Halloween at the New Beverly Cinema

Seems I’m going to the movies less and less these days. Why go when Netflix has better shows and you can watch from bed?

I used to go alone, it was a fun way to really relax for a bit and get lost in the theater. Funny thing is, once you start going to the movies by yourself, you start to see all these other people there alone too. It’s kinda like seeing someone drive your same car, you give them a wave because you’re on the same page, somehow. 

My girlfriend Patty was dying to see some classic horror films in the theater for Halloween, so we booked tickets for the New Beverly Cinema, owned by Quentin Tarantino.

This was the 3rd of 3 nights of Halloween festivities. On Friday night we went up to Joshua Tree to return to this small biker bar, Pappy and Harriet’s, to see the creepy creeps — A band dressed as all white gorillas playing punk music. This bar has gotten famous as of late as major LA acts occasionally come through to play it for fun. Paul McCartney was their last week, unannounced!

It was a mixed crowd of Joshua Tree locals and those up from LA to get away from the city. And everyone was in costume. Halloween is agnostic to age and seems to put everyone on the same ground. I took a few photos on my polaroid of some of the costume winners; a guy and his wife dressed up as the twins from the shining, and an older couple dressed up like John Travolta and Uma Thurman from Pulp Fiction. They were even dancing in the corner in the style of the famous dancing scene from the movie.

The creeps were followed by “White Rabbit,” a band dressed as nuns dancing in part lingerie with a lead singer who looked and acted like Lady Gaga.

Night two was your typical Halloween. A bar crawl through Santa Monica in which you saw many people dressed as emojis or navy men and women in short skirts. Like any major holiday, half of your night is waiting in line.

But our third evening was an old-fashioned Halloween evening. The Tarantino theater in West Hollywood is an experience from the past. And we did a date night to the movies for Rob Zombie’s “Halloween” double feature. 

The theater has been there since the late 1920’s and Tarantino is keeping everything just for the art of it. He grew up going to the theater with his parents as a kid, and before he bought the theater, he would just pay the owner the $5,000 rent per month just to keep him in business. Now that he owns it, the schedule is all classic movies, and everything has to be on film. Even the trailers are classic trailers and themed appropriately for the movie.

“As long as I’m alive, and as long as I’m rich, the New Beverly will be there, showing double features in 35mm” — Q. Tarantino
They keep the prices artificially cheap there. A kosher hot dog was only $2.50. We got a popcorn and two sodas. A host for the movies came out to greet you and prep you for the movie. No spinning popcorn intro’s or ads. Most everyone there seemed like a movie buff.

And that’s why Tarantino paid for it.

For us all to have this more simple experience to appreciate the way things were when we grew up. To preserve what he sees as the essence of cinema. 

Where does this motive live in a capitalist society? To prop up a dying theater simply to keep this feeling he had growing up alive. To keep to old customs. To enjoy movies from a simpler time?

I’m not saying it will last, but does everything have to change all of the time?

Do we get to benefit from the narrative of our lives to have no consistency?

Movies are a religion to some. To gather, to quote the verses from famous scenes. To lose yourself in the experience and forget about your problems. To reach for a higher calling and dream about being a star. 

Tarantino is building the life he dreamed of when he was watching cinema as a kid. And sometimes that includes holding on to the past just a little longer.

Stories, LifeDavid Sherry