The Cultural Gutter

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

The Monster in Me

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I’ve been spending a portion of my wee small hours (normally spent standing under a solitary street lamp on a lonely street, staring in melancholy reverie at my cigarette) revisiting old horror films. As a budding cult film obsessive, I cut my teeth on the horror films of cinema’s early decades. In the days before […]

¡More Cinco de Mayo Celebration!

¡Comics Alliance celebrates Cinco de Mayo with el Santo comics and a roundtable discussion of Hellboy in Mexico–including at least one poster from an el Santo movie!

Let There Be Monsters

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An underground monster that can’t see, but senses your steps via vibrations. A giant ape that falls in love with a woman and fights lots of dinosaurs. And a hellish creature that fights on the side of humanity against mechanical armies and wayward elves. What do these have in common? I interrupt this critical essay […]

10 Comics I Liked in 2008

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Here they are, ten comics I liked in 2008 that I haven’t written about yet. All ready? Alright.

Hellboy and the Hobbit

Guillermo del Toro has a lot to say about Hellboy and hobbits at the L.A. Film Festival. (Really, it’s an hour interview).

Screw-On Head and Hellboy, Unfairly Compared

Two DVDs, one day.

Really, I am trying to be good, but I’m not sure I can help it. Last month, DVD’s for The Amazing Screw-On Head and Hellboy: Sword of Storms were released on the same day. That should have been the best day ever since they’re both based on Mike Mignola’s comics. Unfortunately, releasing both projects on […]

At The 23-Screen Stadium-Seating Nacho-Serving Cineplex Of Madness

Uzumaki is Lovecraftian cinema at its haircurling best.

Mysterious creatures. Bizarre science. A dark, snowbound fortress. The occult. Tentacled, crustacean-inspired monsters. Hellish apocalypse. Primordial evil. Madness. Hellboy, the well-received latest film from neo-post-schlock auteur Guillermo del Toro (Cronos, The Devil’s Backbone, Blade II), offers these and other delights, all of which are common motifs in the work of that impossibly influential champion of […]

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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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