Combustible Celluloid

San Francisco's Strand Theater

Our Grindhouse

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

I never got to go to any actual Grindhouse theaters. There weren't any such theaters in my small town, and my interest in movies came about just as the Grindhouse era was coming to a close. The most famous Grindhouses were located on 42nd Street on New York City, but San Francisco used to have a pretty good one, too, the Strand, located on Market Street between 7th and 8th Streets. Since I moved here in the late 1980s, the Strand has opened and closed, turned into a porn theater and back into a straight theater several times before finally closing its doors.

I'm sad I never actually worked up the courage to go into this seedy palace, but I did grab one of their flyers from February, March and April of 1994, which I saved. It advertises a "fully remodeled" theater with Dolby Stereo Surround, and a free refill on large popcorn and large drink. Triple features cost only 99 cents if you came before 2 p.m. and $2 after that. Some of the triple features ventured into the mainstream, but the general tone of them is still vintage Grindhouse.

February 25-26, 1994 Armour of God II: Operation Condor (1991, Jackie Chan)
Demolition Man (1993, Marco Brambilla)
Heavy Metal (1981, Gerald Potterton/Jimmy T. Murakami)
February 27-28, 1994 Geronimo: An American Legend (1993, Walter Hill)
In the Line of Fire (1993, Wolfgang Petersen)
Army of Darkness (1993, Sam Raimi)
March 1-3, 1994 The Living End (1992, Gregg Araki)
Chain of Desire (1992, Temístocles López)
Being at Home with Claude (1992, Jean Beaudin)
March 4-5, 1994 Hard-Boiled (1992, John Woo)
A Perfect World (1993, Clint Eastwood)
Repo Man (1984, Alex Cox)
March 6-7, 1994 Jurassic Park (1993, Steven Spielberg)
Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954, Jack Arnold)
Destroyer (1988, Robert Kirk)
March 8-10, 1994 Blue Velvet (1986, David Lynch)
Wild at Heart (1990, David Lynch)
Near Dark (1987, Kathryn Bigelow)
March 11-12, 1994 Peking Opera Blues (1986, Tsui Hark)
Heaven & Earth (1993, Oliver Stone)
Point of No Return (1993, John Badham)
March 13-14, 1994 The Fugitive (1993, Andrew Davis)
Malice (1993, Harold Becker)
Manhunter (1986, Michael Mann)
March 15-17, 1994 Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970, Russ Meyer)
The Gang's All Here (1943, Busby Berkeley)
Paris Is Burning (1991, Jennie Livingston)
March 18-19, 1994 Once Upon a Time in China (1991, Tsui Hark)
A Bronx Tale (1993, Robert De Niro)
My Own Private Idaho (1991, Gus Van Sant)
March 20-21, 1994 Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (1993, Bill Duke)
The Beverly Hillbillies (1993, Penelope Spheeris)
The Bodyguard (1992, Mick Jackson)
March 22-24, 1994 Tokyo Decadence (1992, Ryu Murakami)
Cafe Flesh (1982, Rinse Dream)
Caligula (1979, Tinto Brass)
March 25-26, 1994 A Chinese Ghost Story (1987, Ching Siu-tung)
Dead-Alive (1992, Peter Jackson)
Hercules in the Haunted World (1961, Mario Bava)
March 27-28, 1994 The Abyss (1989, James Cameron)
Blade Runner (1982, Ridley Scott)
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991, James Cameron)
March 29-31, 1994 Eraserhead (1977, David Lynch)
Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992, Francis Ford Coppola)
The Lair of the White Worm (1988, Ken Russell)
April 1-2, 1994 Dragon Inn (1992, Tsui Hark/Raymond Lee)
Addams Family Values (1993, Barry Sonnenfeld)
Cliffhanger (1993, Renny Harlin)
April 3-4, 1994 Wayne's World 2 (1993, Stephen Surjik)
Saturday Night Fever (1977, John Badham)
Grease (1978, Randal Kleiser)
April 5-7, 1994 Reservoir Dogs (1992, Quentin Tarantino)
Taxi Driver (1976, Martin Scorsese)
True Romance (1993, Tony Scott)
Movies Unlimtied