Backyard Cinema: Apocalypse
Camden Indoor Market, London, UK
You may be familiar with Lock 17 for its bars, restaurants and eclectic selection of market stalls but this Halloween it was home to something quite different; (although perhaps not that unusual on Saturday nights in Camden...) zombies.
After heading to the box office we were directed to the starting area where we waited in a small group to the soundtrack of the terrified screams of those who bravely had gone before us. Shortly after they stopped we were greeted by a burly fella kitted out in riot gear who aggressively introduced himself as our guide through the treacherous path we were about to take.
As we were led into the first area fear had already begun to take hold within the group, one woman hid under her coat and someone else grabbed my arm. Our guide stopped in his tracks, turned to us and yelled “MIND THE ORANGE!”, gesturing with his gun to the terrifying tangerine squashed between the cobbles. With that horrific distraction we almost didn’t notice that we were about to encounter our first member of the undead.
Mr Riot Gear directed us to run through to the next area - but wait - another zombie was blocking our path, this one lurking behind the kind of massive bin you see at the back of restuarants. With zombie number one crawling up behind us and zombie number two up ahead there was nothing left for us to do but run.
We reached the safety of the entrance to the indoor market where we were greeted by another riot gear-laden dude, this one complete with a gas mask. He barked at us that we had to have our fingernails and eyeballs inspected before we could proceed to the next area. Me and my +1 were pulled aside due to our suspicious appearance where we were grilled by Mr Mask who told us he had his eye on us before allowing us to enter the safehouse underneath a blood-splattered polythene sheet. I was a little disappointed that we didn’t get to become zombies but equally the safehouse was a lot warmer than it was outside…
Based inside Camden’s indoor market, the safehouse was extremely pleasant considering we were in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. Strings of red fairy lights lined the ceiling and some of The Killers’ more recent work blasted out of a sound system - muffling the screams outside quite considerably.
With an hour to kill before the film (we chose Zombieland) started, we hit the bar which offered a fair selection of soft drinks, beers and wine alongside a pleasantly retro popcorn machine. If running for your life had whet your appetite, Honest Burgers also had a stall in one corner of the safehouse. They looked delicious with ginger pig dry aged beef and chunky homely-looking chips, definitely a vast improvement on paying 5 quid for a standard floppy cinema hotdog. We did not sample them, however I can confirm that they did smell incredible.
Eventually we were ushered underneath a partially raised metal shutter into the next room. One of the riot gear men told us “I think you should all be familiar with this kind of set up…” as we cautiously proceeded into… the cinema! Although lacking in the bean bags and deckchairs of previous Backyard Cinema events the cinema itself was quite lovely, located in the centre of the indoor market. While we waited for the screening to begin members of the anti-zombie team skulked around the balcony above us, aiming the laser pointers of their guns at the heads of anyone that looked suspicious.
Once the film began no more zombies or police were to be seen and I think that a slightly more interactive screening (i.e. zombies jumping out at the audience during parts of the fims where this happens) would be a really cool addition in the future. Apocalypse was a great way to spend halloween and a wonderful evolution of the cinema experience. Look out for their future events!