Movie theaters have gone through almost as many changes as the medium itself: traveling roadshows, circus sideshows, movie palaces, grindhouses, multiplexes, mega-multiplexes. But one thing (almost) always stays the same: You are sitting in an enclosed area, watching an illuminated screen. Advances in technology and human ingenuity have changed that, and we have found six examples of the most unique movie viewing experiences you are likely to find. Road trip anyone?
Location: Hollywood, California
About: One of the oldest cemeteries in Los Angeles, Hollywood Forever is the final resting place of Fay Wray, Vampira, Dee Dee and Johnny Ramone, Douglas Fairbanks, Cecil B. DeMille, Peter Lorre, and many more - even the little dog that played Toto. During the summer, the public is invited to bring picnics and blankets and enjoy a film projected on the side of a mausoleum.
What We Want to See There: Pretty much any horror movie is instantly more awesome in a cemetery. A few top picks: Night of the Living Dead, Cemetery Man, Pet Sematary.
Theater: Alamo Drafthouse
Location: Austin, Texas
About: We talk about the Alamo Drafthouse a lot here on FEARnet, and with good reason: they are awesome. Serving gourmet food and beer, with a no-tolerance policy for annoyances like cell phone conversations, the Drafthouse is a movie lover's paradise. You can catch new releases there, but the shining stars are revivals, filmmaker talks, and themed screenings like "Terror Tuesdays" or "Weird Wednesdays" or "Hecklevision," one of the few times you are encouraged to whip out your phones and text during the movie - heckle-texts play on screen alongside the crap classic of the night. The Drafthouse even has a Rolling Roadshow, like the traveling roadshow films of yore.
What We Want to See There: I'm not sure what hasn't played there yet, but it seems to be the last American grindhouse. Cannibal Holocaust, the Ilsa movies, and anything by H.G. Lewis seem to fit the bill.
Theater: Tampa Theatre
Location: Tampa, Florida
About: Built in 1926 by famed theater architect John Eberson, and done up to look like a Mediterranean courtyard, the Tampa Theatre was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. The crowning jewel of this elaborate movie palace is the Mighty Wurlitzer a theater organ that boasts about 1,400 pipes. Pre-show entertainment accompanies most screenings.
What We Want to See There: Silent classics like Nosferatu, Phantom of the Opera, or The Cabinet of Dr. Calgari.
Theater: Red Rocks
Location: Just outside Denver, Colorado
About: Better known as a concert venue, Red Rocks holds a summer film series that includes live musical performances. It is the only naturally-formed amphitheater in the world, with two, 300-foot tall sandstone monoliths creating perfect acoustics.
What We Want to See There: Remote desert scares like Tremors, The Hills Have Eyes, and Wolf Creek.
Theater: Silent Cinema at Flacon Design Factory
Location: Moscow, Russia
About: A former glass factory turned business and art space, Flacon offers outdoor screenings of indie, art, and exhibition films. As you can imagine, watching movies in a parking lot can be a little noisy. Silent Cinema only transmits the film audio into wireless headphones - no external speakers at all.
What We Want to See There: Head exploders like Scanners and Mars Attacks!.
Theater: Film on the Rocks Yao Noi
About: This floating theater experience was built for a film festival, and 2012 was its debut year. Set in an archipelago, the seats are built on a large raft, loosely anchored so as to maintain a good view of the screen, but not so much that you can't feel the shift and the sway of the ocean. The enormous screen is more secure. From the website: "Dictated by nature, the screenings will be informed by the tides, the activities will embrace Yao Noi and her neighboring islands, whilst conversation will stem from interaction with the locale."
What We Want to See There: Ocean terrors like Jaws, Open Water, Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus (this one mostly because I think it would be ridiculous to see this garbage in such an amazing setting).