Saturday, September 29, 2012

Happy Birthday to the Queen

In honor of the birthday of Lizabeth Scott, the Queen of Noir, I thought I would post a link to my appreciation of her work.

So click here to read more about Queen Liz and her incomparable contribution to film noir.

Happy Birthday, Ms. Scott!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fall Issue of NOIR CITY Arrives!

The new issue of NOIR CITY is out, and I'm in it with a couple of new essays:

Women In Trouble: A look at the "crisis pregnancy noir" that started to appear in the late 40s and early fifties. I use films like NO MAN OF HER OWN, DETECTIVE STORY, THE NAKED STREET, and many more, to examine shifting attitudes toward sex, birth control, abortion, and women's bodies--issues still clearly important today.

Children of the Night: A look at the place of children in noir. Sometimes they were just props, other times they were used as witnesses to the failures of adults. In a handful of instances they were the protagonists, and sometimes they were even the villains. Films discussed include: THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER, PITFALL, THE BIG HEAT, THE WINDOW, TALK ABOUT A STRANGER and a lot more.

The whole issue is another killer production from the Film Noir Foundation. Eddie Muller interviews William Friedkin about KILLER JOE (a movie I'm still trying to wrap my head around), Imogen Sara Smith examines the life and career of the wonderful Jan Sterling, and Vince Keenan interviews photographer Jonah Samson and and filmmaker Susan Marks. Keenan also kicks off a new column that mixes two of life's great pleasures (crime fiction and alcohol) with an overview of three new Hard Case Crime books and some cocktail suggestions.

Go over to the Film Noir Foundation and check it out.

Monday, September 17, 2012

A Beginner's Guide To Japanese Noir

Want to see what film noir looked like when it hit Japan in the late fifties? (Hint: it looked awesome as hell.) I have a new essay over at Criminal Element, a primer on the down and very dirty world of Japanese Noir.

Read A Beginner's Guide To Japanese Noir.

Monday, September 10, 2012


I'm thrilled to announce that my story "The Long Drop" kicks off the new e-book collection BEAT TO A PULP: SUPERHERO. These are hardboiled crime stories with a superhero spin from writers like Keith Rawson, James Reasoner, Sandra Seamans, and many more. Here's the best part, you can get these thirteen tales of tights and twists for only a buck. That's right, for less than a comic book, you get thirteen inventive takes on the superhero genre.

Go here for a free preview of my story "The Long Drop"

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Triumphs of Orson Welles

Here's a link to a fun post by Edward Benjamin called 10 Triumphs Of Orson Welles. It trumpets one of my favorite causes--the fight against the idea that Welles was some kind of one-trick pony (that pony's name being Charles Foster Kane). I've been over this ground a lot in this space, so I won't re-preach that particular gospel again, but I would like to add five favorite Welles projects to the list of his accomplishments.

 1. THE TRIAL- Welles does Kafka. The results are a hypnotic (and subtly hilarious) artistic fusion. I can't stress enough how much I love this movie.

2. F FOR FAKE- Welles reinvents the documentary as a surrealist essay on art and expertise. A bizarre film, wholly unlike anything else you've ever seen.

3. TOUCH OF EVIL His pulp masterpiece. Classic American noir never got this insane again (for that, you have to go to Japan).

4. THIS IS ORSON WELLES- His interview book with Peter Bogdanovich. Occasionally, people will ask me where they should start their reading about Welles. This book is a treasure, like sitting with the man himself while he sips wine and tells stories.

5. The closing argument in COMPULSION- Welles wasn't really needed in Richard Fleischer's haunting film treatment of the Leopold and Loeb murder case--the murderers themselves are the real show--but he's brought in halfway through as their defense attorney because someone felt the movie needed a protagonist who isn't a child-killing sociopath.  Nevertheless, Welles is absolutely mesmerizing in his final speech, a testament to what an effective screen presence he could be.

Protectors: Stories to benefit PROTECT

From author/publisher/maestro David Cranmer over at The Education Of A Pulp Writer, news about a great new anthology:

One cause: PROTECT

100% of proceeds go to PROTECT and the National Association to Protect Children - the army fighting what Andrew Vachss calls "the only holy war worthy of the name," the protection of children.

We've rallied a platoon of crime, western, thriller, fantasy, noir, horror and transgressive authors to support PROTECT's important work: lobbying for legislation that protects children from physical, sexual, and emotional abuse.

Powerful stories from George Pelecanos, Andrew Vachss, Joe R. Lansdale, Charles de Lint, Ken Bruen, Chet Williamson, James Reasoner, Charlie Stella, Michael A. Black, Wayne Dundee, Roxane Gay, Ray Banks, Tony Black, Les Edgerton and 16 more, with 100% of proceeds going to PROTECT

PROTECTORS includes a foreword by rock critic Dave Marsh, and fiction by Patti Abbott, Ian Ayris, Ray Banks, Nigel Bird, Michael A. Black, Tony Black, R. Thomas Brown, Ken Bruen, Bill Cameron, Jen Conley, Charles de Lint, Wayne D. Dundee, Chad Eagleton, Les Edgerton, Andrew Fader, Matthew C. Funk, Roxane Gay, Edward A. Grainger, Glenn G. Gray, Jane Hammons, Amber Keller, Joe R. Lansdale, Frank Larnerd, Gary Lovisi, Mike Miner, Zak Mucha, Dan O'Shea, George Pelecanos, Thomas Pluck, Richard Prosch, Keith Rawson, James Reasoner, Todd Robinson, Johnny Shaw, Gerald So, Josh Stallings, Charlie Stella, Andrew Vachss, Steve Weddle, Dave White, and Chet Williamson.

For more info and to order your ridiculously cheap copy of the book go here