For the last few months I’ve been expounding the virtues of the Cameo Cinema’s Fiendish Fridays, an opportunity to catch rare films in the company of fellow film fans. Here Ian Hoey, General Manager at the Cameo, gives a behind-the-scenes look at the genesis of these evenings.
The Cameo Cinema has a long history of going an extra mile when it comes to putting on events or presenting films. Making a visit to the cinema more than simply sitting in a dark room facing a screen for a period of time is part of the character and atmosphere of the place and it’s a tradition we delight in upholding.
Late-night films have been an established part of our programming for many years but the demand for such entertainment has been in steady decline for some time and the public are more and more reluctant to attend such screenings. As part of our rethink on the matter we have decided to focus more on certain themes than random titles. One of these themes is the Fiendish Fridays, which can be found on the last Friday of certain months of the year.
This is not a narrow field and many titles can be considered for inclusion although there are rough guidelines. The main criteria, obviously, is will the film in question work as a late night screening? After that we consider how often, if ever, the public will have had the opportunity to see it whether on DVD/television or in the cinema.
Finally, we have to see if there is an available print. While limited availability means that we never rule out screening from a different format, we try our best and have succeeded so far to always show 35mm prints. Encapsulating all of this is the desire to show the public something rare, entertaining and, hopefully, enlightening whether in the genre, the filmmaker or the subject matter.
To take the event and the informative aspect of it further the screenings were initially introduced by Your Host with a microphone at the front of the auditorium. This opening was replaced after the initial two screenings by a filmed introduction to be shown onscreen immediately preceding the feature.
These humorous intros are a measure of the passion the Cameo staff have for what they do as they are generally filmed off-the-cuff in a method that relies on the good nature of the volunteers that appear with Your Host.
The most extreme example of this so far is the five female members of staff who had endure freezing temperatures as they stood around the Royal Mile dressed as Victorian prostitutes while they fell victim to Jack The Ripper-style attacks for the wild introduction to Hands Of The Ripper.
It should not be forgotten that the purpose of the intros is to inform as well as entertain and Your Host is filling the audience in on all sorts of background and trivia no matter what else is happening at the time.
In the case of the next presentation on Friday 25 (and Saturday 26!) April the introduction carries on while a sniper lays waste to many unfortunate individuals. The reason for this carnage is that it precedes Targets. This is a superb film that would probably have gained wider recognition had it not had the misfortune of being released at a time when gun crime and assassinations were severely depressing the American psyche.
Targets is the directorial debut of Peter Bogdanovich and features the last great performance of Boris Karloff who shows that he’s so much more of an actor than simply someone in a monster costume. There’s a lot of interesting background to this film but, if you want to find out more, you should catch the eight-minute introduction at the Cameo Cinema.
General Manager, The Cameo
Visit the Cameo website for full details of the screenings.