Jameson Cult Film Club Screening – Monsters
We recently sent Becky, our guest reporter from HeyUGuys, out to experience Gareth Edwards’ Monsters, through the vison of Jameson Cult Film Club. Here is her report:
On Thursday evening GeekTown sent me to the Royal College of Surgeons to watch a special screening of Gareth Edwards’ minimum budget but maximum impact movie Monsters. The Jameson Cult Film Club had transformed the home of the already creepily fascinating Hunterian museum into a maximum security infection zone. Outside in the mercifully short VIP queue (it seems JCFC underestimated just how many people like a good creature feature) we were entertained by frantic news “reporters” from CNN interviewing the guests before we were hurried into the grand entrance and met by armed officers and hazmat suited attendants.
I shifted my attention from the surly military guard barking orders at the arriving guests and turned to my plus one, ‘I think there might be monsters nearby…’ She looked down at her feet then back at me in mock terror ‘Oh? I should have worn flats.’ For fear of being chased by giant tentacles and armed only with our complimentary drinks tokens we thought it best to make a bee-line to the safety of the bar where Jameson’s whiskey mules, flings and other scrumptious cocktails glittered invitingly in the low green light.
After a little whiskey-sipping in the faux-jungle shade an eager audience of impressive numbers rushed the halls of the college to put on their allocated surgical masks. The room began to buzz with anticipation as the tone was set through live performances from cast-lookalikes in gas masks and some unnerving sound effects from the film itself including alien cries and military helicopters pumping above our heads.
Before the main spectacle the lights were dimmed and critically acclaimed director Edwards arrived with Monsters editor Colin Goudie to rapturous applause in an attempt to introduce the film and answer a few questions. There’s something bright-eyed and bushy-tailed about Edwards, he seemed entirely overwhelmed by the number of people who’d gathered just to see his film. Discombobulated by cocktails Edwards was keen to dissuade the audience from expecting massive special effects and ‘lots of monster shots.’ With a bizarre combination of influences that included Jaws and Babel, Edwards hilariously described the movie as ‘Lost in Translation, only you can see Godzilla peeking in through the window.’
Speaking of giant reptiles Edwards kept completely schtum about the new Godzilla reboot and carefully dodged any and all of the repeated (and to be honest, unrelated) questions about his upcoming projects. Edwards didn’t answer many questions at all really, he did however rattle back and forth between his interviewer and Goudie with a fair amount of comic genius and entertaining anecdotes. For instance, during filming on location in Mexico the crew had trouble convincing the locals (especially in the hospital) that just because the movie was called ‘Monsters’ they weren’t planning to blow anything up! Thus to avoid further delays the film was temporarily renamed ‘Far From Home’ which even the director admitted sounded like a Disney movie and consequently left casual onlookers puzzled and asking, ‘But where are the puppies?’
In another attempt to persuade the viewers not to misjudge the movie Edwards explained that the ‘Jaws effect’ plays a big part in Monsters – in other words, ‘you don’t see the shark all the time.’ The director went on to describe a cult film as a movie that some people love and others absolutely hate before apologizing and predicting that maybe a third of the audience would actually hate Monsters. Despite his anxieties the film went down a storm.
Monsters is set in post alien-contact America where gargantuan extra-terrestrials (all pulsing electrical tentacles and plane swiping wrath) have crashed and set up home in Mexico. Often hailed as the British District 9, Edwards’ sci-fi follows an unlikely relationship forged in a turbulent and crumbling human world. The creatures’ behaviour has left the lives of the indigenous population irreversibly damaged and despite their flawed coexistence the country relies heavily upon military enforcement whilst the US citizens living north of the infected zone continue their sheltered and lives undisturbed behind a man-made super wall. Photographer Calder (Scoot McNairy) and runaway bride Sam (Whitney Able) embark on a dangerous journey through the wild and unpredictable landscape of the infected zone in an attempt to escort Sam back home to her father and Calder’s wealthy boss.
I was most definitely amongst the positive two thirds of the cult film fans. Monsters is visually compelling and exquisitely executed. With the exception of a few underdeveloped moments in Calder and Sam’s relationship Edwards ticks all the boxes and the film is a shining testament to the crew’s attention to SFX detail and character subtleties. Despite starting out on a tight budget of less than $500,000, Monsters has turned over a cool $3.4million. Edwards’ sci-fi hit is a subtly rich exploration of human culture as well as an extra-terrestrial feast which leaves just enough to the imagination to have cult film followers salivating.
The evening came to an equally fascinating close when, after another sneaky cocktail at the bar, the guests were let loose to discover the unparalleled extraordinariness of the Hunterian Museum whose exhibitions include such wonders as a 7ft 7in skeleton alongside a cornucopia of pickled bits, bobs and oh my God’s! Hats-off to the Jameson Cult Film Club for yet another uniquely enjoyable event. They certainly know how to keep us on our toes.
You can keep an eye out for details of the Jameson Cult Film Club’s next screening at jamesoncultfilmclub.com.
Watch movies online over at our friends LOVEFiLM who have all the latest film and game releases as well as some classics for the more discerning Geek among you.