The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies – London Presents:
CABINET OF CURIOSITIES: THE STRANGE CASE OF THE SCALA CINEMA
at The Horse Hospital Nov 8th!
The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies – London explores the riveting and, sometimes, scandalous history of the Scala cinema – led by ex-programmer Jane Giles with rare and never before seen archival content.
‘A country club for criminals and lunatics and people that were high… ’
This was how the Pope of Trash John Waters described London’s Scala cinema, a hallowed venue beloved of film freaks but forced to close in 1993. The Scala’s deep roots were in the site of an old brewery in 18th century Fitzrovia, a concert hall which was rebuilt in 1905 as an ornate folly of a theatre. The Scala theatre housed both the birth of colour cinema and an exclusive year-long run of the racist epic Birth of a Nation, as well as onstage appearances by resident Bohemian Quentin Crisp, Kenneth Williams as a Lost Boy and Sean Connery, unplaced in the ‘Tall Men’ category of the Mr Universe competition, 1953. Fast-forward to 1976: the Fitzrovia site is occupied by a soon-to-be-bankrupt socialist film collective, but overtaken by a teenage punk who transformed it into the legendary and notorious Scala cinema.
Unique to the Miskatonic Institute, a cache of rare archival documents, architects’ plans, drawings, photographs and other ephemera will form the visual backdrop to a guided tour of the Scala, which moved from Fitzrovia to the defunct Primatarium in King’s Cross, 1981. Specialising in an alchemical mixture of horror, music and LGBT films, Psychotronic and Kung Fu, the Scala pushed back against censorship in all of its forms, culminating in a devastating law suit. The soundtrack to the lecture will feature the Scala’s jukebox and intermission music, 1978-1993.
About the Instructor: Lecturer Jane Giles was programmer at the Scala from 1988-1992, and has since worked in film distribution and exhibition for the likes of Tartan Films, the ICA and the BFI. She teaches at the London Film School and the National Film & Television School, and is the author of four books including The Scala Cinema, 1978-1993, for publication in September 2018 by FAB Press.
About the Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies: Named for the fictional university in H.P. Lovecraft’s literary mythos, the Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies is an international organization that offers university-level history, theory and production-based masterclasses for people of all ages, founded by film writer and programmer Kier-La Janisse in March 2010, with regular branches in London, New York and L.A. as well as presenting special events worldwide. The UK branch is co-run by Janisse and Josh Saco, of Cigarette Burns Cinema.
The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies – London – Cabinet of Curiosities: the strange case of the Scala cinema
Date: November 8th 2018
Venue: The Horse Hospital
Address: Colonnade, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 1JD
Prices: £10 advance / £11 on the door / £8 concs (students/seniors with ID)