Sunday, April 17, 2016

Missing Midnight Movies

Flipping through the channels at 1:30 this morning I came across "Heavy Metal" the 1981 animated film based on the magazine of the same name. (and they blurred out the boobs! This is silly because it was 1:30 in the morning, and the point of the whole movie was the boobs!)

Watching the film so late at night made me think of something that's not there anymore: Midnight Movies.

For you kids too young to remember, in the 70s and early 80s, on Friday and Saturday nights movie theaters would show cult films at midnight. The most famous of these was of course "Rocky Horror Picture Show," but there were others.

This was before VCRs, and these showings were pretty much your only chance to see some notorious films you heard about, but were never shown on TV.

What better way to show your maturity and independence as a teen than watching an X-Rated film at midnight with your friends, then coming home at 3 am?

If you weren't there, here's what you missed:

Rocky Horror: There's been terrabytes written about this film, so I'm sure you know all about it and more than likely have seen it. I will say this: It had a great rock and roll score, and it bothered me that we're supposed to feel sympathy for the main character even after he kills Eddie in cold blood.

Heavy Metal: A fairly true adaptation of the magazine; it really didn't need the McGuffin as a linking device, why link the stories at all? Sex and boobs and sword and sorcery, probably better as a midnight movie than watching it on TV.

Fantastic Animation Festival: When they advertised it, they stressed the Pink Floyd segment. Unfortunately, you have to sit through a lot of avant-garde stuff before this segment, and the audience of teen stoners I saw this with were getting pretty impatient.

The Ralph Bakshi Ouvre: Wizards, another adult sword and sorcery/science fiction epic, lots of fun; Fritz the Cat, cartoon animals having sex. Once again, films that would never be shown on commercial television.

The animated films I've mentioned all contain sex. In the 70s the only animation around was Disney animation, so when producers started making animated films it was as if they were intentionally trying to get as far away from Disney wholesomeness as possible. Cartoon characters having sex though, doesn't necessarily lend itself to good storytelling.

I look at "Futurama" as a happy medium. It's for kids, it's for grownups and it can get blue without actual sex for the sake of sex.

House of Wax: Every once in a while they'd throw in a horror movie. Usually this and "Creature From the Black Lagoon," both in 3D and both better on the big screen where you can feel the audience jump in their seats.

Amazon Women on the Moon: Probably made specifically for the midnight movie crowd. A cinematic brother to  Kentucky Fried Movie and TunnelVision, all of them episodic trippy comedies.

Paul McCartney: Rockshow: A recurring theme with midnight movies was  rock and roll. "Woodstock," "Quadrophenia" and "The Kids Are Allright," were staples.

Now, if we want to watch  a cult movie, we can stream it or watch it on one of 300 cable channels. What do teenagers do for fun now?