I am jazzed to have had published the first of what I hope is several peer reviewed articles flowing my from the research for my dissertation. “An Explosive Novel of Strange Passions” Horwitz Publications and Australia’s Pulp Modernism,’ appears in the latest edition of Australian Literary Studies Journal. It is open access until April next year.
Here is the abstract for the piece: The scant academic attention Australia’s pulp publishing industry has received to date tends to focus on pulp as a quickly and cheaply made form of disposable entertainment, sold to non-elite audiences. This paper will examine Australian pulp fiction from a different standpoint, one which links New Modernist Studies and the history of the book. This approach, referred to as pulp modernism, is used to question the separation of low and high publishing culture, dominant for much of the twentieth century. I apply this methodology to late-1950s and early-1960s Australian pulp fiction by examining the Name Author series released by Sydney-based Horwitz Publications, one of the largest pulp paperback publishers in the decades after World War II. The series took prominent mid-century Australian authors and republished them in paperback with covers featuring highly salacious images and text. The series offers a glimpse into a uniquely Australian version of pulp modernism.… Read more
Posted in Australian crime fiction, Australian popular culture, Australian pulp fiction, British pulp fiction, Horwitz Publications, New English Library, Pulp fiction, Pulp paperback cover art, Vintage pulp paperback covers
Tagged Australian pulp fiction, Horwitz Publications, Joseph Conrad, Midcentury pulp fiction, Post war Australian pulp, pulp modernism, Ruth Park
It is no exaggeration to say I have been eagerly anticipating Samm Deighan’s monograph of Fritz Lang’s 1931 film. I love the film and I am a big fan of Deighan’s movie writing, so the combination is bound not to disappoint. And it didn’t.
As Deighan puts it in her introduction, M ‘exists in a liminal space between urban social drama, crime thriller, and horror film’. It was arguably the first serial killer film, long before the FBI coined the term in the early 1970s. Anchored by a superb performance by Peter Lorre as the paedophiliac child killer, Hans Beckert, it was certainly the first motion picture in which a serial killer was the central protagonist. Another crucial innovation was the way in which Lang depicted the character of Beckert in a not entirely unsympathetic light. This same sensibility would have a influence on some subsequent serial killer cinema, most notably in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 horror/thriller, Psycho.
Deighan discusses M’s broader social and political themes, including the film as a critique of modernity and a text for Germany on the brink of totalitarian control, appearing as it did a year before the Nazi’s assumed power and Lang had to flee the country.
Another fascinating aspect of the book is the discussion of how the themes in M would echo in Lang’s subsequent work, particular the threat of the lawless mob violence and what is perhaps the director’s most defining idea, how even the most noble individual is capable of brutal murderous thoughts and actions.… Read more
Posted in 60s American crime films, Australian crime fiction, Australian noir, Black pulp fiction, Crime fiction and film from Mexico, David Whish-Wilson, Dystopian cinema, Film Noir, Horror, Neo Noir, Noir fiction, Non-crime reviews, Pulp fiction, Pulp fiction in the 70s and 80s, Pulp paperback cover art, Rollerball, Science fiction and fantasy
Tagged Alfred Hitchcock, alse Dawn, Angela Nagle, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, David Whish-Wilson, Fitz Lang, Hannelore Cayre, Holloway House, Ira Levin, Jean-Patrick Manchette, Jeff Sparrow, Kill all Normies, Kinohi Nishkawa, Lawrence Osborne, M (1931), Nada, Nick Riddle, Only to Sleep, Peter Lorre, Psycho (1960), Rosemary’s Baby, Samm Deighan, Serial killer films, Street Players: Black Pulp Fiction and the Making of a Literary Undergound, The Damned (1963), The Godmother, Trigger Warning: Political Correctness and the Rise of the Right., True West
If you are still on the fence about purchasing a copy of my new book, Sticking it to the Man: Revolution and the Counterculture in Pulp and Popular Fiction, 1950 to 1980, the site CrimeReads is running a couple of extracts from the book. The first is my piece, ‘Blowback: late 1960s and 1970s pulp and popular fiction about the Vietnam War’.
The conflict in Vietnam cast a long shadow over pulp and popular fiction in the late 1960s and the 1970s. Vietnam veterans were hunted by small town redneck police in David Morrell’s 1972 novel, First Blood, dealt drugs in Vern E Smith’s The Jones Men, and staged an abortive bank heist in Dog Day Afternoon, both published in 1974. In the Lone Wolf series ex-New York cop and Vietnam veteran, Burt Wulff mounted a fourteen-book battle from 1973 to 1975 against the drug dealing criminal organisation, ‘The Network’, in which he treated the streets of America’s major cities as an extension of jungles of Southeast Asia. Vietnam was the training ground for many of the characters that populated men’s adventure and crime pulp in the 1970s. More broadly, Vietnam’s traumatic impact on American society would become a cypher through which pulp and popular fiction name checked cultural fragmentation, growing disillusionment with the American dream, dishonest and unaccountable government and corporations, and the power of the military industrial complex.… Read more
Posted in 70s American crime films, 80s American crime films, Asian noir, Australian crime fiction, Australian noir, Belmont Tower Books, Black pulp fiction, Blaxsploitation, Book cover design, Crime Fiction and film set in Vietnam, Crime film, Pulp fiction in the 70s and 80s, Pulp fiction set in Asia, Pulp paperback cover art, Robert Stone, Sticking it the the Man Revolution and Counter Culture in Pulp and Popular Fiction 1950 1980
Tagged CrimeReads, David Morrell, Dog Day Afternoon, First Blood (1972), Pulp and popular fiction about Vietnam, Pulp fiction in Asia, Sticking it to the Man: Revolution and the Counterculture in Pulp and Popular Fiction 1950 to 1980, Vietnam War
I can’t remember when I first stumbled across Philip Jablon’s wonderful website chronicling the decline of the stand-alone movie theatre in Thailand, The Southeast Asia Movie Theatre Project. I think it was soon after I arrived back in Melbourne after a year in Cambodia, during which I spent my own fair share of time tracking down and photographing crumbling Khmer movie theatres (I also nearly broke my neck photographing the inside of an abandoned cinema in the Lao capital, Vientiane, but that’s another story).
My efforts, however, pale in comparison to Jablon’s painstaking work. His book, Thailand’s Movie Theatres: Relics, Ruins and the Romance of Escape, which emerged from his website, is a detailed, perceptive, beautifully rendered examination not only of the rise and fall of Thailand’s stand-alone cinema industry, but of a once powerful part of the country’s public culture which has now almost completely disappeared. As Jablon writes, ‘In Thailand, the standalone movie theatre represents a form of public entertainment that has all but slipped through the cracks of memory into the abyss of time.’
The first stand-alone cinema was established in Thailand in 1905. They proliferated rapidly, with the country boasting as many as 700 at the industry’s peak. Often established by local entrepreneurs, these movie theatres were usually a dynamic part of their community and deeply enmeshed in their economic and social life.… Read more