Reel Late

The Neverending Story was better when I was a kid. The Luck Dragon seemed more believable, the Nothing more terrifying, and the young warrior, Atreyu, more heroic. But scrunched down in my seat at Capitol Hill's Egyptian Theatre at midnight, Junior Mints in hand, feet on the seat in front of me, I can feel a bit of that childhood tingle again. Film festivals are usually programmed with serious cineasts in mind. Late-night flicks, on the other hand, are ideal for people who get on their feet and applaud when Bruce Campbell, the star of Evil Dead 2, mounts a chain saw on his stump of an arm and quips, "Groovy!" Midnight movies, like midnight snacks, don't count: You can watch all the nutritious art films you want by day and still slink off to the Egyptian at the witching hour for 3D porn, no-budget science fiction, or Eraserhead for the 95th time. At the theater's midnight screening of Donnie Darko several months back (it now shows every Saturday at the Neptune Theatre in the University District), one enterprising youth came dressed in a menacing bunny outfit—an homage to Donnie's on-screen adversary. Midnight audiences follow different rules than the matinee crowd: You can shout, "Don't go into that barn!" without fear of being shushed, and at certain shows—like the Admiral Theater's Oct. 30 screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show—you can even throw rice.

Midnight movies are shown every Friday and Saturday at Egyptian Theatre (801 E. Pine St., 206-323-4978; $9, call for current lineup). Donnie Darko plays at midnight every Saturday at Neptune Theatre (1303 N.E. 45th St., 206-633-5545; $9). Rocky Horror plays Sat., Oct. 30, and the first Saturday of every month at Admiral Theater (2343 California Ave. S.W., 206-938-3456; $5). NEAL SCHINDLER

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