You can still vote for the Weirdcademy Awards for one more week! (Since you can vote once every 24 hours, that gives you 7 chances to swing the vote). The races have turned into popularity polls, with partisans of various obscure films stuffing the ballot boxes for their candidates—but these are cult movies, and that’s probably how it should be. May the movie with the most rabid online fan base win! Amy Groneing (Fathers’ Day) and Steve Little (The Catechism Cataclysm) hold commanding leads in the Weirdest Actress and Actor categories, with The Oregonian‘s “rainbow pee” sequence holding a 6 vote edge over its nearest competitor for “Weirdest Scene.”  The race for Weirdest Picture is actually surprisingly close and hard-fought, with Maximum Shame leading  Fathers’ Day by 14 votes (164-150) at the time of this writing.

The place your vote can make the most difference is in the Weirdest Short Film competition, where the lead vote getter (Harmony Korine’s “Snowballs”) has only 8 votes total and a slim margin of only 3 votes. Plus, it’s the only category where you can actually watch all the nominees, so get on it!

Next week’s reviews: we’ll tell you whether Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie (available On Demand now or in theaters March 2) is worth $7-8 bucks you’ll have to shell out to see it.  From the reader-suggested review queue, we’ll tackle Marco Ferreri‘s gluttonous drama La Grande Bouffe (1973), about four middle aged men who decide to eat themselves to death. We’ll also take a look at the second of five recently re-released erotic vampire films when we cover (hee hee) The Nude Vampire (1970), and Alfred will continue downing “Karloff’s Bizarre and Final Six Pack” with a sip from Cauldron of Blood (1970).

Plenty of weird search terms materialized on our server logs this week, and as always we share our favorites with you guys. Typically, it’s the pr0n searchers who provide the most amusing tidbits, and this week is no exception. What follows is the kind of stuff you might hope to find inside our first highlighted search term, “bizarre african porn attics.” First, here’s evidence of why, to avoid unfortunate misunderstandings, you should always consider word order when typing your Google queries: “favourite movies black cat snatch.” We were a bit confused by the request for “lesbian love and lesbian women and a dog watch free porn movies.” Even stranger, however, was “japanese astronaut puking fetish.” (We know fetishes have been getting awfully specialized lately,  but really?) Still, nothing we saw this week topped the strangeness of our Weirdest Search Term of the Week, the schizophrenic search for info on “icy hot sexy women long but lacks a little boots testing lesbian videos the devil by my place.” Nicely done; we’re speechless.

Here’s the rundown of the insanely long reader-suggested review queue: La Grande Bouffe (next week); Hedwig and the Angry Inch; Even Dwarves Started Small;  “My Wrongs 8245-8249 and 117″; Freaked Schizopolis; Strings; Dellamorte Dellamore [AKA Cemetery Man]; The Continue reading WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE


A 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.


Dorothy and the Witches of Oz: A grown up Dorothy Gale discovers that the tales of the wonderful world of Oz she spins into children’s books don’t come from her imagination, but are repressed memories of a real place, and that the Wicked Witch is now coming to New York City to claim a magical artifact in her possession. This aired as a 150 minute miniseries in the UK, but has been cut to 110 minutes for a US theatrical release. Christopher Lloyd plays the Wizard and reviews were generally negative. For some reason, it’s opening this week in four separate cities in Arizona. Dorothy and the Witches of Oz official site.


Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter (June 2012 release): We reported on this mashup a few weeks ago, but we thought we’d pass along the recently released first trailer. We find ourselves less interested in seeing the movie now, but you can judge for yourselves.

Birdemic II: The Resurrection 3-D (currently shooting): From the official synopsis: “A platoon of eagles and vultures attack Hollywood, California. Why did the eagles and vultures attacked? Who will survive?” We liked the first one, in it’s way (read our review), but can the sequel possibly soar to the same lows? We can at least confirm that stars Alan Bagh and Whitney Moore return for another go-round on James Ngyuen’s “romantic thriller” carousel.  Birdemic II: The Resurrection 3-D official site.


Modus Operandi (2009): A pair of mysterious briefcases spark a worldwide clandestine killing spree in this grindhouse throwback that promises to end in “an increasingly surreal vision of modern reality, skirting the edge of sanity…” With Danny Trejo, “presented by” Sasha Grey. Buy Modus Operandi.

The Rum Diary (2011): Read our capsule review.  A disappointing adaptation of a minor work, call it “Mild Concern and Dislike in San Juan.” Buy The Rum Diary.


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


Fear Chamber (1968): Speak of the devil: we just recently reviewed this crazy movie that “stars” (in one of his final roles) as a mad scientist torturing sexy girls at the behest of an alien rock, playing opposite actors in a different country (Mexico).  Now it shows up on YouTube. Watch Fear Chamber 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.


* This is the third installment in the series “Karloff’s Bizarre and Final Six Pack.”

Although Cauldron of Blood (1970), Isle of the Snake People (1971) and Alien Terror were all released later, Curse of the Crimson Altar (1968) was actually ‘s last completed film. At 82, he caught pneumonia (reportedly as a result of his work in the damp manor scenes) and succumbed to it a few weeks after filming.

Alas, Karloff’s swan song is not an ideal exit, even if he is the most redeemable element of Curse. That assessment is completely without nostalgic sentiment. Karloff heads a genre dream cast: and Michael Gough. Stills from the film suggest a potential weird movie lover’s delight, but that potential is squandered through direction and writing that is too pedestrian to even be unintentionally bizarre.

Still from Curse of the Crimson AltarThe overall failure of the film can be attributed primarily to the unimaginative direction of Vernon Sewell. Sewell made a spattering of genre films, none of which rose above or fell below the level of mediocre. The plot, inspired by Lovecraft, is well-worn. Robert Manning (Mark Eden) is searching for his missing brother, Peter. This search leads Manning to Craxton Lodge. There, Manning encounters resistance and denial from J.D. Morley (Lee). Lee is overly familiar here in the type of sinister, square mustachioed role he played repeatedly. Although his acting is by no means unprofessional, the way his role is written, coupled with lackluster direction, leaves no opportunity for surprise.

Feigning guilt for his lack of information regarding Peter, Morley hospitably invites Manning to stay at Craxton Lodge. Manning does, partly because of amorous ambitions for Manning’s Continue reading CURSE OF THE CRIMSON ALTAR (1968)


AKA Strange Things Happen at Night


FEATURING: Sandra Julien, Jean-Marie Durand, Dominique,  (as Marie-Pierre Tricot), Kuelan Herce, Jacques Robiolles,

PLOT: A honeymooning couple stops at a creepy castle to visit the bride’s distant cousins, but

Still from Shiver of the Vampires (1971)

find their hosts have been turned into vampires.

WHY IT MIGHT MAKE THE LIST: The films of Jean Rollin come with a reputation/warning: their mix of artistry and exploitation isn’t for everyone, and they’re all variations on the same idea. The director’s formula is thick Gothic atmosphere, beautiful visuals, mild surrealism, nude female vampires, and an indifference to rational plotting. In terms of making the List, what this suggests is that one Rollin movie might be appointed to represent the director’s entire canon; but, is Shiver the chosen one? We’ll have to see them all to decide for sure.

COMMENTS: Plotheads need not apply to a Jean Rollin movie. Shiver of the Vampires does have a story, but it’s thin and generic, full of the usual staples of the vampire genre: coffins, stakes through the heart, crumbling castles, crucifixes. Rollin approaches this film more like a painter than like a storyteller, and you have to engage with the film as if you’re looking at an art exhibit rather than listening to a ghost story. Certain startling imagery jumps out at you by design—the vampire emerging from the grandfather clock, the goldfish bowl containing a skull, the deadly spike bra—but the decadent backgrounds are just as appealing to the eye. It’s the kind of film where curvaceous maidens in diaphanous gowns walk through dusty corridors carrying candelabras, and there’s always mist wafting across the tombstones at night. There’s ample nudity—the women of Shivers doff their duds at the slightest excuse—but it’s shot with an artist’s rather than a voyeur’s eye for the female form. Otherwise, however, the sexuality of vampirism isn’t presented with much subtlety; a female vamp is dispatched in a phallic staking ritual, and when nude vampires are exposed to sunlight they writhe in a torment that looks remarkably like orgasm. With liberal use of red gels, aquamarine backlights, and pigmented fogs, the color schemes are brilliantly unreal (proving the Eurohorror tradition of crazed chromatism well predates 1977’s Suspiria). A prog-rock guitar, drum and bass trio dither ecstatically over the action; the electrified score contrasts with the Gothic atmosphere, but it works well to ground the otherwise timeless tale in its contemporary era. There are also unidentifiable, animalistic howls that show up on the soundtrack at strategic points. A pair of nameless “bourgeois vampires” who bow and scrape, finish each other’s sentences, and lecture on the worship of Isis adds further oddness to an already strange story. Shiver is partly a tribute to and partly a parody of bloodsucker conventions, but the film’s overall tone is hard to pin down, except to say that it’s detached and dreamlike. The human victims’ reactions to their predicament are dazed and out of sync with reality, as if they’re drugged or hypnotized. Isle appears not at all terrified when a strange woman emerges from a grandfather clock in her room (and her modest attempt to cover her bare bosom is woefully inadequate).  After the groom witnesses a vampiric ritual he returns to the conjugal chamber but, rather than rousing his bride to flee, strokes her naked sleeping body. Terror transforms into lust quickly inside Shivers hermetic dream. For decades, Rollins’ slow-paced, arty, irrational musings on the vampire myth have frustrated horror fans looking for old-fashioned bloodletting, but they are subtly strange artifacts that reflect the unique preoccupations of their creator. These fetishistic documents are ultimately of more interest to fans of neo-surrealism than of horror.

The French title, Le Frisson des Vampires, does literally translate as “Shiver of the Vampires,” but “frisson” has a secondary connotation of “thrill” (like the pleasant spine tingles provided a good horror movie shock). Rollins’ two previous features had more salacious titles: Le Viol du Vampire (Rape of the Vampire) (1968) and La Vampire Nue (The Nude Vampire) (1970).


“… [a] vexing piece of psychedelic nonsense…”–Robert Firsching, Rovi



DIRECTED BY: Steve Ballot

FEATURING: Frank Meyer

PLOT: Frank, a mentally challenged old man with a speech impediment, kills various people he

Still from he Bride of Frank (1996)

meets as he searches for true love from a woman with large breasts.

WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE LIST: As an authentic piece of goombah outsider art, The Bride of Frank is actually weird, but it’s also bad. And I mean real bad, not “entertaining” bad.

COMMENTS: The movie begins with a toothless old man tricking a five year-old girl into getting into his big rig, trying to get her to kiss him, then crushing her head under the wheel of his truck after she calls him a “dirty bum.” If that scenario sounds like can’t miss comedy gold to you, then you’re The Bride of Frank‘s target audience. All others will want to observe that “beware” rating. That opening scene of child molestation played for laughs does have the virtue of driving away most of the audience before the film can even get started; anyone who continues on past that point can’t pretend to be surprised by the senseless killing, simulated defecation, and sexual perversion that follows. Tonally, the opening, which makes us want to destroy Frank with fire, is a huge problem because it’s out of character with the way the rest of the movie wants to portray him—as a hideous-looking but childlike outcast, a la Frankenstein’s monster, who only kills bad people after they insult and reject him. To wit: Frank decapitates a nerd and relieves himself inside the corpse after being insulted at his birthday party, rips the face off a transvestite who tricks him into a sexual encounter, tears the eye out of a 300 pound exotic dancer and violates her corpse because she’s a tease, and so on. Yawn. Are we jaded yet? More conventional comic relief comes from the poetically obscene homoerotic/homophobic repartee between two of Frank’s coworkers, which is slightly amusing, but nothing you haven’t heard before if you’ve ever worked with Jersey teamsters on a loading dock. Frank, the weatherbeaten, dim, ex-homeless killer whose speech impediment is so thick he’s often subtitled, is played by real-life ex-homeless man Frank Meyer. Frank is like regular Edith Massey, except he’s not in on the joke. He’s not acting, he’s simply Continue reading CAPSULE: THE BRIDE OF FRANK (1996)


DIRECTED BY: Jason Eisener

FEATURING: , Molly Dunsworth, Brian Downey

PLOT: A hobo rides the rails into a surreally depraved “Scum Town” (formerly Hope Town) and is pushed into grabbing a shotgun and sweeping the streets clean of pimps, pushers, and bum fight promoters.

Still from Hobo With a Shotgun (2011)

WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE LIST: Hobo is one of the better postmodern grindhouse spoofs out there and will rate a “must see” for fans of that extremely specific genre, but—although it’s certainly bizarre in its complete disregard of non-B-movie logic—it doesn’t do enough to transcend it’s inspirations in order to earn a general weird recommendation.

COMMENTS: Hobo with a Shotgun has a real eye for shabby detail—just look at the period poster that features disheveled Rutger Hauer, teeth bared, firing a sawed-off shotgun. The artist drew in fold lines as if it was a one sheet that had been filed away in some producer’s desk and forgotten about for thirty years. As strange as it might sound in a movie that features barbed wire decapitations, flame-broiled school children, and post-apocalyptic ninja robots, what impresses me most about Hobo is that kind of subtle detail. Sure, the movie gets most of its mileage from its ludicrous levels of bloodletting—dig that chick dancing around in a mink coat and bikini as blood showers on her from a neck-geyser—but I expected that in a postmodern grindhouse revenge flick. What I didn’t expect is that the absurd violence would be served with a side of style and deadpan wit, sans jokey winks to the audience. Everyone catches on to the B-movie madness, like the land-based octopus in the villain’s lair and the human piñata smacked by topless ladies, but the truly strange touches are easy to miss: the hipster newscaster with the soul patch and earring, the Byzantine icon of Jesus on the Drake’s wall (next to a photo of the Hobo) with his eyes marked out with red paint, the way Hauer grabs a convenient bottle of vodka from a random passerby in a hospital corridor. Any notion that this movie takes place in any world outside movies is dispelled early on when the Hobo enters the town’s top nightspot—a video arcade that doubles as a murder emporium, Continue reading CAPSULE: HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN (2011)


Don’t forget to vote in the Weirdcademy Awards poll. It’s been invaded by partisans of some of the more obscure films (partly at our request, it’s true). This is the opposite of the problem we expected, that the movies with better distribution would easily win over the lesser known movies. Father’s Day, Maximum Shame and The Catechism Cataclysm have surged to huge leads over The Tree of Life, Melancholia and Uncle Boonmee. Plus, there’s that whole “stripper with a chainsaw” fiasco to consider…

If you’re tired of all the highfalutin film criticism round these parts (what with two Luis Buñuel reviews last week alone), then the upcoming week should represent a welcome return to the gutter as we cover the reprehensible The Bride of Frank (1996) and the revolting Hobo With a Shotgun (2011).  Then, we’ll class things up with a lesbian vampire flick, Shiver of the Vampires (1970).

We know why you read this column: for the list of weird search terms. And we have some doozies this week. First off, the noticed a new mini-trend in bizarre Google queries: weird birth searches. To wit, the teen pregnancy/fanfiction crossover is reaching new levels of insanity if there are actually “videos of teen titans giving birth to babies” out there somewhere in cyberspace.  Even stranger is the search for “horse gives birth to naked stunner” (although, frankly, it would be weirder if a horse gave birth to a fully clothed stunner).  We liked the following search term because the searcher lost focus and switched to another topic completely in the middle of composing his query: “photography show tv old weird i like the boat clown.” (We suspect this guy would like the boat clown a lot less if he took his medication as scheduled).  And how could we ignore this classic, “women vagina image on lair of spam”? But, in honor of Valentine’s Day, we’ll go with “love story made by pig bbong movie” as our official Weirdest Search Term of the Week.

Here’s the utterly out-of-control reader-suggested review queue: The Bride of Frank (next week!); La Grande Bouffe; Hedwig and the Angry Inch; Even Dwarves Started Small;  “My Wrongs Continue reading WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE


A 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.


Father’s Day (2011):  Read our capsule review! From Canadian pranksters Astron-6, this is the first  release we’ve actually been looking forward to in some time. Opening in NYC with dates to follow throughout the US and Canada (and one in the Czech Republic) through May. If you’re interested in seeing it on the big screen then check the release schedule at Father’s Day official site.

The Turin Horse (2011): There’s little that’s truly strange out there in theaters right now, so we thought we’d take this opportunity to mention the latest (and final?) film from sometime weird director Béla (Werckmeister Harmonies) Tarr.  It concerns the fate of the beaten horse philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche hugged on the day he went insane, and by all accounts the pacing makes look like Steven Spielberg.  Playing for a week at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center in New York city, then screening across the USA at museums and other specialty venues throughout the spring. The Turin Horse official site.


Thunder-Sky (2012): Our own Alfred Eaker has completed his latest film: a documentary about Raymond Thunder-Sky, the autistic son of a Mohawk chieftain who dressed up as a clown and went out to paint construction sites in the streets of Cincinnati.  Limited screenings begin in March.  No official site but you can get more info at Eaker Productions Facebook Page.


Horror Classics: House on Haunted Hill (1959)/Little Shop of Horrors (1960)/Carnival of Souls (1962)/I Bury the Living (1958): It’s a slow week for new releases, so we’ll mention this public domain collection that includes two films of interest: Roger Corman‘s oddball carnivorous plant comedy Little Shop of Horrors (read our review) and the microbudget creepfest Carnival of Souls (read the Certified Weird entry). Buy Horror Classics 4-pack (House on Haunted Hill/Little Shop of Horrors/Carnival of Souls/I Bury the Living).

Yakuza Weapon (2011): A yakuza hit man is blown to bits and then rebuilt with a retractable Gatling gun arm, rifle in the kneecap, etc.  Co-directed by the auteur behind Meatball Machine and from the studio who brought you Alien vs. Ninja; if you’ve been paying attention to the Japanese splatterpunk movement, you know what to expect here. Buy Yakuza Weapon.


La Jetée (1962)/Sans Soleil (1983): Chris Marker is one of the most influential filmmakers whose name you’ve never heard.  The influential science fictioner La Jetée was a mindbending tale of time travel (only 28 minutes long and composed mostly of stills with narration, it was remade at feature length by Terry Gilliam as 12 Monkeys).  Sans Soleil is a highly decorated experimental documentary/travelogue that focuses on odd world customs (sort of like an intellectual, less exploitative version of Mondo Cane).  Criterion’s Blu-ray upgrade adds a few minor featurettes not on the DVD release, including a clip from a David Bowie video inspired by La Jetée. Buy La Jetée / Sans Soleil (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray].

Yakuza Weapon (2011): See description in DVD above. This is a two disc DVD/Blu-ray combo. Buy Yakuza Weapon [Blu-ray/DVD Combo].


Alice in Wonderland (1915): If (like us) you’ve became jaded to Wonderlands due to overexposure, here’s a new one: a 1915 silent version with actors (some very short ones) in fuzzy animal suits. This is not quite the earliest Alice adaptation (there was a 1903 short treatment), but it’s close enough.

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!