The Cultural Gutter

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

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. […]

The Many Faces of Lucia Pittalis

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Make-up artist Lucia Pittalis transforms herself into Rambo, Walter White, Bette Davis, Iggy Pop and many more.

Drive-In Mob Ringtones and Shenanigans

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Drive-In Mob has a variety of tremendous ringtones from In Like Flint‘s Derek Flint speaking porpoise to the Wilhelm Scream as well as other shenanigans like a club mix  and “Sissy Goforth and The Seven Dwarf’s Yodel Song”  created from Boom (1968). Drive-In Mob, it’s the shock of being alive. (The Cultural Gutter is a […]

Interview with Richard Raaphorst

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Traumatic Cinematic‘s Lewis Cougill interviews the director of Frankenstein’s Army, Richard Raaphorst. They talk about art, conceptual art, Beyond Re-Animator and Frankenstein’s Army. TC also has a gallery of storyboard art from Frankenstein’s Army. (Listen to Traumatic Cinematic’s discussion of Frankenstein’s Army here).

“Enter A Monster”

The Atlantic profiles Spectral Motion, creators of monsters, “effects, and other mechanical grotesqueries that have since become household nightmares, if not names.”

Ray Harryhausen and Me: A Life of High Adventure and Escapism

Mr. Harryhausen with his creations brought down to size.

Ray Harryhausen passed away last week. This has been noted by people more qualified than I to discuss the master of stop-motion magic—Rick Baker, Adam Savage, Todd Masters, George Lucas, Peter Jackson, and more. The superhuman talent and perseverance evident in a Harryhausen effects sequence can easily be seen in countless visual effects artists since […]

RIP, Ray Harryhausen

Special effects master, Ray Harryhausen has died. Ray Bradbury pays tribute to Harryhausen.  All of Harryhausen’s creatures in 4 and a half minutes. Harryhausen talks about King Kong, Willis O’Brien, George Pal and his own career in 1991. John Landis interviews Harryhausen for the Bradford Animation Festival 2010. TCM remembers Harryhausen. And Leslie Hardcastle interviews […]

The Sensationalism of Trip To The Moon

“As early as 1929 Kodak identified the potential for colour to affect the emotions. Whilst Kodak developed Sonochrome tints like Rose Doree to ‘quicken the respiration’ and Peachblow for ‘brief, joyous moments’, twenty years before, Méliès applied translucent aniline dyes to create spectacle and to provoke sensation in nascent cinema.” Wendy Haslem writes on the […]

Ray Harryhausen’s Collection, Documented

The Documentation Officer for the Ray Harryhausen collection shares some of Harryhausen’s film materials.

RIP, Gerry Anderson

Director, producer, writer, effects pioneer and puppeteer Gerry Anderson has died.  Anderson created the Supermarionation television series: Thunderbirds, Fireball XL5, and Stingray He produced the live-action series: UFO, The Protectors and Space: 1999.  The Guardian has an obituary and two letters remembering Gerry Andreson’s legacy. And here’s Craig Ferguson’s tribute to Fireball Xl5.

Clip from The Host 2 / Gwoemul 2

Here’s a clip from Bong Joon-ho’s The Host 2/ Gwoemul 2 (sequel to the 2007 film, The Host / Gwoemul). More river monster + a little behind the scenes look.

Cloud Atlas, Racebending and Racism

Racebending and Hyperallergic discuss the racism and lack of critical response to racism in Cloud Atlas‘ use of “colorblind casting.”  Mike Le responds to the trailer: Ultimately…my belief is that Cloud Atlas will eventually be viewed through the same lens as films like The Good Earth, Birth of a Nation, or even Dumbo. These are films […]

Practical vs. Digital Effects

Effects artists Tyler Ham and Tom Spina talk practical vs. digital effects with Miguel Rodriguez at Monster Island Resort. My favorite line from the episode? “You can’t compare The Fly to Sharktopus.” And make sure to check out Spina’s restored film prop galleries,, from Ewoks to Sleestaks and Critters to Gremlins as well as stop-motion […]

RIP, Carlo Rambaldi

Special effects master Carlo Rambaldi has died. Rambaldi is probably most famous for his work in ET, The Extraterrestrial; Alien; and Dune, but Rambaldi also worked extensively for Mario Bava. The New York Times has an obituary. Here are a video homage, another by Il Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia di Roma and a clip of […]

Special Effects Master Eiji Tsuburaya

Just in time for Eiji Tsuburaya’s birthday, here’s a brief video documentary on his career in special effects for films ranging from Godzilla and War of the Gargantuas to Throne of Blood and Chushingura.  

“Basket Case: Almost As Old As I Am”

Miguel Rodriguez writes about being exposed to b-movie horror classic, Basket Case as an 8-year-old boy in Texas: “[M]y aunt and uncles rented movies that most would probably consider wildly inappropriate to watch with an 8-year-old boy. Those are some of my best memories….I believe it was before Day of the Dead that my youthful […]

10 Things About Godzilla

At the Criterion Collection blog, Curtis Tsui shares, “10 Things I learned About Godzilla.” My favorite involves sugar wafers. (via Kaijucast)

Red Skies: Soviet Science Fiction

A thorough and well-illustrated look at Soviet science fiction, from the 1920s through the 1980s. (via SF Signal)

A Trip to the Moon

Here’s George Méliès’ 1902 Trip to the Moon/ Le Voyage de la Lune on the anniversary of the 1969 Moon Landing. I’m sure Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin have some stories to tell about the Moon People.

Making the Valley of Gwangi

In honor of Ray Harryhausen’s birthday, a little documentary on the making of Valley of Gwangi.

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    At Pornokitsch, The Gutter’s own dame with a shady past Carol writes about five films noir.  “Do you want to watch some film noir? I hope so, because I have five films to suggest. Films about dames gone wrong, poor doomed saps, murders, sex and modern knights errant.”

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    At The Alcohol Professor, The Gutter’s own Keith writes about Billie Holiday in a fantastic two-part piece. Part one traces “the history of Billie Holiday and NYC nightlife through the Harlem Renaissance to Café Society.” Part two covers “Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra and the jazz scene in New York City clubs of a bygone era.”

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    The New Yorker has a profile of author Gene Wolfe. “His narrators may be prophets, or liars, or merely crazy, but somewhere in their stories they help to reveal what Wolfe most wants his readers to know: that compassion can withstand the most brutal of futures and exist on the most distant planets, and it has been part of us since ages long past.”

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    Remezcla has a gallery of Lourdes Grobet’s portraits of luchadores with their families and a bit of an interview with her. (Yes, the luchadores are in their masks and often wearing suits or casual wear, which is the best thing). (Thanks, Matt!) “Father and warrior, the masked wrestler is the perfect metaphor for the duality that Grobet’s photography wants to depict. Her work is resonant because she doesn’t try to demolish the myths that envelop lucha libre – she simply nurtures and expands them in an offbeat way.”

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    At Autostraddle, Heather Hogan has “a Recap of Jem and the Holograms’ Truly Outrageous Lesbianism.” (Thanks, Sara Century!) “If you are a woman over the age of 30, I have some information that is going to send you cartwheeling back to 1987 to high five your young self and shout “We knew it! We knew it!” right in your own tiny gay face: Stormer and Kimber from Jem are truly, outrageously, canonically queer….This is good news. Great news. But it’s not really news news. Of course Stormer and Kimber are gay. They’ve been in love since 1987!”

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    “Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been binge-watching one of the most innovative series on television. Like many of the gems of the current TV renaissance, it features extended narratives with complex plots, intricate backstories, and layered characters. Its approach to storytelling is remarkably adventurous, shattering television, and even cinematic conventions.

     I’m speaking, of course, of General Hospital.” Noah Berlatsky writes about the influence of soap operas on “prestige television” at Quartz. (And make sure to click through to Akash Nikolas’ “Yes, Mad Men is a Soap Opera and that Shouldn’t be an Insult”).
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