United Kingdom | 2023 | 96 min. | Jane Giles, Ali Catterall

The wild history of the Scala Cinema in King’s Cross, London, a repertory house of ill repute with enough nose-thumbing alternative programming, midnight madness, illicit pornography, and transgressive politics that it would make Margaret Thatcher’s head explode.

Get inspired by the wacky film offerings and debauchery of the Scala and experience the wildest of Seattle cinema at The Grand Illusion and HUMP! Film Festival, who will be giving out tickets to can't-miss movies at the May 13 and May 16 screenings, respectively.

From 1978–93, London’s legendary Scala cinema offered its patrons a wealth of diverse film programming, everything from kung-fu to queer, grindhouse sexploitation to gorehound horror, Laurel & Hardy classics to provocateurs John Waters & Divine. If there ever was a high temple of cult cinema, it was the Scala. Founder (and Academy Award nominee) Stephen Woolley adopted the same DIY approach to film exhibition that fueled the punk music scene—as a “cinema club” the Scala was allowed to show more transgressive fare and, in some cases, uncertified or even “banned” films. The cinema’s anarchic reputation attracted and inspired a whole generation of renowned musicians, artists, and filmmakers. And then there’s cinema cat Huston, whose exploits are almost as legendary as the Scala itself. Directed by former Scala programmer Jane Giles with Ali Catterall, Scala!!! Or, The Incredibly Strange Rise and Fall of the World's Wildest Cinema and How it Influenced a Mixed-Up Generation of Weirdos and Misfits, to give the film its full title, is not only a profoundly heartfelt tribute to the weird, wild, and wondrous motion pictures of the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, but also a love letter to those cinema spaces where we all gather and collectively share such experiences.

Dan Doody

  • Director: Jane Giles, Ali Catterall
  • Principal Cast: John Waters, Mary Harron, JG Thirlwell, Isaac Julien, Princess Julia
  • Country: United Kingdom
  • Year: 2023
  • Running Time: 96 min.
  • Producer: Alan Marke, Jim Reid, Andy Starke
  • Screenplay: Jane Giles
  • Cinematographers: Sarah Appleton
  • Editors: Edward Mills, Andy Starke
  • Music: Barry Adamson
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Filmography: Debut Feature Film
  • Language: English
  • US Distributor: Severin
  • International Sales: BFI