“Time Warp: The Greatest Cult Films Of All Time: Volume 1” Enjoyably Tackles Midnight Madness


I’m a sucker for documentaries about cinema. There’s just something about a doc looking inward on its own medium that compels me. Perhaps it’s just the cinephile in me, yearning to learn as much as possible about as many films as possible? That’s a possibility, but it also could just be how fun they tend to be. The new documentary series Time Warp: The Greatest Cult Films of All Time, is definitely an example of that. Dropping tomorrow, part one of the three part series, Time Warp: The Greatest Cult Films of All Time Part I – Midnight Madness, dives into just what makes a midnight movie, why they’re so special, and how a cult of fandom has formed around so many of them. It’s a deeply enjoyable experience that I recommend highly for fans of the genre.

The film is a documentary, part one of three in the Time Warp: The Greatest Cult Films of All Time series, centering on the allure of cult cinema. This time around, the focus is on midnight movies. The official synopsis is as follows: “From “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” to “The Big Lebowski” and everything in between, this fascinating deep-dive documentary begins its celebration of the greatest cult movies of all-time discussing the birth of the midnight movie.” The basic set up is that various cult films are discussed, mostly by talking heads, with clips interspersed. Periodically, the doc cuts to hosts of sorts in Joe Dante, Ileana Douglas, Kevin Pollak, and John Waters, so who discuss a few of the movies, before getting back to the segments. The Rocky Horror Picture Show and The Big Lebowski kick things off, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg, as plenty of other titles are given the honor, across a multitude of genres, including The Decline of Western Civilization, Foxy Brown, Pink Flamingos, This is Spinal Tap, and more. Danny Wolf directs, with some of the folks on screen discussing the flicks include the likes of Peter Bogdanovich, Jeff Bridges, Gary Busey, Fran Drescher, Jeff Goldblum, Pam Grier, Michael McKean, Rob Reiner, Penelope Spheeris, John Turturro, and more.

This doc may not teach any film scholar anything new, but there’s a lot of fun to be had in watching so many people wax poetic about these types of works. If you’re at all into The Rocky Horror Picture Show, for example, that title gets some of the most fawning praise. There does seem to be a rush towards the end to fit as much as possible into volume one, but they do also leave you wanting more, which is a plus. Even if you’re on the fence about this series, by the end, you’ll be curious enough to go forward into the next installment.

Time Warp: The Greatest Cult Films of All Time Part I – Midnight Madness does have a flaw, and it’s in the editing. As much as Joe Dante, Ileana Douglas, Kevin Pollak, and John Waters are an interesting quartet to pair together, they rarely bring much to the table and just slow the pacing down. Dropping them would take nothing away from the rest of the flick. In fact, the documentary would be leaner and arguably better for it. Either that or commit more to them discussing each title before the segment begins. The scattershot approach is inconsistent and brings things down, just a bit.

Tomorrow, anyone interested in a really enjoyable documentary should check out Time Warp: The Greatest Cult Films of All Time Part I – Midnight Madness. These are movies that deserve to be discussed seriously, and that’s done here, though always with a fun sense of love. I really enjoyed this and can even vouch for the next two parts, which hit in May and June, respectively. Stay tuned for more on those when they drop, but for now, give this one a shot tomorrow, especially if you’re a genre buff…

Be sure to check out Time Warp: The Greatest Cult Films of All Time Part I – Midnight Madness, On Demand and on Digital tomorrow!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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