Local Asheville Movie Theater Previews New Horror Film to Celebrate Arthouse Theater Day

Josh McCormack 
Arts & Features Writer
[email protected]
The Grail Moviehouse in downtown Asheville celebrated Arthouse Theater Day with a premiere screening of the upcoming horror film In Fabric to celebrate local movie theaters.
In attendance was Edwin Arnaudin, film critic for Mountain Xpress and the website  Asheville Movies. He said that having arthouse theaters provides more diversity for filmgoers in a way they might not get in most major multiplexes.
“It gives a very interested movie crowd the opportunity to see the types of films you’re not able to see in the big theaters,” Arnaudin said. “There’s very hands on programming and you can actually meet and have face to face conversations with the people who program these films.”
Two of these programmers are Davida Horwitz and Steve White, the owners of the Grail Moviehouse since its opening in 2016. Horwitz said that the diversity of filmgoers coming to the Grail comes from the diversity in the types of movies they choose to program.
“We bring movies from all over the world,” Horwitz said. “It gives an opportunity for people to gather and have a provocative discussions after seeing the film that they wouldn’t really have anywhere else.”
White said the theater is privileged to be located in Asheville, a city that is incredibly open to arthouse cinema and offers many options for audiences.
“Asheville’s unique in the fact that we have multiple arthouses,” White said. “I think that’s because the community really values the arts and really values film. When we first came up with the idea for the Grail Moviehouse it is because we saw a lot of smaller films that just never made it to the market. So we’ve been lucky enough that the city already had support for theaters like ours running non-typical Hollywood blockbusters.”
Arnaudin said when he goes to the Grail he is in for an inherently different and unique theater going experience as opposed to seeing a traditional Hollywood film in a multiplex.
“Maybe the chairs don’t recline or the technology in the theaters aren’t as high tech but it seems intentional,” Arnaudin said. “Most audiences might go to a movie in a big theater because they saw it advertised on a commercial or with the promise of comfortable seating for two hours or more, but the arthouse crowd seems to go a step beyond and be more willing to focus on the film. They’re also just more imaginative and ready for something a bit more challenging.”
Events like Arthouse Theater Day excite White and Horwitz because they find it allows them to provide plenty of different films in a short period of time.
“Days like today let us show a variety of films,” White said. “Like today we had two documentaries along with three or four local films and even a special preview of a cool new horror film like In Fabric.”
In Fabric, a critically acclaimed ghost story from director Peter Strickland, will not be hitting multiplexes or even most arthouse theaters until early December. The Grail Moviehouse was able to get it for a one night showing before most theaters in the country.
“Arthouse Theater Day usually gets a distributor to back it and provide a certain film for the arthouses that are participating,” Horwitz said. “So the film company A24 is nice enough to provide it to arthouses like us on this day who are interested and want to show it.”
The film, a dark horror comedy hybrid, was met with mixed responses from the audience as evidenced by the post screening discussion which was led by Arnaudin. Nevertheless, the audience vocalized their love of seeing the film early throughout the discussion and were happy to be speaking about it with a group of people. This aspect is what makes Arthouse Theater Day so special to White.
“I think the importance of Arthouse Theater Day comes from  recognizing the movie theater’s relationship to the community,” White said. “There’s a group of theaters like us across the whole country that are important to their community. It’s like a meeting place, but it also seems like just an important appreciation of theaters that provide thoughtful entertainment like documentaries, artsy films that wouldn’t have anywhere else to be shown or even a cool looking, non-traditional horror film.”