31 October 2013

A Nightmare on Maltby Street

I've had a pretty hectic week, but when one on my friends suggested a Halloween activity that a) cost only £5 and b) was a 10-minute walk from my home, it was hard to say no. Especially when movies, cupcakes and (spoiler alert) duffins were also on offer. Yes, that's right, we went to the Halloween movie night at Bea's Diner in Maltby Street. They show movies in their little arch underneath the railway tracks most Tuesdays, and tonight saw the turn of A Nightmare on Elm Street — the original, of course.

As I was going with several North Americans, they managed to convince me that everyone would show up in fancy dress, even though we're certainly not in Kansas anymore. Sure enough, we were the only ones to make the effort. And when I say effort, in my case this meant a pair of clip on cat ears that my boss brought back from China and some hastily applied whiskers.

The film started soon after 7.30 but we showed up a little early to save our seats and to get some food. As well as the usual sweet treats, on movie nights, Bea's also serves mac 'n' cheese and chilli cheese foot-long hot dogs. As the former was laced with mushrooms, I went for the latter and it was cheesy, spicy and very oozy. Delicious, in other words!

The cakes, meanwhile, were gettin' their Halloween on. I went for a peanut butter and blood jam cupcakes — I don't normally like too much frosting, but Bea's does it so well. In fact there was so much frosting that the cupcake took a tumble when I was trying to photograph it.

Then it was time for the lights to dim and the film to start. We all had a good laugh when we saw that Johnny Depp got the "introducing..." credit. So young, so young. I do like a good scary movie, but the trouble is that I first saw Scream in 1997, when I was 13 or 14 and long before I watched a lot of the other films in the genre it riffs so well. When I first watched Halloween, some three years ago, it just felt so dated and, well, not very scary. I knew all the tropes, I knew all the best lines and I knew the rules.

The same was true of A Nightmare on Elm Street. There were a lot of laughs, sniggers and eye rolls — and this was partly because of the Halloween-fun-time rather than movie-buff crowd — but the biggest scares came from those trippy '80s hairstyles and fashions. Oh, apart from when a train rumbled noisily along the tracks overhead. And when people sent a beer bottle skittering across the echoey warehouse floor. Don't get me wrong; A Nightmare on Elm Street is good fun, but for the post-Scream era, it feels so unsophisticated and the baddie, while visually creative, is too one-dimensional and simplistic; of course, this paved the way for the raft of sequels. Parts of the film felt like they had inspired Home Alone, while the ending was reminiscent of Inception with the whole "exactly whose nightmare are we in now?" thing.

It was a fun night, anyway, although now I just want to rewatch Scream for the millionth time.

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