As soon as the old detective starts talking about buying a boat and all the fish he’s going to catch, or what the view will be like from his back window when he retires, you pretty much know he’s not gonna make it. Or maybe he will, but not without taking a bullet in the gut first just to psych you out. It’s not because he’s not a good guy – in fact he’s often the most genuinely decent, likeable character. It’s because life isn’t fair, and bad guys are only clearly bad if they hurt good people. And, like a bad boyfriend/girlfriend, the movie wants to hurt you so it can be the one to make you feel better. Continue reading…
This site is updated Thursday afternoon with a new article about an artistic pursuit generally considered to be beneath consideration. Carol Borden draws out the best in comics, Chris Szego dallies with romance, alex MacFadyen stares deeply into the screen and Keith Allison probes science fiction.
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“All three had brilliant white teeth that shone like pearls against the ruby of their voluptuous lips. There was something about them that made me uneasy, some longing and at the same time some deadly fear. I felt in my heart a wicked, burning desire that they would kiss me with those red lips.” from Jonathan Harker’s journal
“No man knows, till he experiences it, what it is to feel his own lifeblood drawn away into the veins of the woman he loves.” From Dr. Seward’s diary, 10 September.
In one of the first pieces I wrote for the Cultural Gutter, I wrote about how I like that there are so many versions of Batman. And I talked about how bats come in a “cloud.” I wish I had saved that metaphor for discussing Dracula, because there are so many more versions of him—and of vampires in general. Continue reading…
Although his prose and his politics can be problematic for some readers, the influence of weird fiction writer HP Lovecraft is substantial and reaches out from beyond the grave like one of his indescribable elder gods. Although not particularly successful financially — which is really just another way of calling him a writer — Lovecraft influenced not just generations who would rediscover his forgotten fiction generations later, but also writers who were contemporaries of his and who formed, through their shared correspondence and tendency to write about one another in the letters columns of whatever magazine happened to be publishing their work, sort of a society of oddball pulp writers that seemed to orbit Lovecraft, even if they didn’t realize it at the time. And while Lovecraft was doubtless influenced by some of his fellow weird tales writers as well as those who came before him, their hold on him pales in comparison to his on them. Few were the writers of that brief, fertile era that didn’t try their hand at what became loosely known as “the Lovecraft Mythos,” stories involved in some way (often only tangentially) with the pantheon of monsters, gods, and otherworldly beings that populated Lovecraft’s writing. Continue reading…
This comes as zero surprise to anyone who has ever met me. But it’s not just a personal preference. No, really! It’s also pretty much required for what I do. I run an independent bookstore: talking to customers is a large part of my job. One of the best parts, in fact. I spend a large chunk of my days in conversations with strangers, learning their preferences, teasing out their likes and dislikes. Needless to say, after a while, many of them cease to be strangers. Some of them even become friends.
I think that’s why one of my fiction peeves is a perennially isolated protagonist, the noir-esque loner. And I do mean constantly isolated: a character who starts out isolated and becomes less so over the course of the book is a completely different animal. Person. Character. Whatever. If she shows any sort of social development, no matter how incremental, I’m willing to buy in. But a character who is without friends/family/cordial acquaintances at the beginning of a story and equally without company at the end?*
Ugh. Continue reading…
The Master and Margarita anime? That’s right, Russian animation in Japanese style at Catsuka!
Recently, one of my friends told me that Superman was an inch from becoming a dictator. It didn’t seem likely to me, but I didn’t have any arguments, just a sense that Superman wasn’t inclined toward world domination. Luckily enough, the public library system provided me with, The Man from Krypton: A Closer Look at […]
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
The 1980 BBC Radio dramatization of “Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula; or, The Adventure of the Sanguinary Count” is now available on YouTube, which is nice since it is no longer available on the Internet Archive.
Dangerous Minds has a gallery of papier-mâché masks made by Krista Argale and a gallery of “demonic and dramatic” horned masks made by Aisha Voya. (Thanks, Kate!)
Stunt performer and coordinator Gary McLarty has died. McLarty performed stunts in many, many movies and tv shows including: Gone In Sixty Seconds (2000), Wyatt Earp (1994), Jurassic Park (1993), Last Action Hero (1993), Days of Thunder (1990), Lethal Weapon 2 (1989), Rambo III (1988), Maximum Overdrive (1986), Big Trouble in Little China (1986), To Live And Die In L.A. (1985), The Terminator (1984), Twilight Zone: The Movie (1982), Blade Runner (1982), Blues Brothers (1980), Convoy (1978), Hooper (1978), Smokey & The Bandit (1977), Dirty Mary Crazy Larry (1974), Beneath The Planet Of The Apes (1970), Hell’s Angels ’69 (1969) and The Wild Bunch (1969). Deadline has a report on McLarty’s death and the death of his friend and fellow stuntman Bob Orrison. Hollywood Stuntman has a profile of McLarty. Here’s a clip of McLarty talking a bit about his work.
Stunt performer and coordinator Bob Orrison has died. Orrison performed stunts in many, many movies and tv shows including: Speed (1994), Universal Soldier (1992), Die Hard 2 (1990), Hooper (1978), The A-Team, The Dukes of Hazzard, Blues Brothers (1980), Smokey & The Bandit (1977), Three The Hard Way (1974), Star Trek and The Wild Bunch (1969). Deadline has a report on Bob Orrison’s death and the death of his friend and fellow stuntman Gary McLarty.