Simon's Essential Midnight Movies
Because some films need to be watched late at night…
If staying up way past bedtime is your thing, check out the Showroom’s new Midnight Marauders screenings – monthly midnight screenings of the best late night movies. We had a chat with chief marauder and the brains behind the Showroom’s legendary monthly Film Quiz, Simon Beaumont, to talk about nocturnal cinematic thrills.
“Growing up in the early 80’s and seeing the birth and rise of Betamax and VHS video systems in the home, I became a film junkie instantly! Certificate X, video nasties, late night movies on TV were the norm back then… ok, maybe I shouldn’t have been watching some of these titles, but they will forever hold a place for me. These are films with ideas – bad and good – but always different.
I hope you like the films that we’ve selected for Midnight Marauders; the cinema is the best place to view films that disturbed you, stayed with you, or always made you laugh and cheer – sit back with friends and a beer or two, and enjoy the best in late night cinema.”
SIMON’S ESSENTIAL MIDNIGHT MOVIES
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
From seeing A Clockwork Orange on a dodgy VHS tape in the mid 1980’s, I always had a fascination with this odd film about ultra-violence and Beethoven. I watch this film a couple of times a year and get something different from it every time. Kubrick himself famously pulled the film in the mid 1970’s amid outcries of copycat attacks, protests and death threats. When Stanley Kubrick died in 1980 this X certificate film was given an 18 certificate by the BBFC and a new generation could see the film. Every time I hear 'Singing in the Rain' I think of Alex, not Gene Kelly.
The Warriors (1979)
The Warriors are mistakenly accused of killing a big time gang leader and soon every gang in New York City is out for revenge. That’s the set up so sit back and spend and an hour and half with a brilliant slice of 70’s cinema. Walter Hill has made some criminally overlooked films in his career, Driver, The Long Riders and Southern Comfort. This 1979 classic is a prime example of directors making great movies with no budget or big stars and turning out absolute classics.
The Exorcist (1973)
For me, it’s still the greatest film ever made. After 40 years the film still holds a lot of power. It’s been parodied to hell, we all know about the spinning head and the pea soup sick, but it’s not just about that – nothing had been made like this at the time and the film has a real sense of unease throughout. The 1970’s nailed it for classic cinema and this is one of the biggies.
Escape from New York (1981)
John Carpenter didn’t make bad films in the late 70’s and early 80’s, Halloween, Assault on Precinct 13, The Fog, The Thing and this Kurt Russell gem is no different. Russell plays Snake Plissken, a patch-wearing criminal who is sent to Manhattan (which is now a prison) to save the President after his plane goes down. The entire film oozes cool from its kickass soundtrack to the Duke played by 70’s legend Isaac Hayes. Just don’t mention the sequel!
Ridley Scott’s original 70’s sci-fi classic is a milestone of cinema. A film that needs to be seen on the big screen with the lights off and the sound up! Launching a female lead with Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley was a brave move back then, but she became an instant hero, alongside John Hurt, the underrated Tom Skerritt and the creepy Ian Holm. This invented “running down corridors getting chased by something nasty in the dark” and has one of the greatest taglines of all time.
Mean Streets (1973)
The Scorsese original and the birth of De Niro. Years before Goodfellas, Martin Scorsese brought us a story of small town hoods struggling on the ‘mean streets’ of Little Italy. A gritty film from the beginning that laid down the style of one of the greatest directors of all time. I can’t think of a better introduction to a character and film star than Johnny Boy (De Niro) coming round that street corner.
Blue Velvet (1986)
Dark, disturbing, extreme and violent can cover most of Lynch’s work, but this for me is his greatest moment. Set in small town America it sees Kyle MacLachlan returning home and discovering the underbelly of the nasty crime world run by Frank Booth, played by the never-better Dennis Hopper. If night club singers, oxygen masks and Dean Stockwell singing “In Dreams” are your thing, look no further than this 80’s gem.
See showroomworkstation.org.uk for Midnight Marauders listings.