"The Scala had magic. It was like joining a club - a very secret club, like a biker gang or something ... It's like they were a country club for criminals and lunatics and people that were high ... which is a good way to see movies." - John Waters
Post-punk and pre-digital, the Scala was London’s most infamous repertory cinema, showing double-bills of classics, cult movies, horror, animation, LGBT+ and experimental films. Throughout the years of Thatcher and fear-mongering film censorship, it stuck two fingers up to the establishment with a mind-bogglingly eclectic menu.
In the audience were filmmakers including Ben Wheatley, Martin McDonagh, James Marsh, Carol Morley, Joe Cornish and Viv Albertine who have since attested to the Scala’s influence and legacy, while Christopher Nolan still carries his last Scala membership card in his wallet.
Join Jane Giles, former Scala Programmer and author of the lavish Scala Cinema 1978-1993 coffee table tome (who was famously prosecuted for illegally screening A Clockwork Orange in 1993), for an in-conversation with Watershed Cinema Curator Mark Cosgrove. It's also the perfect excuse to indulge in some Scala favourites including a 30th anniversary screening Alejandro Jodorowsky's Santa Sangre and a special showing of 1974 American horror It's Alive in an homage to the late Larry Cohen (1936 -2019).
Scala Cinema 1978-1993 by Jane Giles is published by FAB Press and has won the 2019 Kraszna-Krausz award for excellence in moving image book publishing.