This year Grimm Up North are partnering with the BFI to host a series of prestigious screening events in unique and atmospheric venues across Greater Manchester as part of their national Gothic season.
Manchester, with its wealth of imposing and dramatic Victorian Neo-Gothic architecture seems a location particularly suited to exploring such imaginings, and so, in this season we’ll be trying something new. Two of the screenings will take place in the regular Grimm venue The Dancehouse; the other two will be site-specific screenings, in which the atmospheric location will add an eerie element of supernatural sensurround to the proceedings.
Ordsall Hall, 13th December
The Innocents (1961) + The Others (2001)
Doors - 18.30, First Film 19.00
Tickets Available from GrimmFest.com
Ordsall Hall is a beautiful and atmospheric Grade I Tudor manor, incongruously situated in the center of Salford and the perfect venue for a double-bill screening of ghost films. It is also home to the mysterious, ghostly White Lady, who walks the hall by night. Is she the spirit of Margaret Radclyffe, Maid of Honour to Elizabeth I, or Viviana Radclyffe, beloved of Guy Fawkes? This could be your chance to ask her in person.
Our ominous opening feature is arguably the greatest haunted house film of them all, THE INNOCENTS, Jack Clayton’s eerie and beautiful realisation of Henry James’ “The Turn of The Screw”; itself often regarded as the greatest ghost story ever written. James’ story has been adapted many times over the years, for stage, screen, and television.
We’ll be pairing it with a more recent, but equally unsettling take on the classic ghost story; Alejandro Amenabar’s smart and spooky THE OTHERS. Inspired, as the director freely admitted, by James’ story, and conceived in part as an homage to Clayton’s film, with Nicole Kidman’s performance clearly and consciously modelled on Kerr’s, the film nevertheless offers some effective and affecting chills of its own.
John Rylands Library, 10th January
BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935) + LA BELLE ET LA BETE (1946)
Manchester. Victorian Gothic library.
For the grand finale of our season we find our last two monstorous films serve to echo the broad themes of the season as a whole. Both Bride of Frankenstein and La Belle et la Bete are both twisted fairytale romances, reminding us that Love is a Devil, and both feature creatures spawned by the Dark Arts, be it bad science or black magic. True, neither features any ghosts as such, but both are genuinely haunting. And both serve to remind us of the literary origins of the Gothic sensibility. Where better, then, to hold the screening than the main hall of John Rylands Library?
John Rylands is one of the great literary treasure houses of the world, the library, designed by Basil Champneys, is a startling example of late Victorian neo-Gothic architecture at its most imposing and delightfully decadent.
BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, James Whale’s darkly funny and mordantly mischievous take on Mary Shelley’s celebrated parable of overweening pride, scientific arrogance and man-made monsters. With its inventive production design and expressionist visuals, archly witty and moving script, and striking, eccentric performances, this exploration the need for love even among monsters offers a high-camp, Hollywood-Gothic take on the fairytale which forms the basis of our second film of the evening, Jean Cocteau’s lyrical, surreal, and startling LA BELLE ET LA BETE.
LA BELLE ET LA BETE: Jean Cocteau’s cinematic interpretation sees him utilising all of his considerable skills as poet, playwright, artist and designer to create a truly magical film, by turns elegant and eerie, romantic and nightmarish, with a powerful performance from the great Jean Marais as the suave, sinister and strangely seductive Beast. A fairytale for children and adults alike, and a far cry from Disney’s saccharine animated version, this is a dark and delirious movie that will haunt your dreams.
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