A drink of Beetlejuice, otherwise known as a cocktail of Bombay Sapphire gin, lemon ginger, and beetroot, welcomed us to the screening. When Geena Davis’ Barbara and Alec Baldwin’s Adam swerve to avoid hitting a dog and end plunging into a New England river, we’re invited to knock back a short, salty, pretty sharp cocktail. Like Tim Burton’s characters, we’re revived. When they briefly enter the dessert-abode of the giant sand worms, another container houses a slice of sandworm itself. Mutton jerky follows, before a helping of head-shrinking powder.
Shameful as it is to admit, this was the first time this writer had sat down to watch the film that launched the careers of Tim Burton, Winona Ryder and Michael Keaton. It’s a delightful, constantly rewarding experience – carefree in its imagination and verve, giving, warm, often surprising in its ability to find soul in the strangest moments. Burton has used the restrictions of a small budget to create a world that feels both tangible and fantastical, just a couple of degrees away from reality.
It’s also a great choice for a Halloween film, a beautiful tonic to so many horror films that conceal their cynical, sleazy edges behind layer upon layer of knowing irony.
But, this being ‘edible’ cinema, was it the right choice for the creations of experimental food designer David Bradley and Bombay Sapphire mixologist Sam Carter? Does their experimentation actually enhance the experience of watching the film?
The answer, I think, is yes. Edible Cinema, although novel, was successful in creating a sense of occasion, of taking one out of a comfort zone and into an entirely different place; eyeing your partner’s reaction before shrugging and tasting the latest morsel without any notion of what you were about to experience – all as Michael Keaton chases his demons around the screen.
The tastes aren’t always for the feint of stomach, but no matter. The film itself is full of strong, kitsch, often jarring images, so why should the food match? Watching a movie with the accompaniment of popcorn and coke won’t feel the same again.
Edible Cinema will cater for those with allergies or who are vegetarian. Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails will be on offer.