Orange Fright Night

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 On Friday night I went to the first ever Orange Fright Night. In an event similar to Secret Cinemas events, Orange had organised a free outdoors screening of cult classic The Exorcist in Tower Hamlets Cemetery in East London to coincide with Halloween. Fans of the Orange Film Clubs facebook page were given a series of clues to guess the location and film and could collect the free tickets last week from the cemetery itself. The screening was advertised as a Spine Chilling 4D Experience with wireless headphones provided to watch the film and special effects galore.

Upon entry to the cinema audience members were given a wind up torch and directed to the cinema via a spookily lit path through the overgrown graves (Tower Hamlets Cemetery is more of a nature reserve than a standard grave-crammed London cemetery) with numerous people dressed up as ghostly figures, priests and smoke machines to scare you on your way. Orange had set up rows of director-style chairs inside a marquee and everybody was given a glass of mulled wine whilst we waited for the film. On each chair was also an orange goody bag, with popcorn, sweets, drinks and warm blankets (as well as the expected orange sim card and branded mac!).

The film was introduced by Empire magazines horror critic Kim Newman and there was an exclusive short preview of Case 39, a new scary thriller starring Renee Zellwegger not due out until 2010. Perhaps the most interesting element of the screening, especially for those who’ve seen the film before, was that there were two channels on the wireless headphones – the first the straight out audio track to the movie but the second was the directors commentary. In quiet slow moments being able to flick over to the commentary was very handy (even if William Friedkin is far too descriptive for my liking). During the film the fright night continued as screams could be heard from the woods at spooky points and smoke and wind machines blew over the audience.

As for the film itself, most people will have already seen it but if you haven’t its a thrilling tale of young Regan (Linda Blair) whose strange behaviour leads her mother film star Chris (Ellen Burstyn) to believe she may be demonically possessed. Full of subliminal messages, creepy possessed scenes and classic lines it is often voted as the scariest film of all time and is the most commercially successful horror film to date. Its also perhaps one of the most controversial films of all time, still causing outcry from outraged Catholics today.

Well done to Orange for organising such a superb and free event, and be sure to join their facebook page to watch out for more such great events.

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