Company Spotlight: MGM Midnite Movies

One of my earliest DVD collecting memories took place in 2002 when MGM released Deranged/Motel Hell, Last House on the Left, and Return of the Living Dead all on the same day.  That's right, August 27th was serious business for us horror-nerds.

The first title was part of the MGM Midnite Movies line, a series of DVD's dedicated to all things horror, camp, and cult.  While the extras were a bit on the bleak side I was impressed by the overall package, pairing one of my favorites from Joe Bob Briggs' Monstervision with a seldom talked about Gein inspired film(sportin' the tag line "Pretty Sally Mae Died a very unnatural Death, but the worst hasn't happened to her yet!")  The packaging was nice, the price was even better.  DVD's still weren't cheap in 2002 but with this purchase I was only really paying around $7 per movie.  There were more Midnite Movie releases out there and I knew I had to get my hands on them!

The line started on VHS and while this will focus mostly on their DVD output it is important we start there.  MGM begin to focus on this line in 1999 with a number of VHS releases, a handful of these titles would eventually find their way onto DVD via the Midnite Movie line while the rest would eventually be offered up as "Burn on Demand" fodder or just as some random re-release down the road.  Some of the most notable VHS releases were The Quarter Mass Xperiement, Burn With Burn, Conqueror Worm, and The Incredible Melting Man.

The company would trickle out more VHS releases in this series until 2001 when MGM would drop the VHS portion of the line and focus primarily on DVD releases beginning with The Abominable Doctor Phibes, The Pit and The Pendulum, The Fall of the House of Usher, and Killer Klowns from Outer space.  Most of their focus was on singular title's from their film library that hadn't had a proper DVD release.  In 2002 they introduced the double feature into the line, at first this they concentrated  on exclusively new titles like Motel Hell/Deranged, The Masque of Red Death/The Premature Burial, and Beach Blanket Bingo/How to Stuff a Wild Bikini.  It wasn't until later on that they would pair past single releases together, to this day most of their output can be purchased as double features, so unless you're an avid collector it's always wise to go that route.

From that point most of the Midnite Movies released would be in double feature from.  They would also go on to release a handful of themed box sets usually containing around four movies, the box sets offered nothing new and were made up of past releases. 

The releases were pretty steady throughout the years and eventually a few changes were made to the series.    The first was the use of single discs instead of flippers for their double features, this was a very welcome change.

The next change was with the design on the spine.  This was a minor one but certainly noticeable if you've got a fairly large collection.

As many of you know MGM would go on to file bankruptcy and eventually their assets went to a few different companies.  From that point onward 20th Century Fox would distribute the series.  This pretty much killed the line as their last big pouring of releases was in 2007.

After that year things had gone silent.  Rumors floated around about new releases, but nothing was proven to be true until 2011 when Fox released four new sets under the Midnite Movies title.  These were nothing special, just themed sets feature four previous releases.

That was the last of it and it's very likely we will see a true return to form with the Midnite Movie series, though I'm sure more four-packs aren't out of the question.  
MGM certainly had a vault of titles many of which had yet to be released and maybe had things turned out differently we would have finally seen The Video Dead or a Willard/Ben double feature, who knows.  Shout Factory has since picked up the slack releasing a number of former MGM titles in their Scream Factory line.

Midnite Movies was and still is one of my favorite lines to collect.  It's a very eclectic bunch of films ranging from the absurd to the demented.  They gave us easy access to a number of Empire, AIP, Amicus, and horror productions.  They weren't quite a horror fan's wet dream but they were pretty damn close.  It's also worth mentioning that they look damn nice sitting together on a shelf.

For the curious and the completists I've scoured the net and tried to compile the most comprehensive list I could.  If I'm missing anything please leave a comment so I can update it.

(Alphabetic order)
1. The Angry Red Planet
2. Attack of the Puppet People
3. Beach Party
4. Bikini Beach Party
5. The Brain that Wouldn't Die
6. A Bucket of Blood
7. Burn Witch Burn
8. Comedy of Terrors
9. The Conqueror Worm
10. Count Yorga, Vampire
11. Cry of the Banshee
12. The Cycle Savages
13. Die Monster Die!
14. Dr. Phibes Rises Again
15. The Dunwich Horror
16. Frogs
17. Haunted Palace
18. Highschool Hellcats
19. How to Stuff a Wild Bikini
20. I Bury the Living
21. Invasion of the Bee Girls
22. The Incredible Melting Man
23. It! Terror From Beyond Space
24 Jesse James meets Frankenstein's Daughter
25. Killer Klowns From Outer Space
26. Konga
27. The Man From Planet X
28. Master of the world
29. Pajama Party
30. The People that Time Forgot
31. Phantom Planet
32. Quatermass Xperiment
33. The Return of Count Yorga
34. Scream and Scream Again
35. Strange Invaders
36. Tales of Terror
37. Tentacles
38. Thunder Alley
39. The Amazing Transparent Man
40. The Vampire Lovers
41. Village of the Giants
42. The Wild Angels

(Ordered by Release Date)
43. Abominable Dr. Phibes
44. Attack of the Puppet People
45. Die Monster Die
46. Dr. Phibes Rises Again
47. The Man From Planet X
48. The Wild Angels
49. Beach Blanket Bingo
50. Donovan's Brain
51. Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine
52. The Fall of the House of Usher
53. The Pit and the Pendulum
54. The Thing with Two Heads
55. Village of the Giants
56. X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes
57. The Beast Within
58. Count Yorga, Vampire
59. Dunwich Horror
60. Invaders From Mars
61. The Island of Dr. Moreau
62. It! The Terror From Beyond Space
63. Mars Needs Women
64. The Monster That Challanged The World
65. Planet of the Vampires
66. Reptilicus
67. Theatre of Blood
68. Twice Told Tales
69. Killer Klowns From Outer Space
70. Creepy Classic Collection
-Dunwich Horror
-Fall of the House of Usher
-The Pit and the Pendulum
-X: The Man with X-Ray Eyes
71. At Earth's Core
72. Angry Red Planet
73. Empire of Ants
74. I Bury The living
75. Morons From Outer Space
76. The People That Time Forgot
77. Strange Invaders
78. War Gods From the Deep
79. The Attic/Crawl Space
80. Deranged/Motel Hell
81. Masque of Red Death/Premature Burial
82. Oblong Box/Scream and Scream Again
83. What's the Matter with Helen/Whoever Slew Auntie Roo
84. Angels Unchained/Cycle Savages
85. Cry of the Banshee/Murders in the Rue Morgue
86. Invisible Invaders/Journey to the Seventh Planet
87. Muscle Beach Party/Ski Party
88. Psyche-Out/The Trip
89. Comedy of Terrors/The Raven
90. Countess Dracula/The Vampire Lovers
91. Haunted Palace/Tower of London
92. Tomb of Ligeia/An Evening with Edgar Alan Poe
93. Abominable Dr. Phibes/Dr. Phibes Rises Again
94. Attack of the Puppet People/Village of Giants
95. Beach Party Bingo/How to Stuff a Bikini
96. Beach Party/Bikini Beach
97. Count Yorga, Vampire/Return of Count Yorga
98. Empire of the Ants/Tentacles
99. Fall of the House of Usher/Pit and the Pendulum
100. Ghost of Dragstip Hollow/Ghost in the Invisible Bikini
101. The Incredible Two Headed Transplanet/Thing with Two Heads
102. Invasion of the Star Creatures/Invasion of the Bee Girls
103. Land The Time Forgot/People that Time Forgot
104. The Monster that Challenged the World/It!
105. Strange Invaders/Invaders From Mars
106. Theatre of Blood/Mad House
107. The Wild Angels/Hell's Belles
108. Wild in the Streets/Gas-s-s
109. Die, Monster, Die!/Dunwich Horror
110. Panic in Year Zero/The Last Man On Earth
111. Tales of Terror/Twice Told Tales
112. Voodoo Island/The Four Skulls of Jonathon Drake
113. War Gods of the Deep/At Earth's Core
114. Fireball 500/Thunder Alley
115. The Mini-Skirt Mob/Chrome and Hot Leather
116. Morons From Outer Space/Alien From LA
117. Food of the Gods
118. Witchfinder General
119. The Beast Within/The Bat People
120. A Blue Print For Murder/Man in the Attic
121. The Chosen Survivors/The Earth Dies Screaming
122. Devils of Darkness/Witchcraft
123. Gorilla at Large/Mystery on Monster Island
124. House on Skull Mountain/The Mephisto Waltz
125. Phantom From 10,000 Leagues/The Beast with a Million Eyes
126. Return of Dracula/The Vampire
127. Tales from the Crypt/Vault of Horror
128. Yongary, Monster from the Deep/Konga
129. Vincent Price: Scream Legend collection*
-The Abominable Dr. Phibes/Dr. Phibes Rises Again-Tales of Terror/Twice Tales
-Theatre of Blood/Mad House-Witchfinder General
130. Midnite Movies Vol. 1: Monsters & Creatures
-Chosen Survivors/Earth Dies Screaming
-Food of the Gods
-Gorilla at Large/Mystery on Monster Island
-Phantom From 10,000 Leagues/The Beast with a Million Eye
131. Midnite Movies Vol. 2:Vampires & Witchcraft
-Devils of Darkness/Witchcraft
-House on Skull Mountain/Mephisto Waltz
-The Return of Dracula/The Vampire
-Witchfinder General
132. Midnite Movies: 4 Movies Set 1
-The Land that Time Forgot
-The People that Time Forgot
-Panic in Year Zero
-The Last Man On Earth

133. Midnite Movies: 4 Movies Set 2
-Morons From Outer Space
-Alien From LA
-The Man From Planet X
-Angry Red Planet
134. Midnite Movies: 4 Movies Set 3
-Phantom From 10,000 Leagues
-The Beast with a Million Eyes
-War Gods of the Deep
-At Earth's Core
135. Midnite Movies: 4 Movies Set 4
-Strange Invaders
-Invaders From Mars
-Invisible Invaders
-Journey to the Seventh Planet

*The Vincent Price set wasn't released under the "Midnite Movies" Moniker but featured the same double feature sets.