Midnight Monsters

It’s always midnight — somewhere.

The magical hour of midnight figures in a lot of classic stories. Cinderella’s magic expired at midnight. Why midnight? Because it’s magic — midnight is the tiny sliver between one day and the next. It’s the perfect time to set a pivotal moment in a story.

Even the word midnight is magical. It’s featured in tons of great movie and book titles — Midnight in Paris, Midnight Express, Midnight Cowboy… Twilight fans might not know that there’s an unreleased novel, a companion to Twilight, retelling the story from Edward’s point of view. It’s called Midnight Sun.

Having gone to the Land of the Midnight Sun when I was a child on a family vacation, I really like the title. My real life experience of nearly 24-hour sunlight was not completely happy. The mosquitoes were gigantic, the reindeer were molting and it was almost impossible to sleep. Still the word midnight is filled with both romance and menace. (And I don’t mean the menace of giant mosquito.)

Billy Wilder the writer/director famous for Double Indemnity, Witness for the Prosecution, Some Like it Hot and more, wrote the script for a 1939 movie titled Midnight. It starred Claudette Colbert, Don Ameche and John Barrymore. It’s a very silly romantic comedy with Cinderella overtones. It’s hard to resist the penniless girl pretending to be a baroness and trying not to fall in love with the taxi driver. (I said it was silly.)

On the menacing side, midnight is when MONSTERS come out to roam. Sunset may be a vampire alarm clock, but midnight is party time! And it’s always midnight — somewhere.


  1. The days get really long during the summers in Montana, but darkness does fill the sky from about 1030 at night until 430 in the morning. The imagery conjured by a midnight without darkness toy around with all sorts of reader expectations as well.

    • Candy

      There is something truly magical about the night falling slowly in summer. In cities, it feels like it is sneaking up on you. I have fond memories of outdoor cafes in Berlin. Unlike New York, the ambient light (pollution) there is subtle and it always seemed to go from a long twilight to real darkness without me catching the moment of change. Last summer I sat on the beach in Brighton (Brooklyn) the sunset of one of the super moon (perigee moons) and it was truly beautiful. I could see lights of Coney Island further down the beach, but the MOON was the star of the show.

      I’ve been thinking about the trip my family took to Finland, Denmark and Sweden. It was a long, long time ago and, although it was not the midnight sun it was very close. Not a hospitable place for creatures of the night.

  2. I’m a winter person so the thought of an endless summer ‘night’ with no darkness is not appealing! Besides, wasn’t midnight called the ‘witching hour’?