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A documentary that tell the story of six movies that for a short time transformed the cult cinema culture of America. These six consist of El Topo (1970), the movie credited as starting the midnight movie scene at the Elgin Theater in Manhattan. Other cinemas played Night of the Living Dead (1968). The Elgin screened The Harder They Come (1973) and Pink Flamingos (1972). On the midnight after April Fool's Day 1976, The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), opened at the Waverly Theater. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), and in 1978 they started playing Eraserhead (1977).
So what? Cinemas played movies! Big deal! These movies ran for months, some for years, and a few still are somewhere in the world almost day-in-day out. The glories of cinema's hey-day of spectacle were recaptured by the counter-culture of the Baby Boomers. The movie as the catalyst for a full cinematic experience, as patrons began to engage with the action on screen.
Although the documentary focuses on those six, it also references exploitation cinema cult classics that became part of the midnight movie circuit Freaks (1932) and Reefer Madness (1936). A great introduction into the key players in cult cinema, for anyone wanting to dip their toes into the murky waters.
Weird Retro often covers cult cinema read our article the Top Ten: Exploitation Cinema Documentaries which features Midnight Movies: From the Margins To The Mainstream. The director of El Topo, Alejandro Jodorowsky is featured in our article about his failed attempt to bring Frank Herbert's Dune to the screen, in The Greatest Film Never Made: Jodorowsky's Dune. One of the most famous of the six as far as midnight showing longevity is The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which made the Weird Retro Top Ten: The Horror Of Movie Musicals. And whose opening theme was broken down movie by movie in a Captain's Blog post.