What's better than watching some great horror films in your PJs? Watching them on the big screen... in your PJs. Oh and in a room with 200+ other film fans to keep you company.
Last weekend I did just that at the fantastic Prince Charles Cinema in London's Leicester Square. Ahead of Halloween, they put on a pyjama party with a difference - scary costumes were allowed (actively encouraged really). The film list was as follows: Scream, The Faculty, The Craft, Carrie, Fright Night (original) and The Lost Boys.
So, big sis and I dressed up like schoolgirls from The Craft, packed some snacks (the cinema only had popcorn and we figured something a bit more substantial might be needed if were going to make it till the morning...) and headed into town.
With a packed-house full of vampires, people hiding behind the Scream mask, schoolgirls and a plethora of onesies, we settled in to watch film number one - Scream. Scream had special significance to me and big sis. When the film first hit cinemas back in 1997, I was too young for its 18 certificate. But big sis relished the opportunity to recount the film - almost in its entirety - to me, so I felt like I had been right there with her watching it. Fifteen years, three sequels and a Scary Movie later, the mask no longer had the same terrifying impact it once did. The inherent comedy in the film, though, went down well and there were cheers and applause for the appearance of Henry Winkler AKA The Fonz. With lines like "What are you doing with a cellular phone, son?" from the sheriff and the classic "My mum and dad are gonna be so mad!" at the end, the film that had once terrified audiences across the globe now provided hilarity and a few jumps.
The biggest shock for me came from just how enjoyable The Faculty was. Having seen the film a few years ago - and been more than a little underwhelmed by it - it was the only film on the list that didn't appeal. But with the crowd around me and the surprise realisation of just how many famous faces were actually in the film, it proved to be one of the highlights of the night. Did you remember Usher was in it? Yeah - neither did I. There's also a young Josh Hartnett, the hilarious Jon Stewart, Salma Hayek, Famke Janssen and Terminator 2 himself, Robert Patrick.
Next up was the dark magic of The Craft which proved far darker on second watch than I remembered. It did bring Neve Campbell and Skeet Ulrich back to the screen for the second time of the night though and remembering the fun of the magic the first time round was great fun. It was Fairuza Balk's brilliantly OTT performance that stole the show for this audience though, with lots of laughs and cheers.
Our fourth film of the night finally answered a question I had been unsure of for years - had I actually seen Carrie from beginning to end? Turns out - I hadn't. I could've sworn I had but my stunned expression for the opening scene made it perfectly evident that I had not. I had no memory of all the nudity, all the close-ups, the bizarre romantic score. I only remembered death and destruction and the crazy mother. The film was presented in all its hazy, jumpy, original quality like we were back in the 1970s.
The audience really feels for Carrie, a struggling teen unable to talk to anyone about what is happening to her body or going on in her head - with a crazy religious and abusive mother and no friends. A girl's first period is traumatic enough without thinking you're dying or being told you brought it on yourself for being such a sinner. Poor Carrie. Sissy Spacek is incredible in the role. The ending is spectacular and more theatrical than the calmer, more sinister ending of the book by Stephen King. But I am very excited now to see what the remake is going to be like...
5am and the start of film number five - the original Fright Night. This was another film I hadn't seen, but I had seen the remake so had an idea of the plot. This was wildly different to the remake - not so much in plot, but in style. It is a far more camp, silly tale and utterly ridiculous - but oh so enjoyable on the big screen.
By film number six, I'm afraid I was desperate to head home to my bed so I'll just have to check out Lost Boys some other time.
Thanks to the PCC for a great, fun-filled night and to big sis for lasting as long as you did with a stonking cold!
And remember... don't answer the phone, don't tell the vampire next door he can come in and don't invoke the spirit unless you can handle it...