Melbourne-based Pulp Curry readers might be interested in the upcoming 3-day Screening Melbourne Symposium to be held in association with the Universities of Deakin, La Trobe, Melbourne, Monash, RMIT and Swinburne; and in partnership with the Australian Centre for the Moving Image & the Australian Film Institute, from February 22 to 24.
I’ll be co-presenting a paper with my friend and colleague, Dean Brandum, on Crawford Productions’ Division 4 series (1969-75) and its depiction of Melbourne as a ‘noir city’.
With Homicide a ratings hit on the Seven Network, Crawford Productions was commissioned by the Nine Network to produce a rival series, the even darker Division 4. Whereas Homicide presented a Melbourne where violent crime was a aberration to be corrected, Division 4’s police characters were shown as the last bastion of morality in a tabloid Melbourne of vice and organised crime. Accentuating this tone was Division 4’s aesthetic of high contrast monochrome depicting the shadowy laneways, sleazy clubs and pubs and ever threatening nightlife of the city, a ‘Noir City’, a vision rarely, if ever depicted on the screen as strongly and as consistently over the course of its 301 episodes.
This presentation is partly based on the research Dean and I did as recipients of the 2014 Australian Film Institute Research Collection’s research fellowship.… Read more
A belated happy 2017 to Pulp Curry readers. I have had a very busy start to the year, with my PhD studies and various writing projects, hence the first post of the year has taken me a while to get around to.
The first Pulp Friday of 2017 is a stunning collection of horror themed 1960s pulp titles by Horwitz Publications. These are a mixture of titles I own and books from other collectors.
While horror tales were a staple of American and British pulp fiction in the 1950s and 1960s, they failed to achieve similar popularity in Australia. Australia’s censorship regime – both at the state and federal levels – were far stricter and, as a result, our publishers were much more timid. According to Canberra based scholar, James Doig, horror never had the commercial appear amongst Australian pulp buyers of other genres, such as crime and romance.
That’s not to say there was a total absence of local horror pulp. Influenced by the US magazine Weird Tales, Currowong published a series of horror titles in the 1940s. And Cleveland and Horwitz published some novelettes and pocket books in the 1950s and 1960s.
The earliest Horwitz effort in the 1960s appears to be Weird Stories, published in 1961, part of an anthology series edited by Charles Higham, which was most likely a response to the very successful Pan Book of Horror Stories series that began to appear under the editorship of Herbert Van Thal in 1959.… Read more
Posted in 70s American crime films, Australian popular culture, Australian pulp fiction, Horror, Horwitz Publications, Pulp fiction, Pulp Friday, Pulp paperback cover art, Uncategorized
Tagged Australian horror pulp, Chales Higham, Cleveland, Currowong, Frank Benier, Herbert Van Thal, Horwitz Publications, James Doig, James Workman, Kay Keavney, Pan Pulp
It’s the end of the year and and there’s not much gas left in the tank.
But before I take a break over Christmas and the New Year, I thought Pulp Curry readers might be interested in checking out a guest post I’ve done at the US site, Do Some Damage on plastic surgery noir. Yes, it is a thing. Or, at least, I just said it was.
As those of you who have read my novel Gunshine State are aware, there’s a sub plot involving plastic surgery, the details of which I’ll say no more about. Anyway, the guest post looks my fascination with plastic surgery in books and film, how to successfully put a character under the knife and my top five films dealing with plastic surgery and its variants.
You can view the post on the Do Some Damage site in full here.
That’s it for for Pulp Curry for 2016. Thanks for reading this year. I hope you all have a great break and I wish you all good luck for 2017. Something tells me we’re going to need it.
Oh, and if you are looking for a Christmas present for me, if you’ve read Gunshine State I would really appreciate a review or rating at Amazon or Goodreads.… Read more
Posted in 80s American crime films, British crime cinema, Film Noir, Gunshine State, Horror, Neo Noir, Uncategorized
Tagged Dark Passage (1947), Do Some Damage, Eyes Without a Face (1960), Gunshine State, Plastic surgery in crime fiction and film, Plastic surgery noir
It’s that time of the year for my top 10 reads of 2016. As is always the case, my list is a mixture of new books, old books, fiction and non-fiction. In no order they are as follows:
The Rules of Backyard Cricket, Jock Serong
It took a while for this book to warm up, but about a third of the way through it just goes bang and never looks back from there. An incredibly dark tale of suburban crime set over several decades in Melbourne, as seen through the eyes of professional cricketers Darren Keefe and his older brother, Wally. Don’t let the publisher’s marketing of this book as literary crime fool you; this is as good an example of noir as you will find in Australian crime fiction today. Serong has a beautiful prose style and totally nails the period detail of growing up in seventies/eighties suburban Melbourne.
Old Scores, David Whish-Wilson
Old Scores is the third book by Perth crime writer David Whish-Wilson featuring Frank Swann, former petty criminal, disgraced cop and low rent private investigator.The story is set in the set at the beginnings of the cowboy capitalism that marked Western Australia in that decade. Swann’s peculiar mix of talents is in demand by the state’s newly elected Labour government.… Read more
Posted in Australian crime fiction, Australian noir, Crime Fiction and film set in Vietnam, Don Winslow, Eurocrime, Fawcett Gold Medal Books, Megan Abbott, Noir fiction, Non-crime reviews, Pulp fiction, Pulp fiction in the 70s and 80s, True crime
Tagged Cartel, Chris Offutt, David Whish-Wilson, Don Winslow, Frightmares, Graveyard Love, Ian Cooper, Jean-Claude Izzo, Jock Serong, Judith Rossner, Looking For Mr Goodbar, Megan Abbott, My Father the Pornographer, Nancy M West, Old Scores, Peter Docker, Scott Adlerberg, Sweet One, Tabloid Inc, The Rules of Backyard Cricket, The Sympathizer, Total Chaos, V Penelope Pelizzon, Viet Thanh Nguyen, You Will Know Me
A quick heads up to Melbourne readers – Monster Fest 2016 will happen on take place from November 23 – 27, at the Lido Cinema, Hawthorn. Monster Fest is not something I have had much to do with in previous years, but this year it has been hugely revamped, largely thanks to the new program director, Kier-La Janisse, who has put together a new programming team, of which I am a part of.
Anyway, I particularly wanted to draw your attention to two events I am a part of.
Low Grade Transmissions From Hell: Revisiting the Lost Australian Horror Anthology, The Evil Touch
The early seventies are viewed as a peak period for horror anthology television. The Australian show, The Evil Touch is unique in that it was the only horror anthology show made locally, specifically for the US market. Successful in America, it bombed when aired in Australia in 1973 and the 26 episode series is now largely forgotten. Although cheaply made, The Evil Touch is strangely effective, at times, genuinely disturbing television. The grainy look and surreal narrative style give it the feel – in the words of American television critic John Kenneth Muir – of ‘a low grade transmission straight from hell’.
As part of Monster Fest’s Monster Academy, I’ll be giving a talk on the origins, making and reception of The Evil Touch.… Read more
Posted in Australian popular culture, Australian television history, Crawford Productions, Horror
Tagged Ben Wheatley, Cigarette (2016), Crawford Productions TV crime drama, Dog Eat Dog (2016), Homicide, Kadaitcha Country, Kier-La Janisse, Monster Fest 2016, Paul Anthony Nelson, Ted Kotcheff, The Evil Touch, Wake in Fright (1971), Witch Hunt (1965)