BFI Sci-Fi Days of Fear and Wonder: It’s the end of the world as we know it

Susie Stubbs
Screen shot from Alien, with two men in space suits

The BFI kicks off its biggest ever season of film – with some sci-fi spectaculars at a venue near you.

Dark nights are a-coming, and we’re not just talking about the clocks going back. Not to be outdone by the cheeky gore-fest that is Halloween, the BFI has announced a new season of filmic fun to see you through the long winter nights. Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder is the BFI’s biggest ever season of themed film, with sci-fi flavoured events running across 200 locations nationwide. And what this means in terms of, you know, actual Things To Do is a series of off-kilter screenings, events and all-nighters organised by our friends at Cornerhouse, Grimmfest and Preston’s They Eat Culture.

BMX bikes, drag queens and all-nighters are obligatory

The faint of heart should start with Grimmfest’s three classic double bills at MOSI, which include Terry Gilliam’s Brazil and 12 Monkeys, and Paul Verhoeven’s Total Recall and Starship Troopers. Elsewhere – BMX at the ready – a handful of site-specific, secret cinema events in Preston feature a screening of E.T. preceded by, of course, a mass moonlit cycle ride.

In November, Cormerhouse hosts an all-nighter of sci-fi classics that ranges from Flash Gordon to The Terminator, while the International Anthony Burgess Foundation has hooked up with Cornerhouse to screen a series of end-of-the-world classics such as Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb and the 1951 epic, When Worlds Collide. Based on the story of a bunch of scientists battling to save the human race (before it’s wiped out by a planet-sized asteroid), there’s something about watching this 50s film that is curiously comforting. Asteroid anxiety, as it turns out, is pretty much as old as Hollywood – as are concerns that science, technology, highly contagious viruses and warfare are about to finish us all off. As this season of films prove, we are not original in our fears. It may well be the end of the world as we know it, but guess what? We feel fine.

These events are all part of the nationwide BFI Sci-Fi season ‘Days of Fear and Wonder’ (October – December 2014), and are supported by Film Hub North West Central. Film Hub NWC forms part of the BFI UK-wide Film Audience Network and shares the overall aim of bringing specialised film and independent film to audiences in new and exciting ways.

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