The Terror in the Aisles horror and scifi movie marathon is once again coming to the Portage Theater in Chicago – for what could be the last time. The small historic movie house has hosted Terror in the Aisles on more than one occaon, as well as showings of clasc films, and private events, nce reopening in 2006. The present owners are seeking to sell the building, and have found a bidder in the form of the Chicago Tabernacle Church, a religious organization that seeks to remodel the building for its own uses. As the Portage Theater webte states, “The church proposes to convert the theater into their worship space, remove the marquee, alter the auditorium, and eliminate the storefronts and half the apartments for offices and classrooms.”
The Portage Theater first opened in December of 1920, and is one of the oldest still-operating movie houses in the city of Chicago. Remodeled in 1940 to incorporate a more art-deco styling, the theater remained untouched until the large main screen was split into two theaters during the 1980’s, and the theater switched to a second-run format, more colloquially known as the local “cheap show”. The theater was briefly shuttered in 2001, at which time the lobby and main screen were restored to their historic style, finally reopening in 2006.
The theater has also served as setting for filming of the motion picture Public Enemies, as well as the home to the Chicago Browncoats’ yearly “Can’t Stop the Serenity” charity showing of the Firefly film.
Terror in the Aisles plans to run x full length films, nearly a dozen short films and trailers, and feature dealer tables in the lobby of vintage and collectible horror and film memorabilia. Among the films shown will be the scifi clasc “Night of the Comet”, with film star and special guest KELLI MARONEY present to introduce the film. It is hoped that the event will help rally supporters of the theater in an attempt to have the building certified as a historic landmark by the city of Chicago, as well as to influence local alderman and planning committees against allowing permits for the repurpong of the building as a church. This event is a dream come true for anyone who has ever envioned viting a Popcorn-style movie marathon.
Terror in the Aisles will begin at noon on April 28th, and run through 2AM that evening. Tickets are currently available at $20.
For More Information on Terror in the Aisles:
For More Information on the Portage Theater and the fight to save it:
On a personal note, this is the theater I grew up in; I lived in the neighborhood and spent most of my weekends (and dollar-admison Mondays!) watching and re-watching films at the little theater. Even prior to its restoration, shades of its former glory had shown through. In a world overrun with cookie-cutter megaplexes and boring AMC super-theaters, letting the hallmark theaters of the past be gutted and repurposed is a crime.