The Cultural Gutter

going through pop culture's trash since 2003

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

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 […]

Jiraiya the Hero

A silent fantasy/folktale  film from 1921 Japan, Jiraiya the Hero / Goketsu Jiraiya. (Thanks, Keith!)

I, Claudius

Did you know there was a version of  I, Claudius shot by Josef von Sternberg and starring Charles Laughton as Claudius? More in a review of the new boxset of the 1970s BBC miniseries.

The Great Alan Moore Re-Read

Tim Callahan is re-reading and writing about all of Alan Moore’s major comics.  From Hell, Moore’s collaboration with Eddie Campbell, is the 26th installment.

Sexcula!

“Shot in Vancouver by one-time producer Clarence Neufeld and a cast of unknown exhibitionists, the adult monster spoof Sexcula is not only an almost lost piece of undeniably sleazy Canadiana, it’s also one of earliest monster movies made north of the border, a spoofy take-off on the Universal classic horror films.”  More at Canuxploitation!

Fantasy Armor and Lady Bits

An armorer has some suggestions about balancing functionality, character and story in “fantasy armor and lady bits.”

ActionFest 2012 Trailers

Trailers for movies playing at ActionFest 2012: Solomon Kane; Manborg; Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines; The Raid; True Romance; Wu Xia; Dragon Eyes;  Let The Bullets Fly; A Gang Story;  The Lost Bladesman; God Bless America; Goon; The Aggression Scale; The Day;  Headhunters; Transit; Sinners and Saints; Bad Ass; The Wild Bunch  […]

To Say Nothing of the Hitman: Romance and Sci-fi meet the comedy of errors

Every April the Gutter switches things up. This month Screen Editor alex writes about Romance. I admit to being a romantic, but I don’t have much experience with romance novels. Like most teenagers, I had a knack for finding the dirty bits in any likely looking books I could find on the shelf, and at […]

A Hero Dies 50,000 Deaths!

In chanbara, Japanese sword-fighting movies, actor Seizo Fukumoto is a master of the art of dying.  Anthony Kuhn interviews him about his life dying on screen. “In a trademark move, Fukumoto is dealt a fatal blow, then bends over backward, seemingly suspended in midair for a moment of final agony before crumpling to the ground. […]

Happy Birthday, Akira Kurosawa!

Gutter Comics Editor Carol wrote a little piece on Akira Kurosawa and action films over at the ActionFest Blog in honor of Kurosawa’s 102nd birthday.

USA Today Interviews Beverly Jenkins

Author Beverly Jenkins talks with USA Today about writing romance rooted in 19th Century African-American history as well as her new projects and favorite authors. “I got a bit of push back because publishers didn’t seem to know what to make of my story. It was based on the 19th-century, all-black townships of Kansas and […]

A Movie Less Than Awesome

David DeMoss writes about George Lucas’ film Tuskegee Airmen film, Red Tails, and “unlike every other reformed Lucasfilm fan in existence, [his] dread came with its own personal baggage.” His grandfather was one of the Airmen.

Catching Up

Last February, I had a chance to talk to Julianne MacLean, a USA Today bestselling Romance author from Bedford, Nova Scotia.   We discussed her career development, her move to a new publisher, and her connection to the writing community.  Julianne was about to see the release of a brand new trilogy, all three books of […]

Taira no Kiyomori

Kenichi Matsuyama, who played L in Death Note, Masura Kato in Gantz: Light in the Dark and who Midnight Madness fans might remember as  Negishi/Johannes Krauser  from Detroit Metal City, is playing the 12th Century/Heian Era, Taira no Kiyomori, in an eponymous 50 episode NHK television series. The Japan Times covers the series’ development and […]

The Great and the Good

I was a little disappointed by how many Romances I liked this year.  Mostly because  I wanted to love so many more of them.   But as always, some titles managed to rise above the rest.  Here are some of my favourites from this year.

Hot For Teacher

I always get a boost of industrious energy this time of year, and a renewed sense of purpose.  All those years of back-to-school excitement have left me with a nigh-Pavlovian response to Labour Day.  I’m one of those (apparently rare) few who actually liked school from kindergarten onwards, so the beginning of a new school […]

A Hero To Some

“He was a hero to some, a villain to others, and wherever he rode people spoke his name in whispers. He had no friends, this Jonah Hex, but he did have two companions: One was death itself… The other, the acrid smell of gunsmoke…” I’ve meant to write about Jonah Hex for a long time […]

The History and Art of the Title Sequence

A couple of looks at the art and history of film title sequences.

Cowboys and Freddie W.

Cowboys & Freddie W. is actiontastic!

Jia Zhangke Speaks Out Against Cenorship in China

“The only reason that we cannot make genre movies is the barrier that censorship sets.” Jia Zhangke says more here.  Meanwhile a leaked diplomatic document gives  some insight as to whose taste is being served in recent Chinese historical epics.  Xi Jinping admires American World War II dramas:  “Some Chinese moviemakers neglect values they should promote…America […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    The Korean Film Archive has been uploading classics of Korean cinema to their YouTube channel, Korean Classic Film Theater. Modern Korean Cinema reports on the latest 15 films uploaded.

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    A gallery of Mike Allred’s covers for twenty of DC’s titles. (via @profmdwhite)

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    Actor Lauren Bacall has died. Bacall is most famous for work with her first husband Humphrey Bogart, To Have And Have Not (1944), The Big Sleep (1946) and Key Largo (1948), but she also starred in Douglas Sirk’s classic melodrama Written On The Wind (1956), co-starred with Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable in How To Marry A Millionaire (1953), The Fan (1981), she appeared in Misery (1990) and voiced the Witch of the Waste in the English language dub of Howl’s Moving Castle (2004) and the Gray One in the English language version of Ernest and Celestine (2014). The Guardian and The Los Angeles Times, have obituaries. The Hollywood Reporter collects responses and remembrancesJulianne Escobedo Shepherd writes that “What I love about her is the intelligence and pluckiness that defined her acting and her life. That is what we should be most remembering — her talent, her strength, her fierce essence—the elements that made her an icon of the silver screen.” Here is Bacall’s 1994 interview with Charlie Rose.

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    Simon Fowler shares “The Five Best North Korean Films” at The Guardian. Did Pulgasari make the cut? Is the list Pulgasari five times? Click through to find out. (Thanks, Earl!)

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    Actor and comedian Robin Williams has died. There are many obituaries and remembrances out there, so we’re just choosing a few.  The AV Club, RogerEbert.com and Boing Boing have obituaries. The writers of RogerEbert.com offer tributes. Terry Gilliam talks about directing Williams in The Fisher King. Penny Marshall talks about working with Williams on Laverne & Shirley and directing him in Awakenings.  Marc Maron reposts his interview with Williams on Maron’s WTF Podcast. And here are a few of his less mentioned, darker films: Death To Smoochy (2002);  One Hour Photo (2002); Insomnia (2002); The Secret Agent (1996) and World’s Greatest Dad (2009).

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    Cleopatra’s Weave draws some amazing Elves of color (and David J. Prokopetz shares a story trying to get more racial representation in a fantasy illustration project).

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