I've always had a passion for film. As far back as I can remember I've consumed film after film, hypnotised by their stories, frustrated by their folly's and mesmerised by the scope of imaginations they've allowed me to escape into. I remember pushing my parent's tolerance to its limit by religiously watching films recorded from the TV, back to back until either human or video broke and forced me to stop. And, as I grew and got older I remember the amazement I felt as my experience of films moved from the small screen at home to the big experience of the cinema, bombarding my senses and asserting it as the best delivery method of a film outside of Patrick Stewart enthusiastically recreating Jaws using shadow puppets at the side of your bed.
This isn't anything new, it's a common story in a generation that defines itself by the culture it consumes, repeats, recycles and regurgitates back to one another; people are nostalgically connected to films. I'm not here to gloss over my childhood or convey to you the way I felt in those early outings to the dream palace, nor will I tell you what lasting effect those childhood films had (I still don't trust paintings). I do however wish to talk about an epidemic that's killing off cinema audiences one begrudged person at a time.
The cinema isn't at is strongest at the moment; with the internet distributing films freely, the cost of a ticket often close to a week's wage, hard times and rising costs elsewhere, it's no wonder audiences have declined. On top of that we're faced with tricky marketing and premier seating attempting to jack up costs by an extra pound or two and the additional cost of 3d glasses on four out of five films (because the marketing people know how few of us carry a spare pair in our bag).
There are now a lot of reasons to just stay at home and wait for the DVD. But for me there's something about seeing a film at the cinema that offers an experience you can't recreate at home that's worth the price of admission. Something so much more immersive than your lounge could ever be.
But for the past few years, I have found around one in three trips to the cinema have been disrupted, often entirely ruined by a handful of cretins who haves no concept of other people. Perhaps it's a sign of age, irked by the carelessness of others, but then again perhaps not.
This weeks viewing of the Evil Dead for example; my first fifteen minutes were spent barely looking toward the screen due to the five girls down the row, who would rather talk about their text messages than pay attention to the film they paid close to £11 to see. Begrudgingly moving to the other side of the cinema helped, but their foreboding presence never really left the screening, the white glow of phones a permanent fixture in the dark highlighting the continuing din they forced upon those around them. The only solace I could take from these lingering entities was the fact should they ever find themselves in a cabin with the Book of the Dead, it was unlikely that they would have the curiosity or the basic linguistic skill to understand anything not written in text speak and conjure anything more demonic than their own cackling.
In all honesty if left alone for two days somewhere with bad phone signal there's a good chance they would end up massacred, accidentally killing each other off in a barrage of frustration of waiting to talk. The last left alive completely deaf and disoriented found weeks later alone and through starvation forced to eat their own legs by dislocating their jaw and forming the Ouroboros.
You might say I could have shushed them, but such creatures in my experience thrive off conflict. Plus I have heard of a fair few retaliation horror stories that would make Hobo with a Shotgun seem like a story about a harsh telling off often ensuring I/we stay quiet. So what about the staff? Where were they? Well in the modern world most of the cinema has become automated. We are in a baron era between humans and machine, whereby no mild mannered human drunk on the power of a torch can be found to shush a talking menace and no machine free from the first law of robotics will dish out cruel justice. And of course if staff are available their apathy isn't a guaranteed deterrent.
The frustrating thing is that when people converge on mass, situations like this will always exist. It's just a shame that the half empty cinemas will continue to admit and house these self obsessed selfish nincompoops (yes I selected that word) for the duration through either being oblivious to their presence, or worse, assertive action being declined through a managerial fear that shunning them might result in the loss of a future sale.
I wish that they would see this article or one similar and correct their ways, but we know this is no more than another mild shout into the abyss of the internet and so it's more than doubtful. If through means of a fluke they did accidentally click on here I doubt they would recognise the behaviour as their own and they'd probably miss it anyway, no doubt engaged in a dispute such as calling a bus driver a perve for telling them they can't get on without paying.
I can't and wouldn't force the burden of consideration into other people, I just wish that decency and a love for the mediums people have chosen to pay and experience is enough to solicit passive enjoyment collectively, instead of turning it into a public exclamation of the inner workings of their lives. For now we can only hope through a twist of bitter sweet irony they unintentionally crawl through a portal into a Malkovichesque nightmare and are forced to interact with a population composed entirely of their own idiosyncratic babble until they are violently expelled onto the side of the road when some level of reflection and consideration has been attained.
For the consideration of others please turn your mouths and mobile phones off during the film.