A London cinema has reportedly taken a novel, weirdly-fetishistic approach to keeping audiences quiet during the movie: spandex-covered volunteer ushers who are confident in their body image and deputized to tell loud theatergoers to shut up.
According to /Film, Leicester Square's Prince Charles Cinema employs a corps of "ninjas"--a term assumedly only used because "dance partner in a heavily-choreographed 'Me and My Shadow' children's theatre routine" is too verbose--who, in exchange for free admission and the shame of revealing all of their bulges, quietly maintain order in the chaos of the cinema. Said one victim of elasticized shushing:
"I normally hate noisy people in cinemas, but I got a call from my friend just as the movie started and thought I could get away with taking it. The last thing I expected was two completely blacked-out people suddenly appearing by our seats and give me and my mates a warning to shut up. It was actually pretty terrifying at first, but then I realised it was a bit of a laugh and a great way to make it clear what I was doing was having an impact on those around me. It certainly made me hang up and shut up for the rest of the film."
The idea for the black spandex outfits would seem to be discretion--because nothing is less obtrusive than a man in an aerobics-suitable gimp suit skulking around the aisles--but the horrifying, faceless bodysuits also serve another purpose: free promotion for Morphsuits, the Edinburgh-based company that produces "zentai" suits for It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia cosplay and other, grosser occasions. The so-called ninja system was apparently conceived by that company's co-founder, Gregor Lawson, who explained:
"I'm a big fan of going to the cinema, but there's an unspoken code of conduct when you're watching a movie that some people just don't understand. Then when some fans were discussing being ninjas in their Morphsuits on our Facebook page I had a eureka moment. I thought I'd find a cinema and see if we could bring a light hearted taskforce to the aid of movie fans."
Lighthearted for now, but what happens when the ninjas grow so drunk on power that they stop turning a blind eye to the store-bought Coke Zero we pull out of our bag? And what happens when someone punches one of them in the face, because that's not so weird a reaction to the crouched approach of a living shadow? A lot of questions I'd like some muffled, anonymous responses to.