Thanks to MiDNiTES FOR MANiACS founder and host Jesse Hawthorne Ficks, San Francisco was host to the world’s first triple feature screening of Edgar Wright’s The Blood & Ice Cream Trilogy. Despite nearly 150 fans of the series sending Ficks “creative exercises” in hopes of earning entry to the exclusive event, the films, which include Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and the upcoming The World’s End (look out for a review near it’s August 23 release), remain obscure, at least in terms of the American box office as Ficks pointed out. And this is precisely why MiDNiTES FOR MANiACS exists, to celebrate the under appreciated and underrated films that aren’t given the serious credit they deserve.
But for those who do realize the greatness of Wright’s films with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, yesterday was a revelatory experience. Even those who won a ticket creating caricatures of the films’ stars or writing seven page papers (yes that happened, according to Ficks), were still staking a place in line nearly six hours before the event’s starting time of 3pm at the AMC Metreon theaters. For those who didn’t win, waiting anxiously in line was the only hope of gaining a last minute ticket.
Between films, Ficks — who is also a professor of Film History at The Academy of Art University — spoke of the true brilliance of the series and how discovering great films isn’t always about watching trailers and involves work on the part of the audience, like those who fought for a seat yesterday. Great films are continuously being made, he noted, they’re just not always the ones the masses see. He repeatedly urged viewers to make up their own minds on what they like and noted that “guilty pleasures” don’t exist. Ficks also offered up trivia on “pointless knowledge” about the films and the films they inspired with winners receiving posters and Shaun of the Dead pint glasses. But one very special winner had to wait until the event’s end.
After the Bay Area premiere of The World’s End, the final film in the Cornetto inspired trilogy, stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, along with director Edgar Wright were ushered into the theater for a Q&A session. As Frost sat down he joked “we’re like a moderately successful rock band.” The trio discussed with Ficks their inspirations for the films — Wright gave a specific shout out to the San Francisco-set version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers –, how they were made, and what their childhoods were like — Pegg admitted to a Goth phase during his teen years. After audience members asked their own questions that included their best hangover cure to which Pegg proudly proclaimed he has been sober three years this week, a limited edition poster was raffled off. As the winner stood up Wright exclaimed “It’s the kid! We saw him out in the lobby and he was so surprised to see us he actually walked into a wall!” The kid descended the stairs where he was greeted by the trio as they signed the poster and handed it over to him. When asked to say something to the crowd, all he could muster was “I’m shaking right now.” He wasn’t the only one.
Look for a detailed review of The World’s End near its August 23 release date and make sure to check out more MiDNiTES FOR MANiACS events at their official site here.