Looking to Watch Movies and Make Friends? Join the Club. – The New York Times

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Around New York City, there’s a robust circle of film enthusiasts showing offbeat movies in bars and shops, where lingering afterward is welcomed.

At Heart of Gold, a cozy bar in Queens, a mad scientist recently brought to life a corpse that went on a blood-drenched rampage. But the people nursing their beers there didn’t call the authorities. They cheered.
That’s because the undead were marauding on a screen, set up at the front of the bar, that was illuminated by “Re-Animator,” Stuart Gordon’s 1985 horror-science fiction splatterfest. The occasion was a Monday night gathering of the Astoria Horror Club, which meets regularly to watch scary movies over hot dogs, mulled wine and other anything-but-popcorn concessions.
Before the film, Tom Herrmann and Madeleine Koestner, the club’s co-founders, introduced “Re-Animator” with a trigger warning about a sexual assault scene and a reminder to generously tip the staff. About 35 people watched the movie seated, but others stood, complementing the onscreen mayhem with shrieking, gasping and, as a decapitated head got tossed around, an explosion of applause.
The Astoria Horror Club is just one of many film clubs that, while not new in concept, are quietly thriving in and around New York City. At many of these events, movies are shown not in traditional theaters but in bars, shops and other makeshift spaces, for small groups of people, many of whom arrive early for good seats and stay afterward to gush and vent.
The screenings are open to the public, but mostly it’s Gen Zers and millennials who are joining strangers to watch movies that, in many cases, are for niche tastes and were made before streaming was a thing.
These kinds of films are programmed regularly at the city’s revival houses, like Film Forum and Metrograph. But what these film clubs offer is ample space and time, where debate and friendships can blossom without leaving your seat. For cheap, too: At chain theaters, tickets can be more than $20 apiece, not including food and drinks. Many of these film clubs are free to attend, although patrons are asked to pony up for beer or bites.
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