It shouldn’t strike many people odd that the newly revamped Silent Movie Theatre should scramble to reopen its doors the week of Halloween. Besides the obvious no-brainer of celebrating All Hallow’s through a revival of horror flicks, the theater, long rumored to be haunted and the scene of a gruesome murder for hire in years past, has its own personal tie-in to the macabre. So forgive them if the paint’s still a bit fresh and the concessions aren’t fully stocked when they open their doors this week, it’s all for the love of spectacle.
The Halloween madness in store for the theater’s reopening celebrates a theater completely revamped. The most important changes include a larger screen and a state of the art sound system. More space between rows has also been provided, and leather couches are available on a first come, first serve basis. An expanded concessions area will resemble more of a coffee shop atmosphere.
In addition to the transformation of the physical theater itself, the entire programming format is the subject of a makeover as well. When current owners Sammy and Dan Harkham purchased the theater in June 2006, they increased the previously scant silent movie screenings to once per week, while supplementing the theater’s income with special event rentals. Whereas this was a step in the right direction; the theater has now gone full revival house, with theme nights, double features, bonus clips and gasp … those newfangled movies with sound!
Owing its innovative new lineup to the newly formed CineFamily collective (comprised of the Harkham brothers along with Hadrian Belove of Cinefile Video), the theater aims to bring a wide range of genres to a community setting.
Seeking to woo a wider audience is an art in itself, according to Belove.
“I want the calendar to be like a mix tape to a girl you’re trying to impress,” he says. “You put some familiar hits on there, so you know you’re on the same wavelength. And maybe you also want to show that you know something a little bit more esoteric and at the same time to be really non-repetitive and show your range … [you’re] trying to show everything that’s positive about yourself.”
To purists who might be concerned with the theater’s motives, Belove has this to say: “For people that are concerned with us going away from the silent film tradition, we’re actually going to be showing as many, if not more silent films.”
For those regular patrons who require further reassurance, Wednesday nights will be dedicated to silent film with live accompaniment.
According to legend, previous owners reported that changes in the repertoire of films tended to bring about unruly ghostly activity. It remains to be seen whether the ghosts will be satisfied with this new lineup. But regardless of what the ghosts think; the living have a lot to revel in the new Silent Theatre.
Silent Movie Theatre is located at 611 North Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles. For more information, visit www.silentmovietheatre.com.
HALLOWEEN HAPS AT THE SILENT THEATRE:
Oct. 25: Hell’s Bells
A collection of bizarre and rare clips detailing heavy metal’s corruption of youth, performance by Diamondback Annie and a screening of Alice Cooper: Welcome to My Nightmare.
Oct. 26: Possession – Director’s Cut & U.S. Cut
Andrej Zulawski’s art house thriller coupled with it’s freakishly mutilated evil U.S. twin The Night the Screaming Stopped.
Oct. 27: Creature with the Atom Brain
Roky Erickson of the 13th Floor Elevators will present this 1955 B-movie classic followed by a book signing of Eye Mind: The Saga of Roky Erickson and the 13th Floor Elevators, The Pioneers of Psychedelic Sound.
Oct. 28: Sunday Night Asian Cinema Series
Oct. 29: Creature Double Feature! Pumpkinhead & Rawhead Rex
Oct. 30: Homophobia!
Jer Ber Jones hosts a night of horror movies laced with homosexual innuendo beginning with A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge and followed by Jeepers Creepers.
Oct. 31: Silent Scares
Halloween night festivities kick off with 1922 Danish silent horror oddity HÄXAN with Bob Mitchell on the organ.
Article posted on 10/23/2007
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