Scott Dwyer is a writer and filmmaker living in upstate NY with his black cat Haxan. His weird short film “Stillborn” is available to view on Youtube. He also runs the weird horror in film and literature website The Plutonian.
I have been a fan of weird films pretty much my whole life. I remember wandering around video stores in the 1990’s looking for strange thrills, surreal dreams, bleak zombie apocalypses, and poetic perversions. The thrill of finding a strange film on the rack that you have never heard of is a pleasure lost in this modern era of Wikipedia and YouTube.
The true connoisseur of the weird is the hardest to please. Most films that try to be weird fall flat. Usually the best weird films are made by people who are just so weird that they don’t realize how weird their visions are, like Manos: The Hands of Fate. I classify the best weird movies as films that you can throw on late at night, fire up your hallucinogenic of choice, and see which of your friends gets freaked out and bounce, and which ones stay, lost in the infectious signals emanating from your television. Weird films tend to have a nonlinear logic to them, a kind of alien ambience. Sometimes you can’t tell if you are still watching a film, or have fallen asleep and are dreaming. Weird films are transgressive to those not into them, and objects of obsession to those who love being lost in a nightmare. So here is a list of my top ten, in no particular order, weird films that have somehow injected themselves into my psyche and force me to re-watch them repeatedly., or who are held back by budget or other factors and their film just ends up this strange offspring they did not intend, like
- The Black Cat (1934) – A couple traveling find themselves somehow caught in a tragic revenge story that seems to have emerged from some fevered horror fan’s wet dream. A revenge obsessed Bela Lugosi and a satanic Boris Karloff square off against each other in a art deco complex built over an old battlefield, eventually sending the whole film diving headfirst into a self-annihilating abyss. The plot and the acting are so over the top that it goes way beyond the Gothic horror that the director Edgar G. Ulmer may have been going for and heads straight into bad drug territory.
- Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989) – Racing camera, exploding transformations, a pounding industrial soundtrack, never has a weird film been so in your face. This film was my first exposure to the very strange field of Japanese cult films. If Eraserhead is a slow burn weird film, Tetsuo is a hyperkinetic burst of corrupted bodies, cold steel, and black blood.
- Mystics in Bali (1981) – The image of a witch’s head flying around, dragging its spinal cord, looking for fetuses to suck out of pregnant women’s wombs, is the zenith of Continue reading SCOTT DWYER’S TOP 10 WEIRD MOVIES