“It started out as an affectionate homage to late-night movies, and ended being an affectionately embraced late-night movie,” director Jim Sharman would say of that thing called Rocky Horror. A decade ago, The Rocky Horror Show — later to be filmed as The Rocky Horror Picture Show — was little more than a perverse gleam in the eye of one “Ritz” O'Brien, it could be said that the phenomenon virtually began with something that had already become a cliche and a commonplace: the late-night picture show. Ever since theater exhibitors got the idea of putting on special programs at midnight — mainly diverse kinds of marginal exploitation fare, ideal for Halloween spook-a-thons or rowdy New Year's Eve bacchanals, but also suitable for certain minority tastes on ordinary weekend and weekday nights — a distinctive strain of subterranean moviegoing had developed, after hours and under wraps.
These are a few of the over 100 films discussed in Midnight Movies, a comprehensive and in-depth look at the subculture movies of the past decades. Here is the complete history of cult films, their makers, and their audience; an examination of how films become "midnight movies," and what keeps audiences coming back to see them over and over; an exploration of the connections between subversive film and the subcultures from which it emerges. Supplemented with a new afterward detailing the accommodation of midnight movies into the mainstream and speculating on the future of the genre, Midnight Movies is essential reading for anyone interested in the history and future of American cinema."