Updated bus crash film shows at Strand
by Ralph B. Davis
PRESTONSBURG — There were three firsts when “The Very Worst Thing” was shown in Prestonsburg for the fifth time over the weekend.
Friday’s showing marked the first time a Floyd County audience had the opportunity to watch the documentary about the 1958 bus crash that killed 27 people since newly-discovered home movies and a computer simulation of the crash were added to the film.
Director Michael Crisp said the home movie footage, in particular, added an element to the film that had been missing. The movies were donated to him last year by Prestonsburg resident David Cooley.
“David and his father in late February and early March of 1958 owned an 8 mm camera,” Crisp explained. “They were one of the few folks around here that did, and they shot just a great deal of breathtaking footage, in color. And this footage, which is probably around seven, eight, nine minutes long, is sort of in the many ways the Holy Grail of the film.”
Also for the first time, DVDs of the new version of the movie were on sale at the Strand, during the showing. The DVD is also available at Amazon.com.
Friday also marked the first time the movie has been shown in a movie theater, as the Strand Twin reopened its doors for one night to host the screening. Previous showings took place at the nearby Mountain Arts Center, which is designed more for live performances.
Crisp said the venue was appropriate to the movie.
“When you play a film about history in a place that is filled with a great deal of history, it’s pretty amazing,” Crisp said.
The Strand Twin Theater closed its doors in January, citing in a press release at the time shrinking audiences and a planned industrywide conversion to digital projectors, which would have required $200,000 in upgrades. Since then, however, managers have repurposed the theater for special showings, such as monthly showings of the East Kentucky Fear Festival and non-genre films presented by Fear Fest spinoff Cinemania.
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