Tuesday, May 8, 2012

What is the 'Cheese? How do you define the 'Cheese?

What the heck is the Midnight Cheese all about? It's a poignant question for anyone to bring up and it might surprise you to learn that even I am sometimes at a loss to provide a satisfying answer. Simple in scope, the Midnight Cheese is my attempt to spotlight the kinds of films many people haven't heard of or perhaps haven't paid attention to. More than that it's a prismatic sphere, taking into itself all of the different media I've digested over the years (including the manner of ingestion) and projects out a rudimentary recalling of the experience. The point, dear reader, is a catfish hiding in muddy waters. With the 'Cheese's recent reanimation, I thought it might be interesting to brainstorm out exactly what the Midnight Cheese is supposed to be. Ride shotgun with me and let's see where this leads.

The Midnight Cheese is USA Up All Night; Gilbert Gottfried and a bowl of popcorn. The lights are out and I'm half hidden under a blanket. Anyone who could run to my aid in the case that the budget horrors depicted on the small screen came alive was fast asleep. I could never quite stay up all night, fading to slumber somewhere along the seven hours which this programming would keep night owls close company. My viewership began before I could even comprehend their edited safe for TV sexploitation films and ran well into my high school years. The films didn't matter. In point of fact this is likely the largest contributing factor to my future love affair with what norms consider "bad movies". I owe USA Up All Night more than one hug could ever convey to an unsuspecting Gilbert Gottfried.

The Midnight Cheese is seeing a 35mm film among a crowd. It's the imperfections inherent in watching a 35 year old 35mm print; The snaps; the crackles; the pops. Knowing that as I behold light blasted across celluloid at 24 frames per second that it's source is forever changed, however minusculely. There's an exchange taking places as it looses some of it's once illustrious luster to effect me and as part of our viewing leaves it's mark in return on the reel. To be shipped across country with nefarious plans it will impact even more malleable minds during it's lifespan. The communal laughter. The quiet agreement during the most terrible moments, that we've all steeled ourselves against, but are still secretly horrified of is all part of the enjoy and the spectacle.

The Midnight Cheese is The Sunday mornings with only the post cartoon-block shenanigans of The Three Stooges to usher us into an afternoon of Godzilla and Rodan. These two and more were our first cultural ambassadors, fascinating us with our own shame reflected back in movie form and enjoyed by those far too young to realize such a thing was amiss. Later, pulp of the silver screen would manifest itself in new clothing as Hercules the Legendary Journeys, Xena: Warrior Princess and The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. The campy and corny and exactly what I'd expect out of a rainy Sunday morning.

The Midnight Cheese is staying up well past bed time. In youth it was to catch a glimpse of that which was forbidden. At present it's to put off the responsibilities of adultdom just another hour- to take in one more movie. It's seeing the latest horror release at midnight on a Thursday, with work to contend with at the crack of dawn.

The Midnight Cheese is Exhumed Films' Horrorthon, willing the mind to stay awake, refusing to submit to the slowness of 4:30am. It's the communal joy of First Friday Fright Nights at the Colonial theatre, resplendent in it's 108 year old dressings. It's the ridiculousness of tiger man. It's the fun of Cult Cinema shows. It's laughing at The rediculousness of Black Angles, it's groaning in horror at Teenage Mother.

It's enjoyment of the simple. It's giving a pass to the flaws. It's laughter with friends.

It's corny and it's cheesy and it's me laid bare. Certainly, we've got something in common.

Welcome to midnight.


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