Every Monday, we round up the most exciting film events happening in London over the coming week, from pop-ups and one-offs to regular film clubs, outdoor screenings and festivals. Here’s this week’s top five…
1. BFI Gothic: ‘Cat People’ + ‘Curse of the Cat People’, BFI Southbank, 3.30pm, Sun Oct 27
The BFI’s epic three-month Gothic season gets into gear this week with an array of classic films exploring the darker side of life, love and literature. Among the many delights on offer in this first week, the prize goes to this flawless double bill of horror classics. Jacques Tourneur’s groundbreaking 1942 original remains one of the great subversive thrillers. Simone Simon plays a Serbian immigrant whose repressive childhood – involving, the film implies, sexual abuse – causes her to transform into a deadly panther in moments of arousal. The 1944 follow-up is one of the oddest sequels in movie history, a tangentially linked tale of childhood and the supernatural, and the first film from ‘The Haunting’ director Robert Wise.
2. Halloween Movie Mash-up: ‘Halloween’, Portobello Pop-Up, 3 Acklam Rd, W10 5TY. 6pm, Sun Oct 27
The Portobello Pop-Up’s Halloween weekender presents three classic horror movies over three nights, plus themed food, decor and traditional activities from apple bobbing to pumpkin carving. That last task could prove a little close to the bone on the final night, as viewers of John Carpenter’s genre-defining Hitchcockian slasher learn exactly what a carving knife is capable of. You may have seen it a million times, but Carpenter’s note-perfect thriller still has the power to enthral and disturb.
3. Alibi Film Club: ‘The Beyond’, The Alibi, 91 Kingsland High St, E8 2PB. 8pm, Mon Oct 28 – FREE
Outside the arthouse, horror is the only cinematic genre where pure surrealism is not only acceptable but expected – and there are few more graphic examples than Lucio Fulci’s bonkers bayou bloodbath ‘The Beyond’. There’s a plot of sorts: a young woman inherits a hotel that happens to have been built over a gateway to hell. But this is merely a loose framework within which Fulci goes all out to upset and horrify his audience: faces melt inexplicably, tarantulas rip out human tongues, zombies rise from the grave, eyes are repeatedly torn out. The film’s composer Fabio Frizzi plays at the Union Chapel on Halloween night, and this free screening should be the perfect aperitif.
4. The Nomad: ‘A Nightmare on Elm St’, Hoxton Hotel, 81 Great Eastern St, EC2A 3HU. 6pm, Sun Oct 27
Outdoor cinema pioneers The Nomad have taken over this fashionable hotel for a series of Sunday screenings. This Halloween special features one of the all-time horror greats, in which dream-invading Freddy Krueger revitalised the tired ‘kids to the slaughter’ cycle. With his ragged, stripy sweater, battered hat and finger-knives, Old Pizza Face sliced his way into the Elm Street teens’ dreams, visiting the sins of the fathers upon a new generation, and becoming an instant horror icon.
5. ‘Cabinet of Dr Caligari’ + live score by Minima, Prince Charles Cinema, 7 Leicester Place, WC2H 7BP. 8.45pm, Thu Oct 24
Electronic soundscapers Minima are perhaps the best live soundtrack artists currently working, and their eerie score for this masterpiece of German expressionism has sold out cinemas across London. ‘Dr Caligari’ is a paranoid classic about a hypnotist who uses a sleepwalker to do his murders. There are plenty of boring sociological/critical accounts of the film; best to avoid them and enjoy the film’s extraordinary use of painted light and Conrad Veidt’s marvellous performance.
For the full list head to Time Out’s film events page.