Neptune City NJ Theater – Grindhouse
This Theater seems forgotten as I have trolled the web for info on it. After the movie “Grindhouse” was released I thought I would pay it it’s due.
This was a single screen theater in Neptune City, New Jersey, near the shore and in the midst of typical suburbs. It was across from a small strip mall which included a Two Guys store. I believe it had been there since at least the late 60’s. It may not have been a Grindhouse in it’s beginning but it sure turned into one! The neighborhood was once middle class, but became a place of crime and section 8 housing.
During my ‘time’ the Neptune City Theater was the only grindhouse around – it showed second and third run films and the typical fare dug out of the grindhouse genre closet. Most of these were typical low budget shockers that could only be found in bad drive in’s, 42nd street in New York, or other scattered Grindhouses throught the country. Most of these flicks would never see the light of day at the other 10 + screens around my area.
My first trip was in 1980-81 to see a double feature – “The Hand” and “It’s Alive!”. The action in the theater was more interesting and memorable than the movies were. There was constant talking, yelling and screaming. One guy had to be ushered out of the theater by police after the manager and assistants failed to calm him down (he was obviously ‘on’ something), and even upon leaving he screamed scary sounds much to the audience’s delight. Than there was a group of people who walked in the front emergency exit – right next to the screen – which bathed the theater in bright light, as it was still daytime. They were avoiding paying and were promptly kicked out.
I remember my trip to the bathroom. Inside were toilets filled with urine and beer bottles. Also, there were lots of people in there not using the toilets, not even watcing the movies. They had other ‘business’ to attend to I assume, and they paid no mind to me as I was a skinny, 13 year old white kid from ‘across the tracks’.
This place was a community gathering zone, not just a movie theater, an interesting experience that I’ll never forget as a kid from the typical suburbs.
Over the years they played flicks like “Zombie” and “Penintentiary”. Eventually the neighborhood got worse though – Two Guys closed, and the theater was prone to gang violence – supposedly a kid was stabbed in the head with a pair of scissors one night.
It closed sometime during the mid 80’s and became batting cages for a while, and is now a gym the last time I checked.
I beleive that movie theaters like this are a thing of the past yet are worth remembering.
I’d love to hear from anyone who had been to this place, or has been to a similiar place.