Next week, Alfred Eaker introduces you to the oddity of The Conqueror, the 1956 RKO flop notable for two things: the incredible miscasting of as Genghis Khan, and the fact that a statistically-unlikely number its cast and crew died of cancer after filming at a site used for nuclear weapons tests. Then we move into our 2017 release wrap-up as Giles Edwards reviews the Criterion Collection edition of ‘s solo directing debut, 1977’s Jabberwocky, while G. Smalley brings two items to your attention: BBC America’s television adaptation of Douglas Adams’ cult novel series “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency,” and the new release of ‘s long out-of-print 1968 poultry-farming giallo Death Laid an Egg. There’s plenty to catch up on this week as you gear up for the holidays.

People search for bizzare and depraved things on the Internet, and they often come here looking for them (usually by mistake). Every week we highlight the strangest queries we see, in a running feature we call “Weirdest Search Term of the Week.” This week we start off with “woman cuts hole in propane tank climbs in and finds odd creatures, it was a movie,” which we only find weird because the searcher specified they were looking for a movie about finding odd creatures in a propane tank—as opposed to, we suppose, a news story about finding odd creatures in a propane tank. Next comes a perfect example of a type of weird search we see over and over: “jav villges wief sex story movies.com.” English-as-a-second-language spelling: check. Extremely specific erotic scenario: check. Senselessly placing “.com” at the end of the search: check. A classic example of the genre. But for our official Weirdest Search Term of the Week, we’ll go with “lady helipilot forced for sex with her villon but she was try to kill him in knife in english movie.” Perfectly deranged; all it’s missing is the “.com” at the end.

Here’s how the ridiculously-long reader-suggested review queue now stands: Jabberwocky (next week!); One Eyed Monster; Save the Green Planet; Crimewave (d. Sam Raimi); The Annunciation (1984); Bad Continue reading WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE


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.


The Disaster Artist (2017): A fictional account of the making of the notorious disaster The Room, starring 2013 Weirdest Actor winner James Franco as . OK, it’s not quite the heights of bizarreness we aspire to here, but you know you want to see it. In major cities today, with a wider rollout coming next week. The Disaster Artist official site.

Psychopaths (2017):  brings us a “psychedelic fever dream” of four maniacs possessed by the spirit of a serial killer, let loose on a one-night rampage. Reviews have generally been of the “we’re glad they tried something different, but…” variety. Psychopaths official site.

The Shape of Water (2017):  ‘s adult fairy tale about a cleaning woman who falls in love with a merman. We suspect it will be marginal to our coverage (though we also expect it will be excellent); at least one reviewer used the “w”-word, however. Like Disaster Artist, it will go into wider release next week. The Shape of Water official site.


Somebody’s Darling (2016): A fraternity president becomes obsessed with a fellow student. Microbudget psychological horror with contemporary social relevance.  Rent Somebody’s Darling.


City of Pirates (2018): Not a version of 1983 classic of the same name, this is instead a politically-incorrect Brazilian cartoon. Or at least, that’s how it started, before the author of the original property, Laerte Coutinho, underwent gender-reassignment surgery and rejected her old work and characters. Her objections put the film on hold for almost two decades, but rather than abandon it, adapter Otto Guerra went the metafiction route and wrote Coutinho’s character into the script. No idea if this will create a magnificently weird movie, but the backstory is certainly a hit. Read about it at Variety.

Forbidden Zone 2 (20??): No firm update on ‘s planned sequel to his Certified Weird classic original set in the Sixth Dimension, in a recent Facebook post he gives a few updates and swears he’s still working on it (“it is my holy mission to share this film’s music and absurdity with posterity. THIS FILM WILL BE MY LEGACY!“) Stay tuned to the Forbidden Zone 2 Facebook page for future updates in the future.


Woodshock (2017): A grieving woman () smokes synthetic cannabinoids in the woods and hallucinates a lot. It’s savaging by critics makes it possibly A24’s first critical flop. Buy Woodshock.


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


“The Usurper King”: Elevator Movie‘s hasn’t made another fictional film since his 2004 debut, but he has written a couple of absurdist novels in the meantime. His latest involves an alternate universe where Ted Bundy is never apprehended for his murders, and becomes President; the protagonist discovers a clue to the Chief Executive’s secret while competing on a game show that involves predicting the future by reading animal entrails. There may be some references to the current political climate. Buy “The Usurper King”.


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.


Bara no sôretsu 

“Elle est dans ma voix, la criarde!
C’est tout mon sang ce poison noir!
Je suis le sinistre miroir
Où la mégère se regarde.”

“It’s in my voice, the raucous jade!
It’s in my blood’s black venom too!
I am the looking-glass, wherethrough
Megera sees herself portrayed!”

–Baudelaire, “L’Héautontimorouménos,” Fleurs du Mal (English translation Roy Campbell)


DIRECTED BY: Toshio Matsumoto

FEATURING: Peter (Pîtâ), Yoshio Tsuchiya, Osamu Ogasawara, Toyosaburo Uchiyama

PLOT: Eddie is a rising star in a Japanese drag cabaret; he is having an affair with the bar’s owner, Gondo. The club’s “madame,” Leda, who is also sleeping with Gondo, grows jealous of Eddie and devises a revenge against him. This story is served up out-of-sequence, however, and often broken up by stand-alone vignettes and documentary-style interviews where the actors are questioned about their alternative lifestyles and their roles in the film.

Still from Funeral Parade of Roses (1969)


  • This was director Toshio Matsumoto’s first feature film after producing nine shorts (mostly documentaries). Matsumoto would continue to work largely in the short format: among his thirty-four credited directorial works, only four are categorized as full-length features. He was also a critic and theorist whose collected writings span six volumes. He died in 2017.
  • The “gay boys” were played by non-professional actors from the Tokyo homosexual community. The star, Peter, developed an acting career afterwards, advancing far enough to land the role of the Fool in ‘s Ran.
  • The Japanese word meaning “roses” was also derisive slang for homosexuals.
  • The avant-garde short screened within the film is “Ecstasis,” which also stars Peter and Toyosaburo Uchiyama.  Matsumoto released it separately.

INDELIBLE IMAGE: Eddie’s face, not androgynous, but wholly feminine, though glamed-up with an array of tiaras, false eyelashes, and decorative star stickers. We particularly like the scene where Leda (dressed as a geisha) is admiring herself in the mirror (and silently incanting “Snow White”‘s “mirror, mirror, on the wall…”), as an image of Eddie strides up from behind, invading Leda’s looking-glass in his black evening gown.

THREE WEIRD THINGS: Ladies at a urinal; drag queen shootout; too-literal Oedipus complex

WHAT MAKES IT WEIRD: Helped along by an earnestly queer cast of amateurs, Funeral Parade of Roses is a masquerade drag burlesque, a tragic and absurd procession of countercultural confusion among “gay boys” in a tumultuous Japan. A psychedelic-era movie set in Tokyo’s underground homosexual community that takes its bearings from “Oedipus Rex” and name-checks Jonas Mekas and Jean Genet along the way—pausing for a liberal dose of slapstick—is bound to turn out weird.

Brief fan-edit of scenes from Funeral Parade of Roses

COMMENTS: “Each man has his own mask,” says the voice from the Continue reading 308. FUNERAL PARADE OF ROSES (1969)


Ma Loute


FEATURING: , Fabrice Luchini, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Brandon Lavieville, Raph

PLOT: During the holiday season on the beaches near Calais, two young people from opposite worlds discover a mutual attraction, but complications arise from the behavior of their quirky families and an ongoing investigation into unexplained disappearances among vacationers.

Still from Slack Bay (2016)

WHY IT MIGHT MAKE THE LIST: The film goes all in on the oddness, contrasting over-the-top dramatics with an aggressively blasé attitude toward the more salacious elements of its story. Writer/director Bruno Dumont wants very badly to put you off your guard, mixing in livewire topics like cannibalism, incest, and gender confusion with characters who are carefully calculated to be ridiculous. But the effort is so determined, so blatantly deliberate, that there’s a case to be made that the weird factor is reduced by the strain behind it.

COMMENTS: Not long after the first run of Twin Peaks flamed out in the dual crucibles of American television production and audience fickleness, ABC decided to see what other ideas David Lynch might have up his sleeve. In the wake of perhaps the moodiest show in TV history, Lynch decided to mix things up by proffering, of all things, a situation comedy. Although possessing a quirky and dark sense of humor, Lynch was hardly anybody’s idea of the next Garry Marshall, and the resulting show—a true curio called “On the Air,” about a failing TV network in the 1950s—was so strange and off-putting in its attempts at comedy that the network pulled the plug after three episodes. There’ll be no latter-day revival for that Lynch project.

It would come as no surprise to learn that Bruno Dumont had stumbled upon “On the Air” and been suitably inspired. Known for the intense gravitas of his raw autopsies of life in Cannes Grand Prix-winning films like L’Humanité and Flanders, Dumont surprised everyone by throwing in with the comedians for Li’l Quinquin, a French TV miniseries that answered the burning question, “What if ‘Broadchurch’ were played for laughs?” Slack Bay continues that dalliance with silliness, viewing a number of serious themes through a filter of absurdity.

The most visible example of this is the extremely broad acting of almost everyone in the cast, resembling the broad physicality of the earliest sound films. Nearly every actor seems to have been given the note, “Go over the top and keep going.” The vacationing family, the nitwit Van Peteghems, revels in stretching every character choice to its extreme. Luchini’s hunchbacked, perpetually perplexed father is so flummoxed by basic tasks that it takes him several minutes to try to cut a piece of meat. (He is unsuccessful.) Bruni Tedeschi is eternally frazzled until a surprising burst of flight provides her with much-needed inner calm. And then there’s Binoche, attempting to become the dictionary definition of the word “histrionic.” She reacts in the biggest way possible to everything, so that when situations finally seem to justify an outsize response (such as an anguished revelation of a family secret), she has Chicken Littled herself into unbelievability.

But it’s not just the upper-class twits whom Dumont captures at their looniest. There are the taciturn Bruforts, who mostly grimace and grunt, barely speaking except to lash out at each other. And then there are the two detectives who stumble across the countryside like a Gallic , utterly incapable of putting one clue together with another. Didier Després’ Machin is a particular idiot: corpulent to the point of being unable to move around effectively (his repeated falls are Slack Bay’s nod to slapstick), he confronts everyone he meets with an aggressive tone and is defiantly oblivious to information directly in front of him. When he too unexpectedly takes to the skies, his experience is utterly different: inspired by nothing, angry, and only resolved by shooting him down.

The closest thing to normal is a young romantic couple. Played with a charming lack of guile by novice actors, Billie and Ma Loute are appropriately awkward, coy, and relatable in ways that set them apart from everyone else in the film. Well, as relatable as a couple can be when they consist of a gender-fluid teenager and a tight-lipped young man who whacks people over the head with an oar so they can be served up as food. It’s almost as though Dumont is playing a game in which you have to decide what makes a character more tolerable: acts or behaviors. In Slack Bay, he seems to lean toward behaviors.

The question of whether or not Slack Bay is weird relies heavily on whether you think Dumont is staging an elaborate put-on. Everything is so broadly vaudevillian, it’s easy to suspect that he’s purposely having a go at us. But I choose to believe that he earnestly wants to explore the human condition via these crazed antics. Maybe, like Lynch in sitcom mode, everything will inevitably filter through his old sensibilities, which will certainly carry over to other styles and genres, like his most recent film: a musical about Joan of Arc.


“Just as you near the end of your patience with an item of slapstick farce, something weird and wonderful straight out of a Kevin McSherry painting comes into the frame to transfix you… The shenanigans oscillate from dark and distorted to joyously daft but they may prove too willfully eccentric for some viewers. Others, however, may find delight in such gay abandon.”–Hilary A. White, Sunday Independent (contemporaneous)




FEATURING: Voices of , , Naoto Takenaka; Richard Epcar, Crispin Freeman, Joey D’Auria (English dub)

PLOT: In a future increasingly dominated by half-human cyborgs, a pair of special agents investigate a series of murder/suicides committed by gynobots.

WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE LIST: There’s some wild imagery and at least one mind-bending scene, but it’s essentially straight science fiction—though an accomplished example of the genre.

COMMENTS: Only slightly related to the original, Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence actually exceeds its seminal cyberpunk namesake. The most obvious step forward is in the animation, apparent from the opening scene where futuristic helicopter approaches a glowing orange skyscraper, fluidly scaled by the camera (the massively vertical urban settings recall a brighter version of Blade Runner‘s world, a comparison heightened by the movie’s humanist theme). Appropriately assisted by computers, the visual onslaught never lets up, highlighted by a riotous midpoint parade sequence that, reportedly, took a year to animate. That pan-Asian smorgasbord features glittering pagodas, Buddhas and dragons, a carnival so detailed that you can follow every piece of flying confetti as it drifts to the street. The procedural plot is complex, but focused, and not as mystifying as the original. This one centers on Batou, the sidekick in the first movie; a protagonist who, again, has had most of his body and even his brain replaced with machinery, and who wonders about his remaining humanity. Although she is referenced and makes what is essentially a cameo appearance, we don’t miss the Major—it wasn’t her character we fell in love with in Shell anyway, but the setting.

As a genre, anime is often replete with characters who spew vague pseudo-philosophical dialogue (much as 50s sci-fi films would proffer pseudo-scientific explanations for their atomic monsters), usually to impart an air of mysticism. But the Shell series is the real deal, with apt quotations from everything from Rene Descartes to Buddhist parables. While it’s somewhat amusing to hear a couple of gumshoes on a case drop lines from Milton into casual conversation, the citations are always on point and never play as pretentious. These wired-up special agents can tap into world literature databases with a thought, after all.

Aside from the cyberdelic drawings, there isn’t much actual weirdness in Innocence, but the ability of characters to “hack” into each others’ cybernetic brains leads to at least one scene that will mess with your mind. I won’t spoil it, but you’ll notice it starting when the movie suddenly turns eerily quiet and slow. The film recovers from its bout of insanity, and despite its intricacy, the mystery at its core is resolved without lingering ambiguity. The bullet-flying action sequences and soundtrack (Akira-esque world music, and a closing ballad which puts lyrics to “Concierto de Aranjuez”) are also ace, leading to an overall package that flirts with “” status.

To cash in on the 2017 live-action version of Ghost in the Shell with , Funimation released a DVD/Blu-ray combo of Innocence in 2017. It features a commentary track by Oshii and animator Toshihiko Nishikubo along with a “making of” featurette (we’re not certain whether either of these features are exclusive to release).


“…like an anime made by Bergman or Tarkovsky… pure, wordless cinema, existing in a realm too deliciously mysterious to pull down.”–Sci-Fi Movie Page


As a pop music star, had an unparalleled career (although it is questionable whether his music is much listened to today outside of Memphis). His film career, although financially successful, was a different story altogether—remarkable only in the thirty-plus (mostly wretched) films produced in a scant dozen years. Among the worst, which is saying a lot, are two near the end of his film run. Itching to get back into live performance, Presley was merely fulfilling his MGM contract at this point and, barely mastering any enthusiasm, took whatever script was handed him.

Live a Little, Love a Little (1968, directed by frequent Presley collaborator Norman Taurog and scripted by Dan Greenburg from his novel “Kiss My Firm but Pliant Lips”) is a like the Rankin and Bass cartoon “Year Without a Santa Claus” (1974) in that it contains a single scene of at its most jaw-dropping, “WTF were they thinking?” level, which almost makes the whole enterprise worthwhile.

The Pelvis is a photojournalist here named Greg, working at a “Playboy”-like outfit. Of course, that means he’s going to be taking lots of pinup pics. The blatant sexism would seem woefully dated, except we’ve elected a lot of Neanderthal politicos lately (from both sides), and that unfortunately renders the film more contemporary than it was a few years ago. Greg’s practically stalked by a wacky, bikini-clad gal who might be named Bernice… or Alice… or Suzy…don’t ask. I’m still not sure, but whoever she is, she’s played by Michele Carey, one of those anonymous eye-candy actresses you may recall seeing a lot. (Carey is primarily known for this and the 1967 /Howard Hawks oater El Dorado). Bernice also has a Great Dane named Albert who will become for this film what Mr. Heat Miser was for “Year Without A Santa Claus.” Rounding off a weird cast is prolific character actor  (whom we recently saw as Professor Twiddle/Professor Quinn in “The Adventures of Superman”) as a milkman (don’t ask—I still don’t know why), Rudy Valle as a Hugh Heffner type (?), and Dick Sargent (best known as Darren #2 from “Bewitched”), who might be Bernice’s husband (just don’t ask).

Still from Live a Little, Love a Little (1968)Bernice and Albert run a close second to Glenn Close in the obsession department (although we’re never sure why Bernice is bonkers about Greg), which opens the door for a scene that…. forget “Magical Mystery Tour,” or even Presley’s “Little Egypt” and “Big Boss Man” numbers from his 1968 comeback special for a moment and embrace one of the most awkward moments of surrealism ever committed to celluloid. With Albert crashed in the baby playpen next to him, Greg, in baby blue silk PJs, has a dream about his furry companion, who is now a guy in a wrinkled dog  suit with a disturbingly long, wagging tongue. Albert, standing on two legs, pushes Greg through a red door (Hell?), leading to the musical number “The Edge Of Reality,” in which the Pelvis, after falling through something, lands somewhere (a psychedelic wonderland?) and barely shakes while dancing with shirt-skirted gals (each one an avatar for Bernice and her split personalities)—and Albert, of course. The 60s color palette is choreographed to lyrics that couldn’t be more apt: “On the edge of reality she sits there tormenting me, the girl with the nameless face, where she overpowers me with fears that I can’t explain. She drove me to the point of madness, the brink of misery.”

After this all-too-brief and senseless vignette, Greg bonds with Albert and the two become “dune buggy riding pals!,” and it’s as dull as it sounds. Greg even falls for his fatal attraction, who might indeed be named Bernice. It’s all downhill after “The Edge of Reality,” possibly because reality is like that. The only other possible point of interest in the film (for those into that sort of thing) would be Presley’s spirited kung fu fight in the first quarter. What’s the motive for the fight? I have no idea, but Elvis gets to kick some ninja-clothed baddies—including bodyguard Red West, who eventually got the last laugh when he outed Elvis as a druggie in his 1977 tell-all book “Elvis: What Happened?” After experiencing “The Edge of Reality,” one might wish Elvis had done more drugs.

The surrealism of Easy Come, Easy Go (1967, directed by John Rich) isn’t as blatant, but how about this? Elvis plays a frogman (?!?) who sings a duet called “Yoga Is as Yoga Does” with Bride of Frankenstein (!?!) He sings the gospel standard (the music he was best at) “Sing, You Children Sing” with hippies and beatniks. Those two numbers aside (along with scenes of scuba diving, if that’s your idea of entertainment), the remainder of Easy Come, Easy Go draws a blank.


As December comes, we’ll be focusing on covering 2017’s new releases. Of course Alfred Eaker will be going his own weird way, choosing instead to reports on two “jaw-dropping” late 60s trifles. Also, “new” releases don’t always mean “2017” movies, as we’ll review a couple of Blu-rays fresh from the Land of the Rising Sun: ‘s cybernetic 2004 sequel Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence and Funeral Parade of Roses, the 1969 psychedelic experiment starring real drag queens in a melodrama of betrayed love, shocking violence, and pot-fueled orgies. In fact, the only movie we’ll mention next week that technically bears a 2017 label is ‘s metaphysical mystery Slack Bay, courtesy of the on-point Shane Wilson. Expect a similarly eclectic schedule throughout the month, with a holiday-themed surprise or two.

We always find surprises in our stats, which is why every week we bring you our list of the Weirdest Search Terms used to locate the site. We’ll start with the insistent “horror explicit hard core porn xxx xxx xxx xxx.” Triple-X flicks just aren’t hardcore enough for this jaded fellow, who needs dodecal-X rated porn just to get a rise these days. Maybe he would like some “asian skul garl fadar affair porn movies”? But enough of perverts with poor grammar; our official Weirdest Search Term of the Week was “movie where guy steals a girl to marry her jesus.” Props for making us wonder—why does the girl have her own personal Jesus? And why didn’t the guy just steal Jesus directly?

Here’s how the ridiculously-long-and-still-growing reader-suggested review queue now stands: Funeral Parade of Roses (next week!); One Eyed Monster; Save the Green Planet; Crimewave (d. Sam Continue reading WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE


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.


Antiporno (2017): A female artist/novelist degrades her submissive assistant, or at least that’s what seems to be going on… Nikkatsu studios revived their 1970s/80s “roman porno” (i.e. softcore erotic film) franchise recently, and 366-fave ‘s subversive, experimental take on the subgenre looks like a minor international breakout hit. Nikkatsu English-language page for Antiporno.


Jabberwocky (1977): A hapless medieval cooper is thrust into the role of knight to defend his town from the rampaging Jabberwocky. Though directed by  and starring , original ads warned it was “definitely NOT a Python film.” Buy Jabberwocky.

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.” Buy Lemon.

Liquid Sky (1982): Read our review! Vinegar Syndrome is making a big deal out of this long out-of-print cult classic about aliens who get high off hormones released during human orgasms. For now, a limited edition of 3000 DVD/Blu-ray units is only available for order via the Vinegar Syndrome website.

“Mystery Science Theater: Volume XXXIX”: What looks to be the final box set release of the original series includes Mamie van Doren in Girls Town, ‘s b-movie mistake The Amazing Transparent Man, and ‘s colorful (and not bad) spy thriller Danger: Diabolik, which served as the series finale. Since Shout! Factory could not obtain rights for a fourth film, they released the host segments from the eleven remaining unreleased episodes on a separate disk entitled “Satellite Dishes.” Buy “Mystery Science Theater: Volume XXXIX”.

Porco Rosso (1992): Read our review. Gkids continues with their Studio Ghibli re-releases with this tale of a pig pilot in an alternate WWI setting. Buy Porco Rosso.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017): Read our review. Our called Luc Besson‘s latest attempt to recapture the magic of The Fifth Element “all frosting, no cake.” Buy Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.


“Fritz Lang: The Silent Films“: Includes Die Nibelungen (1924), Spies (1928), Dr. Mabuse the Gambler (1922), Destiny (1921), The Spiders (1919), Woman in the Moon (1929), Four Around the Woman (1921), Harakiri (1919), The Wandering Shadow (1920), The Plague of Florence (1919), and of course the Certified Weird classic Metropolis (1927), with numerous documentaries spread across the 12 discs. An expensive way to own Metropolis, but a great Christmas present for the cinephile in your life. Buy “Fritz Lang The Silent Films”.

Jabberwocky (1977): See description in DVD above. Criterion Collection extras include a new documentary and interviews. Buy Jabberwocky [Blu-ray].

Liquid Sky (1982): See description in DVD above. Don’t worry, if you can’t afford a limited edition, there’s a regular release (which looks like it will be the same, but without the specially commissioned “dayglo” designer cover) scheduled for 2018. Vinegar Syndrome website.

Porco Rosso (1992): See description in DVD above. Buy Porco Rosso [Blu-ray].

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017): See description in DVD above. Buy Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets [Blu-ray].

SPECIAL SCREENINGS (Nov. 26, 27 & 29):

Howl’s Moving Castle (2004): Read the Certified Weird entry! GKids celebrates their acquisition of the catalog with national screenings of this anime steampunk fairy tale. Dubbed on the 26th and 29th, subtitled on the 27th. Search for a screening near you.


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.

Celebrating the cinematically surreal, bizarre, cult, oddball, fantastique, strange, psychedelic, and the just plain WEIRD!