Friday, August 14, 2015
Top Ten: Midnight Movies
Top Ten: Midnight Movies.
This weeks Top Ten is focusing on those glorious oddities known as Midnight Movies. In terms of this list we are looking for the obscure, absurd, surreal, strange etc. All of these films also earned showings at midnight in theaters a crossed the world. So turn out the lights and check out these wild films.
10: Reefer Madness (1936)
Intended as a serious message about the "horrors" of pot, however once the smoke clears you`ll find yourself giggling more than if you had a entire plate of magic brownies. In the 1970's a whole new group re-discovered the film through the glazed eyes of hippies and hispters alike. Its since been viewed as satire and drug paranoia but mostly as unintentional comedy gold. Funny weird and should only be viewed with certain substances of your choice and friends...The only danger in this film is dying from laughter...
9: Glen or Glenda
Everyone's lovable cross dressing director Ed D.Wood Jr wrote and directed this strange film about Glen (played by Ed Wood himself no less) who secretly wants to be you guessed it Glenda. It attempts to take a serious (albeit strange) hard hitting look at trans people.Its surreal and just plain gonzo nature makes it the perfect storm of camp kookiness. Look for Bela Lugosi as the narrator yes "Dracula" Lugosi in a sex change film...Come on, how great is that? "PULL THE STRINGS!!"
*Trivia: Fans of the Chucky series take note: Seed of Chucky has huge Glen or Glenda nods.
8: Kenneth Anger's Scorpio Rising
Maybe the most obscure film on the list and one that is worth seeking out. Anger was ahead of his time and inspired the likes of Lynch and Waters. His epic midnight film Scorpio Rising has no real narrative, its just a mood and a feeling that pulsates through this entire film. Leather guys, James Dean and classic 50's rock and roll. There is a wonderful 2 vol collection of his work and I highly recommend it.
7: The Room (2003)
Often compared to Ed Wood's "Plan 9 From Outer Space" Tommy Wiseua's disaster of a film has gained a huge cult following and been shown at midnight across the country. The Room is a attempt at a serious drama yet fails on every level, the result pure cinema gold. Its the perfect film to show friends because they`ll be in stitches by the end.The newest film on the list by far but its earned its midnight cred and there is even a "making of" move in the works. If your already a fan of the film I highly recommend buying the book "Disaster Artist"
6:The Honeymoon Killers (1969)
Loosely based on the "Lonely Hearts Killers" The large and wonderful Shirley Stoler (Frankenhooker,Pee Wee's Playhouse) and the charming Tony Lo Bianco (French Connection,God told me to) prove that the couple that slay together stay together. Wonderfully black in its humor and at times disturbing this film is a treat for the midnight set. Stoler is a wonderful force of nature the likes of which is only rivaled by Divine in "Pink Flamingos.
5:The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
Another cross dressing larger than life character makes the list. Based on the play "Rocky Horror Show" this was a watershed moment in midnight movies and even had been persevered in the National Library of Congress in 2005. I could go over the plot but i`m sure many if not all of you reading this have already seen it. However if you`ve never seen it with an audience your really missing out. Yes i know all the shout outs "SLUT" Janet. "ASSHOLE" Brad. I know, i need help and I don't care. :)
4: Freaks (1932)
This Pre-Code shocker from Tod Browning was both infamous and ground breaking for its time. It was so upsetting to people that a man actually claimed this movie as a defense of why he murdered someone. (He said it drove him mad!) While I don't think it has the ability to drive anyone to murder it is a well made film with an ending that remains bone chillingly creepy. Its also been well implanted in pop culture having been referenced in numerous films and even the TV show "South Park" The use of actual persons with deformities makes it a film that you could never repeat today. Its truly a great movie to behold. Not to be missed!
Saying David Lynches ground breaking feature is weird is doing it a huge disservice. Its a surreal wonderland of disturbing images and characters that might only exist at night. It was a hit with the midnight crowd and Lynch went on to do many other great films and the cult TV show "Twin Peaks" He is one of the few directors that has always stayed true to his vision and legions of fans have respected him for it.
*Trivia: Many theories are floating around about how the alien type baby was made, however Lynch has kept it a secret.
2: Pink Flamingos (1972)
The Only The Only...Pink Flamingos! John Waters armed with a camera and a group of renegade actors including a hefty larger than life star, Divine made cult film history in Baltimore Maryland. Waters combined high art and low brow trash and what we get is something gaggingly gorgeous and insanely funny. Many others have tried to copy his style but none have matched the eye popping sublime quality of this truly dangerous work of art.
1: El Topo (1970)
Its really hard for me to correctly express how big of an impact this film has had on me. Many of the films post 1970 (on this list and beyond) have this film to thank for really starting the whole Midnight movie trend. It was discovered by John Lennon and found a wider audience that still grows today.Its just pure art on screen. Violent, surreal and beautiful. Not to be missed by anyone seriously into films.
Other films that didnt make the list but are still worth checking out: Killer Klowns from Outerspace, Donnie Darko,Pink Floyd's The Wall,Spider Baby