The Cultural Gutter

the cult in your pop culture

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

The Return of a Classic Soap Opera

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Friend of the Gutter, Will McKinley writes about his past as a soap opera fan and the return of a classic soap opera, The Doctors, and its significance for the genre.  

Summer Fun Time Reading ’14

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Summer is almost here, and I can’t tell you how glad I am. So smear yourself up with sunscreen and bug repellent, find your kickiest sandals, put the finishing touches on your Wicker Man and don’t forget to wear a hat because I have some comics to make your summer just a little more fun […]

RIP, Kate O’Mara

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Actor Kate O’Mara has died. She performed the Rani in Doctor Who, Caress Morell in Dynasty, Mademoiselle Perrodot in The Vampire Lovers and Alys in The Horror of Frankenstein. O’Mara also had roles in Absolutely Fabulous, The Avengers, The Saint, Danger Man / Secret Agent, The Persuaders and Adam Adamant Lives!  The Guardian, Digital Spy […]

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, Antonia Bird

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Director and producer Antonia Bird has died. Bird is probably best known for her films Ravenous (1999) and Priest (1994), but she also directed UK television series, episodes and  tv movies such as, The Village,  Cracker, MI-5, Inspector Morse and EastEnders. The BBC has an obituary. The Guardian has collected tributes to Bird. The Guardian […]

The Return of the Soap Opera

Soap operas One Life To Live and All My Children will be returning with online episodes! (thanks, @willmckinley)

RIP, Larry Hagman

Actor and director (Son of Blob) Larry Hagman has died. The Guardian has an obituary. Joe O’Shea wrote a profile on Hagman’s birthday last September, which included Hagman talking about what he wanted done with his remains: “I would like to be minced. Did you ever see Fargo, when they put the guy in the […]

Dark Shadows Roundtable

The Cinementals, the Collinsport Historical Society and Monster Island Resort join together for a thoughtful discussion of Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows.

RIP, Jonathan Frid

Actor Jonathan Frid has died. He was best known as Barnabas Collins in the Gothic daytime soap opera, Dark Shadows. The New York Times has an obituary. And here is an interview with Frid on The Merv Griffin Show. Frid discusses playing Barnabas.  

Fandom is Magic

In the year 2001 I discovered a magical world. Not Harry Potter (that was a few years later) and not the Internet (although it was responsible), but a world that captured my attention and hasn’t let go ten years later. It has to do with fanfiction; unpaid fiction that is written by fans of a […]

Dallas Episode IV: A New Hope

Ever wonder what Star Wars would look like as Dallas or Airwolf? Probably not, but it’s still worth seeing. (via Adult Swim)

7) Everyone has cancer.

“16) If you have a nosebleed, you most definitely have cancer. And you have no money to pay for the surgery that will save your life. And your liver is missing. We’re not sure where it went, but it’s making your cancer progress faster.” Everything Mark Russell needs to know about life he learned from […]

We Don’t Want Your Revolution

Pop culture faced the same repression as other forms of expression.

Yevgeny Zamiatin was an enthusiastic supporter of the Russian Revolution in 1917 but by 1924 and the publication of a book ironically entitled We, he was worried that the revolution had brought not freedom but repression and conformity. After being persecuted for many years, he wrote an angry letter to Stalin himself, demanding the right […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    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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    At Never Get Off The Bus, Debbie Moon writes about Captain America: First Avenger. “When adapting existing material, it’s easy to assume that in order to reach point F, you simply have to work through points A – E. To set up Steve Rogers in the modern world, simply romp briskly through everything that happened before he got there. But your character may not be undergoing a single united emotional journey during that period. “

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