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Bradford After Midnight

Bradford After Midnight is a take on London After Midnight, the title of a famous silent horror film made in 1927. The film was also known as 'The Hypnotist' and featured Lon Chaney in a double role. There is a lot of information on the internet about this film and there is also a band of the same name.

Outdoor candle creates mysterious glow

In one interesting piece a man claimed to have seen the original London After Midnight film back in 1989, then labelled The Hypnotist, whilst he was working for a film company in the US as a delivery driver. In this particular piece, the man described himself as a 'horror buff' and mentioned having been taught to use a carbon arc projector. Now this was very interesting, because my first job was working for a film company that made advertisements for the television.

Myself and another new employee were both taken on the staff to train as sound editors, in the late 1970's. The film making company was run from an old cinema and theatre where they were still using the ancient cinema projector to show their finished films to clients in their private auditorium. The film was 35mm and on the bottom of this film the sound ran in the form of a magnetic strip. Sound editing consisted of getting all the sound 'in sync', graphing out the lengths of each sound and putting the sound on to the film. This was quite a difficult and technical process.

I was the only woman working in the cutting room and it was a very male orientated environment, with the usual sort of calendars and the rest. The cutting room manager decided that I should learn how to run the projector so that I could then show their finished films to clients.

The carbon arc projector was a huge mental beast with a shaded window at one side. The film was laced carefully through the projector and the carbon rods had to be treated with utmost care as they frequently needed replacing and broke very easily. Two rods were fitted by the operator, one at both sides, and looking through the shaded panel you mechanically brought both the rods together (but gently or they would snap) and then on contact they would spark and light up. The dowser was moved down slowly the variable resistor gently brought the auditorium lights down then you'd cracked it - the film would start to run. Sometimes the film snapped and consequently the air would momentarily be turned blue by the somewhat bad tempered cutting room manager or one of his assistants.

Myself and the other new employee would be sent to clear the sets after filming had finished. I remember distinctly having to move a whole pile of car tyres after one shoot. Another job was fetching and cataloguing all the films in their silver cans which were kept in the attic in racks

I also had the job of setting up the sound booth, so that the celebrities of the late 70's could come and do their voice-overs or VOs as they were known. Off I would go carrying the microphone and its cover in a box as well as a good number of patch leads, and then I had to fit everything together and make sure that the microphone could be heard in the cutting room at the correct level. When recording was finished I had to put everything away again. On top of all this I would be sent to make tea or coffee in specially kept china cups, when a 'celeb' was booked to do a recording.

The company was a very busy one which had a few offices. Often a courier would turn up to rush off to the nearest TV studio with the completed film ready for showing. I left because I did not like the 'us and them' culture; the backroom staff in film companies are often treated as skivvies whereas Aleister Crowley once said, 'Every Man and Every Woman is a Star'. So 'London After Midnight' could be happening anywhere in the world.