Cult Fiction Movies shop opens in Edinburgh

Cult Fiction Movies Opens

Stock Horror . . .

… and westerns, and grindhouse, and long-lost sci-fi. David Pollock gets the lowdown on new store Cult Fiction Movies

To a certain type of movie fan, Newington’s newly-opened Cult Fiction Movies is a magical store where a litany of grindhouse double features, BFI Classics and films from America’s Criterion Collection which remain currently unavailable on this side of the Atlantic might be found alongside rare and imported movie posters. To passers-by, though, it’s a curiosity box with low-budget, largely forgotten flicks from the 80s such as Killer Klowns From Outer Space, Xtro and Maximum Overdrive proudly displayed alongside more mainstream cult films like Trainspotting, The Big Lebowski and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. It’s all things to all people, or at least those with an interest in hard-to-obtain classics on DVD.

Owner Stewart Dawson describes his personally preferred genres as horror and sci-fi. ‘Everyone will have their own definition of what a “cult” film is,’ he says, ‘so I want them to think, when they see the word in the name of the shop, that I’ll have what they want. I’ve got a range of grindhouse films, although most of their names will probably mean nothing to you. I’ve got rare westerns, a horror range, other sections for individual directors like Dario Argento and Pier Paulo Pasolini. Whereas all some customers might want is (his eyes scan the impressively-stocked shelves) The Gate – a classic 80s horror film there. Or maybe the original Captain America …’ He knows that many fans of superhero comics and films will feel a pang of curiosity to even hear this rare 1990 turkey’s name mentioned.

An ex-psychiatric nurse from Edinburgh’s Southside, Dawson has run Cult Fiction as an online business since early 2008 and a physical store since June of this year. ‘When I was a teenager,’ he recalls, ‘I worked in a video shop for two years, earning 75p an hour, and I couldn’t have been any happier. That was my inspiration, getting to know all these films while I was there and then wondering years later why I couldn’t find them any more. Once I’d tracked them down it occurred to me I could sell them online, because no one else seemed to be, and then once I’d made a little money from that I decided to open a shop.’

The bulk of Dawson’s stock is comprised of import versions of films which are unavailable in the UK, whether they’ve been deleted for years or only recently taken off the shelves; during any period of deletion, even for previously widely-available films, the prices of import versions rise. Taking inspiration and advice from The Cinema Store in London, Dawson must ensure that each disc is properly certificated and matches up with the BBFC-approved cut of the film. While the online era is denting the DVD industry, though, it has proven helpful to him: ‘Distributors are more likely to permit you to sell import copies of their films now, because they know that anyone who wants them will just download them otherwise.’

Beyond the sales side of the business, Dawson is planning themed events in future, including an instore appearance by Troma Studios founder Lloyd Kaufman in August and more guests he can’t officially announce until later in the year. Though having heard the names off-the-record, we predict Cult Fiction is set to become more than just a store to Edinburgh’s cult movie fans.

Cult Fiction Movies, 95 Newington Road, Edinburgh.