MUGGED: REVENGE SERVED COLD (2021)


MUGGED: REVENGE SERVED COLD (2021)

*Selected to receive the distinct honor of a Silver Bullet Virtual Screening for SHOCKFEST FILM FESTIVAL DECEMBER 2021*

*NOMINATED for Best Original Concept and Best Atmosphere, Independent Horror Movie Awards 2021*

‘Horror has always been queer...it’s just not how it’s been positioned or marketed necessarily’ Anna Bogutskaya

‘As I've said before it feels like a combination of Cronenberg and Lynch. Very pulpy. Really love it.’

'.....a dark experimental neo surrealist short film interlaced with abstract art culminating in a visionary horror experience’
'Campbell gives us a uniquely original perspective that is bold, arresting and chilling’
Extracts from review by Francesca de Luca of my film MUGGED (2021) in March 2021 issue of Cut Frame Magazine

'Mugged is a surrealist short that feels claustrophobic and creepingly personal, and mildly disturbing. Cleverly structured and somewhat chilling as a stand-alone piece, you leave the film feeling the cold fingers of control in the pit of your stomach. Potentially so much deeper, psychologically scarring, the piece will leave you with a feeling of sympathy for the creator (the potential serial killer or controlling entity we never see), wanting to ensure they are feeling important and loved which is a neat trick to pull off as it becomes the man we want to hate but cannot help but want to hold.'
James Clark – Lost Creatives. Feb 2021
Full review here:
https://www.lost-project.com/loststories/mugged-revenge-served-cold-a-film-by-lee-campbell

'This is so haunting, the slowing down of "i own-Lee have 👁️👁️👁️ z 4u" menacing...😱'

'It's quite unnerving and very voyeuristic and Lynchian in feel in the way you take what should be a banal detail and examine and stretch it out until it becomes something else and something disturbing! To me it most felt like the backwards talking in Twin Peaks, a simple detail that feels uncanny and quite sinister. I also admire the layering in editing and the patience you must have had for putting it all together - I think that really helps sell the tone.'

This film was made with sound and moving image recordings I made on a Sony Ericsson Cybershoot K800i mobile phone between 2005-2006, poster art (a spray-painted London Evening Standard poster in 2006), pencil drawings I made in 2010 and felt tip and pencil drawings 2019-2021, as well as moving image footage I took on an iPhone 2018-2021.
This is a film about control in gay male relationships. A discovery of betrayal leads to revenge climaxing in an attack and the avenger announcing the most controlling of statements to his lover victim in the final shot. This is a very different direction for me - it comes from a body of work about me, my partner and our dog. The dog also intrudes somehow in our relationship but performances and films I had made before Mugged: Revenge Served Cold were light-hearted, playful and not serious whereas this film... something much more sinister! I like the fact we don’t really know who is controlling who in this film.

To explain in more detail about the evolution and inspiration behind the film, many years ago when I was studying at the Slade, I began generating performative actions and recording these using my mobile phone in a similar vein to the film directors of La Nouvelle Vague; post-war French New Wave cinema, who were influenced by the concept ‘camera-stylo’ meaning using the camera like a pen. Experimenting with my mobile phone’s (the Sony Ericsson Cybershoot K800) properties/hardware/software, I prioritized its relative ease of use in terms of its stills/ video camera. Despite the phone’s minimal amount of recording features, the small, unobtrusive, easy to operate phone enabled me, as someone at the time who considered themselves not particularly ‘tech-savvy’ or au fait with complicated editing techniques, to get to grips with working with performance and performing in front of a camera for the first time. My phone camera was my audience. Shot and edited entirely on my phone, I produced numerous moving image collages which combined visual montage and sound elements. One of these works involved me recording myself in the shower and washing in front of a mirror to the soundtrack of the famous shower scene in Hitchcock’s Psycho. Around the same time in 2005/6, I made a piece of artwork called Mugged (the poster that features in the film). The pink + Mugged text was to signify the increase in attacks on gay men in London around that time and I guess was my own fear of that happening to me. Referring to my latest films as excavations of personal archaeology- many of the clips that feature within them- reuse those recordings I made all those years ago with my Sony phone. Mugged: Revenge Served Cold takes those old Slade recordings, poster artwork and creates something entirely new which my friend filmmaker Jacob Holmes-Brown described as ‘quite unnerving and very voyeuristic and Lynchian in feel in the way you take what should be a banal detail and examine and stretch it out until it becomes something else and something disturbing!’

  • Lee Campbell
    Director
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Short
  • Runtime:
    6 minutes 32 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 23, 2021
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Frostbite International Film Fest

    February 2, 2021
    Official Selection
  • Kosice International Monthly Film Festival 2021

    Finalist
  • Cult Movies International Film Festival

    Semi Finalist
  • Independent Horror Movie Awards 2021

    May 8, 2021
    Nominated for Best Original Concept and Best Atmosphere
Director Biography - Lee Campbell

Dr Lee Campbell is an artist, poet experimental filmmaker, writer, Senior Lecturer at University of the Arts London, curator of regular performance poetry night POW? Play on Words in South London and founder of Homo Humour, the first of its kind project on contemporary queer male film and moving image practices that explore humour and LGBTQ+ storytelling. His experimental performance poetry films have been selected for many international film festivals since 2019 including Queerbee LGBT Film Festival, The Gilbert Baker Film Festival, Kansas 2020 and 2021, HOMOGRAPHY, Brussels and STATES OF DESIRE: Tom of Finland in the Queer Imagination, Casa de Duende, Philadelphia, USA, 2020 WICKED QUEER 2021, Boston, USA, FilmPride - Brighton & Hove Pride's official LGBTQ+ film festival, Brighton, UK, Splice Film Festival 2021, Brooklyn, USA and Darkroom Festival, London.
 
In 2022, Lee’s films have screened/will screen at prestigious events/festivals including REELpoetry/HoustonTX, Houston, USA, Living with Buildings II, Coventry, UK, Beyond Words curated by Gabriel Sosa, Fountain Street Gallery, Boston USA, Micromania Film Festival ,The Football Art Prize, UK-touring exhibition to Touchstones Rochdale, Millennium Gallery, Sheffield and Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens, Scream Queer Film Festival, Rome, Italy, Splice Film Festival 2022, Brooklyn, USA, TRANÅS AT THE FRINGE - International Screening of Experimental Films and Videopoems, Sweden, Post Pxrn Film Festival, Warsaw, Poland and FILM.ART Festival, Innsbruck, Austria. He has a solo exhibition of his poetry films, See Me, in July 2022 at Fountain Street Gallery, Boston, USA.
 
Lee has been interviewed numerously about his current film/performance work including interviews on BBC Radio Sussex and Surrey with Kathy Caton for Out with Kathy, KMTV (local Kent-based TV station) interview feature about Bona Polari! solo exhibition, Daniel Hess for To Tony Productions, Tim Kirk, Matt Skallerud for I Love Gay Today/Pink Media LGBT, Hamish Downie’s Five Questions With – Lee Campbell (March 2021) BBC Radio Kent- Interview with Dominic King for The Dominic King Show January 2021. His film work has received critical acclaim with recent review features of his film work by Francesca de Luca in Cut Frame Magazine and James Clark in Lost Creatives.
 
His live Zoom poetry performances have been showcased at events including Disturbance#2, Ugly Duck, London, Theatre Deli, London Festival ECRÃ Edition 5, Rio de Janeiro, the Immersive Storytelling Symposium, Lakeside Arts Centre, Nottingham and Rise Up! Reconnect. Rebuild. Recreate 10th International Digital Storytelling Conference, Loughborough University. In October 2021, Lee headlined Forum+ Incite! Lee currently performs regularly at poetry events across London including Poetry Shack, Mind Over Matter, Poetry LGBT, The Word Zoo, Mother Wolf Club, Gob Jaw and Paper Tiger Poetry where he won Best Poem of the Night (September 2021). Lee presented a one hour solo poetry performance at Brighton Fringe 2022 in 2022. Lee was one of the invited performance poets for Bold Queer Poetry Soirée, Above the Stag Theatre, London in June 2022.
 
His poem ‘Clever at Seeing without being Seen’ was recorded for Sometimes, The Revolution is Small, Disarm Hate x Poetry project by Nymphs & Thugs Recording Co. UK. Publications of his poetry include The Atticus Review, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Untitled. Voices, Gob Jaw Anthology 2019-2022, Issue Two: Wasteland, Powders Press, Issue One: First Times, Powders Press, Otherwise, You Are Here - The Journal of Creative Geography and Queerlings – A Literary Magazine for Queer Writing.
 
Lee has a long history of curating performance and fine art exhibitions internationally. For example, between 2005-2008, he curated All for Show, an internationally touring film showreel of emerging and established British moving image artists whose work exposed the banalities of everyday life through humour, self-introspection, and serious play. In 2020, Lee curated Radical Ventriloquism at Kelder, London. His most recent curation is Homo Humour which this year has screened at Metal, Southend-on-Sea, Open Eyen Liverpool and FRISE, Hamburg, Germany. Lee runs a regular monthly experimental poetry /spoken word night, POW! Play on Words, at The Bridge House Theatre in South London where he is currently curatorial poet in residence. In January 2021, he curated a set of queer poetry evenings for BBC Radio.

RECENT SELECTED AWARDS:
2021 Honorable Mention, Athens International Monthly Art Film Festival
2021 Best Psychedelic Fantasy film winner for 'See Me' (2020), Retro Avant Garde Film Festival NYC 
2021 Semi-Finalist, Serbest International Film Festival 2021
2021 Honorable Mention, Splice Film Festival, New York
2021 Nominee for Best Original Concept and Best Atmosphere Independent Horror Movie Awards 2021
2021 Honorable Mention Award for 'See Me' (2020), Screener Short Films 
2021 Best Kent Film nominee for ‘Peer’ (2020), Margate Bookie Film Festival
2021 Honorable Special Mention Award, Athens International Monthly Art Film Festival
2020 Semi-Finalist (3rd place winner), Splice Film Festival, New York
2019 Special Mention Award, London-Worldwide Comedy Short Film Festival

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Director Statement

My work broadly explores vision, visuality, and the politics of seeing and not seeing and has a long historied body of practice since 2000. As both the writer, director and performer within the experimental films and poetry performances I create, I view my practice as me performing an autoethnography; using these media forms and the chosen themes within their narratives to help me self-reflect and (better) understand myself in relation to acts of looking, seeing and being seen and the difficulty in terms of not seeing/not being seen and my own subjectivity and experiences as British, working class, male, and gay.

Comedy historically comes from a queer identity defence, when it was harder to be gay in public, to be funny like Kenneth Williams who used gay slang known as Polari to communicate with other gay men covertly. Extending these ideas, underpinning my work are the mechanisms of comedy and humour to create a form of autoethnographic storytelling that subverts and challenges through a sophisticated usage of camp, innuendo and double-entendres to speak of personal narratives often raw, often painful but always generous and authentic.

Applied humour as a tactic to subvert and challenge a issues of homosexual identity and representation in relation to themes addressing seeing/not seeing etc, My practice presents a personal archaeology and revolves around my own autobiographical perspective, using the mechanisms of comedy and humour to engage, disarm, and highlight the gay male subcultural milieu which needs critique as it creates such stereotypes.

With a background in Painting and then Performance Art, my current artist moving image film practice brings together personal drawing, painting, photography and performance. Collage has become a major tool in this recent film practice, reinvigorating paintings and drawings that I produced nearly twenty years ago which are juxtaposed throughout my films with current photographic and performance for camera work. These films are often made with reusing / repurposing personal archival material and sound and moving image recordings. Things insist, in a spiral, nothing’s wasted. In this new exciting phase of my practice, I use all my capacities, from theatre to drawing to painting to language to the comic to the affective to the relational, to painting and performance and film. Excavating (fine art) work I made long ago and resuscitating it, I bring it back to life through the medium of film and moving image. Integrating my fine artwork into my film work, my films create an arresting palimpsest effect by recycling pieces from previous bodies of work and placing them within my current context to see how their meanings may now differ from when they were first conceived. Whilst what is presented through my films can be read as one person’s (my) narrative, so too can it easily be read as lots of different voices layered to talk about wider levels of experience with various references to cultural context that (any)one can relate to.