Category Archives: Top 10 Lists – Guest Experts

ZEB HARADON’S REVISED TOP 10 WEIRD MOVIES

EDITOR’S NOTE: Zeb Haradon, writer/director/star of the Certified Weird Elevator Movie, has asked us to submit a revisedTop 10 Weird Movies” list.  Of course we complied without hesitation. (Here’s his [more conventional] original list).

A while ago I was asked to put together a list of 10 weird movies.  I did this pretty quickly without thinking much about it.  It was, I think, too hastily written, as if I was just writing an email.  Also the movies, while all excellent, were not all particularly “weird” enough.  I decided to put together this better list.

1. The Room – The plot of this movie sounds fairly straightforward and is hardly worth mentioning. It’s a domestic drama about a couple where the woman has an affair and the man becomes jealous and then finds out. The strangeness is in the tone and execution. This cult movie is widely known as an unintentional comedy “so bad it’s good”, but I think there’s something else going on. Notice how the dialog seems to come out of nowhere, how characters seem to say their lines with no particular motivation, or have motivations that change from moment to moment. I think what we’re seeing here is what a movie looks like to an autistic person who is not aware of the inner lives of other people. I think the filmmaker is making a movie of what society looks like to him, where everyone is made of cardboard and another human’s personality is unfathomable.

Still from Happy Days Reunion Special2. “Happy Days Reunion Special” – This “Happy Days” reunion special, made just a few years after the series ended, never saw the light of day, but a copy was leaked (bad quality with time codes), and you can find it if you know where to look. This was made in 1989, and also set in 1989, so it’s supposed to take place 30 or so years after the original. 90% of this hour long reunion is just dopey sitcom B.S., but there’s a jaw-droppingly incongruous subplot involving Fonzie discovering that he has become infected with the AIDS virus. This was probably due to a well intentioned effort to talk about the disease, but “Happy Days Reunion” was not the place to do it, which is probably why this ill conceived special never saw the light of day.

3. Silhouette – This movie consists of a series of explicit sex scenes, and the sounds and dialog are right out of hard core pornography, but the only images you ever see are shadows of the Continue reading ZEB HARADON’S REVISED TOP 10 WEIRD MOVIES

ZEB HARADON’S TOP 10 WEIRD MOVIES

Zeb Haradon, the writer/director of the Certified Weird Elevator Movie and the bizarre documentary Waiting for NESARA, graciously agreed to provide us with a list of his ten favorite weird movies.

The Hawks and The Sparrows (1966) – It’s just a really funny, strange, under-appreciated comedy with several gags that are in a class by themselves and have no precedent elsewhere.

Edvard Munch (1974) – This is the only Peter Watkins movie I like much but it makes up for all his other boring preachy movies. I don’t know exactly how he does this but the style is perfectly in sync with the content, and the 3+ hour length is never boring, really effective movie at setting a mood of a life with one or two good things in it, always out of reach.

Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975) – Pasolini said he was making some kind of statement about capitalism or something with this movie, but to me it’s the best metaphor for public school I’ve ever seen on film, complete with sadistic teachers, fecal cafeteria food, other students turned collaborator, culminating in a graduation ceremony. A real horror movie where the monster is loss of freedom.

Careful (1992) – The first time I saw this I turned it off in the middle. Later I couldn’t get it out of my head. I picked it up again and now it’s one of my favorite movies and Maddin is one of my favorite directors. Watching this, and also his Cowards Bend The Knee, you get the sense he’s hiding some horrible scar underneath the surrealism. Aesthetically important in showing that a certain style isn’t worth giving up on just because something newer is available.

Sick: The Life and Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist (1997) – A great documentary that touches on universal themes by focusing on a peculiar idiosyncratic subject, about a guy dying of cystic fibrosis who tries to take ownership of his inescapable pain by falling in love with it and becoming a masochist.  Kind of a classic tragedy about someone who cannot escape his fate.

Last Feast of the Crocodiles (1996)- I saw this wildlife documentary in college and shortly afterward realized it was more than just another National Geographic special to watch on a bored Sunday, but I could never remember the name of it and spent years trying to find Continue reading ZEB HARADON’S TOP 10 WEIRD MOVIES

JAMES FELIX MCKENNEY’S TOP 10 WEIRD MOVIES

James Felix McKenney is the director of the campy cannibal fest CanniBallistic! (2002), the ghost story The Off Season (2004), the retro sci-fi robot flick Automatons (1996), and the just-released Satan Hates You (2009), a modern Christian scare movie that plays like a Jack Chick tract brought to life (view the trailer here).  You can read up on his projects at his production company website, monsterpants.net.

A top 10 list! I love making movie lists but narrowing it down my favorite ten weird ones was a real challenge!

Films by David Lynch, Alejandro Jodorowsky, José Mojica Marins, Guy Maddin, Ken Russell and Andrzej Zulawski should be included on EVERY list of this type, but I’m guessing that most visitors to this site already have them as part of their own top ten.  I also should have put a Jean Rollin film somewhere on here, but which one?  Lost in New York, maybe?  After eliminating these directors’ works from my list, I still found myself with over 30 movies to choose from.

Hausu should also be on here, but my colleague Graham Reznick recently included it on his top ten, giving me an excuse to trim my list down further.   Begotten, Phantasm, and The Wicker Man are among of my favorite movies in the world, but have already made this wonderful web site’s master list.  Other films that didn’t make it to my top ten were: The Last Movie (one of my favorite films of all time), Rubber’s Lover, The Flew, Daft Punk’s Electroma, Frankenstein’s Bloody Nightmare, Blood Freak, Arrebato, We Are the Strange, Zardoz, Red to Kill, Jigoku, Dementia (AKA Daughter of Horror), Gusher No Binds Me (AKA Hellevator), Abhay and Goodbye, 20th Century.

Anyway, here’s my (sort of) Top Ten.  I’m sure I’m forgetting at least one of my all-time favorites.  These are the films that make my brain hurt while putting a smile on my face.  Thanks for asking.

Deafula (1974): I used to have friends over to my house every Wednesday for a movie night.  Of all of the oddities I subjected my guests to, none ever went over quite as well as Deafula.

The awkward storytelling and bottom-of-the-barrel production values of this bizarre, so-bad-it’s-good film are almost enough to warrant a spot on any weird movie list. But when you add the fact that this is a vampire movie for the hearing impaired in which Continue reading JAMES FELIX MCKENNEY’S TOP 10 WEIRD MOVIES

GRAHAM REZNICK’S 10 FAVORITE WEIRD FILMS

Graham Reznick is the director of the extremely weird 2008 feature I Can See You, described as “a psychedelic campfire tale” and certified by us as one of the 366 Best Weird Movies of All Time. Graham’s personal homepage is here, and you can find I Can See You‘s official site here. [UPDATE 3/11/2011: Just over a year later, we note that three of Graham’s suggestions—Performance, Altered States and Hausu—have been certified as among the weirdest of all time, with more to come, we’re sure.]

I am honored to have been asked to provide a list of Weird Movies for 366 Weird Movies.com!  For my list, I decided I would compile a group of weird films that I always feel like watching, no matter what my mood, or how many times I’ve seen them.  They may not be the “best” movies, or even the strangest—but they all contain at least a touch of the sublime (except, perhaps, #10), and they’re all my favorite weird films.  Many of these I saw when I was young, and are major influences on my own work and approach to filmmaking.  Some may not, at first glance, even seem that weird—but I hope within this context you’ll be able to enjoy and appreciate them for the inherent weirdness that they contain!

Listed in no particular order:

1) PERFORMANCE (Donald Cammell and Nic Roeg, 1968-70, UK)

It’s hard to even describe what makes this movie so special.  A gangster on the run hides out with a formerly passionate rock star (Mick Jagger in his first, and perhaps best, role) in swingin’ 60’s London.  Sounds simple, but it’s so wrought with the cultural tensions of 1968 that it becomes an ultra dense diamond of sheer psychedelic freak out.  Several viewings encouraged!

2) TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME (David Lynch, 1994, USA)

I could probably put Lynch’s entire catalogue on here so for simplicity’s sake I’ll just pick one.  I oscillate daily on my favorite David Lynch movie/production, yet more often than not I end up here:  FIRE WALK WITH ME was the first Lynch film I saw, when I was about 13, and it was the first time I understood that movies could be weird AND good.  If you’ve seen the show, this movie is NOT like the show.  The show can GET dark at times, while exploring the wake left in a troubled teen’s death, but this film is DIRECTLY FROM the subjective, paranoid, and dysfunctionally emotional perspective of that troubled teen – in the six days leading up to her death.  It is the HEART of the mystery that forms the show, and it’s an amazing experience that can at once be read as a strange criss-crossing of inter-dimensional signals, or a beautifully moving metaphor for harrowing sexual molestation.  It’s never failed to give me chills.

3) VIDEODROME (David Cronenberg, 1983, CANADA)

“Because it has something that you don’t have, Max. It has a philosophy. And that is Continue reading GRAHAM REZNICK’S 10 FAVORITE WEIRD FILMS