Friday, 29 April 2016

Pompeywood Cyber Social

New social channels dispel all doubt of the diversity of output from #Pompeywood and its filmmaking community.

The new Twitter channel accompanies (and tweets activity from) the Pompeywood Youtube channel. It highlights both contemporary and vintage Portsmouth filmmaking, including visits from Telly Savalas, Universal Pictures and, uh, Mr Bean.

Dig into the embedded playlist below and celebrate the city's rich culture of motion picture arts which belies its roots as a naval port.

Friday, 22 April 2016

PAINthemovie Gets Green Light

The spiritual successor to GAINthemovie will be shooting in summer 2016. The corridors of power in Hollywood are describing it as 'They Live' meets 'The Wizard Of Oz'.

GAINthemovie (Ghostly Apparition Investigation & Neutralisation the movie) pioneered the modern airninja movie method in 2012 and went on to win multiple awards internationally, including the esteemed Wingnut's Choice at the BUFI organised #FrugalWave Power Awards.

Whereas GAIN was directed by Evil C vs britmic, PAIN will be directed solo by britmic (does this mean we can look forward to a solo project by Evil C in future? Let's hope so).

Scant clues to the storyline exist, although rumour has it that 'PAIN' is an acronym for Personal Area Interurban Navigator', inspired by the 'PANIC' - Personal Area Network Internet Computer' - which was cut from britmic vs Evil C flick 'The Fix:'

Although the leads of PAIN have been cast, we are left to guess as to which parts they are playing. Actors include newcomer Suzy Weatherall through to industry veterans Patrick Olliver and Phil Lyndon.

Full listing of known cast below.

Jackson Batchelor

Phil Lyndon

Suzy Weatherall

Chris Mills

Patrick Olliver

Thomas J. Davenport

Sam Mason Bell

Thursday, 21 April 2016


This is possibly Michael J. Murphy's best known work, certainly in the pre-cert world of video nasties.

It's got a lot to like but at the same time it didn't all hang together that well for me. I appreciate the atmosphere and commend the edginess. The soundtrack alone throws me right back to the VHS era.

A girl turns up to a fancy dress party but is then held captive as part of a bizarre ritual. Simplistic, but there is also a subtle subplot going on if you care to watch the embedded full film below.


Originally part of a double bill with Invitation to Hell, this film The Last Night shares technical issues associated with its age. No formal previous archiving beyond what can be found on the recent Murlyn channel, founded almost a year after the director's untimely death (he was 64). Sadly this means what the kids would today call "potato vision" where high-detail is non-existent. The technical issues are compounded by lo-fi audio limitations and a production issue with the camera itself which Murphy explains in a later interview.

The story revolves around two escaped convicts who hide in a theatre during the last night of an amateur stage production of Murder In The Dark but invariably get discovered by the staff and cast.

The convicts obviously have to ensure their own freedom endures by murdering various people in (some very) cold blood. Some of the methods of dispatch really are grisly and bear Murphy's unmistakable signature - as does the production design, particularly the convicts' appearance after re-appropriating a blazer, waist-coat and tie they find.

If you can see past the technical limitations of what's thought to be the only surviving version of this film (likely originated from a 240P Scorpio Video pre-cert VHS transfer) it's an enjoyable, disturbing, psychologically terrifying film - with a great synth soundtrack like only that 1980's pre-cert video nasty era can deliver.

Watch the film embedded below or head over to the main channel for a browse.

Monday, 18 April 2016

The iPhone SE has Apple Mojo

So I've had my 64GB iPhone SE a week now.  During the two-week shipping time I re-acclimatised myself with the smaller form-factor by the using my old iPhone 5S before committing myself to selling my 128GB iPhone 6 Plus.

Boxing up my "old" iPhone 6S Plus, filmed with the iPhone 5S whilst my SE was being made at the factory (settle in with headphones for the full ASMR experience):

Whilst using the iPhone 5S I realised I'd only really been chasing the camera and battery tech on the newer iPhone releases. The big screen was nice to have whilst discovering new games but frankly now all the iOS arcade racers and first-person-shooters are the same old tired genres and bore me to tedium. I continue to enjoy classic puzzlers like Scrabble and Words and 10,000,000 and You Must Build a Boat - which play just as well on the SE screen as its larger siblings.

Play a lot of big-name games? Use a console. Categories diverge, always have. For my casual puzzle gaming though, the SE is just fine.

To boot I also sold the 6S Plus at a price that easily covered the cost of the 64GB iPhone SE. The SE is the cheapest iPhone model (if you go for the 16GB model which most people wanting to shoot video probably should avoid) and yet for me it has more mojo than its bigger siblings, it's understated, discrete, just plain stealth.

Unboxing my new favourite iPhone, again filmed with the 5S (and again recorded in a way to maximise any ASMR trigger potential so wear headphones for best effect):

Now obviously the iPhone SE isn't for everyone since Apple will no doubt continue to sell gobs of larger screened phones. I really hope they keep a smaller form-factor in their line-up and this isn't some sort of "one of" Special Edition phone as part of Apple's 40th year.

Right now, for long as 1080P remains a viable consumption format (and I'm sure it will be for another 10 or 20 years or longer) then I don't really have any compelling reason to ever upgrade from the iPhone SE (it can shoot 4K if I can really be bothered) - unless it becomes completely obsolete - which will happen eventually as happens to everything including entire civilisations. (In other words, I'm not going to let that worry me!)

And, did you notice the video above shot with the 5S were 720P@60fps? An ancient phone in technology years.

The iPhone SE shows Apple found some mojo, it didn't wimp out entirely on components and build materials, you could even say iPhone SE is da BOM.

Don't listen to me make up your own mind and exercise your own powers of critical thought. Fink different.

Friday, 15 April 2016

☴ Trendspotting and Avoiding Media Fads

I'm pretty bored of hearing about VR (virtual reality) that I decided to check why it was everywhere in my feeds and streams. It definitely seemed like it was all rooted in some astroturfing PR campaign.

Well I was not surprised to see this trend line:

It's clearly a campaign push media idiot feedback loop bound for a deep deep trough of disillusionment.

Compare that with more steady interest in Deep Learning:

Heck, even the humble old staycation is a safer bet for sustainable growth (which itself may have arisen from a campaign push media idiot feedback loop):

Proof, if any were needed, VR is in a bubble and it's very likely about to come down the other side of its spike. I won't be wasting my time or money on it just yet. I'll see you on the other side.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

☴ Book Review - Ishmael by Daniel Quinn

Ishmael is a very simple, quite short, book. Whilst some highbrows deplore the style, I found it highly accessible and slightly whimsy in a Philip K. Dick dark undertone kind of way: a telepathic gorilla instructs the protagonist on how the state of the world came to be, why, and what can potentially be done about it.

The structure of the book is such that it follows the rules of cliffhangers and revelations, withholds key parts of the narrative to keep you reading.

The story presents a concept that will stay with me. The idea that, what if our entire civilised culture is enacting upon erroneous perceptions that are so deeply ingrained in how we do things that to question them is absolute heresy. That there is an alternative, and by the way here is one such alternative you could begin enacting as an individual today; now.

Difficult to go beyond the surface without spoilers, but it presents a hypothesis and suggests a practical, easy, effortless solution. It might even contribute to your well-being and improving positive mental health. And/or put you in the mood to re-watch The Matrix.

If you don't want the toil, why not herd?

Value people and life, not things. Don't seek to conquer; rather participate in nourishing. Prepare the world for the future rather than consume it for the now. The usual hippy shit, then explains why such mind-sets fail to get traction (bear in mind the book was published in the early 1990s).

Whilst this book undoubtedly belongs in the "New Age" section alongside David Bohm, Rupert Sheldrake and, ahem, David Icke - it rethinks contemporary dominant global culture in ways that make logical and rational sense - in the context of a conversation with a gorilla.

Why review this book on a blog about compact capability? Because only the outlaws are truly free.

Ishmael on Amazon UK

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Remembering Michael J. Murphy

Michael J. Murphy, 1951 - 2015
As a relative outsider it is testament to Michael J. Murphy's (MJM) larger than life personality that after only meeting him twice I was keen to get to know him and his work beyond the surface.

The man may be gone but his work lives on.

By the end of March 2016 I had managed to archive digital versions of most of his significant works on the official Murlyn Films International channel on Youtube.

It may not quite be definitive (only fuzzy clips of Boadicea remain as part of the original BBC broadcast profiling MJM) but later professional works are well represented but much products of their time - VHS is a 240P format at best so we were lucky to get some of his work sourced from master tapes - but it seems zero celluloid survives.

His work lives on, as does his power to inspire. Phil Lyndon (the surviving Murlyn business partner) received this praise via Facebook (reproduced with permission):

Hello Mr. Lyndon.
Of course you don't know me, so a brief introduction: I'm Joe Chapman from Pennsylvania. I have a video and photo studio, Chapman Productions, in the city of Allentown, where my fiance, Libby, and I work on various projects. Recently, I happened upon Invitation to Hell and The last Night on Youtube, and watched them both. I then investigated into who this fellow, Michael J. Murphy was, which led to my discovery of his recent passing - my condolences. Watching the video interview of Mr. Murphy on the MurLyn Films website painted him in a very favorable light to me, and prompted me to watch more of his work. I then proceeded to view everything I could find with great enjoyment. The long interview on Youtube with him by you pressed upon me to learn more about all of you. I suppose my discovery of MurLyn Films came at an opportune moment for me, as gearing up to shoot our first feature has been somewhat stressful, but hearing Mr. Murphy speak so candidly about his career making films, and seeing his films myself, was exactly the inspiration that I needed to snap me out of my doubtful mindset. So this is simply a letter of thanks to Director Michael J. Murphy, to you for keeping MurLyn Films aloft, and to the cast and crew of all of MurLyn Films' productions. Also, if we can be of service to your future productions in any way then let us know. It would be an honor to help keep Mr. Murphy's love of filmmaking going, and a pleasure to work with you and MurLyn Films.
Joe Chapman

Discover the obscure world of Michael J. Murphy yourself, here are some pointers:

MURLYN films

Rare video interview with Michael J. Murphy by Chris Jupp

MJM's Facebook cover picture shows the director with his stalwart Murphy cam rig

Murlyn Films International on Youtube archive works of MJM

Michael J. Murphy on IMDb

Michael J. Murphy on Letterboxd

MJM Interview on The Zone by Paul Higson

Dead Or Alive:British Horror Films 1980 - 1989

Michael J. Murphy Tribute Video

And remember, "the next one will be bloody marvellous."

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Smartphones Are Legit Production Tools

Just as pencils and the public's ability to write diminished the scribe's monopoly of skill, today's smartphones are media production power houses that the establishment do not ignore.