We report from last week's Secret Cinema events in London, where SFX experienced a fantastic SF noir evening
Our coach from Canary Wharf has been boarded by law enforcement officers looking for runaways, and SFX has just been told, "You're in a desert, walking along in the sand, when all of a sudden you look down and see a tortoise. It's crawling toward you...." Fans of SF films will instantly get the reference but incredibly there are people on the bus with us who still haven't figured out what this evening's entertainment's going to be.
This is our journey to the Secret Cinema, a new venture by Future Shorts which aims to turn screenings of classic movies into themed start-to-finish experiences, complete with actors in costume, a party with appropriate music and drinks, interactive elements and more.
Without knowing exactly what the film will be or where it will be screened, roughly 800 people buy a ticket online and wait for more information, which is emailed to each as the date approaches. Previous screenings have included Wings of Desire in Shepherd's Bush, but we knew this was to be a full-on sci-fi experience - why else would they invite SFX to check it out? At the appointed time, those with tickets are taken from Canary Wharf by bus (courtesy of Utopia Skyways) to a warehouse nearby where, of course, we watch Blade Runner.
The movie is, in many ways, the least interesting part of the evening. It's a great movie, but we've all seen it many times and could arguably have stayed at home and watched the DVD. But then we would have missed out on a fantastic Blade Runner themed party in one of the most creatively dressed venues ever. Women in Asian garb offer us live snakes. Some stands in the market sell genuine t-shirts and sushi, while next to them are fake stalls offering artificial animals or LA newspapers. Actors dressed as Batty, Rachael or Pris run through from time to time, while people of short stature smash up cars. Three or four separate bars offer booze - one even has pole dancers, while another features live music (Chrome Hoof play two sets) and DJs.
All in all, it's a very cool party. We don't spend too much time with the pole dancers but we do drink rather a lot, interrupted only by the Voight-Kampff test we're invited to take. It was fun to guess what the movie was going to be, and watching it on the big screen with 800 people is an experience, although the makeshift seating in an echoing warehouse is not the zenith of cinematic quality. But for the tricked-out venue and the hours of themed entertainment, SFX recommends you look out for future Secret Cinema outings . It'll be quite the disappointment in future to watch Blade Runner and not have dancers, musicians, wall climbers, dwarves and snakes hanging around nearby...
Two more pictures from Chrome Hoof's set in the main cyberpunk bar area.