Review - Midnight Movies: From the Margin to the Mainstream


Dressed to kill: Divine in Pink Flamingos

Dressed to kill: Divine in Pink Flamingos

 

 

Or how six films screened in graveyard slots between 1970 and 1977 changed the way movies are watched and made.

The six are: El Topo, Alejandro Jodorowsky’s mad freakish spaghetti western, the Man with No Name drops acid. Night of the Living Dead, George Romero’s splattersome zombie motherlode which even now Romero is rubbing his hands about. Pink Flamingos – John Waters broke through with this excursion into camp sleaze, and how happy Waters is with the idea that almost single-handedly he dragged Hollywood along with him into the world of bad taste. The Harder They Come, the reggae film by Perry Henzell that filled a need created by Bob Marley for Jamaican music on film – Henzell is touchingly humbled even now by the reception that midnight movie audiences gave to a film that had flopped. The Rocky Horror Picture Show – the movie that seems to have sparked the singalong, interactive screening phenomenon is Richard O’Brien’s baby and though he’s less chucklesome than the other interviewees (possibly because he’s spent decades talking about little else) O’Brien is a charmer full of anecdotes. And finally Eraserhead, which looks as mad now as it did when it came out. David Lynch chats happily about the film but he won’t talk about the notorious baby, never has. Expectant mothers used to be warned before going in to screenings of Eraserhead, apparently.

And that’s it – six films, lots of talking heads, a handful of clips, loads of old stories, plenty of fun. Midnight Movies makes its case – how the B movie became the A movie, how genre movies came back from the dead – eloquently. What is never said is, Rocky Horror and Eraserhead excepted, is how remarkably shabby the movies look.

© Steve Morrissey 2007

 

Midnight Movies – at Amazon.com

 

 

 

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imdb poster Midnight Movies: From the Margin to the Mainstream
Midnight Movies: From the Margin to the Mainstream (2005)
Run time: 86 min
Rating: 7.2
Genres: Documentary
Director: Stuart Samuels
Stars: John Waters, Ben Barenholtz, Alejandro Jodorowsky
Trivia: From 1970-1977, six low budget films shown at midnight transformed the way we make and watch films.
Storyline Midnight Movies: From the Margin to the Mainstream tells the hidden history of these landmark films, El Topo (1970), Night of the Living Dead (1968), The Harder They Come (1973), Pink Flamingos (1972), The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), and Eraserhead (1977). The documentary includes in-depth interviews with the directors, producers, writers and actors who were part of these low-budget, yet monumental productions, the exhibitors and distributors who played them, and the audiences who viewed them. Written by Steve Belgard
Plot Keywords: film, interview, 1970s, actor, director
Box Office Budget: CAD 671,000 (estimated)