Jaws: The Experience

Mel Gilbert found she was in need of a bigger boat – or is that whiskey tumbler –  on a recent trip to the Maritime Museum… 

Who knew that we lived near shark-infested waters? For anyone doubting this, the signs clearly stated ‘NO SWIMMING HAZARDOUS AREA BEACH CLOSED’, but I ventured down to the Albert Dock anyway, armed with a whiskey to find out what the Jameson Cult Film Club showing of Jaws had to offer.

With an increasing trend in the use of the likes of Love Film, Netflix and downloads, meaning more reasons than ever exist to stay at home, cinema has found itself having to be more adept at a certain fleet footed-ness. Often – very much so in this case – this has meant turning to ‘experiential’ factors, adding extra levels of value and depth to a package which reminds audiences that it is the experience that sets cinema apart from home comforts every time.

The Cult Film Club pitched things well – free drinks and a film in an interesting setting is a winning combo, right? Early signs were encouraging. With a queue that stretched the length of the Maritime Museum, we were definitely going to need a bigger boat. I mean, venue. With Chief Brody and crew on hand to entertain the guests, warning us of shark attacks and beach closures, we ventured into the danger-zone anyway. Well, into the Maritime Museum at least.

Ok, so we drink to our legs, with Jameson and ginger in hand, striped deck chairs scattering the dock and a huge crowd. Chief Brody arrived on the scene once again, followed closely by Hooper and Major Larry Vaughn. The crowd looked upon as the arguments began between the Major (in his anchor print jacket) and Chief Brody (with his signature aviator glasses sans lenses); we all knew it was definitely not a boating accident and the fin in the docks was fake, but you try telling that to Mrs Kitner with her bloodied lilo. I lapped up the entertainment, maybe finding it slightly more amusing with the warming sensation of whiskey swimming around my veins.

The crowd gradually dispersed and I was left with a few fellow film-lovers to protect me from the potential threat of return shark attacks. Onwards and upwards I went, to the top of the maritime museum. The threat of a shark attack was imminent. Yet, just like in the film, everyone ignored the warning signs, literally; the familiar hammer-tap of the wooden sign into the beach of Amnity echoing around the Maritime Museum.

Like every good viewing of Jaws, the screening started in the only way it could, with a rendition of ‘Show Me The Way To Go Home’, encouraged by the drunken Brody, Hooper, Quint and Jameson-fueled crowd. The use of venue and close proximity to the docks made for the perfect setting, enhancing what is, already, a great watch in its own right.

It was fitting that the use of Jaws, one of the original batch of summer blockbusters, was chosen here, given this most unique of viewing experiences and the interesting juxtaposition of taking something that was once fresh on its own terms and adding a new coat of special, experiential paint. The next Cult Film Club showing happens to be The Terminator in Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse. I’ll definitely be back.

Mel Gilbert

Posted on 19/09/2012 by thedoublenegative