A recent piece in The New York Times by Alexander Huls explains to normal people what us geeks already know, midnight showings rock. Not only that, but they tend to be the only time those attending actually pay attention to the movie they just dropped $10+ to see. Huls, like a lot of cinephiles, is upset at the changes in movie-going culture. The texting, the talking, fuck, people even answer their phones in theatres now because they just don’t give a damn. Movie ettiquette is dead. That is unless you catch the movie at midnight.
Of course, the etiquette of a midnight screening is different from bunch of film snobs intensely and silently taking in a feature, but it is no less reverent. You’ve been to a midnight showing, you know what I mean. Think about the last midnight show you caught, was it The Avengers? Probably. Did you cheer? Did you gasp? Maybe even, cried? You were engaged with the film, there’s nothing more a filmmaker wants from an audience. Huls explains the midnight experience,
…these die-hard fans turn the midnight show into a frenzied jamboree. The auditorium is stuffed with noisy, agitated true believers, ready to explode in thunderous cheers; they elatedly chatter at the slightest eyebrow twitch of a beloved character on-screen. This audience is loud, interactive, pumped up and ready to geek out. To the dedicated cinephile, the midnight show might sound like a nightmare.
It’s not. I have learned to adore the midnight show as a moviegoing experience. It has become the one lure that draws me unhesitatingly back to the theater. It’s not just a raucous party to be endured. It’s the one way in which movie theaters can still reliably fulfill their most sacred function.
And that is to be enjoyed. You should have fun at the movies, and you’ll never have more fun than sitting with an audience that literally cannot wait to see the movie. Really. That’s why they camped out the night before so they’d be first in line. Hell, even the fans who aren’t quite at that level of fanaticism show up three maybe fours hours early to snag a good seat. We attend midnight screenings where we’ll be up usually till almost 3 a.m. because we want to be there, not because it’s Friday night, we’re bored, and need something to do.
Huls goes on to say,
That joy also ensures that you will never, ever see a cellphone light up or hear anything but deathly stillness during scenes that don’t merit enthusiastic responses. In fact, midnight movies — when they’re quiet — are some of the most reverent movie experiences I’ve ever had. People will literally shush you one second into the movie. What more could anyone ask from a moviegoing experience than an audience that actually both quietly respects and vocally worships the movie you’re collectively seeing? Being surrounded by that always swells my movie-buff heart as I think, This is why I go to the movies.
I still remember the shocked stillness of the theatre as the title sequence for Star Trek came on screen after witnessing that gut-punching opening scene. You’re watching the shuttlecrafts drift away from the giant Romulan ship after having just seen the Kelvin, along with Kirk’s father, explode. You could hear a pin drop.
Make sure you check out the Huls whole write-up, it’s a great read and it’ll make you proud to be part of an experience so cool and unique.
What are some of you’re favorite memories from a midnight showing?
Source: The Mary Sue