaggeration). Has that happened at your latest Marvel screening? Didn’t think so.
I know that the casual movie goer thinks they have been to a midnight screening, but not really. I’ve experienced three different kinds: Mainstream, Obscure, and Cult. The first being shit that a studio puts out, usually a new release. The second being an oddity, like Motel Hell or Brain Damage, where fun and laughter occur. The third one is something like no other, where the people at these screenings are legitimate fans. Like, fucking crazy. If props are involved, then you’re at a cult screening.
Trust me on this, go to a Cult midnight screening at least once. You’ll never be the same again.