Calgary Underground Film Festival taking local movie lovers on Field Trips of Terror

Q: Um …what’s a “Field Trip of Terror?”

A: Are you serious? You live in Calgary, but you don’t know about the Field Trips of Terror?! They’re these amazing, wild, ridiculous movie screenings that turn up in outlandish locations during the summer. They’re organized by the good folks from the Calgary Underground Film Festival, so you KNOW they’re going to be fantastic. How do you not know this? What’s wrong with you?

Q: OK, that sounds neat. When did all this start?

A: Great question! Let’s ask Brennan Tilley, the lead programmer/operations manager of CUFF!

“In 2012, we programmed our first outdoor screening series. This was the Cannibal Cookout at Oak Tree Tavern. Over four weeks in August we played four cannibal movies. Each had a food special tied to it (100% Butt Free Shpadoinkle Sloppy Swans, Robert Carlyle’s Ribs). In 2013 we returned to Oak Tree’s rooftop patio for summer camp films. Again we had food specials. That time it was camp food with each week tied to the film (Gene’s meatloaf and mixed vegetables, Angela’s frank and beans).

“During this time we were discussing ideas for locations that would pair with movies. Our best ideas were locations that our regular attendees may have difficulty getting to. In 2014, we partnered with BassBus for Field Trips of Terror — Pumpkinhead at Cobb’s Corn Maze and Psycho Beach Party at Aloft. The bus trips sold out and a fair number of people drove themselves to each.

“In 2015, our Field Trips of Terror were to out of town destinations. Again the bus trips sold out. Tremors was especially well attended. My recollection is that attendance could have been around 150 for that screening.”

Q: And what’s happening this year?

A: Two screenings: Joe Dante’s Matinee (1993) on Thursday, Aug. 17th, and the 1988 remake of The Blob on Saturday, Aug. 26th. I don’t think I need to tell you how cool those two movies are.

Q: No, indeed! How do I get to the Matinee screening?

A: First, buy your ticket at  You will receive instructions on how and where to board the BassBus to the screening at the Eau Claire Distillery in Turner Valley, where your ticket will entitle you to a tour of the facilities, plus a tasting before the film. Oh, and free popcorn. Bus goes out at 6 p.m., and takes you back home to Calgary at 11 p.m.

Q: Is it the same deal for The Blob?

A: Nope! The Aug. 26th screening takes place at Lukes Drug Mart, right here in Calgary — the Bridegeland location (112, 4th Street N.E.). Just show up at Lukes before 9:30 p.m. No bus, no tickets. It’s free!

Q: Got any stories about past screenings?

A: Brennan says: “Every screening comes with a great story. The greatest might just be pulling off Tremors. Staging a screening on the side of a big rock located off a highway is quite the feat. It started with getting permission to set up at a Provincial Historic Site. We needed to find a way to anchor the screen and keep it flat and level. Bring in a generator for power and set it up to not interfere. We brought in speakers, a projector and other equipment. Loaded in a concession stand and 50-plus chairs. Everything had to be walked in from the parking lot. It all had to be disassembled, packed and loaded out in the dark.”

Q: Are more Field Trips coming next year?

A: Oh, yes.

Calgary Underground Film Festival presents Field Trips of Terror: Matinee at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 17th at the Eau Claire Distillery in Turner Valley (no minors), and The Blob at 9:30 p.m. at Lukes Drug Mart Bridgeland location on Saturday, Aug. 26th. Details at 

John Tebbutt is the Video Vulture. He has been writing about obscure and ridiculous cinema since 1997. You can keep up with his nonsense on his websiteFacebook and Twitter