PRESTONSBURG — Two months after the Strand Twin Theater closed its doors for good, the cinema came back to life, Saturday, to host the latest installment of the East Kentucky Fear Festival film series.
Created by Deadpit Radio hosts Wes “The Creepy Kentuckian” Vance and Aaron “Uncle Bill” Frye, the series brings classic horror movies back to the big screen for one-night engagements. Originally begun as a midnight movie series, Saturday’s showing of “Poltergeist” took place at 8 p.m., now that the series no longer has to work around the Strand’s own schedule.
The showing attracted an enthusiastic crowd. Frye said that even though the movies they show are typically available at bargain prices on DVD, watching the films in a theater is worth the cost to patrons because it appeals to their sense of the past.
“In my mind, it’s got to be nostaligia,” Frye said. “It’s got to be the idea of going to a movie in the same place you might have seen it as a kid, or also being able to see a movie like this for people who didn’t have a chance to do that, because they were too young.”
Vance said he was delighted when he arrived at the theater that night and saw the marquee lit.
“When we were driving up and I saw the lights back on, that’s how it should be,” Vance said. “I have a lot of really fond memories of this theater growing up. And honestly, it pretty much looks the same as it always did, and I think that’s one of the great things about this theater.”
Vance and Frye are expanding the frequency of the festival to a more-or-less monthly series. The next three showings include “Alligator,” on April 6; “Prom Night,” on May 4; and “The Shining,” on June 1.
The two are also expanding into other genres, having in December formed the CineMania banner to present other types of movies at the Strand. Their first offering under that venture will be a March 15 showing of “The Very Worst Thing,” a documentary about the 1958 Prestonsburg school bus disaster that killed 26 students and their driver. They are also working to bring “Coal Miner’s Daughter” to the Strand sometime in April.