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Flash Gordon: A Midnight Viewing Retrospective

The midnight movie is a huge cult phenomenon. Initially, the movies that were shown at midnight were low-budget, obscure movies that the general movie going public wasn’t really into. Then, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” happened and it changed the cultural landscape for midnight movies. After that pop cultural explosion, the movies shown at midnight became cult classic movies like “Evil Dead” or “Pink Flamingos”. It became more about kitschy, good natured fun. It may be hard to believe, but sometimes, theaters would screen movies that are in fact horrible movies. These are more commonly described as “so bad that it’s good”.

No, I don't want to think about how nasty these couches are, thank you very much.

“Flash Gordon” fits this description. So, two nights ago at midnight, I sat down at the Inwood Theater in Dallas and watched a midnight screening of perhaps my favorite bad movie of all time. There are several things that make this theater such a cool place to see a movie like this, the first of which is that I wasn’t sitting in a traditional movie seat. This theater (which is part of Mark Cuban’s Landmark Entertainment series) only has couches and beanbag chairs in it. While I acknowledge that a huge amount of gross stuff has probably happened on these couches, it is about as relaxing a way to watch a movie as is humanly possible.

I started to get a bit giddy as the familiar sounds of the Queen Flash Gordon theme kicked up prior to the movie starting. In fact, I started to live Tweet the entire experience. If you are into Twitter and want to give them a look, I’m under Chiccywood there. But that’s enough self-promotional whoring, let’s get on to the adventures of Flash, Zarkov, and that filthy slut Dale Arden.

As soon as Ming hit the earthquake key and the greatness of Queen blasted through the speakers, the entire theater got a case of the giggles. It was either the fact that we all recognized the cheesy greatness we were about to see or the definitely high probability that several of audience members were stoned out of their minds.

I’m not going to get into some sort of in-depth review of “Flash Gordon”. If you haven’t seen it by now, then you probably aren’t going to ever see it. Of course, if you really don’t plan on seeing it, I truly think less of you as a human being-type person. In fact, stop being on the Internet, go to iTunes or Netflix or what have you and watch “Flash Gordon”. Then, immediately come back to my blog (or visit me on my Twitter, have I mentioned it?) and finish reading this post. It will probably make you a better person.

There’s no doubt I would have made Kosmo Kramer proud as I did my own impromptu bootleg filming of a handful of scenes. The first of which is one of the greatest sequences ever committed to film. It’s up there with the Christening-murders scene from “The Godfather”. Of course, I’m talking about Flash playing football with Ming’s guards. Please try and overlook my idiotic giggling.

Pretty much the greatest picture I've ever taken.

So then a bunch of other stuff happens. You know, Flash gets executed then comes back to life, Timothy Dalton (who will be called T. Dalt from this point forward) calls that ridiculously hot Aura chick a “lying bitch” (then I laughed hysterically), the main hawkman guy says some way over the top nonsense, and Dale continues to prove that she is the easiest lay in the galaxy, as she’s ready to jump Flash after knowing him for all of 24 hours. I mean come on…what a floozy.

Oh jeez! I almost forgot. Flash and T. Dalt kill Klytus. It’s fantastic. It’s also the finest picture I took of the night.

So after all that awesome/ridiculous stuff is done, Flash and his new BFFs (the Hawkmen) attack. See, they need to stop Ming before he marries Dale…that whore. I mean, once she is married to him, it’s so over. Haven’t you ever heard the old expression?

“Once you go Max Von Sydow, you never go back.”

(I’m sorry.)

Of course, there’s really only one thing that can properly accompany a Flash Gordon-led Hawkmen attack on Ming City. More. Effing. Queen. Again…excuse my giggling, but do not overlook the fantastic delivery of “impetuous boy!”. It’s probably the greatest performance in movie history of a guy dressed up like a human hawk.

So yes, seeing “Flash Gordon” at midnight is probably the coolest thing you could ever do on a Friday night. Forget clubs, hipster bars, or any of that nonsense. Cheesy movies with a theater filled with 67% virgins is the way to go.

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