The Cultural Gutter

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

RIP, Jesus Franco

Director, writer and actor Jésus “Jess” Franco has died. Franco directed just under two hundred films between 1957 and 2012. Chris Alexander writes a tribute to Franco at Fangoria. Here’s footage of Franco accepting his Goya Award. And here, Franco talks about horror movies and the production of Bloody Moon. Update: The Guardian has an […]

RIP, Bonnie Franklin

Actress Bonnie Franklin has died. Franklin was best known for her role as Ann Romano in the sitcom One Day At A Time, but performed on stage as well as on television. Here she is performing in the Tony Awards in the 1970s. The New York Times has an obituary.

The 2012 Kitschies Shortlist

Our friends at Pornokitsch have announced the shortlist for the 2012 Kitschies, and The Guardian reports on it! The Kitschies recognize “the year’s most progressive, intelligent and entertaining works that contain elements of the speculative or fantastic.”

“Visibility is Indivisible from Visibility”

Bound, Matrix and Cloud Atlas co-director, Lana Wachowski talks about growing up trans, suicide, and becoming a role model in her speech accepting the Visibility Award at the Human Rights Campaign’s annual gala dinner. The transcript is here.  

Pornokitsch Reviews!

Pornokitsch has a new entry in their ongoing reviews of David Gemmell Award finalists with Mark Lawrence’s Prince of Thorns.  Reading the book, Jared wonders “why? Why is it necessary to have a protagonist that’s so aggressively, angrily vile? Bret Easton Ellis did something similar with Patrick Bateman. American Psycho (1991) was the vivisection of the young, […]

“On a Tootsie Roll”

Riffing off Melissa McCarthy’s Best Supporting Actress nomination at the Academy Awards and off the film Tootsie, film critic Bobby Rivers writes: “Hollywood, please give us more witty comedies like Tootsie and make the casts racially diverse.  Give minority actors more opportunities.  Then start giving more love to actors of all colors who do good work […]

Nnedi Okorafor’s Howard

Nnedi Okorafor writes on her World Fantasy Award for Best Novel, more specifically the award’s statuette and the man it depicts, HP Lovecraft:  “This is something people of color, women, minorities must deal with more than most when striving to be the greatest that they can be in the arts: The fact that many of […]

10th Annual Rondo Hatton Awards

The ballot is now up for this year’s Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards. Voting in the many, many categories is open to everyone!

The 2011 Kitschies

Our good friends at Pornokitsch presented the 2011 Kitsches this weekend, click through for more and congratulations to the winners and to Pornokitsch for an amazing event!

The Kitschies’ Red Tentacle Finalists

Our good friends at Pornokitsch have released the shortlist of finalists for the Kitschies’ Red Tentacle award and have an in depth look at one of the Finalists, The Enterprise of Death by Jesse Bullington.  “The Red Tentacle is awarded annually to the novel containing speculative or fantastic elements that best fulfills the criteria of […]

The Kitschies!

The 2011 Kitschies are accepting submissions for their tentacular awards celebrating books that “best elevate the tone of genre literature.” Read submission criteria, guidelines and check out past winners of the coveted Red, Gold, Black and Inky Tentacle (for cover art) awards here!

On Awards

Adam Roberts lays down the law on awards from the Man Booker to the Hugo: “I’m saying that award judges, or voters, need to believe, or at least to suspend their disbelief, that it is meaningful to talk of the best book of the year–to think not that you are making purely subjective and arbitrary […]

Rethinking Brain Eating

If you had to deal with Stalkers, you

If he feels vindicated, he doesn’t show it. As Marc Laidlaw waits for his co-workers to finish a talk, we sit down at a table in San Francisco’s cavernous Moscone Center and talk about Half-Life 2 (Valve, 2004). Its 1998 predecessor is legendary for pushing the form both narratively (bringing atmosphere and intelligence to the […]

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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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