The Cultural Gutter

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

Orson Welles On Suspense

A collection of Orson Welles’ appearances on the old time radio show, Suspense, including “The Most Dangerous Game” and “The Hitchhiker.”

Women In Horror Month: “Celebrating Shirley Jackson”

Erin Horakova looks at author Shirley Jackson’s masterful, The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived In The Castle.  “Haunting is stunning, and while it’s a must-read for anyone interested in ghost stories, haunted houses, or psychological horror, it also stretches beyond its demographic.”

“The Heist Always Goes Wrong”

“In a good heist film, the heist always goes wrong.” Andrew Nette shares his favorites.

Interview with James Nguyen

Friend of The Gutter, Robert Mitchell interviews Birdemic director, James Nguyen.  They discuss film-making, Birdemic: Shock and Terror, Birdemic 2 and what people can do to reduce their negative impact on the environment.

Pregnesia!

The ultimate in amnesiac pregnancy romances, Pregnesia! (Thanks, Tars Tarkas!)

Ben Wheatley’s Viral Videos and Rob Zombie’s Ads

Kill List director and suspected Pirate Captain Ben Wheatley has been secretly making commercial videos for years. Siân Elizabeth-Anne just happens to have gathered all Wheatley’s booty in one place, The Vanguard programme blog. Or most of it. Meanwhile, at the Midnight Madness blog, Chad Eberle has collected evidence of Rob Zombie’s secret life as […]

Vanguard 2012 Trailers!

This year’s Vanguard program at the Toronto International Film Festival also looks pretty sweet with Soi Cheang’s Motorway, starring Anthony Wong Chau-Sang; 90 Minutes; Berberian Sound Effects; Blondie; I Declare War; iLL Manors; Painless; Pusher; Sightseers; Thale; and Michel Gondry’s The We And The I. I haven’t found trailers for Beijing Flickers; Here Comes The […]

Lovers In A Dangerous Time

Recently, I’ve been thinking about danger.  Specifically, the kind of danger that runs through a certain subsection of Romance, often called ‘romantic suspense’.  These are the stories that drop the hero and heroine into physical jeopardy in addition to exposing them to all the emotional risks of falling in love.  When done well, they share […]

A Decision to Self-Publish

Publishing powerhouse Jackie Collins explains her decision to self-publish and the business of books.

“Agent of Influence”

Fascinating article on thriller writer Dennis Wheatley’s role as a planner of deceptions for WWII British Intelligence and his influence on Ian Fleming and James Bond. (via @driveinmob)

Sourcing the Drive Soundtrack

Black Hole Reviews runs down the possible sources for the Drive soundtrack, track by track.

The Last Canadian

Grady Hendrix reads London Free Press editor William C. Heine’s The Last Canadian, a plague-driven, apocalyptic pulp set in Montreal. Unfortunately, the protagonist’s citizenship papers haven’t come through before the plague hits.  For Canadian pulp fiction featuring full Canadian citizens, check out Tales from the Vault, curated by own own Screen Editor Emeritus, Ian Driscoll.

Looking Back on Shirley Jackson

Kyla Ward looks back on the work of writer and horror icon, as author of “The Lottery” and The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson, in an issue of Tabula Rasa from 1995. “To say Shirley Jackson is a psychological novelist, and that the horror in her stories comes from the increasingly skewed perceptions of […]

10 Comics I Liked in 2011

It’s the beginning of January, cold and dark where I am. The critics are all putting out their best of year lists, and maybe you’re looking for something to read. So here’s my entry into annual lists: 10 comics I liked in 2011 that I haven’t written about. Well 9 comics I haven’t written about […]

The Vulnerable Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Monika Bartyzel writes about “softening and sexualizing Lisbeth Salander” in David Fincher’s adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the pre-release posters and Stieg Larsson and his novel. “There seems to be a relief that Mara’s Salander is a more relatable person, that classic ‘female’ tropes like softness and vulnerability are visible. It speaks […]

“The Lottery”

On the anniversary of Shirley Jackson’s birthday, here are a piece on The Haunting of Hill House at DarkEcho and a 1951 radio play of her “The Lottery” on NBC Short Story.

RIP, Ken Russell

Filmmaker Ken Russell has died at the age of 84. The extremely prolific Russell’s films include:  Tommy; The Harry Palmer film, Billion Dollar Brain; Women in Love; The Music Lovers;  The Devils; Altered States; Crimes of Passion; and Lair of the White Worm.  The Guardian has an obituary and Mubi has a collection of articles […]

Interview with Ryoo Seung-Wan

Hangul Cellulloid interviews director, writer and actor, Ryoo Seung-Wan about his earlier films, including Die Bad; his current film, The Unjust; his upcoming, The Berlin File; and whether Korean films are inherently violent.

Hear Mysteries of the Inner Sanctum!

The Internet Archive has a collection of the old time radio show, Inner Sanctum Mysteries, sure to spookify any All Hallow’s Eve.

Midnight Madness 2011, Updated

Here are two more trailers for films screening at this year’s Midnight Madness Program at the Toronto International Film Festival. First up, a teaser and clip from Eduardo Sánchez’ Lovely Molly. There’s also a trailer for Frederic Jardin’s thriller, Sleepless Night / Nuit Blanche. (Updated: The Incident trailer was incorrect).

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    Jon Peterson discusses how Gary Gygax lost control of Dungeons & Dragons. “What did Gygax see, in that moment? He saw enough shares in play that he stood to lose control of TSR, a company he had founded and transformed into a global brand. But he surely also saw something even more dear at stake: that he might lose control of Dungeons & Dragons.”

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    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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