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The List Thus Far (Certified Weird Movies)

3 Women (1977)

8 1/2 (1963)

The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T (1953)

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension (1984)

Akira (1988)

Alice [Neco Z Alenky] (1988)

Alice in Wonderland (1966)

Allegro non Troppo (1976)

Altered States (1980)

The American Astronaut (2001)

Antichrist (2009)

Archangel (1990)

Bad Boy Bubby (1993)

Barbarella (1968)

Barton Fink (1991)

The Beast of Yucca Flats (1961)

Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)

Begotten (1991)

Being John Malkovich (1999)

Belle de Jour (1967)

The Black Cat (1934)

Black Swan (2010)

Blood Diner (1987)

Blood Tea and Red String (2006)

A Boy and His Dog (1975)

Branded to Kill (1967)

Brazil (1985)

Bronson (2008)

Careful (1992)

Carnival of Souls (1962)

Cemetery Man [Dellamorte Dellamore] (1994)

Un Chien Andalou (1929)

The City of Lost Children [La cité des enfants perdus] (1995)

Clean, Shaven (1993)

A Clockwork Orange (1971)

Cowards Bend the Knee, or, the Blue Hands (2003)

Daisies [Sedmikrásky] (1966)

The Dark Backward (1991)

Dead Man (1995)

Dead Ringers (1988)

Delicatessen (1991)

Dillinger is Dead (1969)

Doggiewogiez! Poochiewoochiez! (2012)

Dogtooth [Kynodontas] (2009)

Dogville (2003)

Donnie Darko (2001)

Don't Look Now (1973)

Elevator Movie (2004)

Enemy (2013)

Enter the Void (2009)

Eraserhead (1977)

Escape from Tomorrow (2013)

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Even Dwarfs Started Small (1970)

Evil Dead II (1987)

Eyes Without a Face [Les Yeux sans Visage] (1965)

Fantastic Planet [La Planète Sauvage] (1973)

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)

Fellini Satyricon (1969)

Final Flesh (2009)

Forbidden Zone (1982)

Funky Forest: The First Contact (2005)

Glen or Glenda (1953)

Gothic (1986)

Gozu (2003)

La Grande Bouffe (1973)

Greaser's Palace (1972)

Gummo (1997)

Häxan [Witchcraft Through the Ages] (1922)

Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001)

Help! Help! The Globolinks [Hilfe! Hilfe! Die Globolinks] (1969)

Holy Motors (2012)

The Holy Mountain (1973)

The Horrors of Spider Island [Ein Toter hing im Netz] (1960)

House [Hausu] (1977)

Howl's Moving Castle (2004)

I Can See You (2008)

Idiots and Angels (2008)

I'm A Cyborg, But That's OK [Saibogujiman Kwenchana] (2006)

The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle (2009)

L'Immortelle (1963)

Ink (2009)

INLAND EMPIRE (2006)

Institute Benjamenta, or This Dream People Call Human Life (1995)

Jacob's Ladder (1990)

John Dies at the End (2012)

Johnny Got His Gun (1971)

Keyhole (2011)

Kontroll (2003)

Kung Fu Hustle (2004)

Kwaidan (1964)

The Lair of the White Worm (1988)

The Legend of Suram Fortress [Ambavi Suramis Tsikhitsa] (1984)

Lisztomania (1975)

Little Otik [Otesánek] (2000)

Lost Highway (1997)

Love Exposure (2008)

Lucifer Rising (1981)

Maelstrom (2000)

Malpertuis (1972)

Maniac (1934)

Marquis (1989)

Meshes of the Afternoon (1943)

The Milky Way [La Voie Lactee] (1969)

Mr. Nobody (2009)

Mulholland Drive (2001)

Naked Lunch (1991)

Night of the Hunter (1955)

Night Train to Terror (1985)

Nosferatu (1922)

Nostalghia (1983)

O Lucky Man! (1973)

Pan's Labyrinth (2006)

Paprika (2006)

Performance (1968/1970)

Persona (1966)

Phantasm (1979)

Pi (1998)

The Pillow Book (1996)

Pink Flamingos (1972)

Pink Floyd the Wall (1982)

Prospero's Books (1991)

The Red Squirrel [La Ardilla Roja] (1993)

The Reflecting Skin (1990)

Repo Man (1984)

A Report on the Party and Guests (1966)

Repulsion (1965)

Robot Monster (1953)

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

Rubber (2010)

Run Lola Run (1998)

The Saddest Music in the World (2003)

Sans Soleil (1983)

Santa Sangre (1989)

The Science of Sleep (2006)

A Serious Man (2009)

Shanks (1974)

Shock Corridor (1963)

Silent Hill (2006)

Sin City (2005)

The Singing Ringing Tree (1957)

Skidoo (1968)

Solaris [Solyaris] (1972) -

Songs from the Second Floor (2000)

Stalker (1979)

Steppenwolf (1974)

Strange Frame: Love & Sax (2012)

Suspiria (1977)

Sweet Movie (1974)

The Swimmer (1968)

Synecdoche, New York (2008)

Tales from the Quadead Zone (1987)

Taxidermia (2006)

Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989)

Tideland (2005)

Time Bandits (1981)

The Tin Drum (1979)

Tokyo Gore Police (2008)

El Topo (1970)

Toto the Hero [Toto le Heros] (1991)

Trash Humpers (2009)

The Tree of Life (2011)

The Trial (1962)

The Triplets of Belleville (2003)

Tromeo & Juliet (1996)

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010)

Upstream Color (2013)

Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (1970)

Vertigo (1958)

Videodrome (1983)

Visitor Q (2001)

Waking Life (2001)

Weekend (1967)

The Wicker Man (1973)

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)

Yellow Submarine (1968)

You, the Living [Du Levande] (2007)

Zardoz (1974)

SATURDAY SHORT: BAD VIBES (2014)

Household appliances are sending out some pretty harsh vibes.

CONTENT WARNING: Violence and blood.

WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 9/19/2014

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 on the official site links.

IN THEATERS (WIDE RELEASE):

Tusk: Kevin Smith’s latest horror attempt makes fun of Canadians and involves a walrus. TIFF programmers dubbed it a “double-double of strange,” and subsequent reviewers have chimed in with phrases like “weird and wobbly” and “deeply weird.” Hard to believe it’s getting a fairly wide release, but there you have it. Tusk official site.

IN THEATERS (LIMITED RELEASE):

The Scribbler: A woman with multiple personality disorder uses an experimental machine to scrub away various identities. Reviews were generally negative, but Mike McGranaghan thought it was “gloriously bonkers.” Hope you’re right, Mike. The Scribbler Facebook page.

The Zero Theorem: Read James Harben’s review. ‘s latest dystopian fantasy gets a belated U.S. release. The Zero Theorem official site.

SCREENINGS (We Make Movies Screening Series, Los Angeles, CA., Sunday, Sep. 21):

Way Down in Chinatown: While L. Rob Hubbard didn’t actually love this surrealistic love-it-or-hate-it movie about avant-garde theater during the apocalypse (in fact, he hated it), we can guarantee that it’s 100% weird. We may have an additional announcement about this title soon. If your in Los Angeles, stop by Three Clubs on Vine Street at 7:30. If you say 366 Weird Movies sent you, people will look at you like you’re insane, which could be amusing for you. Way Down in Chinatown at the We Make Movies Screening Series on Facebook.

FILM FESTIVALS – Fantastic Fest (Austin, TX, Sep. 18-25):

The Alamo Drafthouse may be America’s coolest theater. Their brand has grown so big that now they even distribute their own (generally weird) movies. One of the Alamo’s hippest projects is the Fantastic Fest, now in its eighth year. As per usual, there is a fantastic slate of weird movies and some neato revivals here. While there are almost a dozen “of interest” movies showing here that we’ve already noted in our entries on Sundance, Toronto, and other venues, here are some other titles that are special to Fantastic Fest:

  • ABCs of Death 2 – Premier of the sequel to the sporadically good, sporadically weird original; the second-string lineup of directors still includes a couple of fascinating names like and . It opened the Fest, so the premier is past, but you can see it again Sep. 25.
  • Blind –  A woman withdraws from the world and begins living inside her own head after she goes blind. Sep. 19 & 22.
  • Bugsy Malone (1976) – A special screening of the gangster movie with an all-kid cast (including tiny versions of Scott Baio and Jodie Foster) to promote “Kid Power!,” a book about children in cult movies. Sep. 20, to be followed by a pie fight.
  • “Danger 5: Series 2″ – Here’s something unusual: three episodes from an Australian TV show about a team of spies dedicated to hunting down Adolph Hitler, who, it turns out, survived his Berlin bunker and who, in the 1980s, is posing as a high school student. Screening together with the Town Called Panic short “The Christmas Log” for a double dollop of kitschy weirdness on Sep. 21 & 25.
  • The Editor – A giallo spoof from  about a one-handed editor suspected of murder on a movie set. Screening Sep. 20 & 24.
  • Free Fall‘s latest is an anthology of seven absurd stories witnessed by an old woman who has just survived a fall from a seven story building.  Screens Sep. 19 & 22.
  • Horsehead – French horror about a woman who explores her nightmares through lucid dreaming. Sep. 19 & 23.
  • The Incident – Two separate sets of travelers find themselves stuck in infinite geographic loops in what programmers describe as “a surrealistic sci-fi vision.” See it Sep. 21 or 25.
  • Kung Fu Elliot – An actor/director longs to become “Canada’s first action star” with self-produced low budget movies like They Killed My Cat and Blood Fight, but as this self-styled “surreal documentary” continues it seems that his identity is based on a web of lies. Sep. 20 & 24.
  • Norway – The story of a dancing vampire, a flaming prostitute, and a drug dealer, and their trip into a subterranean lair. Oh, those crazy Greeks! Sep. 21 & 24.
  • The Tale of Princess Kaguya – Studio Ghibli animated Japanese fairy tale about a magic princess discovered growing in a bamboo stalk. Still one screening left, on Sep. 22.
  • Tombville – A man wakes up with no memory in a strange town he can’t leave. Part of a heavy Belgian contingent at the Fest. Sep. 20 & 24.
  • “The Voice Thief” – We rarely mention short films playing festivals, but this one, about an opera singer who has lost her voice, was co-written by and directed by his son Adan. Catch it as part of the “Fantastic Shorts” program Sep. 20 & 23.
  • “Wastelander Panda: Exile” – Six ten-minute episodes of a (web)series about post-apocalyptic samurai pandas we first caught wind of back in 2012. Sep 21 & 24.

Fantastic Fest official site.

NEW ON DVD:

Eraserhead (1977): Read the Certified Weird entry! Here’s an obscure little title some of you may have heard of. The Criterion edition is almost identical to ‘s own “Eraserhead 2000″ release, except that it includes a bonus disc of six short films (the same lineup as 2006’s “The Short Films of David Lynch,” minus “The Cowboy and the Frenchman”). Buy Eraserhead [The Criterion Collection].

NEW ON BLU-RAY:

Eraserhead (1977): See description in DVD above. Buy Eraserhead [The Criterion Collection Blu-ray].

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.

CREEPY COWBOYS: 4 WEIRD WESTERNS

Retro Media’s collection of “weird westerns” begins with Tombstone Canyon (1932) starring (already reviewed here). The Western, like that other indigenous American art form, jazz, ran the gamut from innovative to godawful. It goes without saying that this set of films falls in the latter category. Naturally, there are different degrees of awfulness. Cheap production, atrocious acting, pedestrian writing and, debatably, juvenile charm characterize the entries.

Tombstone Canyon was made before Maynard began ballooning up from booze, but he was already finding more empathy from his horse than from his fellow actors, which is perhaps why he spends much of the picture talking to his “wonder horse” Tarzan. The movie was made for the Z-grade studio World Pictures, whose mascot was a semi-nude blonde beauty holding two globe balloons over her breasts. No doubt, the 30s kiddies must have had their eyes bugging out.

If Tombstone Canyon looks like a backyard production put on by junior high school kids, then Vanishing Riders (1935) takes us a couple of years back, to fourth or fifth grade. It stars Bill Cody as the titular cowboy and Bill Cody Jr. as his adopted son. The fight scenes are laughable, the acting even worse, and the “scary” ghost riders, dressed in skeleton suits, are a hoot. There a couple of curly blonde cuties for window dressing, but the film, like many early poverty row westerns, is devoid of a score and is an unforgivably dull affair. It was directed by Bob Hill for Spectrum Pictures.

Security Pictures was such a low budget enterprise that it was and remains anonymous even among the infamous poverty row backlots. Its Rawhide Terror (1934) is saddled with three directors: Bruce Mitchell, Jack Nelson, and uncredited western schlockmeister Victor Adamson (whose son was horror schlockmeister Al Adamson). It is easy to assume Adamson, with his resume, did most of the work. Rawhide Terror started production as a serial, but when funding fell through it was converted to a 46 minute feature, despite its listing time as 52 minutes. It seems that six minutes have been lost, and let us fervently hope they are never found. The movie stars Art Mix. Adamson started his career by playing a character named Art Mix. However, he hired at least two different actors to also play Art Mix; that is, until  sued Adamson for capitalizing on his name. To get around that, Adamson searched for and found an “actor” with the real name of Art Mix. Apparently, this is that Art Mix. The plot of this truncated serial is even more confusing. White marauders, dressed as Indians, rob and kill a couple. The couples’ two sons, who have identical birthmarks, survive the raid. The elder son goes mad, wandering off with a maniacal laugh, which is as atrociously acted as one might imagine. Years later, the masked Rawhide Killer systematically kills each of the couples’ killers by strangling them with rawhide. Art Mix is the younger son, grown up. Describing the rest of the indecipherable plot is hardly worth the effort.

Still from Vanishing Riders (1935)

Vanishing Riders (1935)

Wild Horse Phantom (1944) wallows in its own silliness. Directed by Sam Newfield for the notorious PRC Studios, it co-stars that unlikeliest of western heroes: Buster Crabbe. With his blond locks (dyed black here) and baby face, Crabbe always looked out of place in oaters. Rather than taking on Ming the Merciless, Buster here confronts a Wild Horse Phantom. The title turns out to be a cheat, as there is no phantom horse. Instead, PRC dusted off the same flying rodent from ‘s The Devil Bat (1940). The flying rodent takes half of forever to make its appearance. It’s still equipped with the same screeching sound effect, and looks the worse for wear. It’s not after cologne this time. Rather, it’s a dime store Rhinemaiden protecting a gold mine (minus the gold). Stolen bank loot is the treasure, and Al  “Fuzzy” St. John is the slapsticky Nibelung dwarf ready to claim it. Fuzzy’s fight with a bat-on-a-string is tailored for six-year-old boys.  Kermit Maynard (Ken’s brother) fills out the cast.

These are strictly for the curious and, apart from that, to whom the “weirdness” of these might appeal remains the only mystery.

179. PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE (1974)

“The reason Fox found it unwieldy — the scabrous humor about the music industry, the unhappy love story and the weirdness of some of the characters — are exactly the reasons why people love it now.”–Gerrit Graham on Phantom of the Paradise (quoted in the New York Times)

Recommended

DIRECTED BY:

FEATURING: William Finley, , , Gerrit Graham, George Memmoli

PLOT: Swan is the world’s most powerful music producer, who dreams of opening a grandiose concert venue called the Paradise, while Winslow is a composer who has created a rock cantata version of “Faust.” Swan steals Winslow’s work; while seeking revenge, an accident disfigures Winslow’s face and destroys his vocal cords. Now wearing a mask, Winslow takes up residence in the basement of the Paradise and strikes a deal with Swan to rewrite the opera for Phoenix, a female singer whom both men lust after.

Still from Phantom of the Paradise (1974)
BACKGROUND:

  • Although Brian De Palma became famous for thrillers and action movies like Dressed to Kill, Scarface, The Untouchables, and Mission Impossible, he began his career making subversive underground comedies, and his earliest films for major studios were oddball farces. Phantom of the Paradise marks the apex of De Palma’s comedic phase; his next film would be the horror hit Carrie, following which he would largely abandon his burlesque and experimental impulses.
  • De Palma was inspired to write a satire on the commercialization of rock music when he heard a Muzak version of the Beatles’ “A Day in the Life” in an elevator.
  • Paul Williams, a successful songwriter who had penned hits for The Carpenters, wrote and performed the soundtrack (dubbing in William Finley’s singing voice). Williams was originally cast in the role of Winston, but asked to play Swan instead, and proved a natural for the role.
  • The movie was a financial flop, but Williams’ score was nominated for an Academy Award.
  • A bizarre bit of trivia: although Phantom was a box office bomb, for some reason it was immensely popular in Winnipeg, Canada, where it played screens on and off for over a year. (I like to imagine famous weird Winnipegian , who would have been about 18 at the time, was a repeat customer).

INDELIBLE IMAGE: We’ll go with the assassination of Beef, who is killed in improbable fashion by a neon lightning bolt. To ecstatic applause from the spectacle-hungry audience. Not only is it an unforgettable sight, it’s also the moment when the operatic Phantom solidifies its weird credentials.

WHAT MAKES IT WEIRD: It’s a wadded-up plot of “Phantom of the Opera” and “Faust,” with a bit of “Dorian Gray,” rolled up into a music biz satire ball and sprinkled with a dusting of crazy.


Edgar Wright commentary on the original trailer for Phantom of the Paradise (from Trailers from Hell)

COMMENTS: There’s a critical cliche that says that you can’t deliberately fashion a cult movie; it must be discovered. In other words, it’s the Continue reading 179. PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE (1974)

CAPSULE: A HARD DAY’S NIGHT (1964)

Recommended

DIRECTED BY:

FEATURING: , , Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Wilfrid Brambell

PLOT: A day in the life of the Beatles as their handlers try to prepare for a show that night—but the lads are always goofing off, chasing girls, and trying to track down Paul’s grandfather.

Still from A Hard Day's Night (1964)
WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE LIST: For all its cult cachet, all the talk about its irreverent anarchy and its “surreal humour,” and all of the “underground” techniques it mainstreamed (using techniques pioneered by the French New Wave, Day’s Night is also often credited with inventing the music video), the Beatles’ first feature isn’t “weird” (except as a corrective to the overly-stiff style of 1950s filmmaking it was reacting to).

COMMENTS: “They’re ‘fab’ and all the other pimply hyperboles,” goes one typically sparkling line in A Hard Day’s Night. The speaker, a cynical, unhip adman specializing in teen marketing, was talking about shirts, not the Beatles, but he might as well have been expressing the dismissive attitude most grown-ups shared for the Fab Four before Richard Lester’s rollicking A Hard Day’s Night recast the group as trickster archetypes rather than just four young men pandering to underage girls’ romantic fantasies. Lester makes the Liverpudlians universally lovable: the movie caters to the spirit of rebellion and style kids and teens connected with, while simultaneously disarming adults’ fears and contempt with a witty script. The jokes and wordplay (“I’m a mocker,” Ringo says when asked it he’s a mod or a rocker) were too sophisticated for the crowds of screaming, erotically ecstatic girls (mostly pre-teens, as the concert footage reveals—the Beatlemania demographic, it turns out, was the same age group that later embraced the Backstreet Boys or One Direction) who populate the film’s electrifying concert sequences. The script aimed at broadening the group’s audience by playing up the group’s reputation for clever wordplay and irreverent ad-libs, while not apologizing for their boy band magnetism. It worked. After A Hard Day’s Night, the Beatles were no longer just kids’ stuff: they were spokesmen for a youth movement with a cool new insouciant attitude.

Although each of the band members has a distinct personality (wry John, boyish Paul, quiet George and mopey Ringo), “the Beatles” as a group emerge as the movie’s principal character. The boy’s adventures tweak the status quo without eviscerating it; the film’s satire is so gentle that its targets—joyless adults, out-of-touch media, and the humorless of every stripe—laughed at the jibes, not recognizing themselves. Yeah, its pro-youth, but it doesn’t alienate older folk, most of whom would rather identify with Paul’s mischievous (but clean) grandfather and his penchant for sneaking off to the casino than with the wrinkly sourpuss who refuses to open the windows on the train. The spirit embodied by Lester’s Beatles was welcoming, and it wasn’t about chronological age: it was about choosing “parading” over propriety. The plot, such as it is, is a constant stream of sequences where someone wanders off to do his own thing, leaving the authorities (the band’s manager, the television producer) wringing their hands. Paul’s grandfather is constantly getting into trouble; the boys leave practice to go frolic in a field; with only an hour left until the big show, Ringo goes off on his own, ending up in police custody. In the end, naturally, the lads pull it together and bring down the house, proving that the stuffed shirts needn’t have fretted—they should just enjoy the ride, like the rest of us.

Naturally, the Criterion Collection gives A Hard Day’s Night the royal treatment. Aside from the restored picture and (possibly more important) audio (including a new stereo mix), the 2-DVD (1 Blu-ray) set collects four short documentaries on the film, interviews, and more. The commentary track includes almost a dozen people who worked on the movie–including extras, editors, the cinematographer—but unfortunately, nothing from director Lester. Of major interest to cinephiles (and of some interest to weirdophiles) is Lester’s short “The Running, Jumping and Standing Still Film,” with Spike Milligan and , a series of silent gags (such as a man who places a record on a tree stump and plays it by running around in a circle holding a needle) that was nominated for an Oscar and was a big favorite of John Lennon’s. Rounding out the package is an 80-page booklet with an appreciation by Howard Hampton, an interview with Lester, and behind-the-scenes photos of the Beatles. The release is a must-have for movie fans and Beatlemaniacs alike.

WHAT THE CRITICS SAY:

“… looks chaotic and slapdash enough (and just occasionally, for me, depressing enough) to count as an experimentalist or underground movie.”–Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian (2014 reissue)

DIRECTOR RETROSPECTIVE: JOHN CARPENTER

Guest review by Brandon Engel, a freelance writer specializing in entertainment and pop culture, as well as an aspiring filmmaker.

  is heralded by many genre enthusiasts as a “horror icon,” but his body of work extends into other genres. Though perhaps best known for his work on Halloween and his “Apocalypse Trilogy”—The Thing (1982), Prince of Darkness (1987) and In The Mouth of Madness (1994)—Carpenter has been writing, directing and producing genre films since the early 1970’s.

Halloween, released in 1978, ushered in a new era of “slasher” films, although originally Carpenter set out only to “make a film [he] would love to have seen as a kid.” His self-described “crass exploitation” film earned over $65 million at the box office. Not bad, considering that the film was made for a budget of approximately $325,000 and with mostly unknown actors (with the notable exception of Bond villain ). Although Carpenter admitted it wasn’t his favorite film, The Fog (1980) became a successful cult movie all the same, although critical reception was initially lukewarm. Rounding out Carpenter’s horror masterpieces is The Thing. Although The Thing proved to be a box-office disappointment, these three movies cemented Carpenter’s reputation as a master of the horror genre.

However, Carpenter has tried his hand at science-fiction as well. In fact, his first significant outing as director was the ultra-low budget feature Dark Star (1974), which he worked on with USC classmate Dan O’Bannon (whom you may recognize as the screenwriter for Ridley Scott’s Alien). The film was a parody of classic science-fiction films such as ’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Several of Carpenter’s other successful films integrate elements of science-fiction, such as Starman (1984), about an unlikely coupling between an alien and a widow fleeing from government agents, and Escape from New York (1981), about a dystopian future where a crime ridden United States has been forced to turn Manhattan Island in New York City into a maximum-security prison.

John Carpenter on the set of The Ward (2011)

John Carpenter on the set of The Ward (2011)

Every career has it high and low points, and Carpenter’s is no exception. After the dismal box-office performance of The Thing, Carpenter lost the opportunity to direct Firestarter, based on the book by Stephen King. In the 1990’s, he produced several flops including Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992), Village of the Damned (1995), and Escape From L.A. (1996). Perhaps due to this decline in Carpenter’s popularity, his films Prince of Darkness (1987, about the Anti-Christ), They Live (1988, about aliens secretly controlling the human population) and In the Mouth of Madness (1994, about a Lovecraftian author whose fiendish imaginings become manifest) did not garner the attention they deserved.

After being semi retired in the 2000’s, Carpenter saw a resurgence of his work after remakes of his Halloween, Assault on Precinct 13, The Thing and The Fog. In 2005, Carpenter returned to film, contributing to the Masters of Horror series for Showtime, a compilation of 13 different notable horror filmmakers. Reviews for his episode “Cigarette Burns” were positive, prompting Carpenter to follow up with the feature The Ward (2011). That film, whose plot follows an institutionalized woman named Kristen who is haunted by a mysterious and deadly zombie-like ghost, brought lukewarm reviews. One critic described the film as “just as good as most of the films in mainstream horror today.” Shallow praise for the “master of horror.”

Despite the fact that he never again realized his mass-market potential since the decline of his career began in the late 1980’s, John Carpenter has no doubt created a lasting legacy for himself, in horror, science fiction, and filmmaking in general. As was reflected in his recent interview with filmmaker  on the latter’s El Rey Network (available on DirectTV), Carpenter has had an enormous influence on many popular genre filmmakers currently working. His name will be forever associated with the rises and falls—the successes and failures—that are the mark of a lifetime spent in the entertainment business.

WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE

Here’s what’s on our weird minds next week: we’ll for sure bring you a mini-retrospective of the career of director , and a look at the Criterion Collection’s recent release of the culty  comedy A Hard Days Night. Over in Fringe Cinema, Alfred Eaker will offer up a nugget he calls “Creepy Cowboys: 4 Weird Westerns.” For our wild card feature, you can expect to see either another look at ‘s rock n’ roll satire Phantom of the Paradise, a surprise review of a new release, or something else entirely.

Our popular feature “Weirdest Search Term of the Week” highlights, as one search term succinctly put it, “strange things.” In this case, strange things people type into search engines, like the incomprehensible “to.bat..saw.movie.bf.” We got an idea for a possible sideline business from the searcher looking for “his & her clothes for weird couples” (366 Weird Matching Outfits, anyone)? There was also a search that left out a crucial piece of information, leaving our horrified minds to fill in the blanks: “movies that have the female actor remove it and place it in a plastic bag.” What’s “it”? Never mind, we don’t want to know! For our official Weirdest Search Term of the Week, we pick “movie where alien has grandpa’s head on his tongue.” We suspect someone will respond in the comments with the title of a movie that has a scene where an alien sticks out his tongue and the hero’s grandpa’s head is on the end, but c’mon—it’s still a weird sentence fragment to type into a query box!

Here’s how the ridiculously-long-and-ever-growing reader-suggested review queue stands: Rubin & Ed; The Real McCoy; Themroc; Candy (1968); The Fox Family; Angelus; Britannia Hospital; This Filthy Earth; Conspirators of Pleasure; Piano Tuner of Earthquakes; Bubba Ho-TepInnocence; Léolo; Continue reading WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE

SATURDAY SHORT: THE PALACE (2014)

A boy seeks sanctuary from the world that is crumbling around him, but it seems every open pathway dissipates before his eyes. There may be no way out.

WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 9/12/2104

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 on the official site links.

IN THEATERS (LIMITED RELEASE):

Archaeology Of A Woman: An elderly woman with dementia is a suspect in a murder investigation. Slant calls it “Lynchian” (albeit in a one-star review) and 72-year old Sally Kirkland has a nude scene (her first since 2010’s Flexing with Monty!) Archeology of a Woman official Facebook page.

Bird People: Two-parter set at a hotel by the De Gaulle airport: in the first segment, and American businessman abandons his career, and in the second something magically real happens to a hotel maid (no one wants to spoil the surprise). Reviews of this French drama have been love-it-or-hate-it, and it comes with a “slow” warning. Bird People official site.

RETROSPECTIVE – (Lincoln Center, New York City, Sep. 5-14):

“Fifty Years of John Waters: How Much Can You Take?”: We’re a little late reporting on this mini-festival of atrocities hosted and curated by the aging Prince of Puke himself, so we won’t tell you that you’ve already missed ultra-rare screenings of the seminal shorts Hag in a Black Leather Jacket (1964), Roman Candles (1966), Eat Your Makeup (1968) and The Diane Linkletter Story (1970) from the director’s personal stash of 16mm prints, and instead focus on what’s coming up: the Hollywood satire Cecil B. Demented (2000) tonight at 7PM, his final film A Dirty Shame (2004) on Sep. 13, Cry-Baby (1990) and Pink Flamingos (1972) both on Sep. 13 & 14, and the art world send-up Pecker (1998) on Sep. 14. Also check out John’s pick of  Crash (1996) (which he calls “hilarious”) as one of his eight “Movies I’m Jealous I Didn’t Make,” screening Saturday, Sep. 13. “Fifty Years of John Waters: How Much Can You Take?” retrospective at Film Society of Lincoln Center

IN DEVELOPMENT:

Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance (est. 2015): The original Samurai Cop (1991) was a quickly-forgotten piece of direct-to-video dreck that was rediscovered and championed as a so-bad-it’s-good classic in the 21st century, mainly on the basis of an infamous, awkwardly hostile sexual flirtation between samurai cop and a random horny non-actress nurse. Refashioned, we’re guessing, as deliberate camp, most of the original cast returns for this belated sequel, accompanied by George Lazenby (!) and a trio of blonde porn starlets. What catches our attention, however, is the unexpected announcement that Room-mate  will be appearing in the film in an unknown capacity. That, in our mind, is enough to elevate this proposed sequel from curiosity to novelty.  At this writing, the project is $11,000 short of its modest $50,000 Kickstarter goal. Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance Kickstarter page.

NEW ON DVD:

Borgman (2013): Read Ryan Aarset’s review. ‘s mysterious dark fable remains a candidate for the List. Buy Borgman.

Seizure (1974): Oliver Stone’s first film is this undistinguished but bizarre story of a horror writer who finds his character “the Queen of Evil” has come to life, along with her executioner and dwarf henchmen. Check out the cast: Jonathan Frid, Hammer girl Martine Beswick, and , with Troy Donahue and Mary Woronov among the victims. Buy Seizure.

NEW ON BLU-RAY:

Borgman (2013): See description in DVD above. Buy Borgman [Blu-ray].

Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004): According to its own opening narration, this dark children’s comedy is about “clever and reasonably attractive orphans, suspicious fires, carnivorous leeches, Italian food and secret organizations.” It’s also in our reader-suggested review queue. Buy Lemony Snicket’s a Series of Unfortunate Events [Blu-ray].

Seizure (1974): See description in DVD above. Buy Seizure [Blu-ray].

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.

CINEMA UNDER THE STARS: A CELEBRATION OF THE DRIVE-IN CINEMA

Check out driveintheater.com for the history of the drive-in and a list of theaters operating near you.

Those of us old enough to remember the drive-in theater experience have some sense of nostalgia for the experience. Those who were deprived of cinema under the stars may never “get it.”

"Elm Road Drive-In Theatre" by Jack Pearce from Boardman, OH, USA

Elm Road Drive-In Theatre” by Jack Pearce from Boardman, OH, USA – Elm Road Drive-In Theatre. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

As a personal example, take my ex. Although about my age, she had either never gone to the drive-in during her youth, or if she had gone, it never sank in. Upon agreeing to my suggestion of going to see a double feature at Tibbs Drive-in, she started loading up the back of the car with chips, drinks, and snacks—much to my abject horror, because as kids, as much as we loved the movies, we could not wait to hear the announcement: “It’s intermission time, folks!” Going to the concession stand and buying kicking nachos, fresh hot popcorn, pizza with your favorite toppings, tasty cheeseburgers, crispy hot french fries, buckets of fried chicken, delicious hotdogs, mouth watering barbecue sandwiches, your favorite candy and popsicles, ice cold soft drinks, and the greasy-smelling restrooms around the corner for your convenience was all part of the experience. I tended to stick with nachos (extra jalapeños) and cheese pizza (extra, extra jalapeños). Needless to say, I politely insisted everything be put back in the pantry, because we were obligated, in spirit, to whip out the debit card, stand in long lines, and pay far more than we should for bad tasting drive-in junk food. Anything else would have spoiled the atmosphere.

We now think of cheesy horror and sci-fi films as ruling the drive-in roost. However, I recall seeing the mediocre  western, Cahill: U.S. Marshall (1973) on a double bill with the much more fun Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973) at Westlake Drive-In Theater. We stayed through both features and even got to see the closing fireworks. The oddest memories I have of that night begin with mother’s very vocal fretting over how much of Caroline Munro’s cleavage my siblings and I were taking in. If Mom hadn’t made such an ado about it, I might not have even noticed. Curiously, she wasn’t at all worried about the western bloodshed, but Ms. Munro’s breasts sent her into an evangelical panic. (To be fair, however, I just lied when I speculated that I probably would not have noticed the cult star’s ample chest. I would have).

The other, perhaps even stranger memory is the sight of a fox, a few yards away, rummaging through the trash cans by the swing-set under the screen. Of course, one could never witness such magical nature at work, or a parental outburst, in the polite comfort of an air conditioned indoor theater.

The 1950s were the heyday of the drive-in cinema. Even when our family started going, throughout the 1960s and 1970s, outdoor cinemas were Continue reading CINEMA UNDER THE STARS: A CELEBRATION OF THE DRIVE-IN CINEMA

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