Throughout the sixties and seventies, when T.V. went off the air at maybe one in the morning, there was usually at least one local station that would close with a movie. These movies were often relatively strange and unpredictable pieces, suited to the void beyond midnight. I generally watched them alone with a low-light lamp to the side. This is how I first saw Carnival of Souls, Born to Kill, Diabolique and many others.

The night, the light, the films themselves, and the rest of the world out there somewhere in the dark: these viewings were a perfect match of environment, personal inclination, and film content.

It has occurred to me that this Dark Energy set-up is an attempt to recapture that mood. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more in tune with film than on those nights. Even now I watch under claustrophobic conditions designed for maximum immersion.

Of course, the search for the perfect viewing environment leads in different directions for different people. For many, it calls for engulfment by a huge screen with surround-sound - a powerful physical experience that sweeps you along. For me, the state of maximum immersion is achieved by sitting, with headphones, close to a small screen in a small room, the movie augmented by ghost voices from the periphery.

I should add that directors aren't crazy about people viewing their work this way. David Lynch and Martin Scorsese* have made emotional statements to this effect, and it's probably a sorry testimonial to my character that certain personal neuroses have been allowed to override the aesthetic preferences of these two heroes of film. On the the other hand, it says something for the quality of their work that, whether I view their films in a theater or on a computer, I walk away entranced.