The Cultural Gutter

dangerous because it has a philosophy

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

Summer Fun Time Reading ’14

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Summer is almost here, and I can’t tell you how glad I am. So smear yourself up with sunscreen and bug repellent, find your kickiest sandals, put the finishing touches on your Wicker Man and don’t forget to wear a hat because I have some comics to make your summer just a little more fun […]

Theater as Seance

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“In 1911, the famed American medium Anna Eva Fay held a public seance at the London Coliseum, inviting audience members to ask questions that she would answer by channelling the dead. Seated in the auditorium was Violet Coward, whose beloved 11-year-old son, Noël, had just begun his stage career after Violet spotted an advert in the […]

Haunted History

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Just in time for Halloween, The Gutter’s own Keith Allison explores haunted history in New York City; Louisville, KY; Centralia, PA; London, UK; and Sydney, Australia at his website, Teleport City.

Ghost Stories of Old New York

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The Bowery Boys present their annual Halloween podcast, with terrifying tales of Old New York: “For this episode, we’ve decided to go truly old-school, reaching back to old legends and tales from the years of the Revolutionary War and early 19th century.   These ghosts have two things in common–George Washington (directly or indirectly) and ghosts!” […]

“A History of British Folk Horror”

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Spectacular Optical has an overview of British folklore in horror film and television. (Thanks, Colin!)

Creepy BBC Tales

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BBC Radio has several horror and ghost stories available right now, including the series, “Algernon Blackwood’s Ghost Stories,” “The Monkey’s Paw” and “The House of Doctor Dee.”  Each segment expires after seven days.

RIP, Julie Harris

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Actress Julie Harris has died. The Los Angeles Times remembers her.  The Hollywood Reporter has an obituary. She appeared in countless film, television and stage roles. Here she is as Eleanor in The Haunting (1963) and as Betty in Harper (1966).

Soulless and The Waters of Modern Horror Writing

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At Teleport City, Keith Allison reviewins Gail Carriger’s Soulless and slowly wades into “the waters of modern horror writing”. “An entire ocean of literature that teaches young kids that weird, spooky, awkward, and different people are awesome? I can deal with that.”

Things That Change You Forever

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I have a ghost story of my own.  At least, I have a ghost-cat story. My final year as an undergraduate was spent in relative splendor.  My friends and I lucked into tenancy in the house of a professor on sabbatical.  Twelve foot ceilings!  Built in bookshelves! Three cats! Real, grown-up furniture!  Wait… let’s get […]

Women In Horror Month: “Celebrating Shirley Jackson”

Erin Horakova looks at author Shirley Jackson’s masterful, The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived In The Castle.  “Haunting is stunning, and while it’s a must-read for anyone interested in ghost stories, haunted houses, or psychological horror, it also stretches beyond its demographic.”

Abuse and Paranormal Activity

Maria at The Hathor Legacy looks at the Paranormal Activity franchise from the standpoint of abuse, neglect and gaslighting. “It’s also a reminder that one of the franchise’s major themes is that when women and children are victims of abuse, they are not only not likely to be believed, they are also often put into […]

Things That Go Bump In The Night

(No, I don’t mean that kind of bump. Sheesh.  You people.) Given the timing of this column, and its proximity to Halloween, it seemed logical to write about the spooky side of Romance.  But it was a little harder than I thought to put together a reading list.  I wanted to concentrate on books that […]

FantAsia Film Festival 2012

The FantAsia site is up and running with many, many trailers to get you ready for the festival. (Or at least, what films to keep an eye out for).

Ramsay International Horror

“The ‘Ramsay Brothers,’ as they are called, have in these films, and in India’s first horror show on television, featured ghosts, ghouls, monsters, zombies, witches, vampires and every conceivable version of things that go bump in the night. Mostly, they’ve been the first to do so.”  More on the Ramsay Brothers and Hindi film horror […]

Kaneto Shindo, Onibaba and Kuroneko

The Gutter’s own Carol was kindly invited to discuss director Kaneto Shindo and his ghostly films, Onibaba and Kuroneko on Monster Island Resort Podcast. If you’re curious, feel free to listen here.

RIP, Kaneto Shindo

Director and screenwriter Kaneto Shindo has died. He lived past 100 and made masterpieces including Onibaba, Kuroneko, Children of Hiroshima, Lucky Dragon No. 5 and The Naked Island. He also wrote the screenplays for Seijun Suzuki’s Fighting Elegy, Yasuzo Masumura Irezumi, Kinji Fukasaku’s Under the Flag of the Rising Sun, Seijiro Koyama’s Hachi / Hachiko […]

Dark Shadows Roundtable

The Cinementals, the Collinsport Historical Society and Monster Island Resort join together for a thoughtful discussion of Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows.

Looking Back on Shirley Jackson

Kyla Ward looks back on the work of writer and horror icon, as author of “The Lottery” and The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson, in an issue of Tabula Rasa from 1995. “To say Shirley Jackson is a psychological novelist, and that the horror in her stories comes from the increasingly skewed perceptions of […]

10 Comics I Liked in 2011

It’s the beginning of January, cold and dark where I am. The critics are all putting out their best of year lists, and maybe you’re looking for something to read. So here’s my entry into annual lists: 10 comics I liked in 2011 that I haven’t written about. Well 9 comics I haven’t written about […]

The Dead Kid Detective Agency Review

Ned Kelly, age 14, reviews, The Dead Kid Detective Agency, by Gutter Guest Star (and interviewee), Evan Munday.  Also, Kirkus reviews it, but Kirkus isn’t 14 years old.

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    Jon Peterson discusses how Gary Gygax lost control of Dungeons & Dragons. “What did Gygax see, in that moment? He saw enough shares in play that he stood to lose control of TSR, a company he had founded and transformed into a global brand. But he surely also saw something even more dear at stake: that he might lose control of Dungeons & Dragons.”

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    At Paleofuture, Matt Novak writes about Idiocracy‘s unpleasant implications: “Sure. As an over-the-top comedic dystopia, the movie is actually enjoyable. But the movie’s introduction makes it an unnerving reference to toss around as our go-to insult….Unlike other films that satirize the media and the soul-crushing consequences of sensationalized entertainment (my personal favorite being 1951′s Ace in the Hole), Idiocracy lays the blame at the feet of an undeserved target (the poor) while implicitly advocating a terrible solution (eugenics). The movie’s underlying premise is a fundamentally dangerous and backwards way to understand the world.” (via The Projection Booth)

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    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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