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By midlandsmovies, Aug 14 2019 06:48AM



Beware the Moon with The Blair Witch Project at Dudley Castle


On the evening of Saturday 3rd August, in between the sporadic heat waves of this summer, I got to experience an outdoor screening of The Blair Witch Project. It was shown in the grounds of Dudley Castle, and what a perfect venue for such an unsettling film.


The area was plentiful yet enclosed, and most brought their own blankets and chairs. The turnout was fantastic; there were couples, big groups of friends and just people by themselves who wanted to enjoy a classic movie with atmospheric value.


The company behind this event is the Flatpack Festival who run all sorts of creative events mixing art forms and transforming spaces. For the fourth year running, they have partnered up with Beware The Moon to host annual outdoor screenings within the grounds of Dudley Castle. For the Blair Witch Project, they amped up the dramatics with subtle projections of the Witch symbols and slow moving forests on the walls, as well as glowing orange backlights from within the castle. It was fair to say they definitely used its uniqueness to their advantage.


It’s also worth noting that the area had all the conveniences within reach, from hot food and a bar to bathroom facilities along the side so that the audience was rarely disturbed. I often find that open-air cinemas have the bare minimum of facilities, so this was great to see.



Dudley Castle also accommodates a zoo, and to get to the screening area, you get to pass some of the animals along the way. This quirky little adventure through the zoo at night, when it was its most quiet, was exciting, new and playful; much like the naive characters we were about to watch on screen. It was just an afterthought, but it did feel like we were all being lured into an unknown area with a seemingly cheerful and curious intent.


For anyone who hasn’t seen The Blair Witch Project, it’s about 3 filmmakers who venture out into the woods and document an urban legend. Things start to go a bit south when they can’t make their way out of the woods. The found footage is what the audience sees, and it is one of the first of its kind, inspiring many other handheld camera footage movies since 1999.


Admittedly I hadn’t seen it since its release date and there hasn’t really been an excuse to re-watch it again until the opportunity of watching a predominantly outdoorsy type of film in an open-air cinema cropped up. The settings for viewing it on a cool August night were perfect.


The sun set at the right time and as the movie progressed and the characters got lost further into the woods, the darker the sky became and the deeper the film got; the synchronisation was sublime. You felt quite involved as the projections onto the castle walls added a sense of unsteadiness to help emphasise with the characters, and when the wind blew and you felt a sudden chill on your neck, it was like you were there in the woods with them. It made the whole experience all the more realistic.


Beware The Moon have previously shown Bride of Frankenstein, An American Werewolf in London, Night of the Living Dead, Lost Boys and 2019’s double bill of Beetlejuice and The Blair Witch Project. As you can see, with this being the 4th year running, it is highly popular and to go to Dudley Castle – one of the most haunted locations in Britain, and absorb in the atmosphere, as well as indulge in cinema’s most frightful pieces of work, was one of the most exceptional experiences for me.


I would highly recommend this, and as well as keeping your eyes peeled for next year’s event, you can also help suggest what you’d like to see on the screen. Tweet @Flatpack and hashtag #BewareTheMoon and your voice will be heard!


Sam Fransico

https://twitter.com/IsoElegant



By midlandsmovies, Apr 3 2019 11:31AM



THE POPULAR ‘BEWARE THE MOON’ SCREENINGS RETURN TO DUDLEY CASTLE THIS SUMMER


Dudley Zoological Gardens are again teaming up with Flatpack Projects to present the cinema spectacular BEWARE THE MOON.


Dudley Castle will once again be transformed into a vast open-air cinema for two consecutive nights – Tim Burton’s afterlife comedy BEETLEJUICE will screen on Friday 2nd August, followed by the supernatural cult classic THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT on Saturday 3rd August 2019.


Previous Flatpack events have included spectacular outdoor screenings of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, THE LOST BOYS, THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN and AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON in the stunning castle courtyard. Guests at BEWARE THE MOON can enjoy hot food, a licensed bar, DJs and spine-chilling special effects projected onto the historic castle ramparts – with a very spooky surprise or two thrown in for good measure!


BEWARE THE MOON: BEETLEJUICE (15)

Friday 2nd August 2019, doors open at 7pm

Castle Hill, Dudley, West Midlands, DY1 4QF

Tickets: £12 (concs £10), Double Bill Ticket: £20

Book via https://www.dudleyzoo.org.uk/beetlejuice/


BEWARE THE MOON: THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT (15)

Saturday 3rd August 2019, doors open at 7pm

Castle Hill, Dudley, West Midlands, DY1 4QF

Tickets: £12 (concs £10), Double Bill Ticket: £20

Book via https://www.dudleyzoo.org.uk/blair-witch/


Dudley Castle will also be hosting some additional outdoor screenings in May – the foot-stomping celebration of Queen BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY (Friday 17th May 2019) and the classic love story DIRTY DANCING (Saturday 18th May 2019).


Some FAQs are below:


How do I gain access to the event?

Entrance to the event will be via the Fellows Pub car park, No 1 The Broadway, Dudley, DY1 4QB, from 7pm. Last admission on site will be 9.15pm.


Where can I park?

Please note parking is not available either at the Castle or on The Fellows pub car park for this event. Please park on the main Zoo car park (situated off the Tipton Road, DY1 4SQ) which will be open from 6.30pm. Car parking is included in your event cost. Please note the car park is an approximate 15 minute walk away from the event. Please advise staff in advance of any access needs and we can plan an alternative route. Please note this car park will close at 11.30 pm.


How do I get there via public transport?

Dudley Bus Station is 2 minutes walk from the entrance via Fellows Pub car park.

Rail: Dudley Port Station 3 miles / Sandwell & Dudley Station 5 miles. Frequent bus service to Dudley from Dudley Port station.


What should I bring with me?

Please bring your booking confirmation ticket with you on the evening for admission purposes. This can be shown on your mobile phone. All guests listed on your ticket must arrive together. All concessionary ticket holders will also need to present proof of concession status. We advise guests to bring a torch with them as areas of the Zoo can be a little dark when you leave. We also advise sensible footwear to be worn and suitable clothing for the weather. Seating will not be provided so please bring picnic blankets and/or camping chairs. Tents are not allowed.


What time does it start?

Doors open at 7pm and we kick off with a DJ, followed by shorts at 9pm and the main feature at 9.30pm.


What time does it finish?

The event is expected to finish around 11pm and guests should also exit the site via the green gates on the Fellows Pub car park.


What happens if it rains?

The event will go ahead whatever the weather. TICKETS ARE NON-REFUNDABLE & NON-EXCHANGEABLE.


Will there be food and drink available to buy?

Refreshments will be available to purchase during the evening from the Courtyard café and inside the Castle Grounds. You are welcome to bring your own picnics too.


Are pets allowed?

Only assistance animals are allowed access to the site.


Is it suitable for children?

The film is rated 15. All children under the age of 16 yrs must be accompanied by an adult.


Can I smoke at the event?

Smoking is permitted in the designated smoking area by the Courtyard café.




By midlandsmovies, Jun 8 2018 01:02PM




‘BEWARE THE MOON’ RETURNS TO DUDLEY CASTLE THIS AUGUST


Dudley Zoological Gardens are again teaming up with Flatpack Projects and Film Hub Midlands to present the cinema spectacular BEWARE THE MOON.


Dudley Castle will be transformed into a vast open-air cinema for two special events over consecutive nights – George A. Romero’s zombie horror NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD will screen on Friday 3rd August, followed by the vampire cult classic THE LOST BOYS on Saturday 4th August.


Previous events have included spectacular screenings of James Whale’s THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN and John Landis’ AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON in the stunning castle courtyard.


Guests at BEWARE THE MOON can enjoy hot food, a licensed bar and spine-chilling special effects projected onto the historic castle ramparts – with organisers promising even more spooky surprises this year!


BEWARE THE MOON: NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (15)

Friday 3rd August 2018, 9pm

Castle Hill, Dudley, West Midlands,

DY1 4QF


Tickets: £10 (concs £8)

Double Bill Ticket: £18 (concs £14)

Book via https://www.dudleyzoo.org.uk/night-of-the-living-dead/


BEWARE THE MOON: THE LOST BOYS (15)

Saturday 4th August 2018, 9pm

Castle Hill, Dudley, West Midlands,

DY1 4QF


Tickets: £10 (concs £8)

Double Bill Ticket: £18 (concs £14)

Book via https://www.dudleyzoo.org.uk/the-lost-boys/



By midlandsmovies, Aug 8 2017 09:41AM



Flatpack presents - Dudley Castle After Dark: An American Werewolf in Dudley


John Landis’ An American Werewolf in London brought packs of film fans out to a special screening of the highly influential horror-comedy.


Unlike last year's Bride of Frankenstein screening, the surrounding animals in Dudley Zoological Gardens were ominously quiet throughout. Perhaps with the werewolf in town, they were worried about their place on the food chain. Perhaps not. Although in recompense, there was a baby somewhere screaming with a mixture of terror and tiredness.


The evening opened with Howl, an eerie animated short detailing a true enfant terrible in the shape of a werewolf toddler. This was fittingly followed by the full length video for Michael Jackson's Thriller vanity project. Directed by John Landis after The King of Pop saw An American Werewolf in London, its balance of laughs, scares and nostalgia set the tone perfectly for the main feature.



After a personalised video greeting by the director himself ("On the way home, stay on the road"), we were straight onto the Moors. We join two American tourists as they walk into The Slaughtered Lamb, a pub which the residents of The Wicker Man’s Summerisle would probably regard as “a bit rough.” A swift exit sees them stranded in the back end of beyond, with something creepy closing in...


The film itself sees Rick Baker's 36 year old practical effects still looking surprisingly impressive on the big screen, no doubt holding up better than the many CGI efforts that have followed it. Besides the ground-breaking transformation of David (David Naughton), there's true horror to be found in the lycanthropic mauling and subsequent undead appearances of Jack (Griffin Dunne).


There are also genuine laughs to be had, as Jack’s incarnations become increasingly comical and gruesome throughout. The camaraderie between the male leads is infectious and the humour still stands up in front of a modern audience. Having said that the downbeat ending is still a shock to the system, but how could it all end happily?


After the moon rose and the darkness fell, projected pentagrams and candle flames crept along the castle walls, creating a sinister setting for the leaving audience. Such details, alongside Landis’ intro, thoughtful shorts and an inspired film selection, has seen Flatpack’s ‘Dudley Castle after Dark’ become an unmissable event in the Midlands' movie calendar.


Robb Sheppard


twitter.com/RedBezzle

By midlandsmovies, Aug 8 2016 05:54PM

Dudley Castle After Dark: The Bride of Frankenstein




The wind carried with it blood-curdling screams, an overwhelming feeling of terror hung heavily and nefarious figures lurked within the shadows; and that was just the walk through Dudley Town Centre.


The introduction to this article, much like the event itself, shouldn’t be taken so seriously. Ever the cynic, I anticipated a barrage of beard-stroking and discussions regarding aspect ratio upon entering Dudley Castle, the site of Flatpack Film Festival’s latest open air screening. Although I’m partial to beard-stroking, I was pleased to see people hiking up the hill to the castle itself, each step building anticipation and without a care about Academy ratio. Instead, I overheard fathers making their children laugh, talking about terrible Frankenstein remakes of the 80’s and for a moment, I thought I had something in my eye.


In any case, open air screenings such as this often have very little in common with their surroundings (Frozen, mid-August in Merry Hill car park, anyone?) but it’s an opportunity that Flatpack took full advantage of here. My opinion of Dudley Castle and Zoo had been shaped by an online comment regarding “deranged monkeys and a bald lion”, but this visit proved to me that, yes, Facebook can, on occasion, get it wrong. Having passed the Common Ravens and the less fear-inducing, more aww-inducing Meerkats, visitors were greeted by the film’s score, echoing in the entrance hall. As show time crept closer and night fell, the peacock calls and projections added to the ominous atmosphere, with ‘KARLOFF’ emblazoned across the ruins and Doctor Pretorius’ image keeping watch over the crowd.


As with any good show, the crowd is as important as the entertainment and initial fears about elitist film fans and the associated snobbery were instantly dispelled. Dudley director James Whale’s film was playing to his home crowd here and the laughter was firmly with fondness. Una O’Connor’s Minnie got the biggest laughs with her ‘cock-er-ney’ delivery and amped-up outrage whilst Karloff necking wine and chomping on a cigar came close to drawing a “cheers” from the crowd. The Bride… has aged remarkably well in its eighty-something years, most notably in the reveal of Doctor Pretorius’ mini-human experiments, a special effect that is truly worthy of the name and shames countless recent CGI efforts from, oh, I don’t know, let’s just say Zack Snyder.


It was when Henry Frankenstein and Doctor Pretorius relocated to the tower laboratory that it was not only The Bride herself that came alive. The panoramic ruins of the castle provided a perfect backdrop to the film’s climax which, thanks to Michael Pigott, Mark Rhodes and David Checkley, felt more immersive than any IMAX. Their innovative approach to individual projections saw bolts of lightning illuminate the screen, only to then repeat around the ruins that surrounded the crowd, signalling the arrival of The Bride.


The atmosphere upon leaving the castle was how the aftermath of every film should feel: brimming with excitement, alive with camaraderie and wondering when you can experience it all again. Perhaps these are out-dated and naïve notions but to put it into context, on the way out, no one even noticed there was a lure module active on the Pokestop.


Flatpack Film Takeover at Sandwell Arts Festival takes place at West Bromich Town Hall on 13th August with further details here: http://flatpackfestival.org.uk/event/flatpack-film-takeover


Robb Sheppard




Main photo is copyright of Katja Ogrin



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