Monday, January 18, 2016

The Spectacle Theater: review

(Picture by Nicole Disser *)

If you're planning on visiting the SPECTACLE THEATER in Williamsburg, Brookyln, don't walk too fast as you head up (or down) South 3rd Street, because there's a slight chance you'll miss it. Looking like a store front church (with movie posters instead of sermon titles and a black paint job in place of something like a 'Zion Pentecostal Temple' logo), the Spectacle is a former bodega that was transformed into a 30-seat theater back in 2010 by a group of film fanatics. Staffed entirely by volunteers (and recently saved from oblivion by a successful Kickstarter campaign), this tiny theater boasts a decent-sized screen and a to-die-for program if you're into offbeat cinema.

Most important to this blog is their weekend midnight film schedule, with a different film offered each Friday and Saturday night. After 5 years of wanting to check this place out, I finally had to chance and took it on Saturday, January 16th. As part of their month-long "Best of Spectacle 2015" series, I attended the notorious 1973 necrophilia epic LOVE ME DEADLY. There were about 15 people in attendance (so the place was half full), and while it was a digital screening (the Spectacle rarely does film prints, although there was a 16mm screening of HG Lewis' 1964 classic TWO THOUSAND MANIACS! last summer), the whole aura of the place greatly enhances the viewing experience. With exposed pipes, one wall unpainted, poor lighting (although I sense it's intentional) and a coed restroom located behind the screen, the Spectacle reminded me of a cross between a basement home theater and one of the sleazier cinemas during 42nd Street's heyday...but I don't say "sleazy" here as in gross: at the Spectacle the sleaze is clean fun (if that makes any sense?) and the crowd I shared the theater with at this particular screening was a lively bunch, which usually enhances an exploitation film. There's no snack bar, but some in attendance brought their own so I'll assume the theater doesn't frown upon outside goodies (just be cool and take your trash with you. And maybe bring something for the person manning the projection booth).

At just $5 a ticket (which are sold about 30 mins before each screening--no advanced sales) you basically can't go wrong. Located just a few blocks away from the Nitehawk Cinema, the Spectacle is a welcome addition to what continues to be the coolest area in the city. Here's hoping their midnight movie program stays afloat for a long time to come.
-Nick Cato

For showtimes and more info, visit their site at Spectacle Theater

The Spectacle's "S" logo "burns" on the screen between screenings.

The MIDNIGHT GRIND crew arrived early to check out the digs. In the back is the projectionist (whose name I regret not getting) who was very welcoming and thanked everyone for coming. You don't get that at a theater every day...

( * Picture at top of page originally appeared here: Bedford + Bowery)

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