What I like about midnight movies is that they remind me that art is a communal experience. Hearing people interact with the movie heads-on reminds you that you, the audience, have a say in supporting work you like and rejecting work you don’t. I can only assume this must have made the midnight circuit very empowering for film-goers in an era before social media. But what I find fascinating with my exposure to two such cult classics is how mean people get when watching.
The two midnight movies I have seen would just not be so fun if I watched them alone.
The last time I felt glad I was watching a movie in a movie theater was when I saw “Get Out” (spoilers ahead). When the police car pulled up at the end of the film with Chris over the body of his now-dead girlfriend, the entire audience audibly gasped. I was scared myself, worried our hero would get framed and his evil girlfriend’s family would win after all. But when Chris’s friend Rod, the TSA officer, emerged instead the entire theater was filled with moved, genuine applause. It was a magical moment that spoke to how the film touched a nerve in today’s political climate that I would not have been able to experience for myself had I seen it alone.