Secret Cinema: I don’t mind paying through the nose for the film world's best worst-kept secret

How else can film fans embrace their inner nerd?

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The Independent Online

This week I spent £626 on tickets to see a film I have already seen at least ten times. Yes, that’s right – I splashed out on eight £78 tickets for me and seven pals to dress up as Stormtroopers, Jedi and Wookiees and traipse halfway across London to waggle our wilted, homemade lightsabers.

With Secret Cinema –  the hugely popular company behind immersive film events around the world – the message used to be simple: tell no one. But now the secret is out, and tickets usually vanish within 15 minutes. If it goes ahead, its showing of Star Wars will be my tenth such experience to date, and it just keeps getting better.

Although not everyone is excited as I am. When the Star Wars event was announced, many began griping about ticket costs. And I don't blame them. As a massive fan I would pay (almost) anything to attend. Yet I still balked at the extortionate £75 price tag – plus a £3 booking fee. I remember shelling out just £27.50 in 2010.

However, the prices might have increased, but so has the scale of production, and the size. A whopping 60,000 people attended the five-week Back to the Future run (for £53.50 a pop), and there are even more expected for Star Wars.

But those moaning about paying that much to "watch a film" have got it all wrong. It’s not at all like going to the cinema. For me, being a Secret Cinema obsessive has been an eclectic journey.

In 2010 I donned circus garb for Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire at "Potsdamer Platz" (AKA Shepherd’s Bush Pavilion). I then pulled out my best cyber-punk cosplay in Canary Wharf for Blade Runner, replete with snake-wielding strippers, seedy street-vendors and the smoke and dry ice of dystopian downtown LA.

I dressed in my grandmother’s 1970s kaftan and sat on the sand-strewn "souk" floor of Alexandra Palace for the entire 222 minutes of Lawrence of Arabia, surrounded by real camels. I've also worn a dressing gown to the disused Princess Louise Hospital in Kensington, where I was ushered silently through the "disturbed" ward to receive my "prescription" (wine), before watching One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest in a wheelchair.

My last Secret Cinema trip involved raiding my dressing-up box like an excited child for Back to the Future. It was at the Olympic Park, which had been fully transformed into 1955’s Hill Valley, complete with a farm and live goats.

As you might have guessed already, I can't get enough of it. So, until it ends, or until it gets truly unaffordable (like Glastonbury) I’ll keep saving up for Secret Cinema.

It may be expensive, and not-so-secret anymore, but it remains a bewitching, endlessly-inventive dollop of fun. And it’s so much better than going to Vue.

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