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December 15, 2009

FMWL Presents: The Top 10 Future Midnight Movies of the 2000s!

Welcome back to From Midnight With Love's look at the Future Midnight Movies of the 2000s. Last night I posted lists of movies that nearly made this top 10 based on their impact, fanbase, or simply my preference. Tonight we get to the big dogs. These are the 10 movies from the 2000s that I think will have the biggest impact on midnight cinema of the future.

10. Bubba Ho-Tep
The cult star of our generation lives on! That's right, THE Bruce Campbell made a triumphant return to the big screen in 2002 with an assist from a great story by Joe Lansdale and the cinematic eye of Phantasm creator Don Coscarelli. The story of an aging Elvis, accompanied by and aging and now darker JFK, fighting a retirement home mummy sounded too good to be true. But, it was true, and it won viewers over from a cult standpoint and a dramatic standpoint.

Looking back now, Bubba Ho-Tep is still as fresh as it was when it first hit the scene. Campbell has made a couple more cult flicks like last year's self-effacing My Name is Bruce, but this stands out as the film that really put him back on the map for a new generation of cult horror fans. While it'll never approach the level of mayhem his Evil Dead films inspire in fans, Bubba Ho-Tep will clearly live on as a latter masterpiece in Campbell's filmography. I almost said it'll serve as his final masterpiece, but I'll never sell The King short.

9. A Scanner Darkly
In cinephile sects, Richard Linklater is one of the most revered indie darlings you'll find. But in 2006, with an assist from the short-lived Warner Independent Pictures, Linklater's animated adaptation of a Philip K. Dick novel seemed to hit bigger with sci-fi fans than the critic community. The film has slipped out of the spotlight in a lot of decade end discussions, but I've got a hunch that Linklater's film is one of the sleeper midnight hits for the future.

First of all, the names involved should keep A Scanner Darkly in people's minds. It's led by a cast of Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey Jr., Woody Harrelson, and Winona Ryder that should keep it in the eyes of mainstream viewers, and I've already mentioned that Linklater has his fans. Moreover, adaptations of Dick stories, minus Impostor, have a great track record of staying around, and this one is as powerful as any of them have been. I see no reason that sci-fi fans won't keep it on a similar pedestal to the likes of Minority Report, if not Total Recall or Blade Runner.

8. American Psycho
Christian Bale is officially a big star, even if he's to the point that he's getting overshadowed by co-star's deaths and onset blow-ups. And with every big star, there's always a beginning. Some point all the way back to his childhood work in Spielberg's Empire of the Sun or the kiddie musical Newsies, but for today's horror and cult crowd, American Psycho is the place to be.

Aside from Bale (and a supporting cast that includes Reese Witherspoon and Willem Dafoe), American Psycho maintains relevance as a social commentary from the eyes of its psychotic main character. It's got memorable scenes of blood and gore, but has a lot of thought behind it that's borrowed from Bret Easton Ellis' novel. In fact, there are even in depth academic essays about the film's importance after less than ten years. While I'm not the film's biggest fan, I can't deny its importance as a future midnight mainstay.

7. Dog Soldiers
This is most likely wishful thinking on my part, but I'm not letting Neil Marshall's debut, accurately billed as "Jaws, Aliens, and Predator with a werewolf twist" on the DVD jacket", fade away. One of the few horror films of the decade to use practical effects (MEN IN SUITS!), Marshall's Dog Soldiers is a non-stop thrill ride that deserves comparison to the best creature features of all-time.

There's not a lot going for Dog Soldiers so far in the race to midnight immortality, with Marshall's follow-ups The Descent and Doomsday faring poorly in the US, despite critical success in the horror community. It has no big names, though star Kevin McKidd has made his presence in the video game world through the Modern warfare series. But I'm putting on the list because it deserves attention, and I believe in a future where this one overcomes its crappy DVD release and where Marshall becomes a big name in genre cinema. Because it flipping rocks.

6. Snakes on a Plane
If you've been on the internet for a while, you may have helped shape this movie. I think it's safe to say no movie has taken over the internet hype machine like Pacific Air 121....err, wait that's not what the fans want....SNAKES ON A PLANE.

This movie needs no introduction. Samuel L. Jackson agreed to do the movie on the title alone. Internet buzz got the filmmakers to reshoot for an R-rating, and add the iconic line uttered in the scene pictured above. Despite the fact about a third of the people that raved about the idea on the internet actually went to see it, there's no doubt in my mind Snakes on a Plane has a place as one of the midnight movies of the future, because Samuel L. Jackson motherflippin' says so.

5. Sin City
Another film that generated big buzz and not so big numbers, Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller's (oh, and Quentin Tarantino's) Sin City is the midnight comic adaptation of the decade. With a cast full of stars and the mixture of Miller's visual style and Rodriguez' eye for violence, Sin City has all the tools to stay relevant in the future.

One of the hardest things to determine when making this list was how to grade the films of Tarantino and Rodriguez. I already talked about Grindhouse in my last post, and the debate between that film, this one, and Tarantino's Kill Bill films was vicious in my head. In the end, Sin City best fit what I consider a midnight film, and I went with it as one of the midnight hits of the future. More on those Kill Bill flicks in a bit.

4. Repo! The Genetic Opera
Easily one of the biggest surprises to hit me this decade, Darren Lynn Bousman's Repo! The Genetic Opera is probably the most qualified midnight movie of the decade. The horror-musical already has been playing midnight shows across the country since its release, and its cult is already established, in short, this is The Rocky Horror Picture Show for a new generation.

It'll be interesting to see this movie grow with time, because I don't think it's entirely made its name yet. But I foresee big things for the collaboration between director Bousman and creators Terrance Zdunich and Darren Smith, and think the popularity of Repo! will last a lot longer than many of us ever expected.

3. Donnie Darko
I talked briefly of this film in my recent review of The Box, and want to make it clear that I'm not one of the biggest fans of the film about Mr. Darko. However, I can't deny the following it's gained.

In the 8 years since its release, Donnie Darko has already seen one revival, and has inspired endless conversation among its fans. It got Jake Gyllenhaal started on the path to stardom, and director Richard Kelly continues to make his mark as an auteur of the abstract. The film's foreboding imagery and flexible interpretations should keep it alive among thinking cult filmgoers (maybe that's my thinking!) for many years to come.

2. Serenity
Joss Whedon's cinematic follow-up to his brilliant yet brutalized TV series is a thing of beauty. And in the sci-fi 'verse of the 2000s, it reigns supreme.

The cult following was built before the movie even arrived, but Serenity didn't stop there. New fans were born (I'm one of 'em!), and they made new fans (My mom's one of 'em!), and they made new fans (My mom's coworkers are...well, you get the idea....). Anytime one of the cast members appears on a TV show or in a film, a lot of people call them by their character name. Fan fiction and artwork are all-over the internet, and petitions for more from the crew of the firefly-class ship are constantly being e-signed. To paraphrase the Captain, ain't no power in the 'verse that can stop them. Except.....

A Special Announcement from The Mike
So, about those Kill Bill movies...They aren't Number One on this list. In fact, I didn't list them at all. Why's that, you ask? first I forgot about them. But then when I did realize my error, I thought and I thought and...well, I don't think they meet the criteria I'm going for here. First of all, they're bigger mainstream successes than the other movies I've listed in my eyes. Secondly, it's a double feature that doesn't really fit the criteria I think of as a midnight movie. I almost listed Kill Bill Part One on its own, as the shorter, gorier, less dramatic part of the tale...but I wasn't comfortable listing it alone without the second part. Thus, Quentin Tarantino's magnificent Kill Bill saga, which would probably make my list of the 10 most relevant movies of the decade...does not make my list of the top midnight movies of the decade. Feel free to disagree (peacefully) in the comments below.

1. Shaun of the Dead

I never expected this movie to be as popular as it is, but I couldn't be happier. Even if the majority of its fans don't understand the significance of "We're coming to get you Barbara!", it's safe to say that Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost brought the zombie film into the new millennium and made sure it would stick around.

The odds are that anything I could say about this film has already been said. So I'm gonna call it a night and let you make your own conclusions on why Shaun of the Dead is or is not THE Midnight Movie of the 2000s. Add your comments below, and I can't wait to see what the future has in store for these 10 movies!


Anonymous said...

Now I am in full agreement with a few of these picks, namely Bubba Ho-Tep, American Psycho, and Dog Soldiers, but I can't comment on the others because I haven't seen them.

I'd say Bubba was a movie everyone should have seen at a very poorly-lit crappy theater, as my brother and I did in January 2004. :D I have never seen a movie more suited to a small ragtag crowd of horror lovers as that one. The only thing good about watching it at home is watching it with the commentary track on. It's magical.

Box Office Boredom said...

I haven't seen, Scanner, American Psycho, Repo or Serenity. For me Linklater is hit or miss (mostly miss for me, but maybe I will give it a shot.) Psycho was just never my thing, and unlike our mutual friend Haley, I'm not the Easton Ellis fan.

Repo, I have heard good things, but I am probably the only non horror buff who reads your blog, and again- nothing I was super excited about seeing.

Serenity looked like some great sci-fi fun. It's the nerds that drool constantly over it's existence that have made me avoid it. They've almost built it up too much I'll be sadly disappointed one finally watching.

I do agree with your list though. You have some great flicks on there. I hate DARKO with a passion (possibly more than Boondock Saints) but I think you are correct in listing it for cult status.

All in, all nicely done Mikey!