The Cultural Gutter

taking trash seriously

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

10 Comics I Liked In 2013

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It’s an amazing time in comics right now. There are too many good ones for me to even read them all. Comics are like a hydra, but without the decapitation or even really the fighting. (So maybe not all that much like a hydra except I find one comic and then there are 3-6 more […]

The Stephen King Universe

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This week, Science Fiction Editor Emeritus James Schellenberg returns as a Guest Star. Screen Editor alex MacFadyen will return next month. You can easily glance off the top of any book by Stephen King–get a few frights and move on. But there’s a hidden world beneath almost all of his books, and not only is […]

An Oral History of Evil Dead II

“I think I can speak for all of us: We’d rather be doing slapstick comedy. But because we were so concerned, at the time, with getting our work into theaters, we thought: ‘Eh, horror films. That’s a good way in.’” More history of Evil Dead II at The Hollywood Reporter. (via The Projection Booth)

Rereading Stephen King’s IT

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At Tor.com, Grady Hendrix rereads Stephen King’s IT:

Under The Dome, Reviewed

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Grady Hendrix reviews episodes of the tv adaptation of Stephen King’s Under The Dome for Tor.com. Science Fiction Editor Emeritus James wrote about the book here. They are both disappointed, but their disappointment is interesting and sometimes hilarious.

The Trouble with Endings, Part 2: The Re-conclusioning

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The trouble with endings, of course, is that they are really difficult to do well. I’ll try to take that warning to heart myself, since this piece will be my last for The Cultural Gutter. And what better way to wrap up a really fun time on a neat project than to look at endings!

The Dark Tower, Videogame Soundtrack Edition

Speaking from recent experience, I don’t recommend getting a cold/cough/(something virulent and archaic, like consumption?) that sticks around for 4-5 weeks. It kinda sucks. With reduced brainpower, I’ve been watching a lot of Rifftrax (“There can be only one?? You should have mentioned that earlier!”). Fun, but not much to say, except that, yup, Highlander […]

The Great Stephen King Re-Read: Night Shift

Grady Hendrix has been re-reading Stephen King’s books. Night Shift‘s time has come. “Night Shift would not only earn him a lot of Hollywood bank, and it wouldn’t just introduce him to Dino De Laurentiis, but it also spawned six feature films, one film franchise, four television movies, and an uncountable number of short movies. It […]

The Specter of Frankenstein

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The specter of Victor Frankenstein’s creature has been haunting me, confronting me with the horror if his creation and inherent in his being. He stalks me, in his way, as surely as he stalked Victor. Perhaps he’s just been curiously peering at me, as the creature watched humans in Mary Shelley’s novel, emulating our virtues […]

Rambles

In which I take a rambling walk through some recent semi-connected pop culture items, starting with a videogame reboot that’s actually worth playing, moving on to nostalgia for a nostalgia-based movie, and ending with a look at child actors, in reality and in novel form.

“How Pet Sematary Changed My Life”

Joe Humphrey relates his own coming of age with Stephen King’s books and movies based on King’s stories at Paracinema.

Carrie the Musical

Some thoughts on the new musical version of Carrie.

DKS/MW and Under the Dome

Via the Wertzone: RIP Darrell K. Sweet (and Michael Whelan will be doing the last Wheel of Time cover), and a blistering review of Under the Dome (which might explain the non-review here on the Gutter last year).

Human Centipede 2: Say Goodnight to the Bad Guy!

This week Gutter Guest Darryl Shaw fills in for Screen Editor alex MacFadyen. “I recognize terror as the finest emotion and so I will try to terrorize the reader. But if I find that I cannot terrify, I will try to horrify, and if I find that I cannot horrify, I’ll go for the gross-out. […]

Ruled by the Subconscious

A confession: I’m having trouble making my way through Stephen King’s Under the Dome. I must also confess I’m a bit puzzled by this. I’m definitely a fan of King’s work. And from what I’ve read so far, this book sticks pretty closely to high points of his career. What gives?

Stephen King’s new enormous bestseller-to-be

Linda Holmes says, “Thank Goodness Stephen King is making backbreaking, self-indulgent doorstops again.” And she means it.

ONE TRILLION AND ONE LEANING TOWERS

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1. Overture IslandOn December 4, 2008, the future ended. The event that marked its end was the death of a 92-year old man from the not uncommon cause of heart failure. It would not have been an epoch-ending event save for one detail: the man’s name was Forest J Ackerman.

Swords and Sorcery of an Old School Nature

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Fighting the Thieves’ Guild. Beautiful wenches, dazzling swordplay, heaps of treasure, dark spells. Where do all these cliches come from? A lot of them are from people who ripped off Fritz Lieber, who could write circles around just about anybody. And show us a good time doing it too.

All People Are Sheep… Except You, Dear Reader

How the mind is swayed

Flatter your reader. That sounds like a pretty solid narrative strategy! Make your audience think they are really smart, and they’ll probably come back for more. Books can do this automatically, just by the virtue of taking us into the thoughts of other people – not so easy in real life. Some stories take us […]

“This Book is Too Long!”

Award-winning, bestselling... and 800+ pages

I know of many fantasy readers (myself sometimes included) who pick what book to read next based on how long it is – for epic fantasies, the longer the better. Books like this are a huge commitment though, and so for a lot of people, the fact that Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is over […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    At Paleofuture, Matt Novak writes about Idiocracy‘s unpleasant implications: “Sure. As an over-the-top comedic dystopia, the movie is actually enjoyable. But the movie’s introduction makes it an unnerving reference to toss around as our go-to insult….Unlike other films that satirize the media and the soul-crushing consequences of sensationalized entertainment (my personal favorite being 1951′s Ace in the Hole), Idiocracy lays the blame at the feet of an undeserved target (the poor) while implicitly advocating a terrible solution (eugenics). The movie’s underlying premise is a fundamentally dangerous and backwards way to understand the world.” (via The Projection Booth)

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    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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