Deviant Desires: Erotic Grotesque Nonsense in Japanese Horror Films (upcoming lecture)

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Hey Gentle Readers! I’m giving a lecture at the Royal Cinema (in Toronto) as part of The Black Museum: Lurid Lectures for the Morbidly Curious in May. I will be showing clips from five Japanese films, a few of which are rare, under-the-radar gems of “ero guro nansensu”. Details here: http://theblackmuseum.com/?p=1494

The interwar years in Japan were a time of rapid modernization and social change. It was also a time of economic hardship and, as the fascists rose to power, increasingly repressive politics. During these difficult times, a popular cultural phenomena flourished. Dubbed by the Japanese media as “ero-guro-nansensu” (or, “erotic-grotesque-nonsense”), this movement rejected the narrow standards of conventional morality insisted upon by the fascists, and instead celebrated the deviant, the bizarre and the ridiculous. The stories of Edogawa Rampo, the first writer of the modern mystery in Japan, were wildly popular during these turbulent years. It is Rampo who best captured the darkly erotic and transgressive spirit of “ero-guro”, and his legacy has lasted until present day in Japan.

This lecture will focus on five films, three of which are adaptations of Rampo stories: Horrors of Malformed Men (1969), Teruo Ishii’s gloriously schlocky, psychedelic mashup of Rampo-with-butoh, Blind Beast (1969), Yasuzô Masumura’s lurid tale of sexual obsession and sadomasochism, and Koji Wakamatsu’s strongly anti-nationalist Caterpillar (2010). Other films to be discussed will include Nagisa Oshima’s infamous art film In The Realm of the Senses (1976) — described by film critic Ian Buruma as “perhaps the only intelligent hardcore porno film ever made” — and the seldom seen, and equally controversial, anime film Midori – the Girl in the Freak Show (1992).

May 13, 2015 at 9:15pm
The Royal Cinema, 608 College St, Toronto
Cost: $12 advance / $15 at the door

 

 

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Isn’t it Nekromantik?

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Film still from the quintessential “video nasty”, NEKROMANTIK (1987). Directed by Jorg Buttgereit. Banned from North America until recent years.

On Valentine’s Day, try to be with someone you love. Failing that, dig up an old friend.

 

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Toronto Alice update, January 2015.

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Baby, it’s cold outside. Good time of the year to hide out in one’s basement studio, making things move a little bit at a time. After a very busy Fall term at my teaching jobs, I’ve settled down a bit with a lighter course load for the Winter. This is very good news for my Toronto Alice animation project, which is now back in progress. Only 01:27 done thus far, but we’re getting there.

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Lady Lazarus Blog: 2014 in review!

It was a record year at Lady Lazarus: dying is an art. I received 63,000 views, which makes 2014 my busiest year ever. Also nice to see that, according to the stats counter, the blog post that received the most visits was the one dedicated to my last animated project, Domestikia, Chapter 3: La Petite Mort. Yay!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

Madison Square Garden can seat 20,000 people for a concert. This blog was viewed about 63,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Madison Square Garden, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Season’s Greetings from Lady Lazarus

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Season’s Greetings from Lady Lazarus. And now, a photo of The Cure building a snowman, because Robert Smith. #gothsinthesnow.

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Now you know your ABCs…

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My illustrated alphabet book for adults, aptly titled My Alphabet of Anxieties & Desires, is available in soft cover and eBook format. Buy it for yourself or send it to someone you love (or want to) for Christmas. http://blur.by/12n9r1u.

Also available from the Apple store: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/book/id582540445

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Happy Hallowe’en 2014!

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Happy Hallowe’en, gentle readers! And now for something completely Gothic.

Annabel Lee
BY EDGAR ALLAN POE

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea,
But we loved with a love that was more than love—
I and my Annabel Lee—
With a love that the wingèd seraphs of Heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsmen came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,
Went envying her and me—
Yes!—that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we—
Of many far wiser than we—
And neither the angels in Heaven above
Nor the demons down under the sea
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride,
In her sepulchre there by the sea—
In her tomb by the sounding sea.

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