Synopsis by Nathan Southern
Stuart Samuels's popular documentary Midnight Movies: From Margin to Mainstream grounds itself in the thesis that six revolutionary American motion pictures - Night of the Living Dead (1968), El Topo (1970), Pink Flamingoes (1972), The Harder they Come (1972), The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) and Eraserhead (1976) - invented the concept of "midnight movies" and thus permanently reshaped the American film industry per se and the composition of the average U.S. film audience, creating a new "brand" of viewer. Samuels and his team tell the story of this odd subgenre as it evolved, peaked in popularity, and then faded gradually from view. The bulk of the picture consists of a myriad of interviews with the directors of these films per se (John Waters, Alejandro Jodorowsky, David Lynch, Perry Henzel, George Romero - Jim Sharman appears in archive footage only), cast members, theater owners who found their business reinvigorated by this trend, critics such as Roger Ebert who reflect on the era, and of course the films' fans. The documentary also features extended clips from the movies and period news footage about the rise in popularity of the said titles.