Bury St Edmunds science fiction exhibition at Moyes Hall celebrates ten years of cult movies
PUBLISHED: 11:59 26 October 2018
Bury's Moyes Hall museum stages a well-regarded science fiction memorabilia exhibition each year. Arts editor Andrew Clarke spoke to organiser Lance Alexander about some of his own key movie moments
Bury St Edmunds annual celebration of all things science fiction at Moyes Hall Museum reaches its tenth anniversary this year.
The event which brings together props, costumes and memorabilia from some of the greatest films and TV shows of all time has become one of the leading cult film exhibitions outside London. More than 1,000 people are thought to have visited this year’s show during the opening weekend alone.
This year’s show looks at how science fiction and “science fact” have influenced each other. One exhibit highlights how the 1990s flip-top mobile phone was a direct design descendant of the Star Trek communicator and how Skype and Facetime have made the comm-link, ever-present features in Gene Roddenbury’s universe, a reality in our daily lives.
Other attractions include original Hollywood props and costumes including Captain Kirk’s costume from Star Trek III (1984), Matt Damon’s Space suit worn in Ridley Scott’s The Martian (2015) and a BBC TARDIS console from the classic era of Doctor Who.
Lance Alexander, one of the organisers of the exhibition and someone who has been involved frrom the start, said that as a self-confessed cult movie fan it was important that shows such as these were available to people right across the country and not merely the preserve of people who lived close to London.
He said that finding people to loan items had become easier in recent years as their reputation had grown. “It’s still not easy. It’s always a delicate operation persuading a collector to part with their precious original lightsabre hilt for a month but we are a properly accredited museum, we have got proper security and display cases, and now we have a track record, we have that trust factor, it is becoming easier, particularly now we are working with partners like Kudos Memorabilia who have their own contacts as well all over the world.”
This year Cambridge-based Kudos were able to source the original Apollo 11 flight manuals which again draw together the themes of science fiction and science reality – particularly as First Man, the story of Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon, is currently playing in cinemas.
So what are Lance Alexander’s Top Science Fiction movies of all time?
1. Star Wars (1977) – “The opening of that original film can never be beaten. Without doubt that’s my number one sci-fi moment, the music, the neverending spaceship, the planet hanging in space. It just blew me away and still does. I remember seeing it as a child and thinking: “This is it. I’m here now. It won’t ever get any better than this.”
2. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) – “This comes a very close second. I was brought up with the original series of Star Trek and was disappointed by Star Trek: The Motion Picture. It didn’t have the feel of the original series, so when I saw Wrath of Khan, I knew they were back. The relationships were there and it was full of the action-adventure that I had loved as a kid.”
3. Blade Runner (1982) – “Another absolute classic. Despite the numerous director’s cuts, I love the original. I have to have the 1940s-style, gumshoe narration. For me, Blade Runner is science fiction’s great masterpiece. It’s the film where ideas, narrative and visuals all come together.”
4. Alien (1979) – “Another Ridley Scott masterpiece. I was allowed by my parents to watch this when I was young. I am sure that they weren’t aware that it was going to be as gory as it was. I was blown away by the chest-bursting scene with John Hurt and this whole notion of silence in space was immense.
5. Moon (2009) – “A relatively recent one now from Duncan Jones, David Bowie’s son. Sam Rockwell’s experience mining on the moon, for me, harked back to the classic space dramas of the 1970s and 80s, with their amazing model effects . It has lots of detail, it’s beautifully filmed and it’s a film I absolutely adore.”
6. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) – “It’s got to be in there. Another brilliantly made film. Action-adventure, heroes and villains. It’s got everything. Fantastic action set pieces, comedy, wonderful visuals. It’s a film I can go back to and get something from time and again. For me that’s the definition of a classic.”