Midnight Movies  

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"The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, "the cult film par excellence," which ran continuously at the same Paris movie house from 1920 through 1927." --page 23

"Above all else, the surrealists insisted that the relationship between film and spectator was primarily libidinal. That Paul Éluard discovered Peter Ibbetson (a 1935 Hollywood film that Breton considered comparable only to Luis Buñuel's L'Âge d'or in its depiction of L'Amour fou) by impulsively trailing an attractive woman into a movie theater was seen as ultimate proof." --Midnight Movies (1983), page 36

"If the origins of art are to be found in religion, the movies are surely the universal secular faith of the twentieth century." --page 15

Every feast, even when it has purely lay origins, has certain characteristics of the religious ceremony, for in every case its effect is to bring men together, to put the masses into movement and thus to excite a state of evanescence, and sometimes even delirium, which is not without a certain kinship with the religious state. A man is carried outside himself and diverted from his ordinary occupations and preoccupations. Thus the same manifestations are to be observed in each case: cries, songs, music, violent movements, dances, the search for stimulants which raise the vital level, etc. It has frequently been remarked that popular feasts lead to excesses, and cause men to lose sight of the distinction separating the licit from the illicit ... The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life (1912), Émile Durkheim

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Midnight Movies is a 1983 film history book by American film critics J. Hoberman and Jonathan Rosenbaum. The collection of essays documents the midnight movie phenomenon (films unfit for mainstream consumption so they are shown at midnight). It also documents the earliest cases of film cults in Paris and the United States.

The book includes chapters on the early careers of David Lynch, Alejandro Jodorowsky, John Waters and George Romero and references Émile Durkheim and Parker Tyler in the second chapter Cults, Fetishes and Freaks: Sex and Salvation at the Movies.

See also


  • Hoberman, J., and Jonathan Rosenbaum (1983). Midnight Movies (New York: Da Capo Press). ISBN 0-306-80433-6

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