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Photograph: Jessica Lin

Midnight movies in NYC: Where to watch late-night films

There are plenty of early-hours viewing options in this late-night city. Here's where to watch midnight movies in NYC.

By Marley Lynch
Want to partake in the timeless tradition of communal witching-hour viewing? These cinemas offer midnight movie screenings of retro flicks, cult classics, musicals and more.

Nitehawk Cinema

Movie theaters Independent Williamsburg

This movie-house-cum-restaurant presents Nitehawk Retro Midnites every weekend, organized into monthly themes like Mods, Rockers & Punks, which focuses on music and culture between 1964 and 1984. Several additional series take place one weekend per month: Live Sound Cinema (which pairs experimental films like Santa Sangre with live scores), Nitehawk Naughties (for salacious pictures like Showgirls) and Nitehawk Nasties (dedicated to gruesome flicks such as Cannibal Ferox). Fri, Sat; $11, Live Sound Cinema $16. Times vary, check website for exact schedule.

Landmark's Sunshine Cinema

Movie theaters Independent Lower East Side

Sunshine at Midnight has been running for more than a decade at this LES gem, drawing a notoriously loud, raucous crowd of nerds, nostalgists and stoned college kids. The breadth of films is diverse, encompassing NYC odes (Manhattan), sci-fi and fantasy (Jurassic Park) and culty duds (The Room) dating from the ’60s through the present day. Just remember to book ahead online, as these showings often sell out. Fri, Sat midnight; $10.


IFC Center

Movie theaters Independent West Village

This superlative art house offers two concurrent weekend programs to choose from. Waverly Midnights reps a theme, director or actor; “Cage Heat,” for instance, included Nicolas Cage’s Leaving Las Vegas and Wild at Heart. For more classic early-hours fare, Late-Night Favorites presents old hits and perennial favorites like Taxi Driver and The Shining. Fri, Sat midnight; $13.50, seniors and students $9.50, members $8.50.

Clearview Chelsea

Movie theaters Multiplex Chelsea

Join a late-night crowd of Transylvanian transvestites for the gloriously campy The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which has been screened in New York’s midnight movie theaters since 1976 (this is the tenth year at this Manhattan multiplex). The screening is accompanied by the usual floor show, in which ten costumed cast members act out the wildly popular film as it plays. Expect bawdy heckles, scantily clad moviegoers dancing in the aisles and flying rice during the wedding scene. It’s not unusual for toilet paper and other items to be thrown at the screen. Fri, Sat midnight; $9.


Spectacle Theater

Movie theaters Independent Williamsburg

This volunteer-run cinema has a motto for when the clock strikes midnight: “Get weird tonight, stay weird forever!” That should give you an idea of the types of flicks on offer, from obscure horror movies and straight-to-video features to rarely seen finds dug up by dedicated staffers. Many of the screenings get exclusive intros: Director Glen Coburn recorded one about his ’80s alien sci-fi parody Blood Suckers from Outer Space just for this theater. Fri, Sat midnight; $5.

Photograph: Moviestore Collection/Rex

The Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center

Movie theaters Upper West Side

The Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Midnight Movies series offers sci-fi, thriller and sundry cult selections every Friday through the fall. The selections—which have included John Carpenter’s special-effects showcase The Thing and his absurdist kung fu caper Big Trouble in Little China—should satisfy serious gorehounds, vintage-horror buffs and SFX enthusiasts alike. Fri 11:59pm; $13, seniors and students $9, Film Society members $8.


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