It occurs to me that many of the DVD/Download generation might not understand exactly what makes a midnight movie so special. They weren't even born before – though, some might have been conceived during – The Rocky Horror Picture Show. To them, a midnight movie is what one falls asleep on while drooling on the couch.
But not at Dances With Films! We like to do The Time Warp, complete with pelvic thrust, back to an era of Eraserhead, John Waters, and all those who love the creatures of the night. From Beasts, Blood and Boobs, to Booze & Boobs comedies, the Dances With Films midnight movies have an outrageous reputation. So, for the uninitiated, here are some ground rules for the care and feeding of a good midnight movie.
First, sobriety is not required. We would go so far as to say not recommended, but we don't want to get in trouble with Mothers Against Everything. Seriously, do make sure you have cab fare, because the subway stops running around midnight – and you know your designated driver is going to cave when someone hands him or her a flask under the seats.
Re: drinking – keep in mind that you're going to be in a dark room watching bright images bounce around on a giant screen. (And yes, I did mean to say "bounce" after mentioning boobs twice already). If you're the type who is prone to motion sickness while under the influence – bring a leak-proof bag. None of the DWF volunteers wants to clean up after you, and we will make jokes about how you can't handle your liquor.
During regular hours, silence is appreciated. Not so after midnight. While it would still be rude to loudly talk to your friends about what a rotten guy your boyfriend is for not bringing a sick bag and vomiting all over your best slutty outfit, yelling at the screen to warn the hot chick in panties and a T-shirt not to go into the basement of a clearly haunted house is perfectly acceptable behavior. Please, though, try to keep your comments short, loud, and funny. No one wants to hear you babble incessantly through the entire film.
If someone is babbling incessantly through the entire film, you'll be considered a buzz-killing dweeb if you go get the manager to have the not-so-comical idiot removed. Instead, you should make even louder comments about the person's questionable parentage, or how their beer belly and body order are disturbing everyone's enjoyment of the film. For example: "Shut up, you fat, smelly, drunken bastard! No one paid to hear you run your mouth all night!"
If you are not the person who is talking incessantly – and let's hope you're not – nor the person who shouted him or her down, then it's your job to cheer on the person who did. Bullies can't stand it when the whole playground turns against them.
This brings me to another important point of etiquette for the midnight movie. Violence is considered the lowest of the low when it comes to bad behavior. Most midnight movie goers are geeks, freaks, and the occasional hot cheerleader looking to spice up her boring middleclass existence. None of them are interested in fighting, so if you are – remember – a crowd of people running away from you screaming, won't give you the same kind of rush you get from pounding your flesh into another man's body repeatedly until you both become too exhausted to carry on, and collapse arm-in-arm in a heap of spent manhood.
Finally, the most important rule of any midnight movie: The Screen Is Sacred!
Sure, go ahead and pour a bucket of popcorn on your friend's head, that'll clean up easily – but don't ever, EVER, throw anything toward the screen! That is our altar of worship, and it's really friggin' expensive. If you fuck it up, the midnight movie experience will be dead to all of us – and it will be on your head! Do you really want to be remembered as the douche bag who ruined it for everyone else?
No? I didn't think so.
So... Don't fight. Don't mess up the theatre. Do have more fun than should be legal. Obey the Golden Rule, and I'll see you at the Q & A.