Empire Big Screen

I've been reading the wonderful Empire magazine for nearly 20 years, with the writing of horror film critic Kim Newman inspiring my own passion for the horror genre. So, it was exciting news to hear that Empire were hosting their own massive movie event this August - Empire Big Screen - which brings the Movie-Con and Comic-Con experience to the masses at the 02, London.

The masses - ahhh. I'm sure as the event is in its first year, this is why the 02 was actually pretty empty on Friday. I was surprised at the lack of crowds and the spare seats at some of the sessions. This is the chance for punters to get up and personal with leading film industry names - but there seemed to be more industry there than actual paying ticket holders. I'm sure the event will pick up in following years as word of mouth grows and it gets a reputation for being a film calendar 'must do', but they will really need to sort out the chaotic ticket problems, last minute cancellations and general confusion that many paying punters were experiencing. Another note Empire - when your paying customers are asking questions on social media forums, you need people to answer them. This is the POINT of social media; two-way engagement. There were a lot of peed-off people out there. I'll do it. I'll come and do it!

Despite some teething problems, I had a blast at the event. The 02 was a great venue for Big Screen with Indigo 2 and cinema screens used well, but scheduling could have been better.

Highlight of the day was the chance to hear from the infamous Tom Six - the Director of The Human Centipede. When Tom Six put his trailer online for The Human Centipede 2 and promised us a sick, sick bastard called ‘Martin’, I was verrrrryyyy scared. But I’m not so much now. WHY? As Tom Six is a pussycat. A really sweet pussycat. The Human Centipede is just his calling card for greater things. He’s soon going to be filming a psychological thriller in LA which he likes "more than the Human Centipede.” We have nothing to fear of Mr Six.

He walked into the room, confident and friendly, smiling, and pleased to see us all. I wanted to grill him on whether the Centipede was all just a joke to get him noticed and onto bigger and better things, whether bad PR was good PR and why exactly he never takes his hat off, but, like everyone else, he charmed the pants off me in his straw hat, linen suit and cowboy shoes.

“I can’t understand why the BBFC does not understand the humour in this film,” Six stated, talking about his UK banned Human Centipede Part 2, which has distribution across the world, “Great Britain is the country that gave us Monty Python!”

Six confirmed that he is filming Part 3 next year and that he wants his trilogy to connect like a centipede!

“Harry Potter is much more dangerous than the Human Centipede. It’s a kid that jumps off a building with a broomstick and thinks he can fly…”

He also had an interesting solution to the UK’s riot problems.

“Everyone who is rioting should be put into a human centipede,” Six said, “It would stop the riots tomorrow.”

As well as Six, we were only graced with BLOODY STRINGER BELL too, the delicious and gracious Idris Elba who was at Big Screen to promote his new film Demons Never Die which hits UK cinemas this Hallowe’en. It’s basically a hoodie slasher film and looks quite intriguing. Idris is a pretty solid man, so what does he find scary?

“I don’t like films with creepy houses as I live in a house.”

So, there you go, Stringer Bell is scared of houses…and the new super monster Del Toro film 'Pacific Rim' that he’s currently filming - “It’s a big film, I’m a little daunted by it…”

If that wasn’t enough, pint sized English gent Dominic Cooper was on hand to give us a screening of his new movie ‘The Devil’s Double’, where he plays both Uday Hussein and his ‘fiday’ Latif Yahia. It’s a great movie and Cooper obviously revels in playing Hussein - a chance for him to let off steam and do things he wouldn’t normally do. Well, let’s hope not. I liked Cooper’s style and his hair, which was meant to look messy but every inch was perfectly done. The Devil’s Double also has a nice shot of him in swimwear.

Quickly onto Mark Gatiss, who popped in to tell us about filming on Sherlock and how the Hound will be making an appearance in season 2. The Merlin cast also gave a panel where they talked about the five year plan for their series but they gave a tasty big hint that it could continue if the show is still popular and they still want to do it.

I’m definitely going to Empire Big Screen next year, and hopefully we'll see improved scheduling and organisation. It was such an honour to be in the presence of Kim Newman too. Hopefully I’ll get to catch up with him at Frightfest in a few weeks time.