The Cultural Gutter

taking the dumb out of fandom

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

Vampire, Or Maybe, Werewolf

When’s a vampire really more of a werewolf? When it’s Toppei from Osamu Tezuka’s Vampire. Todd from 4DK writes about the mostly live-action television adaptation, starring Tezuka as himself, beret and all, and they remind him of both Kurosawa’s High and Low and Fukasaku’s Black Lizard.

5 Blogs, 1 Production Company

The B-Masters Cabal unites to ponder the films of foremost B-movie purveyor, American International Pictures.  5 blogs look at Roger Corman, misleading advertizing, crappy monsters and what finally took AIP down.

See the Fury!

Black and white wuxia? Animated chi? See the devastating fury of Buddha’s Palm!

Aerial City 008: Operation Spring

1960s Japanese science fiction Supermarionation. Scary or supercool? (Scroll down for a complete episode of Aerial City 008).

FEARnet does Halloween up right

In fact, FEARnet does Halloween up right with all their FEAR Fest treats:  Streets of Fear, a review of Haunted houses and tricks of the costume trade.

The Modern Master of Suitmation

It’s a little Minoru Kawasaki retrospective:  Calamari Wrestler (2004); Executive Koala (2005); Beetle, The Horn King (2005); Kani Goalkeeper (2006); The World Sinks Except Japan (2006).

Space Monster Guilala Awakens!

After a space sabbatical of over 30 years, Space Monster Guilala returns in Minoru Kawasaki’s Monster X Strikes Back:  Attack the G8 Summit, aka Guilala’s Counterattack the Toyako Summit One-Shot Crisis.  The Guilala song, the suitmation, the kaiju movie white guy–It makes me feel good in too many ways to count. More here. (via Kaiju […]

Godzilla vs MechaRealism

Yes, it

A while ago I watched some Godzilla movies with some people who don’t exactly appreciate the aesthetics of suitmation / kigurumi, or, in less technical language, a guy in a rubber suit. One of the things I like best about Godzilla movies is that as soon as I glimpse Godzilla rising from the depths or […]

Ninjas vs. Pirates

It’s an idea whose time has come: Ninjas vs. Pirates! Sounds homebrew too: “Almost all scenes in NVP were shot in front of 9 sheets of 30-cent green posterboard in a 12’x13′ apartment living room, lit with $12 Wal-Mart halogen work lights.”

The Grouchy Snob

Talking about Lucas brings out the worst in me

When people find out that I like science fiction (and write about it), they often try to find a familiar example to talk about. This is a better reaction than to say, “Oh, that crap?” or something along those lines. But recently, the example has inevitably been Star Wars — and what was up to […]

Well-rendered Television

The show’s opening sequence starts with a woman in a black bodysuit facing off against a hulking monster. When she finishes him off with a jump-kick, the music swells and the words “Game Over” come up. “Did you ever wonder what happens after the game ends?” a voice reminiscent of Laurence Fishburne intones. “Welcome to […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    Brain Pickings looks at the life and work of Tove Jansson and the wisdom of her character, Too-ticky. “Too-ticky, the sage of Moominvalley who solves even the most existential of problems with equal parts practicality and wisdom, was inspired by the love of Jansson’s life — the great Finnish sculptor and graphic arts pioneer Tuulikki “Tooti” Pietilä, Jansson’s spouse. The two women met in art school during their twenties and remained together until Jansson’s death more than six decades later, collaborating on a lifetime of creative projects — all at a time when queer couples were straddling the impossible line between anguishing invisibility and dangerous visibility.” (via Kate Laity)

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    Photographer Kevin Weir uses vintage photographs to create haunting animation in “The Flux Machine.” The Guardian has an interview with Weir and more on his work.

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    At the New Yorker, Jill Lepore considers the intertwining histories of women’s suffrage, feminism, Amazons and Wonder Woman. “It isn’t only that Wonder Woman’s backstory is taken from feminist utopian fiction. It’s that, in creating Wonder Woman, William Moulton Marston was profoundly influenced by early-twentieth-century suffragists, feminists, and birth-control advocates and that, shockingly, Wonder Woman was inspired by Margaret Sanger, who, hidden from the world, was a member of Marston’s family.”

     

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    Tim Reis shares ten things he learned from producing his first independent feature The Demon’s Rook. “Making an independent feature film is hard. Making an independent feature film with no money is especially hard. Making an independent feature film with no money, no actors, and a first-time director and crew is almost impossible. It is also the greatest, most liberating thing and you can and should totally do it.” (Thanks, Colin!)

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    The Princeton University Digital Library has digitized three Seventeenth Century Japanese illustrated scrolls and you can view them here. Meanwhile, 100,000 images from Getty Research Institute are now available at the Digital Library of America. (via @BibliOdyssey)

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    The Awl’s Rich Bellis writes about Koh Masaki and the importance of Masaki’s visibility as an out gay man working in the Japanese porn industry. “By the time he died from peritonitis after an appendix operation, at just 29, Masaki had established a celebrity persona in a business where such a thing hadn’t existed before. Japanese censorship laws require blurring genitalia, but social stigma leads many performers (regardless of gender) to obscure their faces, too. Dark sunglasses, hats and blacked-out swimming goggles are common accessories in an industry whose overall value has been estimated at around $20 billion.” (Thanks, Earl)

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