Toronto is home to the most innovative and interactive little movie club in the world. It’s called 360 Screenings and as the website boasts, it aims to bring cinephiles of all ages and genders an immersive moviegoing experience.
OK, that wording made it sound slightly pretentious. But in truth, it is the most brilliant film-related event I’ve ever been to. Imagine a shadowcast scenario meets mystery dinner theatre. Instead of the actors recreating scenes on stage, they come up and talk to you and involve you in them.
Basically, you buy a ticket for an upcoming flick/theatre experience not knowing what you’ll be watching or where it will be held. The day before, 360 sends you an e-mail with instructions on what to wear/bring, as well as the address of the event. The next day, you arrive at the location and are immediately brought into scenes of the chosen film, spending time with the characters and walking through recreations of scenes and eating themed food items before the film is finally revealed and screened.
The first 360 screening, held back in the spring, was themed around Ghost (a fortune teller in a loft with a pottery wheel!). The last one, which took place in August, was centred around Fight Club. It took place at an abandoned warehouse, featured actors beating each other up and making soap and was accompanied by mini servings of lobster bisque (if you’ve seen the flick, you should be gagging right now). Yeah, I smack myself in the face everyday for that one.
Last Wednesday night, I attended my first 360 Screenings party, a Halloween-themed and gory film geekfest of the highest order. On Tuesday afternoon, I got an e-mail telling me to show up at the Berkeley Church at 7 p.m., wear army-like gear and glasses/goggles and bring a canned food item (“You’ll be hungry where we’re going.”). “There are the infected. There are the survivors. Then there is you,” the message read.
I headed out to the Berkley Wednesday evening with multiple military-themed horrors on my mind (Day of the Dead? Planet Terror? Rec 2?). This is what awaited me:
|A soldier screaming something about salvation.|
|A dinner party with a sergeant, some Maltesers and one omlette.|
|The last hospital patient|
|The writing’s on the mirror.|
|Three blood-stained sheets to the wind.|
In case you couldn’t figure it out from these pictures (and my spoiler-rific title for this post), the chosen movie was 28 Days Later. I figured it out as soon as I entered the dining room and saw the actress dressed as Selena. My assumptions were further confirmed when I saw the man sitting on the hospital bed (Cillian Murphy, is that you?).
Having solved the big mystery, I was able to analyze the set-up and all the intricately organized hints the 360 crew set up. A glass of cheap wine (price, not taste-wise) and a slider in the other, I jumped face first into the festivities. Literally. I got my face done up like a zombie and everythang. Going home on the subway later was a bit of a trip, but it was worth it, considering the nerdlicious awesomeness I had just witnessed.
|Remembering the fallen.|
|Fancy some creme de menthe?|
|Boy, you’ll be an orphan now.|
|But do they have brains?|
|A fellow survivor.|