Last May, the University of Nottingham’s film-watching society, Silver Screen, set up their own screen on the Downs to show Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two to 250 students. Jack Singleton, the Film Officer of the society commented that, “the atmosphere of a large group of fellow film-watchers and film-lovers laughing, screaming or simply enjoying themselves in the open air was a truly gratifying and rewarding experience.” After such a resounding success, they are planning to show The Adventures of Tintin in the same place this May.

Outdoor cinema screenings have brought a taste of the American Drive-in to Britain, allowing people to really enjoy the British summer without reneging on their love of film. Some of the many bonuses of the outdoor experience include the fact that you’re not penned in by people rustling sweet bags and crunching popcorn, and what’s more, you can bring your own picnic, chairs and blankets, which avoids the crippling prices of foyer food and less than comfortable pull-down seats.

Imagine settling down on a few picnic blankets with your friends to watch The Blair Witch Project on a warm summer’s evening. A less than cosy scene would soon follow as the terror developing onscreen appears to be happening in the trees behind you. Even your bravest friend would be quaking under the picnic blanket, clinging onto you for comfort.

If scary films aren’t your thing, then maybe you’d prefer Project X? As the food and drink policy is generally bring-your-own at outdoor screenings, this setting would be perfect – the Pimms flowing freely amongst the audience would soon result in the action onscreen merging with reality. Who knows, if the party brought the Freshers out of their halls onto the Downs, it could even climax with a blazing Hallward.

Sheer terror and absolute carnage aren’t the only options available though; perhaps a well-loved classic such as Grease, The Lion King or Back to the Future to accompany a picnic or barbecue would suit you best. Whichever you’d prefer, definitely try and get to an outdoor screening this summer for a much more involved cinematic experience.

Cara McGoogan

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