“…not a night to be out walking past the graveyard on your own as a wild wind wails through the quaking trees and rattles at the cemetery gates. The old clock strikes midnight. Strange shadows flicker over the tombstones in the occasional light of a sickly moon peering weakly through the clouds. Your footsteps and your heartbeat quicken. You look over your shoulder. What was that? Is something there?”
Dark nights and tall stories. Magic and mystery, tales of witchcraft, legends and urban myths. That’s what we’re thinking about this month, with six weeks to go before the shortest day, the Winter Solstice and the gradual return of the light.
There’s no point in fighting it, is there? It’s November. Harvest is over, the darker nights have set in and traditionally it’s a time when many cultures mark the end of the farming year. The rhythm of work and production changes, the food we eat is cooked more slowly, our energies start to move inwards and towards the hearth and home.
It’s a time for building a fire, for lighting lanterns and for hunkering down with a hot drink or a bowl of stew. Meanwhile, the longer nights give rise to shadowy imaginings, as this is the time when the old religions believed the veil becomes thinnest between the material world and the occult. That’s when we celebrate Halloween and Bonfire night, traditionally challenging our primal fear of the darkness and the spirit world with fire, feasting and dressing up. It’s a time to huddle up by the fire, watch the shadows and tell stories. Creepy stories. Stories as old as the hills…
Many of these stories translate beautifully into film and you can see some of cinema’s classic chillers during the BFI Gothic season over the next few months.
We’re very proud to be screening a 16mm version of “Dracula” directed by Tod Browning and starring the great Bela Lugosi. If you haven’t seen this and think that vampires begin and end at “Twilight”, think again. This will be a unique chance to see an excellent quality print by local early film collector and projectionist Christopher Wibberley and it seems fitting to be showing an analogue version of the film, the gentle whirring of the projector and the beautiful quality of the black and white film lending it a dimension that you just don’t get with digital projection.
We’ll top and tail it with some Lo-Fi horror in VHS, and some tunes on vintage vinyl for some old-style entertainment with a touch of magical mystery…join us at our favourite Gothic venue, upstairs at The Great Gatsby, Sunday 24th November, doors at 3pm.
Garlic is optional…