The Cultural Gutter

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"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." -- Oscar Wilde

Trinity Syndrome

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“For the ordinary dude to be triumphant, the Strong Female Character has to entirely disappear into Subservient Trophy Character mode. This is Trinity Syndrome à la The Matrix: the hugely capable woman who never once becomes as independent, significant, and exciting as she is in her introductory scene.” Tasha Robinson writes more about this in […]

RIP, Francis Matthews

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Actor Francis Matthews has died. Matthews voiced Captain Scarlet in the Supermarionation adventure show Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons (1967-8). He also appeared in Hammer horror films The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958), Dracula, Prince of Darkness (1966) and Rasputin, The Mad Monk (1966) and as the suave detective, Paul Temple in the eponymous television series. […]

King Kong vs. Donkey Kong

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Comic Book Resources has the history of Universal’s suit against Nintendo or… King Kong vs. Donkey Kong!

Interview with Brandon Dillon

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Laura Hudson talks with the creator of the game Hack’n’Slash, Brandon Dillon: “Over at WIRED, I wrote about the new game Hack n’ Slash, a Legend of Zelda style game where you use your sword to hack the source code itself. It’s a really clever concept, but the game has something else that Zelda never […]

“It’s Adventure Time”

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Maria Bustillos takes an in-depth look at Adventure Time, an amazingly in-depth look bringing Roland Barthes, video clips and discussing the show with producers Pendleton Ward, Adam Muto, Kent Osborne, and Jack Pendarvis. “Adventure Time is a smash hit cartoon aimed primarily at kids age six to eleven. It’s also a deeply serious work of […]

RIP, Kate O’Mara

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Actor Kate O’Mara has died. She performed the Rani in Doctor Who, Caress Morell in Dynasty, Mademoiselle Perrodot in The Vampire Lovers and Alys in The Horror of Frankenstein. O’Mara also had roles in Absolutely Fabulous, The Avengers, The Saint, Danger Man / Secret Agent, The Persuaders and Adam Adamant Lives!  The Guardian, Digital Spy […]

RIP, Lorenzo Semple

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Screenwriter and creator of the Sixties Batman television series Lorenzo Semple has died. Besides Batman, Gutter readers might know Semple best from his screenplays for, The Parallax View, Flash Gordon (1980), Papillon, The Drowning Pool, Never Say Never Again, Sheena, and King Kong (1976). The Los Angeles Times,  The Hollywood Reporter and Comics Alliance have […]

Black Napoleon’s Throne Of Satan

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This week, Guest Star David Foster writes about how an Australian pulp thriller is altered when it was published in the United States as part of the Mysterious Order of the Skeleton Suit‘s Swapathon. Comics Editor Carol will be back in April. There are many elements that made up the counter culture movement of the […]

“Saying goodbye to a galaxy far, far away (for now)”

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At The AV Club, Sonia Saraiya bids farewell to Star Wars: The Clone Wars: “The Clone Wars is the best possible outcome of present-day Lucasfilm: a fun, engaging, and surprisingly serialized cartoon aimed at some interstitial demographic between children and adults—which, if we’re being honest, is what Star Wars always appealed to most.”

“Tiger Lily doesn’t equal Human Torch”

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“And bottom line, if you feel so disenfranchised by one role out of TONS of roles being changed up ethnically, if you are saying you can’t possibly relate to a character who is another race from you, well, I think that’s more a problem of your own than anything else. But don’t worry, the stastics […]

RIP, Arthur Rankin, Jr.

Animator, director and producer Arthur Rankin, Jr. has died. Rankin is probably best known for his Rankin/Bass studio’s holiday television specials such as Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town and Mad Monster Party. He also produced and directed The Last Unicorn, The Hobbit (1977), The Return Of The King (1980), The […]

“Peeta Is A Movie Girlfriend”

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Linda Holmes writes about The Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen and how her male love interest, Peeta, is “a movie girlfriend”: “Going by the traditional Hollywood rules, make no mistake: Peeta is a Movie Girlfriend. Peeta is Pepper Potts and Gwen Stacy, helping and helping and helping until the very end, when it’s time for the […]

The Tiniest of Sweaters

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Althea Crome makes amazing and tiny, tiny knit art. Check out her website for galleries of her work and to watch her knit clothing for the puppets in the animated film, Coraline. Indiana Public media profiles Crome here. and see her brain cozy and all the other brains in Bloomington, Indiana’s 2012 Brain Extravaganza! (Thanks, […]

“The Horrible Truth About Super Science”

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Reason interviews The Venture Bros.’ Jackson Publick. “The basic idea of The Venture Brothers was taking the world of Jonny Quest and jumping back into 30 years later, seeing how someone who grew up like Jonny — with that kind of space race enthusiasm and disregard for other cultures — would turn out. Dr. Venture […]

Summer Fun Time Reading ’13

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It’s hot and the air already feels like unset Jell-O, but you still have some time to prepare for summer, because all the list-happy magazines and websites tell me, summer must be prepared for. Dig out your seersucker suit! Bob your hair! Find that most fashionable bathing suit–might I suggest a kicky Twenties number? You’ll […]

Ray Harryhausen and Me: A Life of High Adventure and Escapism

Mr. Harryhausen with his creations brought down to size.

Ray Harryhausen passed away last week. This has been noted by people more qualified than I to discuss the master of stop-motion magic—Rick Baker, Adam Savage, Todd Masters, George Lucas, Peter Jackson, and more. The superhuman talent and perseverance evident in a Harryhausen effects sequence can easily be seen in countless visual effects artists since […]

RIP, Ray Harryhausen

Special effects master, Ray Harryhausen has died. Ray Bradbury pays tribute to Harryhausen.  All of Harryhausen’s creatures in 4 and a half minutes. Harryhausen talks about King Kong, Willis O’Brien, George Pal and his own career in 1991. John Landis interviews Harryhausen for the Bradford Animation Festival 2010. TCM remembers Harryhausen. And Leslie Hardcastle interviews […]

Venture Bros. Season 5 Promo

New clip promoting Venture Bros. season 5.

Following How Your Dreams Make You Want To Be

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I’m going to talk a bit about Adventure Time, but I want to tell a story first. When my nephew was a toddler, he liked to play princesses with his mother and me. Usually, we were all beautiful princesses. Once, to show his displeasure, his mother was a “Bad Princess,” which actually was kind of […]

Adventure Time Songs

So many Adventure Time songs gathered in one place!

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    Friend of the Gutter, Will McKinley looks at “The 1979 Rockford Files Episode That Inspired The Sopranos.” “A gang from Newark’s South Side is hiding Vinnie Martine’s body in a restaurant freezer. Tony’s mad because Anthony Jr. got caught pranking another mobster. And a boss who’s trying to reform gets his mansion sprayed with bullets. Remember that episode of The Sopranos? If you do, your memory’s playing tricks on you, because all these things happened on a 1979 episode of The Rockford Files—written by Sopranos creator David Chase.”

    And McKinley defends classic television with, “In Praise of Vintage Television.”

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    Journalist Margot Adler has died. She is best known for her work as a journalist on NPR, but she also created the speculative fiction radio program, “The Hour Of The Wolf” and was the writer of Drawing Down The Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today (1979) and Vampires Are Us: Understanding Our Love Affair with the Immortal Dark Side (2014). The New York Times, NPR and  Suvudu have obituaries.  Here Adler discusses Vampires Are Us. And here is an excerpt from Adler’s memoir, Heretic’s Heart (1997).

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    The Toronto International Film Festival has announced its Midnight Madness and Vanguard programs for 2014. There’s lots of goodness in there and it’s worth taking a look even if you aren’t going to the festival, so you can you movie watching later this year or next. We’ll be posting the trailers from the films later.

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    Actor James Shigeta has died. Shigeta appeared in Die Hard (1988), The Crimson Kimono (1959) The Flower Drum Song (1961),  Bridge To The Sun (1961), Paradise, Hawaiian Style (1966), The Yakuza (1974) and many, many television shows.  The AV Club, Den Of Geek and Angry Asian Man have obituaries. Bridge to the Sun is discussed by Robert Osborne and Dr. Peter Feng on TCM.  At RogerEbert.com, Matt Zoller Seitz writes an appreciation of Shigeta’s life and work. “Shigeta, who died yesterday at 81, was a marvelous performer, and his work as Nakatomi Corporation President Joseph Takagi in the original 1988 Die Hard is one of my favorite examples of how an imaginative actor can sketch out a life in just a few scenes and lines.”

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    At RogerEbert.com, Alan Zilberman explores the history of the eye in cinema from Carl Theodor Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) to Mark Cahill’s I Origins (2014). (via Matt Zoller Seitz)

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    At Never Get Off The Bus, Debbie Moon writes about Captain America: First Avenger. “When adapting existing material, it’s easy to assume that in order to reach point F, you simply have to work through points A – E. To set up Steve Rogers in the modern world, simply romp briskly through everything that happened before he got there. But your character may not be undergoing a single united emotional journey during that period. “

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