On Thursday, Scala Forever launched its new season dubbed Scala Beyond at the Roxy in Borough with the call to arms to ‘fill the land with cinemas’. Once again harnessing the industry of the purveyors of independent cinema into one six week season, Scala Forever showcases a spectrum of the good (Bird with Crystal Plumage), the bad (Showgirls) and the ugly (Xanadu) from the world of cinema.
Earlier this year, they commemorated the persistent visions of sadly now diseased cult director Ken Russell. The season, held last March, included the launch of the Director’s Cut of The Devils at the BFI celebrating its publication on DVD, with a lively discussion after with a few of the cast members; whilst other London screening venues braved Altered States, Lisztomania and The Lair of the White Worm.
From documentaries to world cinema to artist’s moving image there’s plenty to see over the six weeks of Scala Beyond, whether you want to take in an eighties classic like The Goonies on an open-air screen to listen, or listen to a panel discussing strange exploitation flick, The Erotic Rites of Frankenstein. Now I say forget Ferris Bueller and seek out some of the subversive Scala Beyond events:
First up, if you’re looking for swashbuckling with a Soviet Sinbad, then you need Sadko by the ‘Soviet Walt Disney’ Alexander Ptushko at the Horse Hospital, Bloomsbury on Wednesday 22 August.
Doggiewoggiez! Poochiewooochiez! is at Big Red, Deptford on Saturday 25 August. Everything is Terrible (one of the best blog sites to unearth terrifying 80s videos) has created a homage to Jodorowsky’s Holy Mountain using found footage of dogs. The trailer is pretty breathtaking and as psychedelic as its muse.
FrightFest Rediscovery Screen 26 August at Empire, Leicester Square features restored Hammer House of Horror Films back on the big screen, including Christopher Lee in The Devil Rides Out and the unforgettable 1935 classic, The Bride of Frankenstein starring Elsa Lanchester and Boris Karloff.
Then an altogether less wholesome affair – Paul Verhoeven’s dirty secret, Showgirls, presented by Amy Grimehouse at The Book Club on Wednesday 29 August. Amy Grimehouse knows a thing or two about cult cinema. They love John Waters for starters having regularly screened his oeuvre alongside dark marvels such as Mommie Dearest and Todd Solondz’s Welcome to the Dollhouse. Each evening features performance, audience participation and a bit of a disco, so expect some tacky pole dancing and lewd behavior in honour of the ridiculousness of Showgirls.
Though this awesome event is in competition with anarchic Australian oddity Bad Boy Bubby also screening on 29 August at Roxy.
If kicking ass is more your thing then World Wide Action All-Nighter presented by Filmbar70 on 1 September should be just the thing to get your adrenaline pumping. Here’s Indonesia’s take on the Terminator for a taster…
The surreal horror films of Larry Cohen can be found in The New York Nightmares of Larry Cohen – a double bill of Q: The Winged Serpent and God Told Me To, discoverable on 6 September at the Roxy.
Sunday 16 September is the day for giallo fans. For all you stalkers who love intense thrillers take in a double bill of Code Unknown and Peeping Tom at Rio, Dalston – not for those of a paranoid disposition. Rivaled by not two, but three, giallo masterpieces from the legendary Argento, Bava and Bianchi showing in Day of the Giallo presented by Filmbar70 at Roxy. Fantastic.
And finally, Harlots, Hicks and Hooch! at the Roxy on Wednesday 26 September, which brings some Seventies white trash ‘hixploitation’ to the big screen. Cine-Excess lives up to its name presenting Ed Gein inspired cult shocker Deranged: Confessions of a Necrophile offset by the rather silly, sexy capers of Tobacco Roody.
If nothing above satisfies, check out Scala Beyond for the full line-up from 18 August to 29 September.