The Cultural Gutter

hey, there's something shiny down there...

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

A Warning to the faint of heart
And eight year olds

When I was in grade two, my school thought it’d be a great Halloween activity to have a movie screening of old horror films. They showed us the 1931 adaptations of Dracula and Frankenstein, the original 1932 The Mummy, and the 1954 3-D classic, The Creature from the Black Lagoon. At age eight I had […]

World War I and Ulmer’s The Black Cat

“Did we not both die here in Marmorus 15 years ago? Are we any the less victims of the war than those whose bodies were torn asunder? Are we not both the living dead?” The Nitrate Diva writes about World War I and Edgar Ulmer’s 1934 film, The Black Cat, starring Bela Lugosi and Boris […]

What Do Zombies Mean to Americans?

Meanwhile, Annalee Newitz presents, “A Brief History of Zombies in America.”

The Grave of Bela Lugosi

Today is Bela Lugosi’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Bela!  J. W. Ocker writes about Bela’s perfection as a vampire and about the sadness of his grave.

A Century of Cinematic Horror

Decade by decade, the Movie Morlocks look at 100 years of cinematic horror, starting with the 1910 silent, Frankenstein.

Universal’s Years of Terror and Longing!

Beware the stalking half-human half beast!  Cursed with the thirst for human blood, unconscionable hubris,  and demanding a mate, the Monster Legacy site comes to life and walks among us! (as part of promotion for The Wolf Man remake). Thrills! Shock! Suspense!

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    Brain Pickings looks at the life and work of Tove Jansson and the wisdom of her character, Too-ticky. “Too-ticky, the sage of Moominvalley who solves even the most existential of problems with equal parts practicality and wisdom, was inspired by the love of Jansson’s life — the great Finnish sculptor and graphic arts pioneer Tuulikki “Tooti” Pietilä, Jansson’s spouse. The two women met in art school during their twenties and remained together until Jansson’s death more than six decades later, collaborating on a lifetime of creative projects — all at a time when queer couples were straddling the impossible line between anguishing invisibility and dangerous visibility.” (via Kate Laity)

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    Photographer Kevin Weir uses vintage photographs to create haunting animation in “The Flux Machine.” The Guardian has an interview with Weir and more on his work.

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    At the New Yorker, Jill Lepore considers the intertwining histories of women’s suffrage, feminism, Amazons and Wonder Woman. “It isn’t only that Wonder Woman’s backstory is taken from feminist utopian fiction. It’s that, in creating Wonder Woman, William Moulton Marston was profoundly influenced by early-twentieth-century suffragists, feminists, and birth-control advocates and that, shockingly, Wonder Woman was inspired by Margaret Sanger, who, hidden from the world, was a member of Marston’s family.”

     

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    Tim Reis shares ten things he learned from producing his first independent feature The Demon’s Rook. “Making an independent feature film is hard. Making an independent feature film with no money is especially hard. Making an independent feature film with no money, no actors, and a first-time director and crew is almost impossible. It is also the greatest, most liberating thing and you can and should totally do it.” (Thanks, Colin!)

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    The Princeton University Digital Library has digitized three Seventeenth Century Japanese illustrated scrolls and you can view them here. Meanwhile, 100,000 images from Getty Research Institute are now available at the Digital Library of America. (via @BibliOdyssey)

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    The Awl’s Rich Bellis writes about Koh Masaki and the importance of Masaki’s visibility as an out gay man working in the Japanese porn industry. “By the time he died from peritonitis after an appendix operation, at just 29, Masaki had established a celebrity persona in a business where such a thing hadn’t existed before. Japanese censorship laws require blurring genitalia, but social stigma leads many performers (regardless of gender) to obscure their faces, too. Dark sunglasses, hats and blacked-out swimming goggles are common accessories in an industry whose overall value has been estimated at around $20 billion.” (Thanks, Earl)

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