Alternative Cinema: The Scala Forever Film Festival

By David Katz


Saturday night trips to the multiplex and Sunday afternoon outings to the BFI Southbank are wonderful film staples but now and again we all have cravings for something a little more, shall we say, transgressive from our repertory film offerings. Any self-respecting cinephile will admit that if you don’t want to watch either Harry Potter or alien robots battling it out on-screen it’s been a bit slim-pickin’s at the cinema this summer.

With this in mind it’s hardly surprising that there are so many outdoor screenings and mini festivals going on and gorehounds and arthouse-buffs alike should definitely mark their calendars for Scala Forever, a film season starting next Saturday that pays tribute to the old Scala Cinema in King’s Cross. The Scala was famous and notorious in the ‘80s and early 90s for hedonistic all-night screenings, an erotically-charged atmosphere, and its inclination for showing films that wouldn’t be seen for dead at your Odeons and NFTs.

As cult cinema god John Waters famously said, ‘the Scala had magic’, and his low-budget trash trilogy of Pink Flamingos (1972), Female Trouble (1974) and Desperate Living (1977) were naturally some of the old cinema’s signature films. Showcasing an impossibly eclectic selection of horror, cult and art cinema, Scala Forever kicks off with King Kong   (1933) on 13th August at Roxy Bar & Screen, sandwiching all types of Meyer, Scorsese, Romero and Fassbinder between a finale of A Clockwork Orange (1971), which is surely fitting as one of the most dangerous and famously censored films ever made.

Click here to view the Scala Forever programme in full

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