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Oh, the Horror! AMC Loews Harvard Square has closed for good

After 87 years, the AMC Theater in Harvard Square has closed its doors for good.

As Back Bay resident Julia Miller strolled by the AMC Loews Harvard Square in Cambridge, she noticed a message on the marquis above that said, "1925-2012 Thank you & good-bye."

Sunday marked the tiny theater's final business day, which came as a surprise to Miller, and other who frequented the multiplex for their film fixes.

"This is such a bummer. Why are they closing?" Miller asked.

While the specific reasons are unclear, AMC Spokesman Ryan Noonan said the company continually strives to upgrade the quality of its theater circuit by adding new screens and disposing of old ones through closures and sales.

"We do, however, look at our theaters on an individual basis and we have decided to sell the AMC Harvard Square 5," Noonan said.

Noonan recommended that residents head to the Boston Common theater, roughly five miles away, but for many cinephiles, it just won't be the same.

"Once I was in the doors, it had sort of this feeling of being just a little bit more authentic. It had this ability to draw you back to what the movie-going experience used to be like," said Greg Epstein, who has visited the theater numerous times. "It was this very ambivalent feeling of, 'Wow, a movie theater can create a sense of community.' I'd say I feel a certain melancholy looking up at the sign and seeing 1925-2012; it's really done. If we want movies I guess we have to go to big movie theaters, and if we want a sense of community I guess we are just going to have to get that somewhere else."

In addition to new releases, the theater hosted a weekly showing of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" every Saturday at midnight, a tradition that has gone strong since 1984, when the showings moved from Boston's Exeter Street Theater.

The screening was accompanied by a live performance by Full Body Cast, a rotating group of actors who performed along with the film.

"We have our regulars who are there every week without fail," said Gary Greenbaum, assistant director of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. "They love it because its fun, it’s different, and it’s not a main stream crowd. If you have trouble finding places to fit in, Rocky is a good place to fit in."

Greenbaum estimates that about 10 percent of the crowd show up dressed like the film's iconic characters, and another 10 percent come decked out in their own brand of risque attire.

Fans of the cult classic showed up in full force at the last show Saturday night, which sold out 500 seats.

The show wrapped up about 3 a.m., Greenbaum said, with loyal fans of the cult classic choosing to linger behind as the credits rolled and the cast blasted Journey's "Don't Stop Believing."

"It was very sad. The entire audience stayed and sang it with us. Five-hundred people just standing, singing," Greenbaum said.

But it's not all sad news for those fans, because the show will go on at AMC Loews Boston Common 19.

The first performance will be on Aug. 4 at 12:30 a.m.

Greenbaum said he believes that the shiny new venue will not have an effect on the feel of the show.

"We are a separate entity. Even though we were at an art house theater, it was still an AMC theater. We’ve never had a corporate vibe forced on us. As long as the manager wants us there, and the theater enjoys us, then the vibe of the show is fine."

[View the story "Cinephiles react to Harvard Sq. theater closure" on Storify]

 
 
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