• Amy Toledano

Super Scary Film Club (For Kids) presented by Burn Bright Theatre

What Is It?

An hour of spooky sketches and songs, in family-friendly homage to iconic horror films throughout the ages.

What Is It About?

The mission of the night: to watch all the scariest films ever made, back-to-back. A celebration of staying up until dawn to watch scary films with your friends.

How Did It Make Me Feel?

Super Scary Film Club is, at heart, a love letter to the horror genre. The framing device of the children’s film club gives the adults in the room the startling realisation that, goodness, it is quite possible we first watched these films a tad too young. Which naturally, only increases one’s overall affection for the genre.

The framing device in itself has a spooky-sweet arch: don’t be fooled into thinking this is an MST3k imitation. The cast is good at involving the audience from the very beginning. From setting up the Club’s secret password, to handing out popcorn from the snack stash care of Propercorn, we feel like we are part of the clubhouse. This makes the sketch format of the show even more engaging, as every new sketch or song is introduced by one of the ‘kids’ popping a cassette into the old-school VCR. The overall effect is that of a friend group joking to each other about a film as they’re watching it.

I’m right there with them, finding myself hoping they’ll do my favourites next. Your fave is probably in this. Catch me whooping for The Thing in a way that is perhaps more invested and child-like than the actual child sitting near me displays. That’s the power of inclusive theatre done well.

The songs and dances are fantastic reference-laden pastiches, and catchy to boot. The company’s approach to depicting horror’s hall of fame is charming and clever, deconstructing the stories in a way funny to all, on any level you care to examine. Children who may not be familiar with the films first-hand can laugh because they are inherently funny. Older horror fans can laugh because everything about Norman Bates is indeed silly. Because yes, horror is silly. Horror is ridiculous. Vampires are indeed too mushy: it seems to be true that they only care about ‘kissing and cuddling’, ultimately. ‘Scary Oldman’ never even shows up in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. There are plenty of surprises I wouldn’t want to spoil. There is an overarching conversation about the nature of our horror-based media shifting with global anxieties. This play understands that fear is the opposite side of the coin to laughter, and it never stops being playful.

I find myself moved by Rule Number One of the Super Scary Film Club: it’s ok to be afraid. We see Mikey become terrified by the films. He watches them anyway because he feels safe enough to face his fears with his friends. Super Scary Film Club reminds us that it’s ok to be afraid, but also to not forget to see the funny side—and that we’re all in this club together.

Essential for fans of horror cinema, and for anyone interested in family-friendly theatre. A perfect tonic for grim times that has you smiling from beginning to end. See it if you can. Miss at your own peril…

Anything Else?

Iconic Emma Read does a better Kurt Russell in The Thing than Kurt Russell in The Thing. And Kurt Russell in The Thing is already an excellent thing. Whether or not you think he turns out to be The Thing. Super Scary Film Club is not afraid to reawaken that debate.

Arden x

Super Scary Film Club (For Kids) is playing at the Vault Festival until Sunday 22nd March 2020.

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