Expect to see twice as many Warriors costumes this Halloween. On Thursday, Sept. 15, the 1979 cult classic about a street gang’s epic trek from the Bronx to Coney Island is screening in Brighton Beach, a stone’s throw from the Wonder Wheel. Now, I know what you’re thinking: The Warriors again? At this point, the film is pretty much every lazy programmer’s default pick for a rooftop film or midnight movie. (It was, after all, #15 on Entertainment Weekly‘s list of top 50 cult movies.) But if you’re not Warriored out, there’s one big reason to come out and plaaaay: The flick is playing at a posh, historic theater you’ve probably never set foot in, and there’ll be a q&a with cast members. Can you dig it?
The Master Theater may not have the crossover cache of other movie palaces turned performance venues (e.g. United Palace, Kings Theatre), but for years it has served as “the 1,400-seat Lincoln Center of sorts for Russian-speaking immigrants who live in Brighton Beach but still remember their days in Odessa, Tbilisi, Kiev or Minsk.” That’s how the Times described its previous incarnation, the Millennium Theater. Before that, when the theater opened in 1934, it was a movie palace called the Oceana. By the time The Warriors screened there, it had been converted to a multiplex. At some point, the ground floor came to house a nightclub, Oceana Hall, that was replaced in 2014 by a gourmet supermarket that claims to have the biggest caviar selection in the city. Still, the box office remains in all of its throwback glory, and the theater (which is looking pretty posh these days) continues to host Russian musicians, comedians, and variety acts.
This screening of The Warriors is the rare chance to see the theater used as it was originally intended. In fact, the place is described as “the original warriors screening theater” in the Facebook invite (a Times movie clock from ’79 indicates the film was shown at the Oceana along with other theaters around town). As if that’s not incentive enough, the screening will be followed by a q&a with cast members, including Michael Beck, who played Swan, the “war chief” of the gang. Apparently a “tribute” (possibly costumed?) is also in the works. Tickets are $25, and you can select a seat according to your gang affiliation, whether it’s the Van Courtland Rangers or the Turnbull ACs. Cosplaying and rifftracking is presumably allowed.
Actually, the screening is part of a three-day Warriors Festival. The next day, Friday, there’ll be a beer-fueled meet-the-cast session at Greenwood Beach in Coney Island and on Saturday there’ll be a music festival featuring Murphy’s Law and and Cro-Mags. The Warriors soundtrack was more ’70s synth and disco pop than NYC hardcore, but whatever.