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WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 1/20/2017

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.

IN THEATERS (LIMITED RELEASE):

Doobious Sources (2017): Two stoner freelance reporters are manipulated into perpetrating a local “fake news” story in this cannabis-themed satire. It appears to be playing in Santa Monica, but you’ll probably need to smoke it out on video-on-demand. Doobious Sources official site.

Staying Vertical (2016): A filmmaker meets a shepherdess, who bears him a child and then abandons both. It sounds like a standard dry French arthouse drama, except that Vanity Fair called it “the most shocking movie at Cannes” (partly for it’s “birth of a baby” footage) and numerous reviewers hint at weird psychological twists no one wants to fully reveal. Staying Vertical distributor site.

SCREENINGS – (IFC Center, New York, New York, Jan. 20-Feb. 2):

“Stanley Kubrick Series”: IFC Center screens all the major highlights from ‘s oeuvre over a two week period. Certified Weird selection 2001: A Space Odyssey plays Friday, Saturday, and Tuesday; droogs can glue their eyeballs to A Clockwork Orange on Friday, Saturday (including midnight screenings) or Sunday. You can also see The Shining on Friday, Saturday, or Monday, and keep an eye out for Eyes Wide Shut on Thursday. I’ve never regretted seeing any Kubrick film, weird or not. See the full schedule at the IFC Center Stanley Kubrick series page.

FILM FESTIVALS – Sundance Film Festival (Park City, UT, Jan 19-29):

The 2017 movie season officially kicks off with Sundance, where a hundred hopeful independent movies, including a few off-the-wall ones, come to vie for a handful of distribution contracts. In recent years Sundance added the “Midnight” screening section to add some weirdness to the otherwise lame, tame lineup of dramas about privileged white people and their problems (alternating with imported dramas about underprivileged brown people and their problems).

This year, the slate looks extremely tame, even for a festival that’s generally no friend to weirdos. Everyone is so serious and Al Gore-y. A harbinger of life in Trump’s America, perhaps? That said, last year we did overlook one of the weirdest movies that played at Sundance, the “Daniel Radcliffe farting corpse movie” (at the time, we thought it sounded like a dumb frat-boy joke; it wasn’t until early reviews started coming out we realized what we had failed to highlight). If we miss one this time, we’re guessing it will be David Lowery’s A Ghost Story (which looks like it stars Casey Affleck in a sheet). But we’re guessing Sundance’s lone weird entry of 2017—and yeah, we’re confident in this one’s strangeness—is Kuso, which looks like a psychedelic cable access variety show set in the aftermath of an L.A. earthquake. It’s the feature debut of Steven Ellison (whose alter ego is the musician “Flying Lotus”). It debuts tomorrow (Jan. 21) and plays again on the 22nd, 25th and 26th.

Sundance Film Festival official site.

FILM FESTIVALS – Slamdance (Park City, UT, Jan 20-26):

Slamdance is Sundance’s punkier, sometimes (usually) weirder little brother, a low-budget alternative to the mid-budget institution. Here’s what may be worth looking out for down the road:

  • Automatic at Sea – A Swedish girl is trapped on a private island, hallucinating while waiting for the owner’s guests to arrive for a party. Screens Jan. 23 & 25.
  • Dave Made a Maze – Dave builds a pillow fort in his living room and then gets lost inside its maze of booby trapped corridors; his girlfriend assembles a team to go in and rescue him. Get lost in it Jan. 21st or 23rd.
  • Weather House – People locked inside a house due to global climate change invent their own rituals and culture to pass the time; looks like a German global warming version of Dogtooth. In the house Jan. 22nd and 26th.

Slamdance Film Festival official site.

IN DEVELOPMENT (Crowdfunding):

The Field Guide to Evil (est. 201?): A new anthology horror film from the makers of The ABCs of Evil, focusing on folktales from around the world. It could be standard horror fare, but the oft-weird directors committed to the project make us take notice, especially (Berberian Sound Studio, The Duke of Burgundy), (The Lure), and (The Oregonian, The Rambler). The other talent isn’t too shabby either: up and comers Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala (Goodnight Mommy), Katrin Gebbe,  (Baskin), Ashim Ahluwalia, and Yannis Veslemes. Each will dramatize a horrific folk story from their homeland (except that Strickland will tackle Hungary). We don’t think funding will be an issue with this one, but their looking to raise at least an additional $190,000 in two months. The Field Guide to Evil at Microventures.

NEW ON DVD:

Death Race 2050 (2017): Straight-to-video (and video-on-demand, and Netflix) reboot of the satirical 1975 drive-in original about celebrity drivers running down civilians in the overpopulated future. It does not seem to be significantly different in tone from the campy original, and  was confident enough to lend his name. Buy Death Race 2050.

Something Wild (1961): Carrol Baker stars in this then-controversial portrait of a rape victim’s psychological trauma, with a score by Aaron Copeland. Some find it weird; it’s the second film called Something Wild in the Criterion Collection’s catalog (the other being ‘s 1986 romantic comedy). Buy Something Wild.

NEW ON BLU-RAY:

Death Race 2050 (2017): See description in DVD above. Buy Death Race 2050 Blu-ray.

Something Wild (1961): See description in DVD above. Buy Something Wild [Blu-ray].

YOU LINK US! YOU REALLY LINK US!:

We got a huge boost in traffic this week, starting with this mention by JHarris on Metafilter which called us “a substantial tribute to celluloid oddities and unconventionals, loaded with interesting essays and outside links.”

That was pretty sweet, but apparently Rob Beschizza at BoingBoing saw it and thought he could drive even more traffic our way with a blurb titled “Guide to Weird Movies” (citing our Blue Velvet review, which shows that he really did read more than the front page).

Not to be outdone, Randall Colburn at The AV Club advised that site’s readers to “Move beyond ‘bad’ movies with this encyclopedia of weird ones” and perceptively surmised that “Budding cinephiles might find it a refreshing alternative to the classics that permeate every other ‘best of’ list. Honestly, you’ll probably get a more well-rounded education; the movies here run the gamut from high-brow to exploitation, with multiple genres, styles, and decades represented.”

Thanks for the kind words everyone! This traffic spike explains why our already over-busy suggestion box is overrun with even more offerings than usual. We hope that some of the new visitors will stick around; you may notice that we’re starting to make that final push towards the last 100 titles, and we’ll need all the help and support we can get to struggle through to the finish line.

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.

WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE

Here’s what we’ve got for you weirdophiles next week: El Rob Hubbard sweeps up one of the last remnants of 2016 with a look at Kino Lorber’s massive release of Jacques Rivette’s Out 1 (covering both the fourteen-hour serialization and the four-hour theatrical cut), while G. Smalley gives you the scoop on the first genuinely weird movie of 2017, the transgressive pornographic horror We Are the Flesh (which is one Mexican import that Donald Trump is letting into the country). We’ll also return to Centerville for a second look at Frank Zappa’s psychedelic musical comedy 200 Motels, while Alfred Eaker advances his exploitation triple feature series to 1967, the year that brought us Corruption, Quatermass and the Pit, and The Fearless Vampire Killers. If you got the inauguration blues, we got the cure!

And if you’ve got the haven’t-seen-enough-reprinted-weird-search-term blues, our Weirdest Search Term of the Week is riding in to the rescue! How does “chinese movie where a guy punches a vagina” grab you? If that’s not odd enough, then you can puzzle over the search for “hollyud online pronunciation.” There’s also “a movie about a guy who changed into a monster then their friends must go to heaven”—it doesn’t seem like a logical consequence of monsterization, but it is a happy one for the friends. Our official selection for Weirdest Search Term of the Week is “hollywood oldman drawings in ladies boobs sex movie list.” If there’s anything Hollywood producers love, it’s sexy scripts that include topless scenes where the actress has an old man’s drawings inside her breasts. Someday there will be a website collecting 366 examples of this type of movie.

Here’s how our ridiculously-long-and-ever-growing reader-suggested review queue stands: Brain Dead; Uncle Meat; Nuit Noire; Screamplay; Grendel Grendel Grendel; Twilight of the Cockroaches; Indecent Desires; Daughter of Horror [AKA Dementia]; The Discreet Charm Continue reading WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE

WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 1/13/2017

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.

IN THEATERS (LIMITED RELEASE):

Ma (2015): Dialogue-free, Southwestern set version of the story of Mary (mother of Jesus). Debuting writer/director Celia Rowlson-Hall describes it as “a journey into the visceral and the surreal…” Screening in major U.S. cities.  Ma official site.

We Are the Flesh [Tenemos la Carne] (2016): In a post-apocalyptic world, a brother and sister find shelter with a hermit who is indulging his own depraved fantasies. It’s already in our reader-suggested review queue, with coverage planned for next week. The Mexican arthouse horror opens in Los Angeles this week and New York the following week, with scattered showings across the country throughout the late winter. We Are the Flesh official Facebook page.

NEW ON DVD:

Closet Monster (2015): A closeted gay teenager and aspiring special effects artist must face his coming out anxieties with the help of a talking hamster voiced by . Glen Dunks called it “[c]olourfully designed and with more than a hint of weirdness.” Buy Closet Monster.

NEW ON BLU-RAY:

Closet Monster (2015): See description in DVD above. Buy Closet Monster [Blu-ray].

The Triplets of Belleville (2003): Read the Certified Weird entry! The good news is that his animated tale of an old woman and her dog seeking the assistance of three retired singers to save her grandson from the mob is finally on Blu-ray; the bad news is Sony Classics gives it a disrespectful bare bones BD-R release. Buy The Triplets of Belleville Blu-ray.

NEW ON VOD:

In Search of the Exile (2016): An abstract experimental film described as “a visionary cinematic experience, a doorway into a dreamworld where reality morphs and transforms before our eyes.” Three of the releases featured in this section this week are from and of the UK’s Underground Film Studio; none of them have otherwise received U.S. releases. In Search of the Exile on Vimeo.

Replica (2005): Before Birdemic, honed his directorial skills with this never-released medical thriller about a man getting a kidney transplant. This curiosity is being offered “unriffed” to the most self-loathing cinema masochists by Rifftrax (you might want to wait for the version with comic commentary, due out in early February). Replica (unriffed) at Rifftrax.

Savage Witches (2012): A low-budget, experimental homage to the Czech classic Daisies. Per our own El Rob Hubbard, it’s “an aesthetic attack on the audience’s expectations of film as entertainment.” Savage Witches on Vimeo.

Splendor Solis (2015): Daniel Fawcett directs this one, a collection of his own transformed home movies presented in split screen, solo. El Rob describes it as “a tone-poem celebration of cinema, creativity, play, collaboration, friendship and all of the splendors under the sun.” Splendor Solis on Vimeo.

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.

WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE

Here’s what’s on our plates next week: continuing our 2016 leftovers, El Rob Hubbard looks at 1966’s campy comic-book/spy thriller Modesty Blaise (Blu-rayed in 2016), while G. Smalley brings you your official first look at ‘s blasphemous satire The Brand New Testament (which placed 9th on our Weirdest Movies of 2016 list). And we’ll finally get back to that long neglected reader-suggested review queue with our second take on Poland’s epic 1965 fantasia The Saragossa Manuscript. Alfred Eaker keeps us in the Sixties as he continues his year-by-year survey of exploitation and horror films with 1966’s shameful trilogy of Rasputin, the Mad Monk, The Reptile, and Plague of the Zombies. It’s a swinging start to 2017!

Speaking of the new year, we already have people searching Google for “top most weirdest searches of 2017,” and coming here to check out our list of Weirdest Search Terms of the Week. It is a promising start to the year, beginning with the guy looking for “www.pushy muviyes.com.” We wonder if  “movies similar to a clockwork orange, threatened to shoot eating a big mac” would count—threatening someone with a gun while eating a hamburger does seem kind of pushy. Or maybe he was looking for something more along the lines of  “movie with the girl who climbs out of a vagina for her birthday”? “Why there is a movie called begottem” seems like kind of a pushy question, but it’s not really in the pushy muviy spirit.  “What the movie called with the guy made of plants that falls in love with a women” isn’t pushy at all, but it is weird. Our official Weirdest Search Term of the Week starts out strange and gets stranger as it goes along: “x*** video driver affair wife and husband p*** video full movie servant affair acid has been com” (asterisks in original). We wonder if that query was posted by an actual acid has-been?

Here’s how our ridiculously-long-and-ever-growing reader-suggested review queue stands (note: we moved The Drifting Classroom into the “not available” holding pen this week): The Saragossa Manuscript (next week!); Brain Dead; Uncle Meat; Nuit Noire; Screamplay; Continue reading WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE

WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 1/6/2017

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

Most of the film industry is still in winter hibernation, preparing to emerge just before Sundance and the Oscars. Here’s a few items for this week:

SCREENINGS – (New York City, IFC Center, Jan 6-7):

Mulholland Dr. (2001): Read the Certified Weird entry! David Lynch‘s most popular psychological mystery has become a midnight staple at IFC Center, along with the classically hallucinatory duet of El Topo and The Holy Mountain. We can’t fault these, but we are starting to wish IFC would mix up their midnight slate with some deeper-catalog choices; if they keep showing the same two or three movies, it will be only a little different than showing The Rocky Horror Picture Show every week. Mulholland Dr. at IFC Center.

IN DEVELOPMENT (Fundraising):

Bo Nan Za (est. 2018): Two stories, one set in the old West and one in a modern city, with characters who may be the same people in different times. The promotional material describes it both as “vaguely surreal” and as “a multi-narrative film inspired by the solemn poetics and the allusional traditions of westerns on the one hand, and by the empathic spirit of docu-fiction on the other…” Made by Bulgarian short film veterans, the cinematography in the El Topo-ish clip below suggests a high level of competence. They’re looking to raise a little less than $50,000 in a month. Bo Nan Za at indiegogo.


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.

WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE

2017 is finally here, which means it’s time for us to start officially wrapping up the year that was, starting with our official 10 Weirdest Movies of 2016 on Monday (we’ll also toss out our top 10 mainstream movies just for comparison’s sake). In the next few weeks we’ll be picking at leftovers from the year past, starting with Pete Trbovich‘s review of 1991’s would-be cult comedy Highway to Hell (which got a Blu-ray release in 2016). We’ll also circle back even further for a second look at 1971’s bizarre obscene-phone-caller experimental sex-comedy The Telephone Book, while Alfred Eaker resumes his chronological “exploitation triple feature” series, picking back up at 1965, the year that brought us Die Monster Die, Monster a Go-Go and Incubus. We’ve got big things coming from 366 Weird Movies in 2017… not next week, especially, but stick with us…

We ended 2016 on a weak note in terms of weird search terms that brought visitors to our site. We did see a worm mini-theme with  “film where a boy gets a worm stuffed up his nose” and “worm in vagina hollywood movies” (we can assure the second searcher, this is not a genre Hollywood has exploited). The slate was so thin that we’re even going to mention “uncle b weird movie” before we settle on the oddly-phrased and disturbing “alien,creature (rape,bird,preggo) woman-full movies” as our official Weirdest Search Term of the Week. Message to you maladjusted Googlers out there: let’s pick up these weird searches in 2017, shall we?

Here’s how our ridiculously-long-and-ever-growing reader-suggested review queue stands: The Saragossa Manuscript; The Drifting Classroom; Brain Dead; Uncle Meat; Nuit Noire; Screamplay; Grendel Continue reading WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE

WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 12/23/2016

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 – (New York City, IFC Center, Dec. 23-24):

El Topo (1970) and Mulholland Dr. (2001): Read the Certified Weird entries for El Topo and Mulholland Drive. The IFC Center continues its quest to make sure every New Yorker sees the major weird works of  and Lynch. Midnight screenings on Friday and Saturday nights. It’s more fun than Midnight Mass! IFC Center’s Late Night Favorites series.

SCREENINGS – (Los Angeles, Cinefamily, Dec. 25-28):

Belladonna of Sadness (1973): Read the Certified Weird entry! What says Christmas more than an explicit psychedelic Japanese rape-revenge witchcraft anime with an acid rock soundtrack? Belladonna of Sadness at Cinefamily.

SCREENINGS – (New York City, Film Society of Lincoln Center, Dec. 25):

After Hours (1985): Read the reader recommendation and the other reader recommendation. If you are on the wrong coast to catch The Belladonna of Sadness on Christmas Day, maybe you can see ‘s absurd black comedy about a nightmarish night in NYC? Also playing at Lincoln Center in an eclectic week: Eyes Wide Shut (also on Christmas day), The Werckmeister Hamonies (Dec. 26), Russian Ark (Dec. 27 and 29), and the Certified Weird Altered States (Dec. 30). Film Society of Lincoln Center December calendar.

IN DEVELOPMENT (completed):

A Cure for Wellness (Feb. 2017): A young executive goes to a cult-like remote wellness center to retrieve his company’s CEO. Looks a little like Safe meets Shutter Island. From , who’s had a checkered career (Rango and The Ring are plusses, but then there’s the Pirates of the Caribbean series and The Lone Ranger dragging his average way down). Psychological thrillers backed by big Hollywood are rarely authentically weird, but we’ll probably take a flyer in February. A Cure for Wellness official site.


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.

WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE

With the year’s end fast approaching, next week we focus on new movies, with Shane Wilson tackling the minimalist indie horror Darling, while G. Smalley brings you reviews of the quirky Australian indie Girl Asleep and (finally) an official review of the astoundingly tasteless The Greasy Strangler (previewed here). Alfred Eaker, of course, breaks form to continue his survey of the career of Italian horror pioneer (you can read part one of the retrospective here).

Now is the time at 366 Weird Movies where we run down the weirdest search terms that brought visitors to the site this week. We’ll start with the long-ish “this other time, i saw a commercial for this movie about a man who was accused of murder, but he didn’t commit the murder. a guy from m*a*s*h was the star of the movie. that’s probably why i remember it. the commercial said that the whole movie was about him trying to prove that he was innocent and how he could go to jail anyway. that scared me a lot. it scared me how much it scared me. being punished for something you did not do. or being an innocent victim. it’s just something that i never want to experience. i don’t know if it is important to tell you all this, but at the time, it felt like a ‘breakthrough.’” We don’t know why the searcher wanted to tell Google this either, but suggest he or she might want to get some real people in their lives to talk to. In a week that was somewhat light in strange searches, we did see a mini-theme of bad fathers, starting with “boob suck in cage by her father in hollywood movie clips” (we can tell the searcher that this is not a common motif in Hollywood films). And we return to this paternal theme for our official selection for Weirdest Search Term of the Week: “movie where dad puts his kid in the oven and drinks rotten milk.” This query would have been more appropriate for the Fathers Day season rather than Christmas, but we’ll take what we can get.

Here’s how our ridiculously-long-and-ever-growing reader-suggested review queue stands: The Saragossa Manuscript; The Drifting Classroom; Brain Dead; Uncle Meat; Nuit Noire; Screamplay; Grendel Continue reading WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE

WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 12/16/2016

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.

IN DEVELOPMENT (pre-production):

Patience (201?): An adaptation of Daniel Clowes’ graphic novel about a grieving man who uses time travel to try to prevent his pregnant wife’s murder. The original story was a New York Times bestseller described as a “a psychedelic science-fiction love story.” Clowes will adapt the screenplay in the movie version for Focus Features. Patience announcement at Variety.

NEW ON DVD:

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Unusual Children (2016): Read Alfred Eaker’s review. No special features announced for ‘s latest would-be tentpole fantasy. Buy Miss Peregrine’s Home for Unusual Children.

Roma (1972): Read Alfred Ealker’s review. The Criterion Collection gets their mitts on some more experimental ; now, if they can only land CassanovaBuy Fellini Roma.

NEW ON BLU-RAY:

Dracula vs. Frankenstein (1971): Read Alfred Eaker’s review. Not a “special edition”; Zandor Vorkov’s Dracula-in-an-afro is all the specialness anyone needs in a single Blu-ray. Buy Dracula vs. Frankenstein [Blu-ray].

Dreamscape (1984): A psychic tries to rescue the President of the United States, who’s trapped inside his own nightmares. Shout! Factory issues this 80s pop-surreal cheese in a “Collector’s Edition” full of featurettes and extras. Buy Dreamscape [Collector’s Edition Blu-ray].

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Unusual Children (2016): See description in DVD above. Buy Miss Peregrine’s Home for Unusual Children Blu-ray.

Roma (1972):See description in DVD above. Buy Fellini Roma [Blu-ray].

FREE (LEGITIMATE RELEASE) MOVIES ON YOUTUBE:

A ‘Pitch-Dark’ Diorama (2016): An interviewer talks to an author about his completion of another writer’s work; the plot slips between parallel realities as the book’s story interweaves with real events. A rare example of independent surreal/horror cinema from India. It’s serialized in five parts on YouTube, and also available via torrent. Free to watch, but donations are accepted at the filmmaker’s website.

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.

CONTEST: WIN A COPY OF “COUNTER-CLOCKWISE” (2016)

366 Weird Movies brings you a new DVD giveaway contest, just in time for Christmas! (Warning: we’re at the mercy of the USPS, so the prize may arrive after Christmas).

We’re still testing out uses for our Twitter account, so we’re going to make this a simple Twitter-based contest. To enter, just tweet to @366weirdmovies clearly indicating your desire to enter the contest (you could say, for example, “I clearly desire to enter @366weirdmovies contest” or “this is my contest entry, @weirdmovies” or even “stuff my stocking, @weirdmovies”). We’ll index the responses and pick a winner randomly using random.org. To receive the DVDs, you must supply us with a mailing address in the United States (don’t tweet it publicly, we’ll pm you!) and not have won a prize from us in the past six months. We’ll be closing the contest Thursday, Dec. 15 and mailing by Saturday (pending receipt of your address), so the prize should get there by Xmas day.

Our prize is once again provided by  Artsploitation Films (distributors of the Certified Weird Der Samurai). This is a factory-sealed DVDs, not a used review copy. The movie is Counter Clockwise, a brand new (DVD releases December 13) 2016 American indie time-travel thriller. From the box cover:

Counter Clockwise (2016) DVD cover“Part mind-bending science-fiction and part dark comedy, COUNTER CLOCKWISE delivers a thriller about a befuddled scientist who stumbles into inventing a time machine and recklessly zaps himself six months into the future. But in that future, he is a wanted man and an accused murderer. He tries to return to the point right before everything went wrong. An inventive, head-scratching, fast-paced American Indie time-traveling gem.”

Tweet away! (And follow us, if you haven’t yet).