For cinemagoers looking for offbeat, cult and esoteric genre films, Bigger Than Life x Arrow Film Club launches at GRUB’s Chapeltown Picture House this July. A new partnership between local cinema programmers Bigger Than Life and cult film label Arrow Video, this series of curated double bills aims to gather like minded film fans under one roof.
Scheduled for the second Saturday night of each month, the film club launches on Sat 10 July with a visit to nocturnal New York, as envisaged by legendary director Abel Ferrara in his operatic crime saga King of New York and his philosophically-minded vampire flick The Addiction.
The films, released in 1990 and 1995 respectively, present a stylish and distinctively scuzzy vision of New York City. The hip-hop infused King of New York stars Christopher Walken as a Machiavellian drug kingpin newly released from prison and determined to reclaim the city from the vicious mob bosses, amoral Triad leaders and crooked cops who have sprung up in his absence.
While The Addiction — which also features Walken in a delicious cameo — is a quieter, black-and-white affair which tracks a philosophy grad student played by Lili Taylor as she succumbs to vampiric yearnings, leading to a bloody, frenzied conclusion. The films may operate in different registers, but their interrogation of moral codes and particular intensity mark them distinctly as the work of Ferrara and screenwriter Nicholas St. John.
But, from the gloriously overblown setpieces and outlandish characters of King of New York (the film provides an early showcase for the likes of Laurence Fishbourne and Wesley Snipes, as well as Schooly D’s confrontational anthem “Am I Black Enough For You?”) to The Addiction’s sleazily high-minded riff on folklore and human atrocity, there’s also a lot of fun to be had here.
Located within popular Manchester street food venue GRUB, Chapeltown Picture House is the city’s newest cinema. The food and drink offer is as good as you would expect, so awe recommend that you arrive early, stay late or just be sure to grab something to enjoy alongside the films.