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!