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WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 6/22/2012

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):

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter: Ax-slinging Honest Abe emancipates some vampires from their heads in this historical horror rushed out to beat 2013’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Notices are pretty bad (words like “insipid” were fairly common), but it does seem at least a little bit weird. Directed by Timur Bekmambetov, but many people will notice Tim Burton‘s name on the film as producer and consider this his second strike this summer (after a Dark Shadows that was so disappointing we gave it two negative reviews). Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter Facebook page.

IN THEATERS (LIMITED RELEASE):

To Rome with Love: Woody Allen drifts from Paris to Rome to tell an anthology of Italian tales: two separate critics characterize the storyline featuring Roberto Begnini as an ordinary citizen thrust into the celebrity spotlight as “surreal.” The prolific Allen has already scripted his next two romantic comedies set in European capitals: Bratislava Brats will appear in 2013, and Neurotic Intellectual Affair in Oslo is slated for 2014. To Rome with Love official site.

IN DEVELOPMENT:

“Barbarella” TV series: Cult director Nicolas Winding Refn plans to turn the 1960s cult comic book “Barbarella” (which was already adapted into a cult movie with Jane Fonda) into a TV series. We suspect the idea has cult potential. Although we would welcome seeing a well-done Barbarella on the small screen, we’re not as enthused about the idea of the talented Refn taking a vacation from feature films. Deadline breaks the news.

Coyote (est 2012): Described as an “art-horror feature” about “an insomniac writer whose sleep-deprived hallucinations distort reality as paranoia drives him to extreme violence.” From the folks involved in making last week’s Saturday Short, Crabs in a Dollhouse, it’s already met its modest $4,000 crowdfunding target, so we expect this to be a go.

NEW ON DVD:

Attenberg (2010): An awkward and alienated young woman who studies humanity through mammal documentaries learns about sex from her only friend. Part of the New Weird Greek cinema, it’s in our reader-suggested review queue and so we’ll be getting to it very soon. Buy Attenberg.

The Disco Exorcist (2011): In revenge for dumping her after a one night stand, an evil priestess causes a demon to possess a 1970s swinger’s new porn star girlfriend. The self-aware grindhouse throwback movie is already becoming a cliché, but as long as they keep making them we’ll keep watching them—when there’s nothing good on TV, at least. A sequel, The Brother of the Disco Exorcist, is already in development. Buy The Disco Exorcist.

“Driver x4: The Lost and Found Films of Sara Driver” (1981-1994): The complete films of Driver: You Are Not I (1981) is an adaptation of a Paul Bowles story about an escaped mental patient; Sleepwalk (1986) is about a typsetter who finds Chinese fairy tales coming to life as he transcribes them; When Pigs Fly (1993) is about a pair of female ghosts (one played by Marianne Faithful); and The Bowery (1994) is a ten-minute short about the titular bum-haunted Manhattan street. Auteur Driver is obscure even to us, but we hope to cure that deficiency soon. Buy “Driver x4: The Lost and Found Films of Sara Driver”.

The FP (2012): Post-apocalyptic spoof where rival gangs fight in a desolate urban wasteland, dominating the bands of survivors through their mastery of dance video games. Released via the new distribution arm of the fantastic Alamo Drafthouse theater, which we fear may end up being the coolest thing about the movie. Buy The FP. Buy The FP [Blu-ray].

Keyhole (2011): The latest Guy Maddin talkie stars Jason Patric as Ulysses, a gangster on the run, journeying through his labyrinthine house trying to find his wife (). This is a Maddin film’s quickest appearance on DVD after release; we’re not sure if that’s a good sign or a bad one. Buy Keyhole.

NEW ON BLU-RAY:

The FP (2011): See description in DVD above. Buy The FP [Blu-ray].

Keyhole (2011): See description in DVD above. Buy Keyhole [Blu-ray].

FREE (LEGITIMATE RELEASE) MOVIES ON YOUTUBE:

The Castle of Cagliostro (1979): A thief seeks to rescue an imprisoned princess from the Count of Cagliostro’s castle in order to find a treasure. This early comedy/adventure from renowned director features cruder animation and PG-rated language and violence, but is as imaginative as any of his later work.


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.

WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 6/15/2012

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):

The Woman in the Fifth (2011): Psychological (?) thriller about a down-on-his-luck writer (Ethan Hawke) who meets a mysterious woman while trying to reconnect with his young daughter after a divorce. This looks like one of those stories where it’s hard to tell whether it’s actually weird or not without either seeing it or reading a detailed spoiler-laden review. The Woman in the Fifth official site.

SCREENINGS (Museum of Modern Art, New York City, June 15-18):

UFO in Her Eyes (2011): Chinese authorities try to turn their backwater town into a tourist magnet after a possibly crazy woman reports having seen a UFO. It’s described as “surrealist and ironic” and features Udo Kier as the English-speaking alien. MOMA described this screening as the film’s “U.S. premier”; we can’t find any mention of it playing on anywhere after it finishes this run. UFO in Her Eyes at MOMA.

FILM FESTIVALS: LOS ANGELES FILM FESTIVAL (June 14-24, Los Angeles, CA):

In the summer interval between Cannes and the Toronto International Film Festival, we keep coming across smaller film fests that have slates full of movies that didn’t make it to the bigger venues. Although we noticed some familiar titles at the LAFF—like the Southern-fired prehistoric monster apocalypse film Beasts of the Southern Wild, the 366-fave demented short Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared, and the impressionistic art-school infatuation piece An Oversimplification of Her Beauty—we noticed several new (and a few retro) names popping up that may be worth keeping an eye out for.

  • The Banishment (2007) – Read Eugene Vasiliev’s lengthy analysis of The Banishment. This seldom-screened, dreamlike Russian drama about a man who finds his wife is pregnant with another man’s child plays as part of the “Films That Got Away” series. Screening June 24.
  • The Compass is Carried by the Dead Man [La Brújula la lleva el Muerto] (2011) – A thirteen-year old Mexican boy tries to make it across a “subtly surreal desert landscape” in his quest to reach Chicago. June 16 & 18.
  • Crazy and Thief (2012) – pauses work on his long-delayed opus Werewolf Hunters of the Midwest to deliver this color film in which two kids search for a cardboard time machine by following a homemade star chart. June 17 & 19.
  • The History of Future Folk (2012) – Two aliens are distracted from their plans to conquer Earth when they fall in love with bluegrass music and decide to form a band. June 15 & 17.
  • A Night Too Young [Prílis Mladá Noc] (2012) -Two thirteen year old boys are invited to an adult party and watch the grown-up’s strange behavior with wide-eyed amazement. June 17-18.
  • P-047 (2011) – From Thailand comes this tale of two young adults who break into other people’s apartments while they’re away for a lark. With fantasy sequences, it’s described by LAFF organizers as “mind-bending.” June 20 & 24.
  • The Science of Sleep (2006) – Read the Certified Weird entry. Los Angelinos can treat themselves to this special screening of Michel Gondry‘s Certified Weird dream romance tonight only (June 15) at 7:30 PST.

Los Angeles Film Festival homepage.

NEW ON DVD:

Accident (2009): A Hong Kong killer nicknamed “the Brain” who assassinates targets by staging “accidents” turns paranoid and assumes someone is trying to kill him in the same fashion. Weirdness is uncertain but it’s described as one of those “reality or delusion?” movies. Buy Accident.

Don’t Go In The Woods (2010): An indie band goes into the woods and gets killed. This “slasher/musical” debut from Vincent D’Onfrio has been manhandled by critics and audiences alike, but the more we hear about it the more we suspect it might be somewhat surreal, even if only in a “so bad its weird” way. Buy Don’t Go In The Woods.

Harold and Maude (1971): Read the reader recommendation. The black comedy cult classic about the love affair between a death-obsessed teenager and an elderly holocaust survivor gets the Criterion Collection treatment it deserves. Buy Harold and Maude (Criterion Collection).

NEW ON BLU-RAY:

Accident (2009): See description in DVD above. Buy Accident [Blu-ray].

The Dark Crystal (1982)/Labyrinth (1986): Read our capsule reviews of The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. A nice double-Blu of Jim Henson’s two oh-so-nearly-weird children’s puppet show fantasies. With an art booklet from designer/art director Brian Froud. Buy The Dark Crystal/Labyrinth [Blu-ray].

Harold and Maude (1971): See description in DVD above. Buy Harold and Maude [Criterion Collection Blu-ray].

FREE (LEGITIMATE RELEASE) MOVIES ON YOUTUBE:

Goth (2003): The synopsis promises it will “blur the boundaries between reality-driven horror and the hallucinatory style of ‘Requiem For a Dream.'”  Maybe, maybe not, but it definitely delivers lots of skulls and candles, bad gore effects, stilted line deliveries, and topless girls in black lipstick. According to this film,there are three rules to being goth: “embrace the darkness, kill your fear, and live for death.” Ironically, these are also the first three planks of Mitt Romney’s campaign platform.  Watch Goth 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.

WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE

Japanophiles (particularly Edo-era Japanophiles) will want to tune into this channel Monday to watch Alain Escalle’s impressive 2011 short feature “The Tale of the Floating World” (preemptive content warning/teaser: this film contains dancing nude zombies). On Tuesday we’ll nod to the 2012 festival circuit with short reviews of the Florida noir Sun Don’t Shine and the dreamy nighttime New Orleans doc Tchoupitoulas. Wednesday gets weirder as we look at ‘s sexy psychedelic/feminist (and banned) feature Daisies, made in 1966 Czechoslovakia.  On Thursday we examine the decidedly non-psychedelic/non-feminist (42nd Street hit) Shanty Tramp, made in America one year later. That crazy lineup should keep you all entertained for another week.

Are people just getting too normal? For the second week in a row, we’re having trouble coming up with a worthy winner for our Weirdest Search Term of the Week contest. We’ll start out our survey of this week’s pathetic candidates with “american sexy lovely boy and girl living in together movies.com,” which illustrates a recurring feature we’ve always found somewhat odd: there is a species of searcher out there who always adds “.com” to the end of every query they type (as if to say “I want information about american sexy lovely boy and girl living in together movies, but not if it comes from a ‘.org’ domain.”) We follow that one with this search for “movie bad boy bubby (1993) monkey pron,” which sounds to us like the search of someone who’s really interested in monkey porn but wants to pretend they’re looking for something more socially acceptable. Without much to go on in terms of true weirdness, we picked “sexe video purple very weird girl wtih….” as our Weirdest Search Term of the Week. It left us wanting more: just what is it that the searcher hopes to find videos of very weird purple girls having sex with? He just leaves us hanging…

Here’s the ridiculously-long-and-ever-growing reader-suggested review queue: “The Tale of the Floating World” (next week!); “My Wrongs 8245-8249 and 117″; The Hour-glass Sanatorium [Saanatorium pod klepsidra] (out of print in Region 1, but we’ll keep looking); Liquid Sky Continue reading WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE

WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 6/8/2012

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.

SCREENINGS (Cinefamily, Los Angeles, June 8-14):

Celine and Julie Go Boating [Celine et Julie Vont en Bateau ] (1974): This fabled but seldom-seen French surrealist comedy about the fantasy lives of two Parisian women is available for viewing (in a newly restored 35mm print) by lucky Los Angelinos. A restoration followed by a tour sometimes indicates that a DVD release is imminent. Keep your fingers crossed… Celine and Julie Go Boating at Cinefamily.

FILM FESTIVALS: FLYOVER FILM FESTIVAL (June 7-10, Louisville, KY):

A blip on the festival circuit—it’s not called “Flyover” because major movies stop there—but worth noting because special guest “366weirdmovies” will personally be in attendance at several screenings. Anyone who misses their connecting flight and finds him or herself stranded in Louisville, KY this weekend will want to look for him (he’ll be sporting his stylish 366 Weird Movies t-shirt) at the following events:

  • Sun Don’t Shine – They’re keeping a tight lid on the plot of this road-trip dark romance described as “cryptic” and “eerily poetic,” but it did fare well at the SWSX festival. Director Amy Seimetz (who had a small role in Wristcutters: A Love Story) says the idea came from a recurring nightmare. Screening June 8.
  • Tchoupitoulas – Documentary following three wide-eyed young brothers stuck in New Orleans one night has been described as dreamlike and even (occasionally) surreal. Screening Jun 10.
  • The UnknownRead our capsule review. Louisville native Tod Browning‘s perverse melodrama about an “armless” knife thrower in love with a woman who can’t abide the touch of a man gets a new live soundtrack by dark ambient rockers Seluah. Screening June 9.

Flyover Film Festival official site.

IN DEVELOPMENT:

Mr Bean Possessed by Depe [Mr. Bean Kesurupan Depe] (2012?): Is big-time comedy star Rowan Atkinson (“Mr. Bean”) about to be cut into an Indonesian horror comedy starring alongside a Malaysian pop idol? The Jakarta Post seems to think so. And this blog reported that “world secretly actor” Atkinson was seen in Jakarta, and that during the “filming of the movie, Mr Bean guarded 25 bodyguards”(!) Don’t write the idea off: soon-to-be-legendary Indonesian producer K.K. Dheeraj (The Menstruating Ghost of Puncak) already convinced retired porn star Sasha Grey to phone in a performance to be inserted into a horror comedy. This is just the next step in his plan to dominate popular world cinema. We just have to see some of Dheeraj’s work for ourselves sometime!

NEW ON DVD:

Yellow Submarine (1968): Animated Beatles travel to Pepperland in a yellow submarine to defeat Blue Meanies in this druggy “children’s” film where “nothing is real.” This extras-packed release is an extremely welcome restoration of a movie that has been out of print for many years. Buy Yellow Submarine.

NEW ON BLU-RAY:

Natural Born Killers (1994)/Any Given Sunday (1999)/JFK (1991): Obviously, the ultraviolent hallucinogenic satire Killers is the main draw for our readers in this Oliver Stone triple features. If you like the other two not-very-weird films, this bargain offering may be a better option than a standalone Killers Blu. Buy Natural Born Killers/Any Given Sunday/JFK [Blu-ray].

Yellow Submarine (1968): See description in DVD above. Buy Yellow Submarine [Blu-ray].

FREE (LEGITIMATE RELEASE) MOVIES ON YOUTUBE:

The Naughty Stewardesses (1975): In the mood for a naughty softcore comic farce about sexy Seventies stewardesses? Would you change your mind if I told you it was directed by Al (Dracula vs. Frankenstein) Adamson? We probably would have passed on recommending this to you except that Bill Gibron of DVD Verdict described the plot as “so surreal that Salvador Dali’s estate is suing for copyright infringement.” Watch The Naughty Stewardesses 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.

READER RECOMMENDATION: CHRONOPOLIS (1982)

Reader review by Morgan Hoyle-Combs.

DIRECTED BY: Piotr Kamler

FEATURING:

PLOT: In a lost city, that may only be found in time, monolithic figures try to break free from

Still from Chronopolis (1982)

their continuous state of immortality by crafting, and destroying, time itself. Two keys to their demise are a curious white sphere and long legged explorer, both of who have no interest in putting an end to the gods of Chronopolis.

WHY IT SHOULD MAKE THE LIST: Piotr Kamler created one of the few silent stop-motion arthouse films synched with an electrical atmospheric soundtrack that has yet to take on a cult audience. Made with a 1920’s 35mm Debrie Parvo camera over a five year period, Kamler didn’t hesitate to tell a story though calm visuals and masterful animation which beckons a new face to the pure, dreamlike wonders that surrealist cinema has to offer.

COMMENTS: Everyone has some type of love for the strange, somewhere. When I was a teen, I recall searching for movies set in a dystopian steampunk world. The name Chronopolis popped up, but with very little info, let alone links. I shoved the title on YouTube, desperate to see fancy steampunk. Chronopolis was not that; in fact, the video was so pixelated I could hardly tell what was happening. I wanted more. After researching, I finally found the whole movie; it forever changed my perspective on viewing cinema and the world through an eye piece.

The fact that this stop motion movie is rarely spoken of and had a very little release adds more to it’s strange nature, almost like it was intended to be forgotten by time. In reality I think Kamler did not do a fantastic job of publicizing his work. A VHS edition was released from a now deceased video library in Boston in the mid 80’s. The movie earned it’s fame, however, through its inclusion on a 2007 DVD collection of Kamler’s shorts, although this version was cut by 20 minutes or so. Kamler originally stated that there were some gratuitous scenes when he initially released it to the public. I watched both, and found the 66 minute version to be a little darker Continue reading READER RECOMMENDATION: CHRONOPOLIS (1982)

WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE

Next week, we’ll start out get a rare (but always welcome) reader review of the visionary animated film Chronopolis (1982) (a French movie which, despite being very well-received on release, has sadly been unavailable forever on DVD). If it’s so-bad-they’re-weird all-star musical flops that float your bizarre boat, then we’ll have just what the doctor (er, sergeant?) ordered with a review of 1978’s disco-Beatles mashup misfire Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. In the “we watched this so you won’t have to” category we’ll offer up our thoughts on Chantal Akerman’s unwatchable 1975 classic Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles. And we’ll cap off the week with coverage of the despicably hilarious early exploitationer Child Bride (1938).

It was a terrible, terrible week for weird search terms used to locate the site. There has been a distressing outbreak of normality across the Internet. Nonetheless, we have a few items of note to bring you. First off, we really want to locate the movie this searcher is looking for: “french film from the 60s where a man boards himself up in a room and starts eating french police and everyone starts living the same way.” Although the description is a bit more generic, we also wouldn’t mind checking out a “weird movie with people who are weird.” The search for “grit thai zex,” on the other hand, sounds less appealing (we’d take some great Thai sex, though). In a weak week for weird search terms, though, we can always fall back on the inexhaustible supply of horny Googlers with odd fetishes and poor grammar to find our Weirdest Search Term of the Week. This week’s winner typed out the phrase “concert, the crowd of bus assault video sleep porn” (and, judging by Google’s image results, probably left very disappointed).

Here’s how the ridiculously-long-and-ever-growing-reader-suggested-review-queue stands: “My Wrongs 8245-8249 and 117″; The Hour-glass Sanatorium [Saanatorium pod klepsidra] (out of print in Region 1, but we’ll keep looking); Liquid Sky (re-review); 3 Dev Adam; Fantastic Planet; Continue reading WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE

WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 6/1/2012

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 DEVELOPMENT:

Planet Diva: Director John Hartman is asking for funds to expand his thirty minute post-apocalyptic/grindhouse/dominatrix short (which played the Fetish Film Festival last year) into a feature film. Most of the budget will be spent on converting riding mowers into alligator-shaped golf carts, and the director promises “I don’t mind taking the audience through a really dark and weird tunnel.” Planet Diva feature page at Indiegogo.

NEW ON DVD:

The Demoniacs [AKA Curse of the Living Dead] (1974): Two women are raped by pirates, and make a deal with the devil to come back from the dead to extract revenge. In January of this year Redemption released remastered versions of five films by surreal horror specialist . Several major titles were missing, but this three-DVD June drop (Rape of the Vampire and Requiem for a Vampire are also on tap) makes the majority of Rollin’s oeuvre easily available for the first time. Buy The Demoniacs (1974).

“The Found Footage Festival, Volume 5”: Another compilation of strange and frightening misfires from the golden years of direct-to-VHS video. Includes cats riding motorcycles, Linda Blair’s revenge video, and karaoke yetis singing beloved Christmas tunes. Buy “The Found Footage Festival: Volume 5.”

In the Realms of the Unreal (2004): Documentary on legendary outsider artist Henry Darger, a janitor who secretly wrote and illustrated a 15,000 page (!) fantasy novel called “The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What Is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion” that was only discovered after his death. Director Jessica Yu animates some of Dager’s beautiful but sometimes disturbing artwork, which mixes obsessive Catholic iconography with naked prepubescent girls—with tiny penises. Buy In The Realms Of The Unreal.

The Rape of the Vampire [Le Viol du Vampire] (1968): A psychoanalyst tries to convince four sisters that they are not undead bloodsuckers, but the Queen of the Vampires disagrees. Jean Rollin’s first feature was conceived of as a surrealist film rather than a horror movie; this farrago of vampires, sex and strangeness proved so lucrative that he built an entire career out of it. Buy The Rape of The Vampire.

Requiem for a Vampire [AKA Caged Virgins] (1973): Two young women fall into the clutches of an elderly vampire; he needs virgins to repopulate the nosferatu race, and being lesbians, they qualify… Requiem became one of Rollin’s best known movies because it was the only one that was dubbed into English and distributed in the U.S. (under the Caged Virgins title). Buy Requiem for a Vampire.

NEW ON BLU-RAY:

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

The Rape of The Vampire [Le Viol du Vampire] (1968): See description in DVD above. Buy The Rape of The Vampire [Blu-ray].

Requiem for a Vampire (1973): See description in DVD above. Buy Requiem for a Vampire [Blu-ray].

FREE (LEGITIMATE RELEASE) MOVIES ON YOUTUBE:

The Devil’s Backbone (2001): We view this creepy (but just short of weird)  ghost story set in a Spanish Civil War orphanage as the auteur’s warm-up for the Certified Weird Pan’s Labyrinth (2006). Many respectable people believe Backbone is the superior film, however. Watch The Devil’s Backbone fee 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.