Our weekly look at what’s weird in theaters, on hot-off-the-presses DVDs, and on more distant horizons…

Trailers of new release movies are generally available at the official site links.


Creepy (2016): s latest is a return to his horror roots, as a detective comes out of retirement to investigate a cold case and finds an irrational world instead. This Halloween season offering got good reviews during its film festival run, including one from Jonathan Romney mentioning its “weirdness.” Creepy official site.

SCREENINGS – (New York, NY, IFC Center, Fri.-Sat., Oct 21-22):

Eraserhead (1977): Read the Certified Weird review! IFC Center continues its fine tradition of reviving midnight movie classics with ‘s searingly weird debut about an alienated man with a bad haircut and his monster baby. Eraserhead at IFC Center.

SCREENINGS – (Silver Spring, MD, AFI Silver Theater, Thurs., Oct 27):

The Exterminating Angel (1962): Without explanation, guests at a bourgeois dinner party find themselves unable to leave, as the days turn into weeks and they start to starve and turn on each other. ‘s surreal satire makes for an unconventional existential horror choice for this blessed Halloween season. The Exterminating Angel at AFI Silver Theater.

FILM FESTIVALS – Cambridge Film Festival (Cambridge, UK, Oct. 20-27):

Though it gets no big debuts, the Cambridge festival is a medium-large festival with mix of big movies (‘s Arrival, and lesser Oscar bait like Manchester by the Sea), experimental features, and classic revivals (actress Ingrid Bergman  and director Michael Curtiz are spotlighted this year).

  • Crash (1996) and Always (Crashing) – ‘s controversial movie about a secret cult of fetishists turned on by car crashes is paired with a new 14-minute experimental short based on the same J.G. Ballard story. On Oct 26.
  • The Kingdom of Shadows – The latest underground feature from and is a typically surrealist offering, set in an old dark house. See it Oct 24.
  • Salome (1922) – Stylized silent adaptation of the Bible story that’s noteworthy for its extremely bizarre avant-garde costuming (made by Natacha Rambova for her friend and rumored lover, Alla Nazimova). Screens Oct. 23.
  • Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory – You know this one. See it on the big screen Oct 23.

Cambridge Film Festival home page.


Untitled Willy Wonka Project: No firm news on this, except that Warner Bros. has cut a deal with the estate for the rights to the Wonka character. Before we all freak out, it appears this is not a reboot of the Certified Weird Gene Wilder classic (which was already remade by Tim Burton and Johnny Depp—it seems like just yesterday). It’s to be an original story starring the character (most likely a prequel, maybe of his time spent in Loompaland among the Oompa Loompas). Will it be weird? With Warners behind it, not likely, but we thought you should know. Variety has the announcement.


Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016): Read Alfred Eaker’s review. If you must… Buy Alice Through the Looking Glass.

Bride of Re-Animator (1989): See description in Blu-ray below. Buy Bride of Re-Animator [DVD/Blu-ray combo].

Pan’s Labyrinth (2006): Read the Certified Weird entry! The new Criterion edition ports over most of the features from New Line’s disc, including ‘s excellent commentary, and adds some new interview features with del Toro and Doug Jones along with “animated prequels” for some of the fantasy characters. Buy Pan’s Labyrinth (Criterion Collection).

The Pit (1981): A creepy, crazy kid takes advice from the talking teddy bear who advises him to lure his enemies into a pit where a bunch of subhumanoids eat them. A seldom seen, campy Canadian black comedy. Buy The Pit.

“Trilogía de Guillermo del Toro”: This Criterion Collection set matches ‘s Certified Weird fairy tale Pan’s Labyrinth with the vampirish Cronos and the Spanish Civil War ghost story The Devil’s Backbone. On five special-features-packed DVDs; the DVD release has a different (and to my mind, much cooler) cover than the Blu-ray. Buy “Trilogia de Guillermo del Toro”.


Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016): See description in DVD above. Buy Alice Through the Looking Glass [Blu-ray].

Bride of Re-Animator (1989): Dr. Herbert West and his glowing green needle return from the 1985 cult original to re-animate more dead bodies, with predictably tragic and gory results. This Special Edition Blu-ray/DVD combo is a slightly scaled-back version of the Limited Edition Arrow Films released back in April (the main exclusion seems to be there is no extra disc with the R-rated cut of the film). Buy Bride of Re-Animator [DVD/Blu-ray combo].

Gas-s-s-s [AKA Gas! -Or- It Became Necessary to Destroy the World in Order to Save It] (1970): The military accidentally unleashes an experimental chemical weapon that kills everyone over the age of 25. This directed counterculture comedy would make a great double feature with Wild in the Streets (and it was in fact paired with that title on a previous DVD release). Buy Gas-s-s-s [Blu-ray].

“The Marx Brothers Silver Screen Collection”: The Blu-ray edition of the classic set including Cocoanuts, Animal Crackers, Monkey Business, Horse Feathers, and of course our weird favorite, Duck Soup. With commentaries on every flick and archival interviews with Groucho and Harpo. Buy “The Marx Brothers Silver Screen Collection” [Blu-ray].

Pan’s Labyrinth (2006): See description in DVD above. Buy Pan’s Labyrinth [Criterion Collection Blu-ray].

The Pit (1981): See description in DVD above. Buy The Pit [Blu-ray].

“Trilogía de Guillermo del Toro”: See description in DVD above. Why not buy both sets? Buy “Trilogia de Guillermo del Toro” [Blu-ray].


“The Secret History of Twin Peaks”: Co-creator (with David Lynch) of the cult TV series “Twin Peaks” produces a fictional history of the strange northwestern town where “the owls are not what they seem.” The series’ new season (season 3) will debut on Showtime sometime in 2017 so fans can see what’s been going on in the fifteen years since Agent Cooper last entered the Black Lodge. Buy “The Secret History of Twin Peaks”.

What are you looking forward to? If you have any weird movie leads that I have overlooked, feel free to leave them in the COMMENTS section.


Part I of “Boris Karloff’s Thriller” episode guide is here. Part II is here.

“A Good Imagination” (directed by John Brahm and written by Robert Bloch) benefits from Bloch’s narrative about fatal bookworm Frank Logan (Edward Andrews) who accesses literary classics for inspiration to dispose of his unfaithful wife’s numerous lovers. With blackened humor and erudite irony, this episode evokes both Hitchcock and Poe. Andrews’s winning portrayal has us rooting for a ruthless antagonist with an alarmingly high body count who practically whistles while he works.

“Mr. George” (directed by and written by Donald S. Sanford) is an episode that’s greater than the sum of its parts. A superb Jerry Goldsmith score, assured direction by Lupino, and good performances elevate a conventional script about a young child named Priscilla (Gina Gillespie, who would become best known as the young Blanche Hudson in 1962’s Whatever Happened To Baby Jane) whose guardian Mr. George has recently died. Now in the custody of three cousins plotting her death for the inheritance money, Priscilla is guided and protected by Mr. George’s spirit. Contemporary audiences may balk at the idea of finding humor in attempted murder of a child (as they did with Addams Family Values), but Lupino’s direction deftly balances humor with a sense of threat.

Paul Henried redeems his previous effort (season one‘s bland “Mark of the Hand”) with effective direction in “The Terror in Teakwood” (written by Alan Callow). It’s an episode in the tradition of Hands of Orlac (1924) and Mad Love (1935). Vladimir Vicek ( Guy Rolfe) severs the hands of a dead pianist to assist him in tackling an overly complicated piece composed by Alexander Borodin. Hazel Court (a Hammer scream queen who would co-star with Karloff in ‘s The Raven two years later), as Vicek’s wife Leonie, leads a strong ensemble. Though subdued, the sexual tones are startling for the period and this bizarre thriller is all the more atmospheric due to Goldsmith’s skilled use of preexisting music combined with his own work, making it a near-classic episode.

Still from Thriller, "The Prisoner in the Mirror"“The Prisoner in the Mirror” (directed by Herschel Daugherty and written by Robert Arthur) is another prime thriller. Professor Langham (Lloyd Bochner) literally uncovers the mirror of the evil Count Cagliostro (Henry Daniell). Possessed by the infamous Cagliostro, Langham brings the mirror home and…. needless to say, the body count will pile up. A young Marion Ross (Mrs. Cunningham from “Happy Days”) plays Lagham’s fiancee and even makes a toast to “happy days,” which do not arrive for the poor girl. The fantasy element is in full flower, which could also be said of the performances by both Bochner and Daniell. Interestingly, Karloff himself Continue reading BORIS KARLOFF’S THRILLER (1960-1962): EPISODE GUIDE AND REVIEWS, PART THREE

253. IF…. (1968)

“What child has ever been silly enough to ask, when Cinderella’s pumpkin turns into a golden coach, where reality ends and fantasy begins?”–Lindsay Anderson



FEATURING: , David Wood, Richard Warwick, Robert Swann, Hugh Thomas, Peter Jeffrey, Christine Noonan

PLOT: Mick Travis is a rebellious teenage boy at a British boarding school. Because of “general attitude,” he and two friends are persecuted and beaten by the “whips,” older students given privileges to enforce discipline. During military exercises, Mick and his friends discover a cache of automatic weapons and make plans to disrupt the school’s Founders’s Day celebration.

Still from If.... (1968)


  • In England if…. was controversial due to its unflattering portrayal of English boarding schools (particularly, one suspects, of the depiction of pervasive homosexuality) and, by extension, of English traditions in general. When David Sherwin and John Howlett brought their original screenplay to one producer, he called it “the most evil and perverted script he’s ever read.”
  • The film was inspired by ‘s 1933 Certified Weird anarchist screed Zéro de conduite, relocated from 1930s France to then-contemporary Britain.
  • if… was filmed mostly on location at Cheltenham College, director Lindsay Anderson’s alma mater. Many of the boys who appear in smaller roles were students there at the time. A doctored script, missing the final scenes, was given to the college, since the school never would have granted permission to shoot if they had known if…’s climax beforehand.
  • This was Malcolm McDowell’s film debut.
  • Look for portraits of famous revolutionaries and icons of rebellion like Che Guevara, Geronimo, Vladimir Lenin, James Dean and others hanging on the boys’s walls.
  • There is a legend that the film shifted from black and white to color because the producers ran out of money for color stock. Lindsay Anderson contradicted these rumors, saying that they decided to shoot the first chapel scene in black and white due to lighting considerations. He liked the effect so much that he inserted black and white scenes at random to disorient the viewer and to hint at the fantasy elements to come later.  Anderson insists there is no symbolic “code” or reasoning for why some scenes are monochrome and some in color.
  • Distributor Paramount was horrified by the film and certain it would bomb in Britain. They wanted to bury it, but at the last minute they needed a movie to screen in London to replace their current flop: Barbarella. if… went on to be a hit.
  • if…. won the Palme d’Or at Cannes, although in the commentary Malcolm McDowell recalls that he was told that the film actually came in third in the voting, but was chosen as a compromise because the jury could not break a deadlock between supporters of Costa-Gavras’s Z and Bo Widerberg’s Adalen 31.
  • Lindsay Anderson and Malcolm McDowell made three films together, in three different decades. In each of them McDowell plays a character named “Mick Travis,” although based on their varying personalities it’s unlikely that they are intended to be the same person. The other two “Mick Travis” films are 1973’s O Lucky Man! and 1982’s Britannia Hospital.
  • Anderson actually wrote a proper sequel for if…, which was to take place at a class reunion, which was unfilmed at the time of his death in 1993.

INDELIBLE IMAGE: The final shootout, as a whole; it’s both a troubling massacre and an immensely satisfying revenge. Early posters of if… favored shots of star McDowell or the photogenic Girl; we prefer the brief image of a dowager who grabs a machine gun and pitches in for the defense of the school.

THREE WEIRD THINGS: Tiger mating ritual; chaplain in a drawer; granny with a machine gun

WHAT MAKES IT WEIRD: Throughout most of its run time if… is a viciously realistic boarding school drama. But when the Headmaster sternly tells the boys “I take this seriously… very seriously indeed” after Mick shoots a chaplain and bayonets a teacher during the school’s campus war games, we suddenly realize the line between realism and fantasy has been thinner than we thought.

Original U.S. release trailer for if….

COMMENTS: if…‘s theme is the conflict between tradition and rebellion, age and youth, especially resonant concerns in the tumultuous year of 1968, when the firebrand film was fortuitously released a few months after the student riots in Paris. Structurally, ifContinue reading 253. IF…. (1968)


“Don’t trust anyone over 30.” – Jerry Rubin

DIRECTED BY: Barry Shear

FEATURING: Christopher Jones, Hal Holbrook, , Diane Varsi, Ed Begley

PLOT: A rock star parlays his immense popularity and the ascendant power of the youth vote into the Presidency, which he then uses to marginalize the country’s adults, banishing them to concentration camps and dosing them with LSD.

Still from Wild in the Streets (1968)

WHY IT MIGHT MAKE THE LIST:  A true document of its time, Wild in the Streets takes its premise of a counterculture gone mad with power to its outrageous extreme. Viewed half-a-century later, the sheer 60s-ness of the thing makes it feel strange and even absurd. But strip away the hippie affectations and what remains is a straightforward sociological horror film, revealing the dangers of demagoguery that lurk in every generation.

COMMENTSWild in the Streets is the tale of a temperamental, rich celebrity with parental issues and no political experience who capitalizes on the support of an angry and marginalized electorate, co-opts a group of venal, self-interested politicians who think they can control him, and proceeds to undermine the very core of American democracy for his own corrupt ends. Any similarities to current events are entirely coincidental, of course.

If the plot of Wild in the Streets seems to echo today’s tango with a tangerine-tinted tyrant, rest assured it’s because these provocateurs seem to pop up throughout history in similar ways. In truth, the film sometimes plays like a psychedelic cover version of It Can’t Happen Here. We’ve seen the celebrity-driven, public-aided rise of fascism in other films, from A Face in the Crowd to Bob Roberts, to say nothing of the history books.

Wild in the Streets is so very, very Sixties, though. The vivid costumes, the perpetual drug use, the liberal use of groovy lingo…they all root the film firmly in its time. Providing an additional anchor are the rock songs performed by aspiring dictator Max Frost and his band, the Troopers. It may stretch the imagination to think that these songs represent the sound of a revolutionary generation; to these ears, they sound like The Animals. (Their best song, “The Shape of Things to Come,” was a genuine hit, and re-emerged nearly 40 years later in a Target ad; the revolution will be commercialized.) But Wild in the Streets isn’t quite as concerned with the “how” as it is with the “what comes next.”

Legendary schlockmeister producers James H. Nicholson and Samuel Z. Arkoff backed the film with one of the biggest budgets they had ever laid out on a single picture, and it shows. Editors Fred R. Feitshans, Jr. and Eve Newman earned an Oscar nomination for capturing the feel of Max’s unsettled mind, the production design is bold and colorful, and the movie boasts an unusually strong cast for what was essentially an exploitation picture. (Blink and you’ll miss a very young Richard Pryor, underused in a non-comedic role as Max’s black-power drummer). This is still an American International Picture, however, with carefully chosen stock footage, heavy-handed narration by Paul Frees, and all topped off by Shelley Winters, so over-the-top as Max’s horrible mother that one longs for the relative calm and dignity of The Poseidon Adventure. Her awfulness is absolute (the moment she gets behind the wheel of a Rolls-Royce, she runs over a child), but as the root cause of Max Frost’s lust for power, it’s oddly appropriate. Mixing high production values with low satire, the film has a tendency to feel like an extended riff on the famous “Blue Boy” episode of “Dragnet.”

At times, the strident tone of the movie threatens to dull the impact of its message, but the threat posed by fascism and a failure to take responsibility seriously is never far away. Consider Max’s girlfriend Sally, a zonked-out former child star whom he conspires to get elected to Congress. The realization that this glassy-eyed burnout is the linchpin of Max’s strategy is one of the movie’s biggest laughs, but when Sally takes her place in the House of Representatives and manages to push away the drug haze long enough to set Max’s plan in motion, the funny quickly drains away, and the mood shifts first to deeply uncomfortable, and then to outright horror. The idea that politics is a joke isn’t so funny once you start to treat it like one.

Because ultimately, Wild in the Streets isn’t a joke at all. It’s a nightmare. Go beyond the surface conflict of unruly youth declaring war on intransigent adults, and you find the story of a fascist who rises to power on the backs of an outspoken movement which he never truly intends to appease. It’s telling that, in the movie’s Twilight Zone”-ish finale, Max discovers the one true downside to absolute power: when you’re king of the hill, someone’s always waiting to knock you off. Again, any similarity to your power at the ballot box in November is entirely coincidental, of course.


“Shelley Winters, as George’s mother, gives the most tasteless performance of her career, while Barry Shear directs as if he’d seen Dr. Strangelove a few too many times.”–Dave Kehr, The Chicago Reader


366 Weird Movies brings you a new DVD giveaway contest, just in time for Halloween!

Given that the holiday is coming up fast, we’re going to make this one simple and quick. All you have to do is to tell us (in the comments below) what costume you would wear to the virtual 366 Halloween costume party. The only rules are you must go as a character from a Certified Weird movie (see the handy list in the left sidebar), and you can’t wear the same costume as anyone else. To receive the DVDs, you must supply us with a mailing address in the United States and not have won a prize from us in the past six months. Also, given the nature of the prize, by entering you are certifying that you are 17 years of age or older.

Even if you don’t qualify, you’re still invited to participate just for fun and tell us what you’d wear to the party—but please tell us your just in the contest for fun. We’re not going to bother judging your choice; assuming you follow the rules, we’ll choose the winner at random from all valid entries using the random number generator at

Our prizes are once again provided by  Artsploitation Films (distributors of the Certified Weird Der Samurai). These are factory-sealed DVDs, not used review copies. Both are appropriate to the season. The first is an 2015 remake of José Ramón Larraz’s 1974 lesbian vampire classic, Vampyres. From the box cover:

vampyres-cover“Faithful to the sexy, twisted 1974 cult classic of the same name, Vampyres is an English-language remake pulsating with raw eroticism, wicked sado-masochism and bloody, creative gore. Set in an English manor where two older female vampires live along with a man they keep locked up in the basement, their world is upended when a trio of campers come upon their lair and seek to uncover their dark secrets. They come to regret their curiosity! An elegantly sensual and bloodcurdling tale.” More info (and a NSFW trailer) here.

The other prize, which literally just arrived in our mailbox today and is being thrown in as a serendipitous bonus prize, is Killbilles [Idila, AKA Idyll], Slovenia’s take (!) on the killer redneck genre. From the box cover:

Killbillies (2015) DVD cover“Proving that the American South does not hold a monopoly on sexually depraved, bloodthirsty hillbillies, KILLBILLIES depicts a harrowing tale if abduction, violence, and hoped-for survival.

A group of fashionistas from the city, out on an idyllic countryside hilltop, are confronted by two physically deformed psychopathic countrymen. A wild, bloody, taut clash ensues between urban and rural, women and men, between savages and civilized man.” More information here.

We’ll be closing contest entries at midnight EST on Sunday, October 23, to give us time to mail the prize before the stroke of midnight on All Hallows Eve.

To get things started, this year I will virtually attend dressed as one of those purple-pink chess rook Globolink aliens from Help! Help! The Globolinks, because I’m sure no one else will be willing to wiggle into that costume. I just need to remember to make some airholes…

…how about you?



FEATURING: Joan Plowright, Juliet Stevenson, Joely Richardson, Bernard Hill

PLOT: Three women bearing the same name resolve their issues with their spouses by drowning them, enlisting the local coroner to aid in covering up their murderous spree. All the while, the film itself counts inexorably from 1 to 100, which marks the movie’s end.

Still from Drowning by Numbers (1988)

WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE LIST: When you put Peter Greenaway behind the camera, there’s going to be some weirdness as a matter of course. But while the movie has striking tableaus composed with his painterly eye, most of the oddity comes from the numerical gambit, with a touch of cavalier attitude toward the macabre.

COMMENTS: There’s no rule that says cinematic murder must be violent, or even serious. Consider the corpse lying in the bucolic countryside of The Trouble with Harry or the repeated deaths of Alec Guinness in Kind Hearts and Coronets. So Drowning by Numbers is following in a grand comedic tradition, right down to the titular crime occurring, like the best of jokes, in threes. However, if the murders themselves are relatively light on shock value, they are also surprisingly light on motive. The first husband is ostensibly murdered for unfaithfulness, although there’s little anger in the crime. The second is dispatched merely for being grossly inattentive. By the time we get to the third, there seems to be no real reason for it at all, other than the fact that, hey, we’ve got another husband to kill. The plot is as inured to the horrors of homicide as its murderers.

Drowning by Numbers is that rare film where it’s a tossup as to whether the tone is misogynist or misandrist. True, the men are largely unsympathetic, and that extends to coroner Madgett, who ultimately proves too aggressive in pursuit of romantic recompense for his role as accomplice. But it’s not as though women come off especially well, either. Even with three female leads, the movie doesn’t really pass the Bechdel test, since their conversations are largely about the men they love/kill. The three Cissies (who might be three generations, and who, curiously, share a name with a B-movie actress) are shockingly cold; they are not righteous, defensive, or even defiant about their acts. Murder seems to be a decision on par with re-arranging the furniture. Maybe this detachment is not entirely their fault, though, as the entire community seems to be largely apathetic about a sudden spike in the mortality rate. In addition to all this drowning, the film features a self-mutilation that is repeatedly dismissed as trifling, an irresponsible vehicular manslaughter that seemingly affects only one character, and a suicide that goes almost completely unobserved. Perhaps the film’s tone is really just nihilist.

Why so carefree about human life? Probably because of all the games. Characters are constantly playing complex games for which Madgett’s son/apprentice (blood relationships are poorly defined in this movie) must describe their arcane rules. They’re something to do in between all the murders. So it stands to reason that Greenaway himself needs a game to distract himself (and us) from the proceedings…which brings us to the numbers. An alternative way to watch the movie is to spend your time looking for the numbers as they advance, like a kind of scavenger hunt. Sometimes they are subtle, hidden on a far wall or tossed off in dialogue; other times they are absurdly obvious, like on a sign awkwardly nailed to a tree or, most amusingly, as identification for a pair of foot racers who stumble upon one of the drownings and proceed to stalk the merry murderesses for the remainder of the film, still attired in their running gear. But the numbers don’t really tie in to the story in any way, aside from a prologue that promises an ending at 100. It’s just a gimmick. A bold one editorially, showing how meticulously Greenaway has laid out his shooting story, but a gimmick nonetheless. It’s essential in the same way a book is on a sea cruise: just another way to pass the time.

Drowning by Numbers is a movie about games, motivated by games, and comprised of games. So your tolerance for the film probably depends on how eager you are to play.


“You either love [Greenaway]… or you hate him. In either case, you do not understand him. The characters in ‘Drowning by Numbers’ are all completely credible people, who speak in ordinary English and inhabit a real landscape (except for the numbers), and behave in ways that would not shock the reader of a mystery novel. It is just the arbitrary pattern that seems strange, as one husband after another goes to his watery doom.”–Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times (contemporaneous)


It’s election season, and Shane Wilson will start off the week campaigning for the strange 1960s satire Wild in the Streets (about a rock star who becomes president and sentences squares to LSD concentration camps). Then Shane looks at the reader-suggested queue to see if you should vote for ‘s Drowning by Numbers for the List of the 366 Weirdest Movies of All Time, while G. Smalley wonders if 1968’s If… is the outsider candidate we need. Alfred Eaker pitches in with the continuation of his “Boris Karloff’s Thriller” episode guide. It’s all part of our plan to Make America Weird Again!

Not only that, but we’ll be matching our rhetoric with free DVDs as we host another giveaway contest—lesbian vampire fans, in particular, will want to keep an eye out for that one.

Now, it’s time once again for us to survey this week’s candidates as deranged Googlers vie for the title of “Weirdest Search Term of the Week.” First off, we have to mention the search for “very bigger white boobs”—we’re sorry to report that (obviously) no such site exists, but we hope you enjoyed your visit here instead. “Sci fi movie with woman sentenced immortality from saliva” is a bit stranger; even we’ve never heard of this spit-immortality sci-fi flick. But even that’s not as bizarre as “wouldnt there be 2 gretchen in the tu like there are 2 franks”; we actually kind of know what the searcher’s getting at, but wow, that phraseology!The incomprehensibility of the search terms peaks, however, with with the stream-of-subconsciousness babble “nope i could you be getting a lien on a movies look like the visiting a movies,” our nominee for Weirdest Search Term of the Week.

Here’s how the ridiculously-long reader-suggested review queue now stands: Drowning by Numbers (next week!); If… (next week!); Candy; The Last Days of Planet EarthJack and the Beanstalk (1974, Continue reading WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE


Our weekly look at what’s weird in theaters, on hot-off-the-presses DVDs, and on more distant horizons…

Trailers of new release movies are generally available at the official site links.

SCREENINGS – (Los Angeles, Cinefamily, Mon., 10/17):

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010): (or “Joe,” as his American friends call him) will be in attendance to discuss his Certified Weird mystical breakthrough about death and reincarnation as part of Cinefamily’s “Celebration of the Uncanny in 11 parts.” Joe sticks around until Wednesday for a second of 11 parts of the celebration when his latest, the narcoleptic Cemetery of Splendors, screens. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives at Cinefamily.

SCREENINGS – (Los Angeles, Bob Baker Marionette Theater, Tues., 10/17):

Santa Sangre (1989): Alejandro Jodorowsky‘s armless serial killer movie is probably his most Halloween-y feature. Screens as a double feature with Hammer‘s Vampire Circus, with cocktails, live circus acts and other surprises (one presumes Bob Baker has scary marionettes prepared). Off site but hosted by Cinefamily, naturally. Santa Sangre at Bob Baker Marionette Theater.

SCREENINGS – (Silver Spring, MD, AFI Silver Theater, Fri., 10/14):

Certified Weird Triple Feature: OK, these three movies all played at AFI last week, and they are not officially a triple feature (tickets sold separately), and we don’t think the programmers have been reading this column, but come on? How often do three Certified Weird movies line up by chance at a single venue? That’s right, you can catch Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory at 5:15, segue into Daisies at 7:15, and cap it off with Blue Velvet at 9:00. It’s like an introductory course in weirdness. AFI Silver Theater.


Abracadabra (2017): Director and actress (of the Certified Weird silent Snow White adaptation Blancanieves) reunite for this black comedy. The plot will follow Verdu’s efforts to rid her husband of an evil spirit and, according to Cineuropa, will “straddl[e] terror and ludicrousness.” More info at Cineuropa.

Re-Animator: Evolution (2017): A remake of the  short story about a mad doctor bringing the dead to life. This version, by Serge Levin, with Johnathon Schaech co-scripting and starring as Herbert West, will attempt to make a true horror film out of the story that was previously adapted (with incredible success) as a transgressive black comedy by  and . Skepticism abounds in these offices, but read more at Bloody Disgusting.

Small Star Seminar (est. 201?): Collaborative film project by and starring The American Astronaut‘s as a singing motivational speaker traveling the country and inspiring people to dream small. He’s accepting donations through Fractured Atlas (a new crowdfunding platform we’ve never heard of before). In the accompanying video, McAbee implies he might accept a couch to crash on in your town in lieu of a donation. Small Star Seminar at Fractured Atlas.


The Astro-Zombies (1968): In a very slow week for weird movie releases, you might take a chance on this Ted V. Mikels proto-slasher mad scientist atrocity, starring John Carradine and busty Tura Satana as some kind of Iron Curtain Mata Hari. The optional commentary track by Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett may make it all tolerable. Buy Astro-Zombies.


The Astro-Zombies (1968): See description in DVD above. This is one of Wayne “Trapper John” Rodgers’s two produced movie scripts (the other was Dr. Sex). Buy Astro-Zombies [Blu-ray].


Purge (2010): Set in the “257th parallel universe,” the protagonist is a dominatrix unhappy with her assigned role in a totalitarian society. Director David King says it’s “an experiment in using a variety of  unusual techniques to create a dystopian reality with virtually no money… influenced by Jean-Luc Godard’s more intellectual films of the 1970’s and visually by George Lucas’s THX1138.” Watch Purge free on YouTube.

What are you looking forward to? If you have any weird movie leads that I have overlooked, feel free to leave them in the COMMENTS section.


Part I of “Boris Karloff’s Thriller” episode guide is here.

“The Poisoner,” (directed by Herschel Daugherty and written by  Robert Hardy Andrews) is loosely based on the real-life case of suspected serial poisoner Thomas Griffiths Wainwright. Here he is given the name of Thomas Edward Griffith and played by eternally underrated actor Murray Matheson. As artist, author and dandy, Griffith, used to the fine life, lies his way into marriage with rich socialite Frances Abercrombie (Sarah Marshall), only to discover she has also lied about her wealth. Worse, she moves her family in. Fortunately, Griffith is an expert poisoner. A score from Jerry Goldsmith again accentuates the suspense. It’s fairly well shot for television and includes that favorite noir murder method—pushing a wheelchair-bound victim down a spiraling stairwell. As the Abercrombies are an across the board ingratiating lot, it’s hard not to be manipulated into sympathizing with Griffith, but his mistreatment of a poor innocent kitty reveals him to be the cad he is.

“Man in the Cage” (directed by Gerald Mayer, written by Stuart Jerome and Maxwell Shane) stars Philip Carey as engineer Darrel Hudson, going to Tangier in search for his missing brother Noel (Guy Stockwell). The exotic location and co-star Diana Millay are wasted in a hopelessly dull episode.

“Choose a Victim” (directed by Richard Carlson, better known as the beefcake protagonist of Creature From The Black Lagoon, and written by George Bellak) is another crime noir. This one features prolific television actors Susan Oliver (many will remember her as the heroine in the two-part “Star Trek” episode “The Cage”) and Larry Blyden (from both “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” and “The Twilight Zone”). Tragically, both actors died young: Oliver from lung cancer, Blyden from a traffic accident. Blyden plays beach bum/golddigger Ralph, who stumbles onto the sad but beautiful Edith when he sneaks into her room to rob her. Rather than turning him in, Edith is sexually attracted to daring larcenist Ralphie and demands his “attention.” The episode takes a Postman Always Rings Twice turn when Edith manipulates Ralphie in a plot to kill her wealthy uncle. Naturally, that’s not only the bit of manipulation going on, and the episode revels in playing its mind games, even if it’s not a standout thriller.

Still from "Hay-fork and Bill-hook"“Hay-Fork and Bill-Hook” (directed by Herschel Daugherty and written by Allan Caillou) is an uneven episode with a plot that might call to mind elements from Anthony Shaffer’s later (and vastly superior) The Wicker Man (1973). Atmosphere and a sense of dread (aided again by Goldsmith, in top form) make up for a degree of awkward writing about a coven of witches in the Druid ruins of the rural Dark Falls, in Wales. The honeymoon of Scotland Yard inspector Continue reading BORIS KARLOFF’S THRILLER (1960-1962): EPISODE GUIDE AND REVIEWS, PART TWO

Celebrating the cinematically surreal, bizarre, cult, oddball, fantastique, strange, psychedelic, and the just plain WEIRD!