The 20th anniversary of the seminal horror-thriller comic book adaptation of Blade and the 10th anniversary of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, for which Blade was a dynamic precursor, served as the inspiration for EIFF’s newly expanded, immersive cinema experience, which will take place during Hidden Door Festival on Sunday 27 May at the magnificent Leith Theatre. Blade was the first film to feature a black superhero and as such was a trailblazing achievement back in 1998 and laid the foundations for what we see today, with the long-awaited adaptation of Black Panther and the wider reinvigorated focus on afrofuturism.
We felt there were so many exciting elements to explore through the heritage of Blade which was such a turning point for comic-book adaptations and we really wanted to pay tribute to this by recreating the look and feel of the film in a truly immersive, interactive cinematic event.“You better wake up. The world you live in is just a sugar-coated topping. There is another world beneath it – the real world. And if you want to learn to survive it, you better learn to pull the trigger” Blade
Twenty years on, the film has lost none of its visceral energy and originality - it still feels fresh and dynamic, its dry humour and dark themes are brilliantly balanced and its strong aesthetic is exhilarating and satisfyingly slick. And the seminal soundtrack is outstanding.
We wanted to develop a truly immersive experience that celebrates the film and its heritage, the scope of which has not been seen before on this scale in Scotland. The expansiveness and faded grandeur of Leith Theatre offers the perfect setting for the vampire underworld, with so many dark corners and hideaways, cohering brilliantly with the visual identity of the film.Our focus while developing the event with our amazing collaborators, Hidden Door, New Media Scotland, Ray Interactive, Scare Scotland, We Throw Switches and many local artists, has been a commitment to honouring the integrity of the film and its origins. Every element of the event relates back to the source material in some way and has been designed to reflect the distinctive tone of the film, to achieve that balance of dry, tongue-in-cheek humour and thematic darkness. This will be an unforgettable night celebrating a piece of cinematic history that will satisfy fans of the film as much as those who are experiencing it for the first time.
The journey the audience will take from the moment they enter Leith Theatre will feel like entering the film itself. The entrance of Leith Theatre will be transformed to recreate one of many memorable moments from the film, setting the scene for what will follow as audiences enter the main hall – Murnau’s original 1932 Nosferatu will play out on the big screen to DJ Bob Disaster’s hip hop set as Scare Scotland vampires weave amongst the vampire hunters and people compete in the venue-wide interactive game to decode the Book of Erebus and win Blade’s Sword. The audience will be asked to decide where their allegiance lies, with vampires or those who seek to defeat them, however their mission will remain the same – crack the code before your enemy does. We’re encouraging everyone to get into the spirit of things by dressing as 90s as possible, to chime with the look of the film, which is really quite sleek and sophisticated. People can engage as much or as little as they like – it’s a really inclusive event designed to work for die-hard fans as much as for those who are just a little bit curious. If people wish to come as a vampire or vampire hunter, that’s brilliant, but humans are equally welcome, although we suggest they will be entering at their own peril.Vampires can quench their thirst with vials of blood as enemies of these creatures of the night can restore their power with vials of serum, as screens around the venue provide vital updates. Blade’s original PlayStation game can be played by those who want to brush up their fighting skills but there won’t be much time before Blade is on screen, when real life special effects will immerse the audience in the vampire underworld, before transitioning into a spectacular vampiric club night, mirroring the iconic bloodbath rave scene, as DJ Nasty P and DJ EH-1 transform the film’s brilliant soundtrack into a specially curated, one-off hip hop and electro set, taking audiences from the film into the small hours.
This is going to be really, really spectacular – whether you know Blade inside out, you haven’t seen it for years or you’re just interested to find out what it’s all about, come along to Leith Theatre and prepare to have your mind blown.