What Makes a Midnight Movie?

I haven’t been sleeping much since my father died. That’s still a weird sentence to type and read. I’ve tried everything to help myself sleep more, but nothing seems to help. Due to this, I often find myself up at odd hours of the night, clicking through channels and streaming apps to find something to watch. Now, I usually end up just putting on House Hunters or Chopped, because nothing brings me more joy than criticizing people on television from the comfort of my bed (obviously). Tonight, though, I was thinking ‘why don’t I use this time a bit more wisely? Why don’t I watch some midnight movies and do a series?’

That brought me to the next question: what really makes a “midnight movie”? For those unfamiliar with the term, it comes from the 1950s, when television stations needed late night programming. They realized there were plenty of low-budget B-movies that they could show. Thus, the midnight movie. However, I do think the term has grown to be more than just low-budget B-movies. In my mind, there are two kinds of Midnight Movies: horror and comedy, but very specific types from these genres. The horror must be campy, but not necessarily low budget. Practical effects or really bad CGI are the elements usually involved and the actors in the films are either unknown, or it was an early film for an actor who went on to really make a name for themselves. 

With comedies, it has to lean more towards the “stoner” end of the spectrum. It has to be silly. It has to be ridiculous. It can be some dark humor. But, it can’t be a movie that’ll make you really think. It’s a comedy that is funnier the more tired/drunk/stoned the viewer is. You know the kind. 

So, join me through my sleepless nights, as I watch films that should never be watched in the light of day, won’t you? 

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