OK, so it might have got off to a bit of a clunky start but, on Thursday July 31, Secret Cinema presents Back To The Future finally had its opening night and FHM went along to see what all the fuss is about.

Secret Cinema, for those of you that don't know, is essentially a massive cinema event where, instead of watching the film in an actual cinema, you're watching it from a set based on the film. And you're dressed up like someone from the world of the film. So basically: You're sitting in a real-life film. Watching a film that's the film you're sitting in.

It's like Inception for film geeks.

Previously, the clever bunch have put on such events as The Shawshank Redemption in a large 'prison' and Coen Brothers classic Miller's Crossing in a 1920s world, complete with speakeasies.

This time, Secret Cinema has built the fictional town of Hill Valley for a showing of Back To The Future, transporting audiences backwards in time to 1955. It's massive, it's bonkers and it's briliant. 

Here's what we learnt from snapping on our braces and showing up with a fictional press card...


01 Where we're going, we don't need dress codes.

1955 - That was the dress code. Should have been simple enough: slick back our hair, buy some braces and enjoy the spectacle of loads of girls in pretty prom dresses.

Obviously, in East London, any opportunity to be a bit different is grasped firmly with both hands. Some smart arses decided to rock up in 80s garb, a few others came as Doc Brown and a handful settled for just jeans and a Back to the Future t-shirt. Spoil sports.
But our favourite? The awkward moment when one man, dressed as a member of Marvin Berry & the Starlighters, crossed paths with another man, dressed in the exact same outfit. But why was it particularly awkward? This man had also chosen to come in blackface…

02 Back to the Future is even better when watched in a group.

It's hard not to love this film, especially when surrounded by thousands of other fans who are dressed up and merry in every sense of the word. The laughs and applause are louder and it's difficult not to get swept up when the whole crowd rises to the feet for an impromptu boogie during Johnny B. Goode. We may or may not have spent the following weekend watching the sequels.

03 Ferris Wheels are great places to meet girls.

Maybe it's the prom vibe or the fact everyone's in really high spirits, but Secret Cinema is a weirdly romantic place. One chap even proposed to his girlfriend right before the film started.

The 1950s set includes a post office where, if a girl catches your eye, you can write her a little note. Just pop her description on the envelope so that one of the many 'postmen' wandering around can easily hand-deliver it.


04 Venison, cheese and maple bacon burgers are a force to be reckoned with.

So the food stalls are, as you'd expect, a bit pricey and with long queues. However, this little beauty from The Wild Game Co. made it all worthwhile.


05 We should leave staying in character to the professionals.

Before the event, you're assigned a unique 1950s identity, complete with new name and occupation. If you so desire, you can totally adopt that identity and play along with all the other audience members and Hill Valley actors.

Or you can basically draw a complete blank because you've run into someone you haven't seen since uni and they're one of the actors. And they're perfectly in character with an American accent. And they definitely know what your name is.

THEM: I haven't seen you in two years! What's your name again?
US: (Give real names, not the names we've been given)
THEM: Uh-huh. (Eyeballs our 'Hill Valley Telegraph' press badges) How long have you worked at the Telegraph?
US: No, no. FHM.
THEM: What's an FHM?

Secret Cinema Presents Back to the Future will run from 24 July – 31 August 2014. Tickets available here.