Written by Mugo del Jefe
Musgo has had a life long love affair with movies. Not just a single movie but movies as a proper noun "movies". Some of the earliest memories I have start with the phrase "let's go to the movies". Even today it still can raise the hair on my arms. In my youth - for sake of argument let's call it mid-'70s through late-'80s - movies were usually experienced in a theater. There were TV shows that existed on the small screen and older, classic films on TV, but the theater was where you went to experience the films. The memory of seeing a movie in a theater is so much more than just the movie. When I saw The Great Mouse Detective at a Saturday afternoon matinee, my mother and I ate lunch on the top floor of Jacobsens and walked the Kalamazoo Mall. When I saw Raiders Of The Lost Ark on opening Friday night, my mother and father took me to the Pizza Hut on West Main and we went to the arcade afterwards. And so it was on an October night in 1984, a Saturday very close to Halloween when I first saw The Rocky Horror Picture Show at a midnight showing with a live cast from New York in costume at the Bijou. I can recall that night in that theater like it was last week.
When I saw The Rocky Horror Picture Show - 35th Anniversary Edition being released on Blu-ray, I knew I had to give it a spin. I've seen the movie about five times in the theater but probably hadn't attended a screening since 1987. The packaging of the disc caught my eye right away. It's not the predictable cover shot of Tim Curry (although I wonder why they didn't go with the iconic lips) - it was the verbiage on the back that promised to "recreate the Midnight Movie experience in your living room."
The Midnight Movie has been around in one form or another almost as long as there have been movies. But I feel like the decade leading up to the proliferation of VCRs was part of a Golden Age of the Midnight Movie. Growing up, a Midnight Movie on TV meant a really horrible film hosted by a local personality or an Elvira. But a Midnight Movie at the theaters was usually synonomous with cult films. These were films that were usually low budget and appealed to the teenager or college crowd (who else was going to films at midnight?) and would attract viewers to come back multiple times. In the Kalamazoo area, almost every theater had a selection of films that played at Midnight. For years, it was Eraserhead, The Evil Dead, Liquid Sky and the three that played seemingly forever - Heavy Metal, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Pink Floyd The Wall. But the undisputed king was The Rocky Horror Picture Show.