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Why Do We Flock to Midnight Movies? Time Warp Tries to Tell Us

This episode Jason talks to Danny Wolf, director of the documentary series Time Warp: The Greatest Cult Films of All Time, which viewers can view via several on-demand services including for rent and purchase on Amazon and Vudu. Through three feature-length episodes, the series explores the definition and finest examples of the cult film– essentially, films that find a dedicated audience, completely divorced from questions of box office and first-run attendance. The series, partly hosted by a panel made up of Joe Dante, Kevin Pollak, Illeana Douglas, and John Waters. It makes clear the original way to tell a cult film was by its midnight showings: Rocky Horror Picture Show set the standard for offbeat films that audiences would return to theaters and view at repertory theaters. But in fact, that "midnight movie" label is outdated, with many of the guest commentators remarking that their film found its cult through home video. Showgirls, a classic, 50s-style melodrama modernized with nudity and language, only caught on with audiences when they could safely watch it at home on disc.

Castle Talk Podcast logo and Time Warp poster used by permission.
Castle Talk Podcast logo and Time Warp poster used by permission.


What really sets the series apart is its abundance of primary interviews: we don't just have experts and superfans talking about famous cult films (though those are here, too), but we get the creatives themselves. We get to hear from Sid Haig and Rob Zombie talking about The Devil's Rejects, Ed Neal reminiscing about Texas Chainsaw Massacre on location at the house where the movie was made, Gina Gershon dishing about Showgirls, Jeff Goldblum re-familiarizing himself with Buckaroo Banzai. In fact, it's fun to see the endless parade of talking heads, including directors Martha Coolidge, Zombie, Rob Reiner, and Amy Heckerling, and performers like  Greg Sestero (The Room), Robert Davi (Showgirls), Jim Gaffigan (Super Troopers), Michael McKean (This Is Spinal Tap), Mike Judge (Office Space), Kevin Smith (Clerks), John Cleese (Monty Python and the Holy Grail), Bader Dietrich (Office Space), Fred Willard (Spinal Tap), Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite) and endlessly on. The series is broken into three topics: Volume 1 covers cult film as a general concept, Volume 2 covers horror and science fiction, and Volume 3 covers comedy and camp.

Check out the conversation with director Wolf:

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Jason Henderson is the host of the Castle of Horror and Castle Talk Podcasts, the editor of the Castle of Horror Anthology series, and the author of Quest for the Nautilus: Young Captain Nemo from Macmillan Children's Books. His new horror novel, under the pseudonym Peyton Douglas, The Book Man, debuted this summer.The_Book_Man_June_2

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Jason HendersonAbout Jason Henderson

Jason Henderson, author of the Young Captain Nemo (Macmillan Children's) and Alex Van Helsing (HarperTeen) series, earned his BA from University of Dallas in 1993 and his JD from Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law in Washington, D.C., in 1996. His popular podcasts “Castle Talk” and “Castle of Horror” feature interviews and discussion panels made up of best-selling writers and artists from all genres. Henderson lives in Colorado with his wife and two daughters.
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