The Cultural Gutter

dangerous because it has a philosophy

"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, Television Without Pity

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NBC-Universal is closing down Television Without Pity and the archives of episode recaps from the 1990s on will no longer be available. At The Vulture, Margaret Lyons writes, “How Television Without Pity Shaped Pop Culture.” Caitlin Kelly writes about being “Raised on Television Without Pity” at The New Yorker. At USA Today, Jayme Deerwester writes […]

RIP, Dave Brockie

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Gwar lead singer Dave Brockie has died. Rolling Stone, LA Weekly, and NPR have obituaries. Metal Insider has an excerpt from No Slam Dancing, No Stage Diving, No Spikes about one Gwar’s performances at Grey Gardens. Friend of the Gutter, Robert Mitchell interviewed Brockie in 2008. Oderus Urungus reads Goodnight, Moon.

RIP, James Rebhorn

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Actor James Rebhorn has died. The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, and The Hollywood Reporter have obituaries. Rebhorn had roles in films including Independence Day, Basic Instinct, The Talented Mr. Ripley and He Knows You’re Alone. And he had roles in television shows including, Search for Tomorrow, Guiding Light, As The World Turns, […]

RIP, Hal Douglas

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Voice-over artist Hal Douglas has died.  The New York Times and Variety have obituaries. And the Times links to a short documentary about Douglas. From the Times, a documentary about Douglas. And here’s a Douglas demo reel.

RIP, Věra Chytilová

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Czech filmmaker Věra Chytilová has died. She was a central director in the Czech New Wave in the 1960s and is probably best known for her film, Daisies (1966). The Prague Post, The Houston Chronicle, The AV Club and The New York Times have obituaries. Fresques has an interview with Chytilová.

RIP, Harold Ramis

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Actor, writer and director Harold Ramis has died. He is probably best known for  SCTV, Animal House, Meatballs, Stripes, Caddyshack, Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters II, and Groundhog Day. He also had memorable roles in As Good As It Gets and Knocked Up.  The Chicago Tribune, The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times have obituaries. The […]

RIP, Sid Caesar

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Comedian, actor and writer Sid Caesar has died. The New York Times and Variety have obituaries. Time has gathered clips of his work. The Archive of American Television has an interview with Caesar here.

RIP, Wu Ma

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Actor Wu Ma has died. The South China Morning Post, The Straits Times, and The Hollywood Reporter have obituaries. Scene Asia has tributes. Wu Ma is probably best known for his role as a ghost-hunting Taoist priest in A Chinese Ghost Story, but he appeared in almost 300 films. Here’s the trailer for his first […]

RIP, Philip Seymour Hoffman

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Actor and director Philip Seymour Hoffman has died. Hoffman performed in numerous films including, The Master, Capote, Magnolia, The Hunger Games, Mary and Max, and The Talented Mr. Ripley.  There are a collection of tributes at RogerEbert.com. The Dissolve‘s editors reflect on Hoffman’s work. At Monkey See, Linda Holmes writes about Hoffman and the blessings […]

RIP, Maximilian Schell

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Actor, director, producer and concert pianist Maximilian Schell has died. Schell received an Academy Award for his performance Judgment At Nuremberg. He also appeared in films ranging from The Odessa File and to The Black Hole John Carpenter’s Vampires. The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times have obituaries. Here is […]

RIP, Arthur Rankin, Jr.

Animator, director and producer Arthur Rankin, Jr. has died. Rankin is probably best known for his Rankin/Bass studio’s holiday television specials such as Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town and Mad Monster Party. He also produced and directed The Last Unicorn, The Hobbit (1977), The Return Of The King (1980), The […]

RIP, Mae Young

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Professional wrestler Mae Young has died. The New York Times, The Washington Post, Cageside Seats and WWE.com have obituaries. WWE.com also has a tribute video. Conan O’Brien interviews Mae Young and The Fabulous Moolah.

RIP, Hiroo Onoda

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Hiroo Onoda has died. Onoda was the last soldier of the Imperial Japanese Army to surrender, after hiding in the Philippines forest until 1974. Asia News and The New York Times have obituaries.

RIP, Dave Madden

Actor and comedian Dave Madden has died. He was best known for his portrayal of Reuben Kincaid in the television series, The Partridge Family and his work on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh In.  The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times have obituaries. Here Madden appears after Charo on Sammy Davis Jr.’s Hollywood Palace.

RIP, Russell Johnson

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Actor Russell Johnson has died. Johnson was best known as the Professor on the television show, Gilligan’s Island, and as physicist Steve Carlson in This Island Earth (1955). Terence Towles Canote has more on Johnson’s life and work at A Shroud of Thoughts. The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times have obituaries. The […]

In Memoriam, Run Run Shaw

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The Gutter’s own Carol writes a little about Run Run Shaw, Shaw Brothers and TVB.  “So often we talk about history as this disembodied thing, these external events. And then there is someone like Sir Run Run, who contained almost the entire arc of modern entertainment in his lifetime, in his self.”

RIP, Run Run Shaw

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Film and television producer Run Run Shaw has died. Sir Run Run founded Shaw Brothers with his brother, Run Me Shaw. They produced hundreds of films in all genres, but were best known for their revolutionary kung fu and wuxia movies. Shaw also produced myriad television programs for TVB. The South China Morning Post remembers […]

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.

RIP, Mike Vraney

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Found of Something Weird Video, Mike Vraney has died. Our  friends at Daily Grindhouse remember Vraney. The AV Club has an obituary. Seattle Weekly has a statement from Something Weird Video.

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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.”

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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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