The Cultural Gutter

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

“Reel Romance: Favorite Film Discoveries of 2015”

Nitrate Diva shares her favorite classic film discoveries of 2015! “A theme that connects most (though not all) of these movies is unlikely or unexpected romance. In Second Floor Mystery, two strangers flirt through coded messages and elaborate fictions, modeled on potboiler clichés. In Heaven Can Wait, a playboy reflects on the value of lifelong […]

“Tamiya Iemon is the Worst”

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At Teleport City, the Gutter’s own Carol writes about The Ghost Story of Yotsuya in its film adaptations and its villain, Iemon, who is the absolute worst.

“Goodbye to Japan’s Manga King”

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At The Daily Beast, Jake Adelstein writes about comic creator and folklore scholar Shigeru Mizuki, the astounding breadth of Mizuki’s work and Mizuki’s challenge to revisionist history. “Mizuki rose to fame through his popular comics, but starting in the seventies, he created a variety of controversial works which looked at the brutality of Japan during […]

31 Days of Horror, Part II

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It’s the second ten days or so of 31 Days of Horror with the Gutter’s own Carol. “Spookoween 2015 got a little rougher for me. I’m a little more ambivalent about some of the films I watched for Part II. One I even started and stopped. This time we have two appearances by Vincent Price, […]

Kaneto Shindo’s Kuroneko

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The Gutter’s own Carol writes about cat demon ladies and the enduringly eerie Kaneto Shindo film, Kuroneko, at Teleport City.

Midnight Madness 2015

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Here’s the genre-tastic line-up for this year’s Midnight Madness Program at the Toronto International Film Festival–with trailers where available: The Chickening; Green Room; Baskin; Hardcore; The Devil’s Candy; The Girl In The Photographs; The Mind’s Eye; Southbound; SPL 2: A Time For Consequences; Yakuza Apocalypse; and, The Final Girls. (The Gutter’s own Carol runs the […]

“How To Interview Japanese Manga Artists: Tips for Western Journalists”

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At Manga Comics Manga, Deb Aoki starts a conversation about suggestions in interviewing Japanese manga creators. “Here’s our tips for pre-interview prep, interview questions to avoid, tips for having more productive conversations with comics pros from Japan, plus seven requests that I’d like to make to publicists, convention guest coordinators and publishers that might help […]

Star Wars in Ukiyo-e Woodblock Prints

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The Verge has a images of Star Wars scenes and characters interpreted via ukiyo-e woodblock prints. They also have video of the process.

Beneath the Mysterian Dome

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In the latter half of the 1950s, it seemed like every alien race with a saucer was high-tailing it to Earth with dreams of conquest, colonization, and a little lovin’ with the locals. The invaders of the 1950s came in many shapes and sizes. Some were blobs. Others were giant insects. A few were house […]

Eiji Tsuburaya Made Godzilla Come Alive–And It Changed Film Forever”

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At Vox, Phil Edwards profiles special effects master Eiji Tsuburaya and interviews August Ragone about Tsuburaya’s career. “A director, cinematographer, and producer, Tsuburaya is best known for creating the special effects behind Japanese classics like Godzilla (1954), Mothra (1961), and many other films where the giant monsters called kaiju terrorize the good people of Tokyo. […]

“Harrowing Books of Varying Reputability”

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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.

Summer Fun Time Reading ’15

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The Summer Solstice is nearly upon us, and I’m sure you all have your wicker men (or factionalist bee helmets) nearly done and your bonfire safely planned. (Remember, Lord Summerisle recommends nude leaping as the crucial component in bonfire safety). And just in time for the arrival of summer, I have a short selection of […]

Neko Ramen Taisho: Finding Your Own Way

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Minoru Kawasaki’s Neko Ramen Taisho (2008) is the classic story of a son trying to prove himself to his father and his father’s desire to recreate his son in his own image. Except Taisho, aka William Thomas Jefferson III, is a cat who makes ramen, and his father, William Thomas Jefferson II, is a “cat […]

Motion in Akira Kurosawa’s Films

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Every Frame A Painting returns to analysis of Akira Kurosawa’s work.

Seijun Suzuki’s Story of Sorrow and Sadness

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“Commercial cinema has predictably chosen not to bite the hand that feeds it, so it’s simultaneously inspiring and also kind of embarrassing to see a movie like Seijun Suzuki’s Story of Sorrow and Sadness. Rarely has a mainstream commercial release been as rabid in its attack, and as thoughtful in its critique, of our dystopian […]

Learning from Akira Kurosawa and Stanley Kubrick

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Tony Zhou looks at “The Geometry of a Scene” in Akira Kurosawa’s The Bad Sleep Well and Domus looks at Stanley Kubrick’s use of one-point perspective. (Make sure to watch Tony Zhou’s other video essays in his Every Frame A Painting series).

So Much Art

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So much art available for your browsing pleasure as the Smithsonian puts 40,000 pieces of Asian art from the Freer and Saeckler Collection online.

10 Comics I Liked In 2014

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I’m sure we’re all glad to see 2014 go. I know I am. But you know, comics are always here for you, and so is the Gutter. I thought I’d do something a little different with the list this year. Last year, I was invited to do a “Best Comics of 2013” list at Popshifter […]

“Level Up: How PlayStation Infiltrated Youth Culture”

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At The Guardian, Keith Stuart and Steve Boxer look at the history of PlayStation.“Having been part of the late 80s rave and underground-clubbing scene, I recognised how it was influencing the youth market. In the early 90s, club culture started to become more mass market, but the impetus was still coming from the underground, from […]

RIP, Bunta Sugawara

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Actor Bunta Sugawara has died. Sugawara is probably best known for his work in Kinji Fukasaku’s The Yakuza Papers/Battles Without Honor And Humanity film series. Sugawara also appeared in Norifumi Suzuki’s Trucker Yaro series, Spirited Away (2001), Tales From Earthsea (2006), Wolf Children (2012) and Kon Ichikawa’s Actress (1987) . The Asahi Shimbun, The Japan […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    “During the 1970’s Black filmmakers found their voices by making films that spoke to urban audiences in a way that had never been done before. Films like Sugar Hill, Abby, The Zebra Killers and so many more packed theaters with audiences hungry for Horror Movies where the Black Guy didn’t die first. 40 years later, Black horror films have made a lasting impact within the Black community. These films are national treasures and should be a part of any film collection. The Museum of UnCut Funk pays homage to the Blaxpolitation Horror films of 1974.” Click through for more. (via @GrveyardShiftSisters)

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    Mubi has a collection of film posters designed by Eva Švankmajerová, Surrealist painter, writer and filmmaker. Learn more about Eva Švankmajerová with an posthumous interview with Gwendolyn Albert, the translator of her novel, Baradla Cave.

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    At The Toast, Mo Moulton watches Downton Abbey and discusses its portrayal of Neville Chamberlain. “Here, then, is Neville Chamberlain in 1925. He is fulfilling the expectations set by an extraordinary political family. His father, Joseph Chamberlain, ran a screw factory in Birmingham, where he became passionate about urban improvement as a method for bettering the lives of his workers. As Liberal mayor of Birmingham, he was an early, passionate proponent of what became known as “gas and water socialism”: he wanted to put those services within reach of every resident by putting them under the management of local government. So far, it’s hard to imagine the Earl of Grantham having much in common with this energetic, egalitarian entrepreneur.”

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    In honor of Black History and Women In Horror Month, Graveyard Shift Sisters take a look at Audre’s Revenge Film collective, which was founded by Monika Estrella Negra:  “Audre’s Revenge Film was created in order to promote visibility of womyn, queer, trans and intersex folks of color in the sci fi and horror universe.

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    Please enjoy an hour of rare Bollywood synth funk (and an interview with DJ Fitz who put the mix together). (via @BethLovesBolly)

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    Nick Den Boer and Davy Force’s The Chickening is finally available to haunt your dreams forever. (The Gutter’s own Carol posted about The Chickening on the Toronto International Film Festival’s official Midnight Madness program blog here and here).

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