The former Jīnjīn Theater 金金大戲院 is located midway along a major thoroughfare connecting Yīnggē 鶯歌 with Táoyuán City 桃園市 in northern Taiwan. Technically it is still within New Taipei 新北 as the ragged border with Táoyuán 桃園 swings around the theater, less than 100 meters away at some points. This second-run cinema opened to the public in 1985, screening a diverse assortment of films for as many as 900 guests in this highly industrialized suburb. It went out of business sometime around 2005 and has been mostly left to the elements since then, although food vendors still ply their trade along the sidewalk in front of the theater entrance, and some attempt has been made to sell commercial advertising space on the facade.
Very little is written about this theater online aside from the business records that initially alerted me to its existence1. A handful of references can be found on PTT, the largest online forum in Taiwan, which is old enough to contain some messages from when the theater was still in business. In posts from the early 2000s netizens remark upon the ultra-low 40 NT ticket price, but later references are mostly found on threads about haunted places. Taiwanese college students sometimes dare one another to explore such ruins for thrills and YouTube content makers regularly visit such places to record spooky videos2.
A ledger inside the office provided a list of films screened at Jinjin Theater not long after it opened in 1985. Among those I transcribed are The Musical Singer 小子高飛 (1985), The Surgeon 情妓 (1984), On The Society File of Shanghai 上海社會檔案 (1981), The Supreme Swordsman 老鷹的劍 (1984), Fascinating Affairs 花心紅杏 (1985), Curse 十嫁妖女 (1985), 鱷魚精 (1982), and 處女十誡 (1985). Although later recollections suggest Jinjin Theater screened more international fare, pretty much all of these films are Hong Kong imports blending martial arts, crime, smut, horror, and the supernatural.
No future exists for Jinjin Theater except demolition. It was established too late to arouse much nostalgia and has little cultural value. One might wonder why it hasn’t already been torn down, but I’d wager the owners are holding out for the opening of the Sanying Line 三鶯線, an MRT extension already under construction. Yingtao Fude Station 鶯桃福德站 will open as soon as next year, if everything goes according to schedule, and Jinjin Theater is located just around the corner. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it were sold, torn down, and redeveloped within the next few years.
- Finding abandoned theaters in Taiwan is sometimes as easy as browsing business records like this one. ↩
- This video shot at Jinjin Theater is a good example of the genre. At the time of initial publication it already has 168,000 views! Another copy has over 100,000. ↩
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