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Last night in Victoria Park, Bedminster, the Bristol Bad Film Club sent the people of Bristol back to the 80s with a special nostalgia-fest outdoor screening of Masters of the Universe. Allow me to set the scene.
The late 80s. The North of England. A young boy goes to the cinema to see a film. It would be the first film he would remember seeing on the big screen.
The mid 10s. The South of England. A friend approaches that once young boy, now in his 30s, about starting a bad film club. One film springs to mind immediately.
The film? Masters of the Universe.
(The young boy was me, just in case you weren’t following.)
Last night was the culmination of a journey that began a quarter of a century ago. We put on an outdoor screening of Masters of the Universe in Victoria Park. Seeing the film again after all these years was one thing. Sharing that with 500 people was something else entirely.
When Ti approached me about starting the Bristol Bad Film Club a year ago, I thought that perhaps Masters of the Universe wasn’t bad enough. Could we legitimately show it? Many have said the same. “But Masters of the Universe is an awesome film!” “Masters of the Universe isn’t a bad film!” Well, yes and no. It’s legitimately entertaining, and there is huge nostalgia value in it. But it’s not a good film. Not in the truest objective sense, but it’s huge fun. And that’s why we show these films. They’re bad, but they’re enjoyable, and we love them. And it seems Bristol loves them too.
We started in a room above a pub showing Plan 9 From Outer Space to 50 people. We were pretty chuffed at that. But last night was something truly special. An unprecedented response has shown that Bristol is definitely the place to be right now. Bristol is Ti’s hometown, but it’s my adopted city of the last five years. And the response over the last year to Bristol Bad Film Club tells me I doubt I’ll ever move again.
With a clear forecast, we were fortunate that the weather stayed fine. Starting a little later than the 8pm scheduled time, to allow the sun to go down, there was a clear festival atmosphere at the screening. Friends, couples, families, picnics, blankets, tents, BBQs. As the sun fell, there was a real community feel in the park, as everyone had come to relive their childhood, and to share that nostalgia with their own children.
It all went rather well (we even had cast member Robert Duncan McNeil (Kevin) send us an intro video (see above) )… right up to the point where I radioed over to say, “Um, Ti, the generator is making a funny noise”, shortly before it stopped.
Skeletor up to his dirty tricks again.
But we speedily got it back up and running, much to the delight of the crowd. There was much cheering at it, as there was throughout the film. People really engaged with the film and got into the spirit of the Bristol Bad Film Club. It all helped to create a solidarity among the crowd, and hopefully made it a memorable evening for all the right reasons.
The screening was our 12th, and starts our second year of operation. It’s been a hell of a first year.
Our next screening, Shark Attack 3, on a boat, is sadly already sold out (it’s a much smaller venue) but on Friday 19 September, we’re part of Scalarama, and we’re going to be screening an 80s Double Bill – Deadly Prey and Hard Ticket To Hawaii. You can pick up tickets here.
Thank you to everyone who has helped make this first year possible. And to all of you who have come to our screenings, and who will come to the future screenings, thank you.