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Pink Flamingos was my Rocky Horror Picture Show, one of the few times when audience participation made perfect sense. Instead of throwing rice, I came to hear people throw up.

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I was 16-years-old, fresh behind the wheel of my red '62 Chevy Corvair Monza, and green (inexperienced) to the point where I didn't know a drag queen from a drag off a joint. There was something electrifying about the seventy or so midnight screenings I took in of John Waters' ode to the destruction of the post-Kennedy assassination nuclear family unit. It was a rite of passage that hit at the right time, before SNL changed the playing field, when movie comedy mattered and still maintained an ability to provoke and delight, not merely gross out.

The last time I felt the urge to spend the witching hour in a theatre was the summer of 1999. It was while driving through Hollywood one balmy Saturday evening in search of late night amusement. Forget about catching a cult item. I couldn't find so much as one measly mainstream release offering a late show! Instead, I returned home, caught some shut eye, and took in a 10 a. m. Sunday morning screening of American Pimp. Since when did Midnight Madness become the Breakfast of Champions?

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Midnight movies still exist in San Diego, but they are scarce and generally take place on a Tuesday to herald the Wednesday openings of the latest Harry Potter or Twilight benefactions. Local outlets send camera crews to cover the previews as if they were newsworthy events. One can only imagine the same treatment being afforded the qualmish crowd exiting the 1971 premier screening of Pink Flamingos.

Kudos to Landmark's Ken Cinema for keeping midnight movies as we knew them alive and thriving...give or take a Spielberg picture. (In all fairness, I have never seen any film with the word "Jurassic" in its title and am in no position to comment with any authority.) The series kicks off later this month with the San Diego theatrical premiere of Jason Eisener's Hobo With a Shotgun, an homage to '70's-style vigilantism starring Rutger Hauer.

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John Huston, Peter Lorre, Mary Astor and Humphrey Bogart

The last time I saw anything publicly projected after midnight was at the dusk to dawn trailer marathon held during my tenure at MoPA. You'd probably have a better chance of getting me to sit through Jurassic than paying a return visit to either A Clockwork Orange or Rocky Horror, but an after-hours screening of a 35mm Falcon would certainly do a body good. I'll see if I can't rattle David Elliott's cage. If memory serves, he's a fan of the old black-and-white creaker.

Friday, June 24 & Saturday, June 25: Hobo With a Shotgun

Saturday, July 2: Jurassic Park

Saturday, July 09: A Clockwork Orange

Saturday, July 16: The Rocky Horror Picture Show – With “Crazed Imaginations” Shadow Cast

Saturday, July 23: The Maltese Falcon

Saturday, July 30: The Big Lebowski

Saturday, August 6: Back to the Future

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Comments

Joaquin_de_la_Mesa June 22, 2011 @ 11:39 a.m.

I'd never heard of Hobo With a Shotgun. The poster is 12 kinds of awesome. I might have to go see it.

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Colonna June 23, 2011 @ 6:30 a.m.

Sh-tberg produced films like "Jur-ass-ic" and "Back To The Futile" now qualify as "midnight movies"? WTF?

"Dogtooth" - now THERE's a midnight movie waiting to happen!

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