Late Night Picture Show

Clay Theatre hits its midnight stride

Midnight Mass, held at the Bridge Theatre, may be the sparkling, dressed-to-the-nines jewel in Landmark Theatres' cult-movie crown. But with a newly invigorated programming focus, the Clay's Late Night Picture Show (and its aimed-more-at-college-kids Berkeley equivalent, the Shattuck's Midnight Special) is also holding it down for folks who're willing to sacrifice their sleep in the name of offbeat cinema. Curated by the self-dubbed Late Night Picture Show Films Committee (among its members: Clay manager Chris Hatfield; Peaches Christ's alter ego, Joshua Grannell; and Late Night host Sam Sharkey), the series' spring 2007 edition featured after-hours classics like The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) as well as more esoteric choices, including a two-night run of Cannibal Holocaust (1980). For the upcoming fall season, the committee hopes to book Suspiria (1977) and (fingers crossed!) both the original and the remake of The Wizard of Gore (1970; 2007).

"In its mission statement, the Late Night Picture Show is more oriented towards classic cult films and more high-brow fare," Sharkey says. "We did Matthew Barney's Cremaster cycle [1995–2002] — films that we feel are important but don't necessarily get shown at midnight screenings."

While the programming definitely reflects a sense of fun (1985's Re-Animator, 1973's Enter the Dragon), the Late Night Picture Show offers a different filmgoing experience than Midnight Mass's signature antics. "Our original intentions were to screen interesting films that we find have more critical merit and could also appeal to that midnight crowd," Sharkey explains. "Additionally, instead of having a full preshow, we've had special guests and people that talk before the films. Like last fall, when we did Phantom of the Paradise [1974], we had Paul Williams in person, who wrote the music. We did The Monster Squad [1987], and we had all the kids from the cast appear. Barry Gifford, the author of the Wild at Heart book [Grove Press], was there when we did a weekend [of David Lynch films]. I was proud of that stuff that we were able to do with that, as far as getting important guests." (Cheryl Eddy)

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