The Cultural Gutter

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

RIP, Menahem Golan


Producer and director Menahem Golan has died. Golan produced (and sometimes wrote and directed) many, many films including: The Delta Force (1986), Death Wish (1974), The Apple (1980), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986), Missing In Action (1984), Invasion U.S.A. (1985), American Ninja (1985), Lifeforce (1985), Cobra (1986), Masters of the Universe (1987) Bloodsport (1988), Breakin’ […]

Taiwanese Noir: Ninjas


Die, Danger, Die, Die, Kill!‘s Todd joins Podcast On Fire for Taiwanese Noir 14 in which they discuss Challenge Of The Lady Ninja and A Life Of Ninja. “Ninja double bill! Elsa Yeung! Chen Kuan-tai! Taiwan reefer madness! No intro!”

“Deadly Art of Survival”


The Gutter’s own Keith writes about No Wave, Black cinema, ninjas, kung fu, cultural sharing, cultural appropriation, music and New York in a piece on The Deadly Art of Survival for Teleport City. “Its curious place in the history of cinema, for instance, [is] as this weird amalgamation of no wave, black cinema, and martial […]

Vintage Ninja

Vintage Ninja offers, “A 1962 Point of View” on “ninjutsu”–including covers and pages from an out of print copy of Jay Gluck’s Zen Combat. My favorite line, “The ninja never swaggered.”

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. […]

The Portrait of Sho Kosugi

Dare you explore the illustrated history of Enter the Ninja‘s  Sho Kosugi? “In the 80′s, Sho Kosugi posed for over 73 billion photos in full night gear, laden with weapons, in magazines like Black Belt, Ninja, even Karate Illustrated and Inside Kung Fu. Yet when it comes to movie and video game ad campaigns, you often […]

Cartoon Trailers!

Cartoon Network has trailers for the upcoming animated shows, ThunderCats and Legend of Korra, the sequel to Avatar: The Last Airbender as well as an extended look at Green Lantern: The Animated Series  with a short peek at the LEGO Ninja show, Ninjago.

More Ninjas!

Ninjas throwing swords and flipping in the forest and Ken’ichi Matsuyama from Death Note and Detroit Metal City plays another manga hero in Kamui Gaiden.

So Many Fukasaku Kinji Soundtracks!

Don’t have enough soundtracks by Japanese composers? Wild Grounds will help you out with “The 5 Japanese Film Composers You Must Know” and a whole section of downloadable soundtracks and excerpts from Yojimbo to Battle Without Honor or Humanity.

3 Trailers from Twitch

It’s Twitch round-up time. Supporting martial artists Mike B. and Russell Wong take the lead kneeing and kicking people in the chest in Thanapon Maliwan’s The Sanctuary. Lee Byung-Hun, Kimura Takuya and Josh Hartnett go to Hong Kong and walk the line between the police and organized crime in Tran Anh Hung’s I Come with […]

So Many Fan Films!

The monkeys over at See Monkey round up a whole whack of fan film action including “the greatest fan film of all time,” which “def[ies] all laws of God, man and intellectual property and cramming vastly different fictive universes — Marvel, DC, Power Rangers, Ninja Turtles, you name it — into one great big ball […]

It’s like Math but more Fun

What is Robot x Ninja? Or, Platypus x Lincoln? Creebobby’s Comics Archetype Times Table has the answers. It’s like math, but more fun. (thanks, James!)

Lady Bullseye and Lady Snowblood

Richie muses on Lady Snowblood in manga and film and a little on Lady Bullseye: “That a samurai revenge film from thirty years ago manages to be significantly less exploitative than anything around now speaks volumes. It is, ironically, an excellent twenty first century samurai movie, which keeps the best parts of the genre while […]


Get the skinny on spying with the International Spy Museum’s SpyCast.  The Background Briefings about East Germany’s “Romeo agents” and “Spies of the Kaiser” are pretty neat, too.

JJ Sonny Chiba, Ph.D.

Kyoto University of Art and Design’s newest teacher is none other than JJ Sonny Chiba. Prof. Chiba will be teaching film acting and swordfighting. And I bet ninjitsu, but secretly. (via Kaiju Shakedown)

Ninjas Strike!

Ninjas strike with “justified yet merciful force” in New Jersey and are arrested by the police.



At the risk of tearing up Carol’s yard (a risk I’ll take, since she’s parked on my lawn currently, leaving me nowhere to pull up). I’m going to talk about comics for bit here. Don’t worry, I’ll get to the screen part soon enough.

MK vs DCU screenshots: Dark Knight vs Ninja!

Always wanted to see the Dark Knight go ninja a ninja with Scorpion? Newsarama has screenshots from the Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe game.

Do You Want Fries With That?

A brief history of advergames

Last year when I heard that Burger King was planning to release a series of video games for the Xbox 360, I thought the game industry was headed for a new low. To me, this went way beyond the shameless hordes of promotional tie-ins to popular movies and TV shows, and seemed more inappropriate than […]

13 Ways of Looking at a Bat

All the Batmans holding hands!

“Among twenty empty warehouses, The only moving thing Was the eye of the Batman.” –sorta Wallace Stevens You should know right from the start that I’m a terrible geek—not extremely geeky, but bad at being a geek. Continuity in the sense of an overarching, epic and harmonized chronology just isn’t that important to me. What […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    There’s a free audio book adaptation of Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez’ Locke & Key at


    At Actionland, Heroic Sister Achillesgirl writes about subtitling the 1964 wuxia film, Buddha Palm. And she provides you with the subtitles and a link to the film!


    At Bleeding Cool, Cap Blackard writes about the contested homeworld of Howard the Duck. “If you’ve seen the much maligned Howard the Duck film or read any Howard the Duck stories published since 1979, you’re probably familiar with the concept of Duckworld. You know, an alternate Earth where everyone is ducks and everything is duck-themed: Ducktor Strange, Bloomingducks, etc, etc. Sounds like a recipe for a finite barrel of bad jokes, right? It is, and it’s also not Howard’s real point of origin. During his landmark initial run, Howard’s creator Steve Gerber had the down-and-out duck hailing from a world of talking animals, but all that changed when Gerber was kicked off the book and Disney flashed a lawsuit. Now, after decades of backstory fumbling, Mark Waid has reinstated Howard’s point of origin in a one-shot issue of S.H.I.E.L.D.” (Thanks, Mark!)


    At The Village Voice, Jackson Connor writes about the making of The Warriors. Amid the refurbished boardwalk and laughter of children, it’s easy to forget that Coney Island was once a place where tourists did not venture. For much of the latter half of the twentieth century, street gangs dominated this neighborhood. They ran rampant through the area’s neglected housing projects, tearing along Surf and Neptune avenues toward West 8th Street. Those gangs, or gangs like them, and that incarnation of Coney Island would form the backbone of author Sol Yurick’s 1965 debut novel, The Warriors, about the young members of a street gang. More than a decade after the novel’s publication it would be optioned and, eventually, turned into a major motion picture of the same name.” (via @pulpcurry)


    Edith Garrud taught Suffragettes jiu-jitsu and formed Emmeline Pankhurst’s Bodyguard. “The first connection between the suffragettes and jiu-jitsu was made at a WSPU meeting. Garrud and her husband William, who ran a martial arts school in London’s Golden Square together, had been booked to attend. But William was ill, so she went alone. ‘Edith normally did the demonstrating, while William did the speaking,’ says Tony Wolf, writer of Suffrajitsu, a trilogy of graphic novels about this aspect of the suffragette movement. ‘But the story goes that the WSPU’s leader, Emmeline Pankhurst, encouraged Edith to do the talking for once, which she did.'”


    At Playboy, Jake Rossen writes about the story behind the filming and the restoration of Manos: The Hands of Fate. “For a long time no one wanted to see it unless it was accompanied by MST3K’s taunts. Then, in 2011, a collector of film prints uncovered the original negative of Manos and embarked on an inexplicable project to restore the film with all the white-glove attention archivists give to Hollywood classics. His efforts would incur the wrath of a mysterious man with a fake New Zealand accent named Rupert, as well as Joe Warren, Hal Warren’s embittered son, who intends to preserve the Manos legacy at all costs.” (Thanks, Ed!)


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