The Accidentally Themed Cinema

I love the movies. I mean LOVE the movies – the smell of popcorn, the unnecessarily large drinks, settling into a dark room with a bunch of strangers waiting to be transported into someone’s celluloid fantasy. The only really not fun thing (besides the inevitable toilet queue) is the price. The tickets aren’t usually too bad, but any concessions are extortionate and three times the ticket cost.

With all the ‘controversy’ around the new Ghostbusters film it was certain that had to be a big screen event. Being a massive line-quoting fan of the original I was curious to know whether they’d tried to make a carbon copy or created a brand new film. Plus I couldn’t wade into the gender debate without actually seeing it.  

I could barely contain my excitement when we found a small independently run cinema not far from us that only charged £4 a ticket. Any movie, any time – all £4. To put this into perspective, a major cinema also nearby charges £8 for an equivalent ticket and a cinema in the centre of town goes for £16. I thought this must be some kind of art house place showing an obscure collection, but I was wrong. All the latest listings appeared, including Ghostbusters. Feeling this must be too good to be true we had to give it a try.

I still couldn’t believe it when the tickets were in my hand how cheap they were. We wondered how the business made any money – it had to be from the snacks. Wincing when the teenager behind the counter was about to give us the total for a bucket of popcorn and two slushies, but that too proved affordable. Less than the tickets even!!

Gobsmacked we still wondered how they made any money. Walking in to the screen room gave us the answer. It was as if the room was themed for the movie – like some sort of abandoned, haunted house. (#Iain’t’fraidofnoghost) The carpet on the floor barely showed any of its original blue, the seats were very old and leftover bits of popcorn strewn under them meant the cleaning was neither thorough nor regular.

Finding some seats, we chose some in the middle of a row, next to one that was just a chair back with no actual seat attached. The full scale of the dilapidation became apparent as we further surveyed our surroundings. Scott advised me it was probably best not to put my glasses on until the lights dimmed.

What I did like was the old fashioned screen itself – covered with a curtain like I remember when I was little albeit lit from underneath in a gaudy 80’s pinkish purple hue. Looking down, however, the array of broken seats was made apparent by the hazard tape holding them together. Since seats weren’t allocated, did a sell-out show mean some people would have to stand? Maybe they’ve never sold out, we were warned this film would be packed but at least two thirds of the seats were free. Just as well!

There was also a whiff of something old in the air. We deduced the source to be the ceiling tiles which had large water stains and probably hid mould. The ones directly above us looked as though had been recently replaced, so we felt safe nothing would be landing on our heads.

Noticing all these flaws became a game and I could barely stop laughing by the time the lights went down. While the back of my legs started to itch midway through the film I did wonder for a second if something had crawled out of my well used seat cushion to make a meal out of me – thankfully that wasn’t the case. 

Ultimately I can’t deny the charm of the place. We still had a great time and we didn’t have to break the bank to do it. Now that I’m adequately prepared I would go back for the next blockbuster (Star Trek – of course) but perhaps I’ll douse myself in citronella…just in case…

PS – the film itself is great! They have created a new plot that echoes the original but doesn’t copy it. The dynamic between the characters is different making it feel fresh and it is laugh out loud funny. Cameos from most the original cast also give it a special touch (make sure not to miss the first bit of the end credits). It’s highly watchable and pure entertainment that does exactly what it says on the tin. As much as I didn’t want to like it, I can’t deny that I did. As for the gender debate, I will just leave a quote: “Safety lights are for dudes”.

One thought on “The Accidentally Themed Cinema

  1. Good piece indeed. For some it's Star Trek. For me it's Ghostbusters and the Blues Brothers. Sounds like meeting the owner of this movie house could be the source of a whole new piece of wonder. From Cinema Paradisio to Cinema Penurious.


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