Another View to a Truth?

April 28, 2010

Roll Dem Bones

I have to admit that where Pulp Nocturne 1930 comes from is something of a mystery. It could be claimed that Pulp Nocturne 1930 comes from an amalgamation of Film noir, Pulp fiction and the musical term Nocturne. Pulp Nocturne 1930 is an ongoing supernatural horror clawing at the sensibilities of normal and rending it apart. Pulp Nocturne 1930 is relentless and liquid: A darkness flowing into every exposed nook and cranny seeping slowly deeply within and filling the soul with terror and dread.

Pulp Nocturne 1930 is the inexplicable unbearable wetness of sensation crawling upon your flesh. This doesn’t rub off; it clings and spreads with growing horrific visions and impact soiling the sensibilities irrevocably that the world around us makes sense.

Below are some of the definitions classically associated to loosely explain, yet they do not define the truths.

Film noir is a cinematic term used primarily to describe stylish Hollywood crime dramas, particularly those that emphasize cynical attitudes and sexual motivations. Hollywood’s classic film noir period is generally regarded as stretching from the early 1940s to the late 1950s. Film noir of this era is associated with a low-key black-and-white visual style that has roots in German Expressionist cinematography. Many of the prototypical stories and much of the attitude of classic noir derive from the hard-boiled school of crime fiction that emerged in the United States during the Depression.

The term film noir (French for “black film”), first applied to Hollywood movies by French critic Nino Frank in 1946, was unknown to most American film industry professionals of the classic era. Cinema historians and critics defined the noir canon in retrospect; before the notion was widely adopted in the 1970s, many of the classic film noirs were referred to as melodramas.

Film noir is a loosely defined category that refers primarily to stylish Hollywood crime dramas, particularly those that emphasize moral ambiguity and sexual motivations. The original attempt at a definition—by French cineastes Raymond Borde and Etienne Chaumeton in 1955—described film noir as “oneiric, strange, erotic, ambivalent, and cruel.” In 2005, American author Charles Pappas declared film noir to be “the language of losers…always about the same things: Sex. Violence. Money.” Decades of debate over what constitutes film noir have resulted in no critical consensus. Thus, the applicability of the term film noir to characterize any given movie is subjective. The term was used neither in the American movie industry nor in American film criticism during most of the 1940s and 1950s, the period now regarded as the classic era of film noir.

Pulp magazines (or pulp fiction; often referred to as “the pulps”) were inexpensive fiction magazines. They were published from 1896 through the 1950s. The typical pulp magazine was seven inches wide by ten inches high, a half an inch thick and 128 pages long. Pulps were printed on cheap paper with ragged, untrimmed edges.

In fact, the name “pulp” comes from the cheap wood pulp paper on which the magazines were printed. Magazines printed on better paper were called “glossies” or “slicks.” In their first decades, they were most often priced at ten cents per magazine, while competing slicks were 25 cents apiece. Pulps were the successor to the penny dreadfuls, dime novels, and short fiction magazines of the nineteenth century. Although many respected writers wrote for pulps, the magazines are best remembered for their lurid and exploitative stories and sensational cover art. Modern superhero comic books are sometimes considered descendants of “hero pulps”; pulp magazines often featured illustrated novel-length stories of heroic characters such as The Shadow, Doc Savage, and the Phantom Detective.

Pulp magazines often contained a wide variety of genre fiction, including, but not limited to, fantasy/sword and sorcery, gangster, detective/mystery, science fiction, adventure, westerns (also see Dime Western), war, sports, railroad, romance, horror/occult (including “weird menace”), “spicy/saucy” (soft porn), and Série Noire (French crime mystery). The American Old West was a mainstay genre of early turn of the century novels as well as later pulp magazines, and lasted longest of all the traditional pulps. In many ways, the later men’s adventure (“the sweats”) was the replacement of pulps. Many classic science fiction and crime novels were originally serialized in pulp magazines such as Weird Tales, Amazing Stories, and Black Mask.

 A nocturne (from the French for nocturnal) is usually a musical composition that is inspired by, or evocative of, the night. Historically, nocturne is a very old term applied to night Offices and, since the Middle Ages, to divisions in the canonical hour of Matins.

(Note: Elements of the definitions portion of this document originated from Wikipedia.)


One comment

  1. I love the idea of your Pulp Nocturne campaign. My only, (very minor) area of hesitation is that I just don’t think the phrase ‘Pulp Nocturne’ is, well, PULPY enough.

    It needs to be something more visceral, some phrase much like you’d expect to see on the cover of one of those wonderful 30s pulp mags, like SAVAGE SCIENCE FANTASY or DARK ADVENTURES or WEIRD CAPERS or AWESOME OCCULT ACTION or, y’know, something like that. DEADLY OCCULT ADVENTURE. Something.

    But the idea sounds cool as hell.

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