A couple of weeks ago we were lucky enough to be invited down to experience the latest project from Secret Cinema, Prometheus. Having been to a couple before we had an idea of what to expect; although this one certainly notched the bar up pretty high.
The build up to the actual day included picking a role from a selection of specialisms and a trip to the BNV store to get kitted out with a costume. We were also asked to bring various objects ranging from surgical masks to crystals depending on your role. On the big night we joined an army of boiler suit cladded recruits at Euston station before being marched up to a rather spooky looking derelict warehouse.
From the moment you step onto the site you’re transported to a different world. The cast crew [of which there are over 160] were absolutely amazing and guided us through the decontamination chamber to the docking station doors of the warehouse. They never break character for a second and really help to make the experience feel personel. Once inside the magic of Secret Cinema really takes hold. The space was absolutely amazing and the effort that had gone into creating the warehouse’s transformation into a spaceship was incredible. Walls were painted white with maps of the ship’s emergency exits. Hypersleep chambers were laid out in the middle of the room. Loudspeakers droned the message, “Thank you for investing in a brighter future” and soundscapes created by Radiohead echoed in the distance. Labs with plants and biology experiments were around every other corner. The 195,000-square-foot space had been entirely transformed and we were given a couple of hours to explore the premise, order cocktails, eat at the ships restaurant or have a game of Ping Tron. They had even flown in some of the props from the film including two huge vehicles that totally blew me away.
As the alarm sirens signaled we were ushered towards the screens and took our seats for the film. There was a short intro from Mr. Ridley Scott himself before we settled down to watch Prometheus. I have to say that the film itself was a little disappointing, but then it did have to live up to the Alien trilogy which is no easy feet. However Secret Cinema isn’t really about the film, it’s the experience that keeps people coming back and helped them smash box office records in the UK, grossing more in ticket sales for Prometheus than the BFI Imax, the biggest cinema in the country.
For me, the really interesting thing about this Secret Cinema experience was that they had chosen a movie that hadn’t been released yet. As I was watching the film I thought back to some of the cast characters and props I had recognised. It led to some great ‘oh that’s what that was’ moments and added a really interesting layer to watching a film for the first time.
If you haven’t been to Secret Cinema yet, make sure you do. Everybody should experience a film this way, it is truly mind blowing.
Secret Screenings: From the creators of Secret Cinema, Secret Screenings will take place on 4th July at the Troxy in London – a new film club experience bringing mystery films to the UK. Secret Screenings bring back a sense of community, discovery and collective experience to cinema. Tickets: www.secretcinema.org/tickets