The Cultural Gutter

beyond good and bad, there is awesome

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

RIP, Harry Novak

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Producer and exploitation pioneer Harry Novak has died. Daily Grindhouse remembers Novak with a collection of trailers from his films. Dougsploitation has an overview of Novak’s career well-illustrated with film posters. The Los Angeles Times has a brief obituary.

RIP, Lorenzo Semple

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Screenwriter and creator of the Sixties Batman television series Lorenzo Semple has died. Besides Batman, Gutter readers might know Semple best from his screenplays for, The Parallax View, Flash Gordon (1980), Papillon, The Drowning Pool, Never Say Never Again, Sheena, and King Kong (1976). The Los Angeles Times,  The Hollywood Reporter and Comics Alliance have […]

Zombie Lake Tweetalong Transcript

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The Mysterious Order of the Skeleton Suit gathered together to harrow ourselves with the the movie Jess Franco walked away from, Zombie Lake (1982). Enjoy our harrowing here. (The Cultural Gutter is a proud Agent of M.O.S.S.)

Fun! Charm! Thrilling Adventure!

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The Thrilling Adventure Hour is a beacon in a grittily realistic, grimdark pop culture landscape, one guiding lost souls to fun, charm and adventure. And I’m glad to see The Thrilling Adventure Hour adapted from podcast radio play into graphic novel because I like what it portends for fun stories in the future and because […]

“It’s Black History Month & Women In Horror Month: Our Future”

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Graveyard Shift Sisters writes about the merging of Black History Month & Women In Horror Month: “The marriage of our stories and horror in 2014 is uncharted and drowning in possibilities. We can’t negate the magnitude of visual representation. Mirroring my first point, what we say and affirm about the multiplicitous life of Black women […]

Forty-One Black Women In Horror Writing

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Sumiko Saulson shares a list of twenty Black women in horror writing. “February is Black History Month here in the United States. It is also Women in Horror Month (WiHM). As an Ambassador for WiHM, and as a woman of color (I am Black and Jewish) who is a horror writer, I am poignantly aware […]

Horror, Black Female Identity and Taking Agency

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Graveyard Shift Sisters shares Kinitra Brooks’ “close examination of the books of Tananarive Due, her African Immortals series that centers around the main character Jessica Jacobs-Wolde and L.A. Banks’ Vampire Huntress Legend series focus on Damali Richards and discusses how speculative fiction is ripe for transformative work on Black female identity, in particular, taking agency in our […]

RIP, Roger Lloyd-Pack

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Actor Roger Lloyd-Pack has died. Lloyd-Pack appeared in Doctor Who; Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; Only Fools and Horses; The Vicar of Dibley; Tinker, Tailor Soldier, Spy (2011); and many other films and television shows. The BBC and The AV Club have obituaries. The BBC is collecting and sharing reader’s memories of Lloyd-Pack. […]

RIP, Bernard Glasser

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Filmmaker Bernard Glasser has died. Glasser produced films including The Day of the Triffids (1963), The Return of The Fly (1959), Crack In The World (1965) and The Thin Red Line (1964). The Hollywood Reporter, The AV Club , Giant Freakin Robot and Variety have obituaries.

10 Comics I Liked In 2013

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It’s an amazing time in comics right now. There are too many good ones for me to even read them all. Comics are like a hydra, but without the decapitation or even really the fighting. (So maybe not all that much like a hydra except I find one comic and then there are 3-6 more […]

“Creepypasta and the Contours of Modern Fear”

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At Aeon Magazine, Will Wiles considers creepypasta, an anonymous group effort to create dark urban legend,  “Indeed, this might be what creepypasta aspires to be: urban legend, dark social memes with just enough familiarity to give a frisson of awful possibility. Much of it is spread with little authorial ego. But it is also self-consciously […]

The Dark Crystal’s First Cut

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The AV Club shares a recreation of the original version of Jim Henson and Frank Oz’s The Dark Crystal.

Video Essay on Dario Argento

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Filmmakers Bruno Forzani and Helene Cattet made a four-minute video essay on director Dario Argento’s films for the French television channel Arte. via @Popshifter

“Judge John Hodgman: Reckless Endungeonment”

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Judge John Hodgman rules in a conflict between friends and fellow Dresden Files roleplaying game afficionados. “Dan’s become bored with what he sees as ‘safe’ gameplay recently and decided to shake it up, taking more risks with his character. Ryan says this type of play doesn’t fit with their style and is ruining everyone’s fun. […]

Tales of Desolation

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Friends of The Gutter Todd Sharp and John Crye are releasing chapters of their new serialized photo book, Tales of Desolation, every Tuesday and Thursday. “I was ten when everything changed. That’s when it all stopped working.”

The Goblin and The Resurrected Witch, Live in Budapest

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Jean-Michel Van Schouwburg (“The Goblin”) and Katalin Ladik (“The Resurrected Witch”) from the intensely sonic, Berberian Sound Studio, offer a performance of their vocal talent with sound designer Pál Tóth (aka, én) in Budapest.

Mad Science Throwdown: Princess Bubblegum vs Frankenstein

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“No one can conceive the variety of feelings which bore me onwards, like a hurricane, in the first enthusiasm of success. Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first break through, and pour a torrent of light into our dark world. A new species would bless me as its creator and […]

“Portraits of Cosplay Enthusiasts in their Homes”

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“In his ongoing series of portraits titled, ‘Just the Two of Us,’ photographer Klaus Pitchler gained access to the homes of Austrian costume play (cosplay) enthusiasts where he photographed the elaborately costumed individuals against the backdrops of their everyday life.” See a gallery of his photographs here. (Thanks, Laura!)

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein Manuscripts

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The Shelley-Godwin Archive has posted all available manuscripts of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Open Culture has a little more context–and a nice engraved frontispiece, “Frankenstein’s Creature,” made by W. Chevalier and T. Holst for the 1831 edition.

“Steve Ditko Out Of This World Megapost”

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Celebrate comics artist and creator Steve Ditko’s birthday with this gallery of his work for <i>Out Of This World</i>.

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    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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    At RogerEbert.com, Alan Zilberman explores the history of the eye in cinema from Carl Theodor Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) to Mark Cahill’s I Origins (2014). (via Matt Zoller Seitz)

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