The Cultural Gutter

taking the dumb out of fandom

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

RIP, Isuzu Yamada

Actress Isuzu Yamada has died. Yamada worked with a range of directors including, Akira Kurosawa, Kenji Mizoguchi, Mikio Naruse, Yasujiro Ozu and Kinji Fukasaku. The New York Times has an obituary.  The Gutter remembers her with a scene of her performances as Lady Washizu in Throne of Blood.  

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 […]

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.

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    At the New Republic, B. D. McClay writes about Shirley Jackson and a new collection containing previously unpublished stories and essays by Jackson. “Let Me Tell You, on the other hand, is for the already-converted fan, who will be delighted to read so many new stories and essays. The greatest attraction is the 15 essays, which touch on subjects as diverse as the travails of being married to a book critic (‘book reviewing is just nothing for a healthy young girl to be married to’), Samuel Richardson (‘no small action is consummated in less than ten pages’), poltergeist-bearing postcards (‘I think it is simply too much for any one house to have poltergeists and children’), and clowns.”

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    At Teleport City, the Gutter’s own Carol writes about 12 books that vary in reputability and their harrowing nature. They include books by Shirley Jackson, Raymond Chandler, Patricia Highsmith and Herman Melville.

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    Anne Billson has posted a 1985 interview she did with director George Miller (the Mad Max films). Miller talks about many things including Aunty Entity’s probable past as a hero and Max as, in Mel Gibson’s words, “a closet human being.” (Thanks, Matt!)

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    At New York Magazine, David Wallace-Wells writes about bees, colony collapse disorder and beekeeper Dave Hackenberg. “It’s been a long decade for bees. We’ve been panicking about them nonstop since 2006, when beekeeper Dave Hackenberg inspected 2,400 hives wintering in Florida and found 400 of them abandoned — totally empty. American beekeepers had experienced dramatic die-offs before, as recently as the previous winter in California and in regular bouts with a deadly bug called the varroa mite since the 1980s. But those die-offs would at least produce bodies pathologists could study. Here, the bees had just disappeared. In the U.K., they called it Mary Celeste syndrome, after the merchant ship discovered off the Azores in 1872 with not a single passenger aboard. The bees hadn’t even scrawled CROATOAN in honey on the door on their way out of the hive.”

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    Andrew Nette has a pair of interesting pieces on pulp you might be interested in. First, he writes about “the New Pulp” and a bit about Fifty Shades of Gray in “Fifty Shades of Pulp.” Then he writes about pulp and literacy and furthering social advancement in “Pulp and Circumstance.”  “Most people view pulp as either exploitative lowbrow culture or highly collectable retro artefact. Yet pulp has a secret history which Rabinowitz’s book uncovers. Her central thesis is that cheap, mass-produced pulp novels not only provided entertainment and cheap titillating thrills, but also brought modernism to the American people, democratising reading and, in the process, furthering culture and social enlightenment.”

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    The Projection Booth interviews actor Ed Asner.

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