Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Haunted Cinema

"Nothing could be more mysterious or forbidding to the uninitiated than an old movie palace laid waste by years or even decades of neglect at the hands of absentee landlords and mercenary owners determined to suck every last dime out of a joint and then torch it for the insurance money. And once a theatre slipped into the twilight of exhibiting XXX hardcore porn, it rarely slipped out again. In most cases nothing was ever upgraded, and even the most basic repairs were a rarity. Broken chairs were left where they collapsed, burned-out light bulbs were never replaced, and even the life-blood of the enterprise, the movie projectors, turned into rat's nests of filth, while up in the restrooms a witches' brew of slime bubbled away in plugged-up toilets. This attitude of radical laissez faire imbued these environments with a certain frozen-in-time ambiance as the architectural remnants of Depression-era grandeur slowly sank into appalling decay and unimaginable things took place in the darkness."

-From Jack Stevenson's brilliant article on the decline of movie theaters: