The Good, The Bad and The Fungi…?


The history of film could well be in jeopardy after it has come to light that several sneaky species of mould are destroying ancient movies, scene by scene, right under our noses.

Researchers investigating the North West Film Archive (NWFA) at Manchester Metropolitan University have recently discovered fungi deviously eating away at the gelatine coating of the reels of film, completely and irreversibly ruining the image on each still. Although the mould is most commonly found on poorly stored home movies, cine-films and archived historical footage, scientists are concerned the problem will spread to big blockbusters too.

The fungal infection, which seems to be more a job for Super Mario and his knowledge of mushroom disposal than for ‘Superman Returns’, could be combated and cured by special mould sensors to detect where it strikes; usually where we least expect it! It just goes to show that censorship in film can be a good thing…

Scientists and film critics alike are on their knees praying that the global film collection will remain unharmed by the fatal fungi, except for High School Musical and its sequels, in which case they are unanimously agreed that an outbreak of mould covering Zac Efron’s face will definitely make the movie more enjoyable.

First the bacteria killed the aliens in War of The Worlds, now they’re killing the movie itself. Where will this all stop? It seems that soon cinema goers could be uttering the infamous catchphrase “I love the smell of mildew in the morning…”

So could we soon be seeing Anthony Hopkins with mushrooms instead of eyebrows? Or Angelina Jolie with a toadstool for a nose? (Well now that you mention it…). What does this new revelation mean for our films, our fungal foes and ourselves? Well, the short answer is very little; there is no long answer. Fewer than 100 out of 20,000 films at the NWFA have been targeted by the mould with its large appetite for chick flicks, rom-coms and thrillers.

Mark Bodner of the NWFA told the BBC, “It’s a drastic situation’. A bit O.T.T. Bodders; it looks like he may have encompassed Tarantino’s love for exaggeration. Despite this, the British Film institute is building a warehouse capable of storing the films at sub-zero temperatures to tackle the problem. It almost seems like something straight out of the Cold War.

For now, we have the upper hand against the mould in a fight bigger than the Persians and Spartans in 300, and as long as the fungus doesn’t leak out of the film and into the popcorn, it should stay that way. But as the scientists were closing the investigation, a researcher swore he heard a tiny fungal whisper in the form of “I’ll be back…”


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  1. avatar
    Deborah Bodner on

    “It’s a drastic situation. There’s nothing we can do about mould unfortunately. It has devastating effects on the image,” He told BBC News.

    Please don’t quote the misquoted.

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