The Cultural Gutter

we've seen things you people wouldn't believe

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

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. 

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

    The Bowery Boys Podcast dedicates an episode to New York City in the history of comic books. “In the 1890s a newspaper rivalry between William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer helped bring about the birth of the comic strip and, a few decades later, the comic book.  Today, comic book superheroes are bigger than ever — in blockbuster summer movies and television shows — and most of them still have an inseparable bond with New York City.”

    ~

    Pornokitsch’s One Comic Podcast looks at Red Sonja #10: “To everyone’s surprise, despite some of the covers and the character’s reputation, this isn’t the exploitative boobs’n’swordplay production it could have been. How did it achieve that? Listen and find out.”

    ~

    Los Angeles Magazine has a gallery of self-portraits of Bunny Yeager and a bit about the career of a model and photographer most famous for her pin-up photographs of Bettie Page. “Having dedicated her life to photography and modeling, not to mention publishing 30 books on the subject (one of which shares a name with the Gavlak exhibition), Yeager had an influence on a generation of artist-photographers including Diane Arbus and Cindy Sherman. Arbus even went as far to call her ‘The world’s greatest pin-up photographer.'” (Thanks, Stephanie!)

    ~

    Arch Daily has a gallery of images of remarkable sandcastles built by Calvin Seibert. Smithsonian Magazine has more, including a 2012 interview with Seibert about his work. (via @lordwoolamaloo)

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    While playing Batman: Arkham Knight, Austin Walker wants to walk the streets of Gotham. “There are lots of different kinds of Batman fantasies–and I’m not looking to invalidate any of them–but throughout this four game series, the developers have largely given me the same one over and over. For once, I want a Batman game where I’m compelled to save the day not because of abstract threats, damsels in distress, or a desire for personal vengeance, but because the beauty of Gotham City compels me to protect it. Instead, I’m left for the fourth time with Batman and his playground.”

    ~

    At Die Die Danger Die Kill, Todd thinks about Karel Zeman’s Vynalez Zkasy. “Vynalez Zkasy (released in the U.S. as The Fabulous World of Jules Verne) may represent Czech FX pioneer Karel Zeman’s quest to emulate the style of 19th century fantasy illustration—to the end of presenting the future through a Victorian lens—at its most extreme. That does not mean that it is any less fascinating than, nor nearly enchanting as, films like The Stolen Airship and Cesta do Praveku/Journey to the Beginning of Time. It only means that there is a vague miasma of obsession that threads through the movie’s general air of wonderment.” (The Gutter’s own Keith has posted images from Karel Zeman’s work here).

    ~

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