Over recent times there has been an insurgence of alternative ways for you to enjoy a night out at the movies aside from your local Multiplex. We had a look a THREE of your options.
Possibly named after John Carpenter’s classic Masters of Horror TV Episode, Cigarette Burns is an alternative cinema experience screening obscure and classic cult movies in two different venues in London. Some of them are a bit scary!
We spoke to organiser Josh…
Why did you decide to start the cinema?
I’ve always been a fan of films and sort got disenchanted with them for awhile. Partly because nothing seemed to be released that I had much interest in. I enjoy films, but when most cinema’s just seem to screen homogenised Hollywood tat, there seemed little out there for me, or anyone else really.
Thinking that there was no reason I couldn’t just screen what I wanted to see, I started screening films at the Mucky Pup in Angel. At the time, there weren’t many pubs screening films and certainly even less screening films outside your bog standard Pop Cult, like Clockwork Orange or Goodfellas. Which to be honest, never struck me as pub films anyway.
Plus, most people either own them or have seen. Since then London has grown quite an impressive list of pub based Film Nights.
How long have you been running the cinema ?
Over 2 years at the Mucky Pup and about a year at the Rio Cinema.
Has it been a word of mouth thing?
I suppose so, but I also put a lot of energy into promoting it as well. Obviously there are the social networks like Twitter and Facebook. Ultimately it’s hard to tell where the people come from, but every single one of them are genuinely appreciated.
Is there a particular type of film that you like to show?
That’s a tough one. At the Rio, I would love nothing more than to show a steady stream of Giallo, Euro Spy, Krimi, Pinky Violence, solid Exploitation. But sadly, I’m skeptical if more than 5 people would come out to most of those screenings.
So for the moment, we’ll slip a more obscure films in between more comfortable selections. Inevitably horror features quite a lot. We were screening Shogun Assassin and someone came up to me outside and said that as he’d not seen it, he would give it a miss and wandered off down the road…? People are funny little creatures.
At the pub, we can screen the more peculiar choices, Inframan, Moonrunners, Little Cigars Mob, people come for something different and without worry.
What sort of crowd comes to watch the movies?
At the cinema, it’s a real mix, we get a full range of people, all ages really. Though my favourite were the two Outlaw Bikers that came along one night. Other than that, I wouldn’t say there’s much of a “type,” which is good.
Films shouldn’t be exclusive and I certainly would never want Cigarette Burns to be seen as something exclusive, which is why I try to centre attention on the films as opposed to the audience.
What is the capacity at the two venues?
At the pub we hit standing room only around 40 and probably max out at 50, depending how cuddly people want to get. The Rio is a massive old single screen cinema, with downstairs seating of around 200 and another 200 in the stalls/balcony, that’s quite daunting.
Do you have any plans to put the movies on elsewhere?
We did a small short Film Festival at a theatre pub last year. Earlier this year in association with the East End Film Festival for their Secret Societies strand we hosted a screening at the Old Blue Last, home of Vice Magazine in the UK.
Next month, we will be hosting our first double bill at the Prince Charles Cinema in Leicester Square. So I guess Cigarette Burns gets about a bit.
What movies have you got coming up?
The double bill at the Prince Charles is Ringu and Poltergeist (8th of July), both on 35mm, then on the 16th July, back at the Rio with Piranha 3D (in3D), taking advantage of their newly installed 3D facilities. August is yet to be confirmed, but September will hopefully be an all night event with three of the Female Convict Scorpion series back to back.
When is the next screening?
On the 4th July for the Mucky Pup’s 5th anniversary we’ll be hosting an evening of dog related ridiculousness.
Sounds great, can I bring my own popcorn?
Only if you bring enough for everyone.