Confessions of a Cinema Fascist

by Mark Ashley

I'm a mild mannered tolerant person most of the time, I can make Clark Kent look like the Incredible Hulk after he's just woken up with a bad headache. But over recent years I've noticed a change. My calm and quiet Dr. Jekyll has developed a Mr. Hyde. I've become a Cinema Fascist! 

I don't know when the changes first started, it may have been all those Summer blockbusters, or the British hype films, all I know is it's happened, and it's now. 

I love films, but I hate cinemas. 

Well, that's not really fair. It's not the cinemas as much as the people in them. I hate the people that go to watch films. I know what you're thinking, everyone hates rowdy teenagers who rampage through the theatre and talk too much. I'm worse, I hate everyone! I hate the teenagers. I hate the parents. I hate anyone who eats popcorn, wafting that smell around that lingers unpleasantly like the odour of a wet dog or a mature fart. I hate people who eat anything or drink anything, all that chomping and slurping like stray mongrels rooting through bins. I hate people who talk, I hate people who cough, I hate people who sneeze, I hate people who breathe! I hate people who sit in front of me, I hate people who sit next to me, I hate people who sit behind me. I hate people who arrive too late, I hate people who leave too early, I hate people that get up half way through to go to the toilet. I hate my friends who give a running commentary or ask too many questions. I hate EVERYONE! 

I propose a cinema apartheid. I want full segregation. I want them to reject anyone under 30, anyone over 50, anyone who smokes and eats and drinks, anyone with a disease that involves coughing or sneezing or heavy breathing, anyone with walking sticks or wheel chairs or squeaky shoes or vocal chords. I want IQ tests on the door, I want people to conform to a specific range of intelligence and taste and humour and cleanliness. I want all ushers and projectionists and refreshment vendors gagged - in fact I want all refreshment banned - none of this "in Holland you can buy a beer in a cinema" shite. In my new cinemas you won't even be able to buy a coke, and there will be a full body search at the door to make sure no one smuggles one in.

 In my brave new world cinemas will be clean and bright and shiny and empty, so that, once and for all, I can finally watch a film in peace. 

Mark Ashley
Cinema Fascist
CineScene 1999