Midnight movies, from "Rocky Horror" to "Nightmare on Elm Street" to "The Room"

A few weekends ago, I had the pleasure of introducing the 1984 horror classic A Nightmare on Elm Street at the Willow Creek 12 in Plymouth. Before I made my brief intro, I was told by managers "Retro" Greg and Justin, that this was a special occasion, as the "Willow Creek Retros" were celebrating their one-year anniversary of presenting notable retro, cult, horror, and just-plain-fun midnight movies. The roughly 75 people in the theater were clapping and cheering, thanking the staff for all their hard work, and were enthused to be there.

While I'm a sucker for a good horror movie, campy or scary, it was great to see the members of the audience really getting into the evening, even before the film rolled. The midnight movie is a great experience, especially when you go with a group of friends, get popcorn and soda, and go into the theater to grab a seat and enjoy the "witching" hour. After I finished, it made me want to go back to Willow Creek to take in one of the many offerings playing over the coming weeks—with six already scheduled, and more after the holidays, there is definitely something for everyone, including Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan; Caddyshack; Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade; Goodfellas; Planes, Trains, and Automobiles; and, just in time for Christmas, Bill Murray's underappreciated holiday comedy classic Scrooged.

At the Uptown Theatre, they have been playing midnight movies every weekend for years—mostly cult classics, ranging from what could be the most popular midnight movie ever, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, to the newest certified cult classic, 2003's The Room (above), written, directed, and starring the enigmatic Tommy Wiseau. The film came out in Los Angeles for a brief theatrical run where there were reports that crowds were walking out, rolling around on the floor and crying with laughter. The Room even incorporates audience participation during its screenings, including throwing plastic spoons at the screen (Rocky Horror is all about audience participation) and yelling back at the actors on screen. Next weekend, Mr. Wiseau will be present for both screenings and you can ask him, "What the hell does this all mean?"

This Saturday night, I'll be attending a "black comedy horror" film at midnight called All About Evil, written and directed by Peaches Christ (a.k.a. Joshua Grannell), a drag performer and filmmaker who created the notorious Midnight Mass movie series in San Francisco, which ended last year. Peaches will be present with many of the cast members of the film, and it should have just the right amount of blood, giggles, and shock.

2906 Hennepin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55408
2906 Hennepin Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55408

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Jim Brunzell III's picture
Jim Brunzell III

Jim Brunzell III (djguamwins [at] yahoo [dot] com) was born in the 70's, went to school in the 80's, played sports in the 90's, and has been writing on film for the Daily Planet since 2007.  He is also the Festival Director and programmer for the Sound Unseen Music/Film/Art festival in the Twin Cities, lead programmer for the Flyway Film Festival in Pepin and Stockholm WI, the creator of "The Defenders" series at the Trylon microcinema and has been working on a novel since finishing college.  You can follow Jim on Twitter at (@JimBrunzell_3).