BFI Monster Weekend

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BFI Monster Weekend
The BFI’s Monster Weekend, taking place in the courtyard of the British Museum, comprises a trio of old fashioned, relatively family-friendly chillers – ‘Dracula’ (1958), ‘The Mummy’ (1932) and Jacques Tourneur’s brilliantly creepy ‘Night of the Demon (1957), in which a skeptical professor comes to believe that demonic forces are trying to destroy him.


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Mummy Knows Best ! We caught the final film in the Monster Movie Weekend Trio, on Saturday, beautifully screened by the BFI against the majestic backdrop of the British Museum. Bathed in crimson light, and echoing to a truly monster surround sound the pillars and porticoes of the museum were a fitting enclosure for the happy souls who lounged, lazed, cuddled and huddled on the pavement courtyard. Film fans, hippies, beatniks, oldies, festival-goers and bemused tourists made up the eclectic tribe of audience members. One brave soul staggered stiff legged and moaning in his uncomfortably tight "Mummy" morph-suit, as, bandaged and grey, he happily posed for photos. This was not the Boris Karloff earlier rendition of the famous curse -of- the - Pharoah's- Tomb- themed block buster , but the later Hammer House of Horror version, complete with leading lady in floating pink negligee, Scotland Yard policeman with a rather dubious Chicago accent, and Christopher Lee as a world-weary Mummy. Poor old Mummy had had his tongue cut out prior to being entombed in a rock wall. Only to be awakened millenia later to be carted across the continents from Egypt to deepest Devon ( or possible Somerset?) inside a packing crate. All too, too sad. I wanted to bundle him up, bring him home, and feed him tea and cakes. Far from being a horrific harbinger of gloom and doom he merely seemed the victim of oppression and torture. Eloquently displaying his peerless acting talent Lee's eyes and mitten'd hands were the only outlets for his anguished emotions. Historically accurate it was not. Scary it was not ( despite the contemporary poster claiming it to be shot in "Terrifying Technicolor!") but a decent yarn, and a beautifully remastered piece of British Cinematographic history it most certainly was. It was a pleasure to be present at the World premiere of this rescued classic. The BFI have a tasty menu of greater variety as they proceed to their South Bank Season , running from now till the New Year . They are particularly pleased to be offering a new version of the Wicker Man with previously unseen footage, as well as other famous films from the National Archive. And to anyone contemplating outdoor cinema showings, I have only four words of advice ; cushions, cushions...more cushions !!