Cultural Gutter: Children of the Stones

Over on The Cultural Gutter, In This Green and Pleasant Land examines Children of the Stones, regarded to this day as one of the smartest, weirdest, scariest slices of children’s television programming ever produced.

The Erotic Escapades of Emmanuelle, Part 1: Idleness is an Art Form

Before there was Emmanuelle, there was Emmanuelle. Emmanuelle Arsan, to be slightly more precise. Marayat Rollet-Andriane to be even more precise still. Born Marayat Bibidh in January 1932, in the city of Bangkok, she was the real-life Emmanuelle, the one on whose life the novel Emmanuelle was based.

Tamiya Iemon is the Worst

Ghost stories wend their way from Noh, Kabuki and the Bunraku puppet theater all the way through “J Horror” and the vengeful ghost ladies with invasive hair of today. There are many tales of love, bitterness and vengeful ghosts, but like a certain Scottish play, Tokaido Yotsuya Kaidan is unique in having a curse associated with it.

Beyond the Black Rainbow

The surreal swirl of stark futurism, psychedelia, and neon indulgence is…pleasantly overwhelming? Comfortably disturbing? Certainly it’s something that demands one’s attention even as it lulls you into a fugue state.

Spectre

Unfortunately, the remainder of the film’s obsession with mythology building and referencing previous films results in a tangled mess that, despite being over two hours in length, still feels like an hour of the film is missing.

Kuroneko

A crumbling ruin. A mist-shrouded forest. A lone samurai making his way home late at night meets a seemingly defenseless young woman. So begins the horror of Kaneto Shindô’s tale of ghosts, vengeance, and the wrongs visited upon women by entitled men.

Welcome to Cairowood: A Guide to Egyptian Cinema’s Golden Age

Examples of Egyptian filmmaking date back to the beginning of the 20th century, with Cairo becoming a hub of commercial filmmaking in the Arab world with the introduction of sound. It was there that the country’s first “Hollywood-style” film studio, the well-funded Studio Msr was established in 1936.

The Hourglass Sanatorium

Polish director Wojciech Has harbored no desire to make a political film. But in Poland under Soviet rule, where film promoting social realism was the mandate, not being political was the most political thing he could do.

Valerie and Her Week of Wonders

A fairytale about a young girl attempting to navigate the many predators surrounding her becomes an allegory for the challenges of womanhood and the trials faced by then Czechoslovakia in the face of Soviet aggression.

Cultural Gutter: Whatever Happened to Saturday Night

I’m celebrating the 40th anniversary of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The world doesn’t need another review of the movie, so Whatever Happened to Saturday Night? is instead a mini-memoir about my first time seeing the movie, at Louisville’s Vogue Theater in 1987

The Return of Captain Invincible

A washed-up, alcoholic superhero must pull himself out of depression and obscurity in order to defeat the villainous Christopher Lee in one of cinema’s first deconstructions of comic book superheroes. It also happens to be a musical.

Trashy Trio: The Blood-Spattered Bride

I hate the Spanish horror movie The Blood-Spattered Bride, but I still managed to involve myself in nearly two hours of talking about it on an episode of The Trashy Trio Podcast. OK, maybe 40 minutes was about The Blood-Spattered Bride.