Category Archives: Miscellanea

WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 8/18/2017

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):

Dave Made a Maze (2017): 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. The rare film to debut at the low-budget Slamdance festival and still earn a relatively wide release. Dave Made a Maze official site.

Lemon (2017): An unsuccessful, socially-inept jerk actor loses his blind girlfriend and finds a new interracial relationship in this indie comedy. Probably more in the quirky vein, but at least one critic called it “deeply weird.” Lemon official site.

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CERTIFIED WEIRD (AND OTHER) REPERTORY SCREENINGS:

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975). We won’t list all the screenings of this audience-participation classic separately. You can use this page to find a screening near you.

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 8/11/2017

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):

The Ghoul (2017): A police detective goes undercover as the patient of a suspicious psychotherapist while investigating a series of bizarre murders that leave victims in an undead state. You have to take notice of any psychological thriller that gets a good review in “The Fortean Times.” The Ghoul official site.

Planetarium (2016): A movie director seeks to exploit two psychic sisters ( and Lily-Rose Depp) in between-the-wars Paris. Reviews suggest that it’s a mess, but perhaps a somewhat weird mess. Planetarium Facebook page.

IN DEVELOPMENT (completed):

Mother (2017): Paramount released the first trailer for ‘s Mother (starring Jennifer Lawrence) this past week. Anticipation is sky-high for this “psychological horror” movie, despite the fact that there have been few to no leaks about the plot. The trailer suggests weirdness is still a live possibility. It premieres at the Venice Film Festival in a couple of weeks, so we’ll know soon enough. Mother official Facebook page.

NEW ON DVD:

“Seijun Suzuki’s Taisho Trilogy”: Full of eroticism, ghosts, and mysterious widows, this set collects three surreal period films from Japanese maverick : Zigeunerweisen (1980), Kageroza (1981), and Yumeji (1991). All set during the Taisho era (1912-1926), these three movies have never been released on Blu-ray before and have been long out-of-print on DVD. Buy “Seijun Suzuki’s Taisho Trilogy” [DVD/Blu-ray].

NEW ON BLU-RAY:

Re-Animator (1985): ‘s influential 80s black comedy adaptation of ‘s story about a couple of mad scientists raising the dead is an outrageous hoot and a seminal cult film. Arrow Video pulls out all the stops with this 2-Blu Limited Edition that includes the original cut and the much-longer “integral” version (it’s complicated), along with the commemorative booklet and reams of extras you’d expect. Buy Re-Animator [Limited Edition Blu-ray].

“Seijun Suzuki’s Taisho Trilogy”: See description in DVD above. Set includes three DVDs and three Blu-rays. Buy “Seijun Suzuki’s Taisho Trilogy” [DVD/Blu-ray].

CERTIFIED WEIRD (AND OTHER) REPERTORY SCREENINGS:

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975). We won’t list all the screenings of this audience-participation classic separately. You can use this page to find a screening near you.

BOOKS:

“The Holy Mountain” – A full-length appreciation of Alejandro Jodorowsky‘s mystical masterpiece by Latin American literature professor Alessandra Santos. We haven’t gotten out hands on it yet, but we do now this site’s review is cited in the bibliography.  Buy “The Holy Mountain (Cultographies)”.

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.

2017 FANTASIA FESTIVAL: RECAP

Before and During:

When I volunteered to cover the  some months ago, I immediately started to worry a bit. It was something new for me, utterly unprecedented in length and scope. It was ambitious, too, as I’ve averaged less than two reviews a month since I was signed up here at 366. “Apprehensive” is how I’d label the sensation that increasingly gripped me as the start approached. Fortunately, my fears were for nothing — and as tiring as the “work” was, it also proved incredibly energizing.

Over the course of my three weeks in Montréal, I kept wonderfully busy and met dozens of interesting and varied individuals. The film-makers, many of them having their debuts, were brimming with energy; the audience, too, was brimming with energy — eager both to “Meow”[1] before a screening and to enjoy their investment of time and money; the other members of the press were eager to get a scoop on the New and Exciting. My long walks to and from the screenings were well worth the worn-out footwear, as each trek to either the Auditorium des Diplômés de la SGWU or the Salle J.A. DeSève brought the promise of transportation to something on the cusp of transcendent. By necessity not every movie brought an exciting feast for my eyes and ears, but more often than not, they did.

The Good:

All told, I watched 43 feature movies at one theater or another, three screeners on my computer, and four feature-length collections of short films: 50 in total, if my math is correct (and that doesn’t include the one and only movie I walked out of). I’ve already spoken well of Lowlife and Sequence Break, as well as others in the travelogue, but there were also largely unmentioned spectacles that amazed. and ‘s nerve-wracker The Endless was an end-of-Festival highlight[2] ; Tommy Swerdlow’s A Thousand Junkies deserves far more than the one sentence I dedicated to it (although it’s probably not quite a 366 kind of movie); and I can claim to have been among the first in the world to see a blemish-free, 4K remastered Suspiria in a packed house teeming with ravenous fans. God bless my Press Badge, as it got me into almost five-hundred dollars’-worth of screenings, nearly all of which would have been worth the outlay. The adjustments, scribbles, and check-marks in the photo show the daily challenge of seeing as many of the right things as possible.

The Bad:

With the kind of tally I reached, there had to be some duffers. I will never for the life of me understand the appeal of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, a poorly done, cheesy comedy with vapid characters that adds insult to injury by being unfunny in addition to being un-developed. 68 Kill brought about my greatest clash with the rest of the audience. I’ve put forward my arguments earlier, so I’ll just reiterate that Trent Haaga’s violence-comedy committed the greatest cult movie sin: trying too, too hard to be ludicrous and hilarious with little to show for the effort. And for sheer tedium-sans-payoff, nothing took the cake more than the languidly paced suspense whats-it, Town in a Lake. That I enjoyed a by-the-numbers action-drama like Darkland more than those ostensibly weird and out-there travesties speaks volumes for those films’ ineptitude.

All Told:

The Fantasia Film Festival was a wonderful experience and I am thrilled to have been a part of it. I was able to get in on the ground-floor with a lot of rising talent, all while spreading the gospel of 366 Weird Movies. It was a tiring three weeks that kept me busy eight-plus hours a day — and I can’t wait to go again for Fantasia Festival 2018.

  1. It was only toward the end of the final week that I finally got the history of this bizarre tradition of the audience “meowing” when the lights first go down. A few times was fine; by the time it reached 40+ performances, a bit less-so. []
  2. Capsule review coming soon. []

WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE

Only 72 more titles left to Certify Weird!

Next week starts off with Alfred Eaker bringing you a 1971 drive-in double feature: stars in ‘s execrable Castle of Fu Manchu, and in the somewhat better Jekyll/Hyde adaptation I, Monster. Also on tap: still decompressing from his three-week movie binge, Giles Edwards looks back at 2017’s Fantasia Festival. We’ll also bring you our first look at ‘s latest, Endless Poetry (courtesy of Rafael Moreira), while Shane Wilson and G. Smalley chip away at that massive reader-suggested review queue, tackling ‘s Me and You and Everyone We Know and Bollywood’s take on the mindbender, No Smoking, respectively.

Here’s our weekly look at the weirdest search terms that brought visitors to the site this week, a feature we like to call “Weirdest Search Terms of the Week.” First off, we’re not sure about the cause and effect is supposed to work in “a action movie from the early 2000s about a girls who is impregnated by a creature and give birth to it.”  There’s also this one, offered in an unknown but strange-sounding language: “zex fonkey maying.” In a similar vein is the almost-sweet but still incoherent “zex love kusing.” We were both intrigued and weirded-out by our official choice for Weirdest Search Term of the Week: “film tentang two men found a wild girl. they have sex with her by rotation and together, but something strange and frightening was in this girl…” Nice use of the closing elipsis, but we’re not sure why you want to generate suspense in a web search (maybe the searcher thinks Google will be more motivated to process the query because it wants to find out what happens next?)

Here’s how our ridiculously-long reader-suggested review queue stands:  Me and You and Everyone We Know (next week!); No Smoking (next week!); Beauty and the Beast [Panna a Netvor] (1978); 1 Day; Continue reading WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE

WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 8/4/2017

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):

68 Kill: Bad-taste caper black comedy about a lowlife and his girlfriend who decides to steal cash from her sugar daddy. Reviews were generally impressed by its cult movie aspirations, although our own Giles Edwards was unimpressed (“it fails more often than not“). 68 Kill at Snowfort Pictures.

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NEW ON DVD:

Colossal (2016): An alcoholic woman (Anne Hathaway) discovers that the appearance of a giant monster in Seoul coincides perfectly with her blackouts in this absurd allegory. We missed it in theaters, but now is the perfect chance to get caught up. Buy Colossus.

NEW ON BLU-RAY:

Colossal (2016): See description in DVD above. Buy Colossus [Blu-ray].

CERTIFIED WEIRD (AND OTHER) REPERTORY SCREENINGS:

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975). We won’t list all the screenings of this audience-participation classic separately. You can use this page to find a screening near you.

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.

2017 FANTASIA FESTIVAL: MOVIES & MAYHEM IN MONTREAL, VOL. 3

7/26 : Throwback Thursday …I Mean, Wednesday

Still from Eternal Evil (AKA The Blue Man)Tucked far out of the way of anything else at the Fantasia Festival is the “Cinematheque Quebecoise” theater. After forty minutes of searching and using the secret knock to get through the door, I was finally able to get seated for Eternal Evil (AKA The Blue Man). Directed in the mid-’80s by George Mihalka, Eternal Evil tells a dark tale of murder and astral projection. Our hero Paul Sharpe spends a lot of time with his shirt unbuttoned, and wonders why those close to him keep ending up dead. The answer stems from an interview he did with an elderly couple who claimed to achieve immortality by shifting to new bodies when their current vessels had worn out. A cult hit in its native Canada, the ’80s cheesiness was fortunately outweighed by the interesting story and clever premise. Not really something to Certify, though.

Poster for God Tole Me To (1976)That honor might go to ‘s 1976 cop-drama/alien-abduction picture, God Told Me To. A series of mass murders take place in downtown New York City, only connected by one thing: the perpetrators informing a policeman after the fact that they did because “God told [them] to.” Police detective Peter Nicholas is convinced there’s something to their confessions and digs deeper, discovering both an ominous entity at the heart of the matter as well as some strange truth about his own nature. Quite Certifiable, with one of the “Three Weird Things” necessarily being “glowing furnace-room messiah.”

7/27 : “Well, all the movies can’t be good. You’ve got to expect that once in a while.”

I suppose I really shouldn’t complain. It took over two weeks for Fantasia to give me a swing-and-a-miss evening out. I had high hopes for the Filipino Town in a Lake, Jet Leyco’s (ever-so-slightly) bizarre crime drama concerning the murder of one girl and the concurrent disappearance of another. The first hour is a humdrum, if capable, drama surrounding the mystery: reporters rush to the small town as the news “trends”, politicians work hard to take advantage of the tragedy, and, as is so often the case, the police have no real leads. It takes over an hour for something weird to happen—and right on its heels, the movie ends with a “twist”. An out-of-the-blue, confounding, and not terribly inspired “twist”. Though my goal here is to find new movies that are out of the ordinary, I can’t help but think that Town in a Lake would have been better as a straight-up procedural. As it stands, it’s as if got particularly lazy and, in Continue reading 2017 FANTASIA FESTIVAL: MOVIES & MAYHEM IN MONTREAL, VOL. 3

WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 7/28/2017

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.

NEW ON DVD:

Bag Boy Lover Boy (2014): An art photographer specializing in “unusual” human specimens takes a slow-witted hot dog vendor for his muse. It’s got a grimy, shot-in-NYC grindhouse feel to it. Buy Bag Boy Lover Boy.

Ghost in the Shell (2017): Read Shane Wilson’s capsule review. You’re better off with the animated original, unless you just really want to see Scarlett Johansson in a skintight bodysuit. Buy Ghost in the Shell.

NEW ON BLU-RAY:

Bag Boy Lover Boy (2014): See description in DVD above. Buy Bag Boy Lover Boy [Blu-ray].

Ghost in the Shell (2017): See description in DVD above. Buy Ghost in the Shell [Blu-ray].

CERTIFIED WEIRD (AND OTHER) REPERTORY SCREENINGS:

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975). We won’t list all the screenings of this audience-participation classic separately. You can use this page to find a screening near you.

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.

2017 FANTASIA FESTIVAL: MOVIES & MAYHEM IN MONTREAL, VOL. 2

7/19 & 7/20 : Preparing for another Long Weekend

Although it may come back to haunt me, I did not brave the swarms of fan-boys and girls that flocked to ‘s new space epic Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Wednesday evening. I did, however, stay out late to catch Ufuk Genç’s German-language martial-arts movie, Plan B. It was truly “a mix of action und comedy”, but unlike Rainier Wolfcastle’s mediocre McBain: Let’s Get Silly!Plan B has no shortage of hilarity (and, indeed, action). A trio of wannabe kung fu movie stars are trapped doing dirty work for a gang of vicious criminals and have constant run-ins with another gang of vicious criminals. Police detective Robert Kopp looms in the background wondering what these idiots could possibly be up to.

Still from Free and Easy (2017)On Thursday night, just one feature—a weird one. Geng Jun’s Free and Easy plays like it was shot from a screenplay whipped up by when he was doing his post-college backpacking trip around Northeast China. (Note: there is no record of Beckett back-packing around Northeast China). In a ghost town of some dozen people, around half of the inhabitants seem to be con-men; two bored policemen encounter victims of knock-out soap (literally). Free and Easy had a fair number of laughs, but as the screen darkened, the normally clapping crowd was silent, not quite knowing what to do: there was one clap, then silence during the incongruous Mandarin rap song that played over the credits.

7/21 : Triple Feature; All Hail “NongShim”

Technically it’s 7/22: just returned from the final film of a triple feature this evening, and I feel like my brain should be soaked in a cool bucket of ice. Things started around 7 o’clock with the Cambodian jailhouse action extravaganza Jailbreak. Very martial arts, not very weird, but those who like well choreographed (and non-hyper-edited) combat should check it out.

On the heels of this violence was some more violence—of less quantity, but far more grisly. Lowlife is looking to be the high point of the Festival, and I’ll remark more on it later once I’ve had a chance to shut down. Suffice it to say, I think America has a new go-to director for unsettling violence fused with smart script-writing and quirky wit. Lowlife also gives us one of the nastiest bad guys to come out on film in a long while.

Rounding out the evening was the hyper-bizarre, hyper-violent, and ultimately tender movie, Kudoku Meatball Machine. This film introduced me to the creativity of , whom I will have the pleasure of interviewing in under ten hours. I’ll provide details on the last two later this weekend. Now, though, I’m signing off and passing out.

7/22 : Laid-back Conversations

On Saturday-proper, I had intended to watch three movies: Dead Continue reading 2017 FANTASIA FESTIVAL: MOVIES & MAYHEM IN MONTREAL, VOL. 2

WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE

It’s a somewhat funky week upcoming on 366 Weird Movies. Alfred Eaker starts us off with a castle-themed 1964 drive-in double feature of Horror Castle and Castle of the Living Dead. Giles Edwards is busy at the Fantasia Film Festival and will be bringing us his weekly check-in, plus a bonus review and interview (or two). Finally, G. Smalley brings in the promised funk with reviews of the blaxploitation parody/soft porn feature Black Devil Doll and, on a more positive note, Melvin Van Peebles’ extravagant 1971 experiment Sweet Sweetback’s  Baadasssss Song.

Speaking of funky, it’s time for our survey of the weirdest search terms that brought people to the site this week, a feature we call “Weirdest Search Terms of the Week.” First off, we think it’s obvious that the guy who searched for “(((incest drama))) online” early in the week and the guy looking for “((incest film))) 1979 mubi” on the weekend are the same person. Right? Or is putting incest search terms inside multiple parentheses a thing now?[1]) [Ed. Apparently “triple parenthesis” are a “thing”; see the comments section.] We also noted other perverts with bad spelling searching for “japanes house keeper with ownar lebens sex .com”. But we’ll give the official award for Weirdest Search Term of the Week to “sex parody hit femors movies.com,” which we like to think is a search for x-rated parodies of hit movies about femurs.

Here’s how our ridiculously-long reader-suggested review queue stands: Black Devil Doll (next week!); Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song (next week!); Beauty and the Beast [Panna a Netvor] (1978); 1 Continue reading WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE

  1. (Maybe he thinks it’s like whispering on the Internet? []

WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 7/21/2017

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 (WIDE RELEASE):

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017): Two space operatives investigate a mystery in a city that serves as a galactic cultural crossroads. ‘s latest attempt to crack the U.S. blockbuster market has gotten mixed reviews, but also drawn some complaints/plaudits for its “trippiness.” Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets official site.

IN THEATERS (LIMITED RELEASE):

The Girl Without Hands [Le Jeune Fille sans Mains] (2016): Animated version of the Grimm fairy tale about a girl who loses her hands to the Devil. Looking more like a series of overlapping art canvases than a traditional animated film, this one is drawing universal praise. The Girl Without Hands U.S. distributor site.

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Kuso (2017): It looks like a psychedelic cable access variety show set in the aftermath of an L.A. earthquake. The grotesque bodily fluid imagery mixed with narrative incomprehensibility inspired many a walkout during its not-quite-succès de scandale debut at Sundance. Kuso official site.

The Untamed (2016): Erotic Mexican horror about an unhappy marriage and some sort of creature in the woods. It made enough of a splash on the festival circuit to earn a limited release; we hope it’s not too tame. The Untamed official site.

NEW ON DVD:

Buster’s Mal Heart (2017): Read Alex Kittle’s review. A hermit ranting about “the Inversion” has a couple of other possible identities in this mindbender. Buy Buster’s Mal Heart.

Stalker (1979): Read the Certified Weird review! The Criterion Collection releases ‘s newly-restored, mesmerizingly ambiguous sci-fi feature; special features (mostly interviews) are on a second disc. Buy Stalker.

NEW ON BLU-RAY:

Buster’s Mal Heart (2017): See description in DVD above. Buy Buster’s Mal Heart [Blu-ray].

Stalker (1979): See description in DVD above. The movie and bonus content fit on one Blu-ray. Buy Stalker [Blu-ray].

CERTIFIED WEIRD (AND OTHER) REPERTORY SCREENINGS:

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975). We won’t list all the screenings of this audience-participation classic separately. You can use this page to find a screening near you.

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.