My All-Night Action Film/Trash Cinema Freakout Failure | Derby Film Festival 2018

Paracinema Takeover - Commondo - Derby Film Festival 2018

Back-to-back action and back-to-back trash; all night in the cinema til the break of dawn! What could possibly go wrong?

Hello. So to recap, I’m covering the 2018 Derby Film Festival.

This weekend is the Paracinema weekend – think genre films of a questionable nature – and Saturday night is the Paracinema All Night Takeover.

In Cinema 1 – now called the Sir John Hurt Cinema – 80s and 90s action. Commando! Demolition Man! Double Impact! Escape From New York! Total Arniegeddon! An explosive Sylvester Fiesta! A night of Jean Claude Van Damnation! Something to do with Kurt Russell!

In Cinema 2 – Gore, trash, and exploitation. Song of Solomon! Your Flesh, Your Curse! She Kills! Difficulty Breathing! Black Devil Doll! Global tales of possession, revenge, insanity, limbo, and kung fu!

I’ve always wanted to do an all-nighter at the cinema. This programme seemed like loads of fun. I’d pictured myself sat there like Kevin McAllister, gorging on sweets and staring at something appalling. “Guys, I’m eating junk and watching trash,” I’d shout, to nobody. “You better come out and pound me.” Then something particularly horrible would happen onscreen and I’d scream for my mother.

A new Avengers film just came out, and it only makes sense if you’ve seen the 81 films set in the same universe that have been released in the past six months. So some cinemas have staged marathons to help people catch up with some of the finer points of the plot.

I’ve read dispatches from some of these marathons. They sound hellishly gruelling, but through the whimpering cries for help I was able to tease out a few tips on how best to make it through multiple films in one sitting.

So I had a plan:

  1. Don’t drink. When it comes to trashy cinema, the temptation is to get drunk. These things can be more enjoyable when you’re drunk. Or they can be so poorly made as to make you wish you were drunk. Then there’s the possibility of super-fun drinking games. Take a sip every time someone’s death is trivialised by a quip! But drinking makes me sleepy. I don’t go to the cinema to sleep. That’s what bed’s for!
  2. Eat lots of sweets. Like Kevin in the clip above. He knows exactly what he’s doing. Looks like he’s made himself a bowlful of ice cream, marshmallows, glacé cherries and sauce. That’s going to send lots of sugar coursing through his system, which should stop him from dozing off. I’ve heard that overdoing it on this front can eventually cause you to crash and burn. But I think the way to get around that is to just maintain the intake of sugary processed foods. Don’t stop, ever.
  3. Wear comfortable clothing. Many of the dispatches from the Avengers marathons spoke at length about “stretchy pants”, and for some reason this made me shudder. I don’t know why! I can see their point though. If you’re in it for the long haul, you’re going to need to get comfortable. Luckily, comfort is my number one priority when it comes to clothing (my number two priority is to MAKE PEOPLE THINK), so I had nothing to worry about on this front.
  4. Schedule in a few power naps. Just 10 minutes or so, to recharge your batteries and to keep the hallucinations at bay. The Avengers marathon survivors talked about sleeping through entire films. Amateurs. My plan was to “catch a few” during any scene that didn’t culminate in an explosion or a gunfight.

I had a plan, I was exquisitely dressed in my most comfortable and thought-provoking outfit, and I had a bag full of sweet stuff. The night would be epic, and the next day would be a write-off.

Now. Things didn’t quite go according to plan. Of the 10 films I could possibly have watched, I managed 0. Indeed, I didn’t even make it to the cinema.

The story of my failure is a very, very sad story. It’s also really tedious. To tell it in full I’d have to write at length about delayed trains and men who like football. I made a solemn promise to the mayor that this blog would forever be a football-free zone, so forgive me if I refrain from telling this particular tale.

We’d spent the day at a boring conference in London. The idea is that you see people talk at length about the sort of things that don’t usually get talked about at conferences. Paperclips, shipping pallets, ballpoint pens… that sort of thing. I’ve long believed that anything can be interesting if you approach it in the right way (except football). Why not put this theory to the test!

I went in expecting an endearing and fascinating day spent in the company of shamelessly nerdy sorts talking passionately about niche and mundane matters. But the tone was a lot more snarky and mean-spirited than I was expecting.  There were some lovely talks, yes. Brutalism! Damp patches on walls! Fake architecture! Watergate tape gaps! But the lows were hard to endure. A talk from a woman who seems to have dedicated her life to humiliating those who believe in ghosts was particularly dispiriting

But it was a beautiful day in London, and afterwards we met up with an extremely dear friend who we’d not seen in about 18 months. I told her about my plans for the night – to watch all of the films.

“Aren’t you a bit old for that?” she asked. “I mean, not to watch films. But I’m usually ready for bed by half eight.”

“Some people run marathons,” I said, magnificently.

She is vindicated. I have failed. Never mind. Never mind.

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