Cultural Gutter: Battle of the Brains

All in all, brains aren’t really scary – at least up until that moment when you see one pick up a hammer with its spinal cord and come flying at you.

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.

Cultural Gutter: Beneath the Mysterian Dome

Over on The Cultural Gutter, I’m celebrating Eiji Tsuburaya, Ishiro Honda, and aliens who want to steal our women! Beneath the Mysterian Dome is a look at The Mysterians and Battle in Outer Space, two of the biggest special effects blow-outs the the Honda-Tsuburaya team created. Prepare yourself for tiny space battle son an epic…

Cultural Gutter: A Visit to Tativille

I have a new one up on The Cultural Gutter! Yesterday’s Tomorrow: A Visit to Tativille is a look at one of my all-time favorite films, 1958’s futurist farce Mon Oncle by Jacques Tati. Tati’s third film, and the second to feature the iconic character of M. Hulot, Mon Oncle is a film built largely on the shoulders…

The Fabulous World of Karel Zeman

If you took special effects film pioneer Georges Melies and combined him with stop motion animation genius Ray Harryhausen and surreal fantasist Terry Gilliam, then taught him to speak Czech, you’d have a film maker very close to Karel Zeman. I was strolling across Prague’s Karluv Most, as is the way of a jetsetting international…

The Conqueror

Genghis Khan is certainly one of the great figures in the history of the world. When you say “Mongolia,” he’s the first person of whom you’re likely to think. He conquered China, swept westward, and eventually had a chain of shopping mall formal wear rental stores named after him. Were it not for Genghis Khan’s…

Revenge of Frankenstein

When last we saw Baron Victor Frankenstein, he was being marched to the guillotine to face a beheading for the murders committed by his man-made man, not to mention the murders in which he himself dabbled. Well, you can’t keep a good mad scientist down, and there are none better or madder than Cushing’s Frankenstein….

Angry Red Planet

When producer Sid Pink set out to tell the epic tale of mankind’s first trip to Mars, he did so with a budget that would barely get him down the street. That didn’t stop him, and to overcome the monetary limitations, he relied heavily on matte paintings drenched in the accidental surrealism of CineMagic. The…

Ghost Stories of Wanderer at Honjo

Researching the history of Japanese yokai in cinema is a difficult task. At least, it’s a difficult task if, like me, you don’t read Japanese and are kind of lazy. Almost all of the English language writing about movies involving these bizarre and multitudinous creatures from Japanese folklore focuses on the three loosely related yokai…

Jack the Ripper

The Ripper has struck again, prompting the drunk who finds the body to exclaim in his best RADA Cockney accent, “Gor blimey, the Ripper! ‘e’s done ‘er in!”

World Without End

In the great scheme of things, Forbidden Planet is still probably the coolest of the 50s sci-fi films, if for no other reason than it’s completely weird musical score, but World Without End is a two-fisted action-packed little brother that may not be as respectable or ambitious, but just might be more fun.

Desert Sands

As has been and will forever be apparent, I harbor an epic number of obsessions, fetishes, and curiosities that provide me nigh endless material for exploring and exposing to the public. Among the ones that have yet to be mentioned is a fondness for movies about the French Foreign Legion. Not the modern one, with…