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

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.

5 Annoying Movie Trends

“Once again, a [film-making] technique progresses from ‘innovative’ to ‘standard procedure’ to ‘OK, please stop doing that.’” (More teal and orange madness, here).

I Can See Forever

It’s like the 1980s are a black hole and the event horizon reaches forever: The A-Team, The Karate Kid, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Tron, Ghostbusters, Conan The Barbarian, Red Dawn, Short Circuit and Wall Street.

Inside a Haunted Mansion

FXGuy7 has video of a Haunted Mansion on the assembly floor. Here are two birdseye views (one, two) and a walkthrough. 

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    Tom Burtonwood has created Folium, a book of three-dimensional printing of bas relief, for the Art Institute of Chicago from its collection. (Via Boing Boing)

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    We have been bereft since GWAR lost Oderus Ungerus. But lift up your heads and rejoice, fans of GWAR, there is a new member. She is Vulvatron! (via @saladinahmed)

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    Throne of the Crescent Moon author Saladin Ahmed has posted “a micro-mini Crescent Moon Kingdoms world guide that had previously only been available as part of a UK-exclusive ebook” for people to use in their roleplaying games. But even if you aren’t a gamemaster, it’s pretty sweet.

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    At We Are Respectable Negroes, Chauncey Devega interviews friend of the Gutter Mark D. White about the virtues of Captain America. “In this, the ninth episode, of the second season of WARN’s podcast series, we talk about what comic books and superheroes can tell us about philosophy and politics, work through what makes someone ‘heroic,’ the ways that the general public often misunderstands and misreads the Captain America character, as well as how American exceptionalism, race, and identity relate to superhero and other types of comic books and graphic novels.”

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    Alexander Chee writes about difficulty some have in evaluating comics or even in taking them seriously. “As a frequent juror on prizes, colonies and fellowships, I am, it could be said, so tired of this, that in fact, I will fight you for Roz Chast’s right to be on this list. I will fight you for the right for Bechdel to get that MacArthur. In a ring, covered in grease, MMA style. That is how sick of it I am.”

    And Dylan Meconis has some suggestions on how to improve writing about comics. “This leaves all the critics who are just beginning their journey into comics reading, or who have yet to be entirely won over to the medium but want to keep an open mind (perhaps due to peer pressure: I remember a literati cocktail party where somebody near me anxiously muttered ‘I guess we’re all supposed to read graphic novels now.’) These brave souls are willing to give it a try, but they tend to make a lot of mistakes when they first start out.” (Thanks, Gareth!)

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    At Black Girl Nerds, Jamie Broadnax writes a powerful piece about racism, cosplaying, police violence and the homicide of Darrien Hunt. “The first thing we need to do is NOT let this story scare us nor intimidate us into believing that we should be fearful of cosplaying.  We should still encourage others who may not yet have participated in cosplay to know that there are several communities for people of color to have safe spaces where they can be embrace and be their nerdy selves. If there is little to no news about this incident on other mainstream geek sites that feature cosplayers, then framing this around race is pertinent and they should be called out on their silence.  Even IF this is not an incident where Darrien Hunt was actively cosplaying, the tone has already been set and anyone who is a part of the cosplay community should address this matter.  Many Black cosplayers are concerned about this, and still wonder if they would be viewed as ‘suspicious’ walking down the street.”

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