Tag Archives: April 1

WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE

Only 68 movies left to Certify Weird! (That number is right, we didn’t miscount: see the explanation below).

Alfred Eaker kicks us off next week with a review of Flicker Alley’s new Blu-ray release of the short that birthed the fantastique, “A Trip to the Moon.” Then,  Bryan Pike updates you on the new existential  indie release It Takes from Within, Pete Trbovich knocks one out of the review queue with a shout-out to Britain’s The Shout (1978), and G. Smalley goes classic and retro with an examination of ‘s surrealistic debut, Blood of a Poet (1930).

No fooling here: the quotes below are actual search terms weirdos used to find 366 Weird Movies this past week. First, the search for a “movie where man says etcettera” goes into our “can you narrow that down for me?” file. We would be remiss if we did not note the search for “lesbian girls and doll pul movies.com” (it was making sense until the “doll pul” arrived). Then we have a pair of perhaps related searches: a jazz cinema fan’s search for “sax films of 2012,” which might possibly be better found on the site “sax bandits.com”. Simple misspellings can sometimes lead to ambiguity: is the guy looking for “twin leaks 366 weird movies” actually looking for the television series, or the pee fetish porn parody? A similar searching error led to our official Weirdest Search Term of the Week, “link floyd thé wool”. The misspellings are bad enough, but going out of your way to add an accent aigu to the “thé” that makes the search acutely weird.

On to the bit of business hinted at above: many of you have expressed dismay that the List of the 366 Best Weird Movies ever made is nearing its end, and are afraid that your worthy favorites will not fit into the few remaining slots. If you fall into that category, we have good news: we’re removing some of the dead wood to make way for better choices. Obviously, when we started this List ten years ago, we were very different people than now. As you may have noticed with Alfred’s series on spirituality themed movies, we are (a little!) more mature than the crazy live-for-today 40somethings who started this List. We recognize that we made mistakes in the early days (and even in the later days), and canonized a few movies of questionable intent that didn’t deserve to be honored. What better day than Easter Day, 2018 to announce a culling of the List and the rebirth of a new one? We’re going to free up twenty-seven movie slots by canceling several of our rasher and more questionable choices. These entries have already disappeared from the sidebar list; we’ll detail them below, with an explanation for each film’s removal.

REMOVED FROM THE LIST:

3-Iron (2004) – With the sexual assault allegations against director , we can no longer in good conscience allow him to be honored on our List.

Continue reading WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE

WEIRD ANTI-366 MIDNIGHT TWEETSTORM FROM POTUS

Sometime after midnight, when one would expect the President of the United States to be either resting up for a big day or burning the midnight oil prepping for a diplomatic meeting, Donald J. Trump was apparently cruising the Web, and came across a site that rubbed him the wrong way:

Trump 366 Weird Movies tweet

What prompted this attack against a small-traffic, niche cinema website devoted to surrealist and cult cinema, fields in which the President had previously shown zero interest? Apparently, it was an offhand comment by leftist commentator in his review of Suicide Squad that drew the Preisdent’s ire:

Trump 366 Weird Movies Tweet

A few minutes later, after cruising the site a bit longer, the President chimed in with another, unexpected criticism:

Trump 366 Weird Movies Tweet

 

 

 

 

 

The President was, of course, referring to the 1989 Bo Derek vehicle where she plays the trophy wife of ghost Anthony Quinn, who wants Bo to kill a younger man so he can possess his body and have sex with her again, and also advises her in corporate negotiations:

A weird movie (though not a very good one), but where does this have a bearing on the point at issue?

Naturally, all tweets were deleted within half an hour of posting. Fortunately we were able to save screenshots to prove that this bizarre rant did indeed occur.

WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 4/1/2016

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):

Closet Monster: A closeted gay teenager and aspiring special effects artist must face his coming out anxieties with the help of a talking hamster voiced by . Glen Dunks called it “[c]olourfully designed and with more than a hint of weirdness.” Official Closet Monster Facebook page.

Darling: A young woman goes insane while taking care of an old New York house; in black and white. Staring Jug Face‘s Lauren Ashley Carter. Official Darling Facebook page.

DVR ALERT – (SyFy Channel, Fri, 4/1, at 8:00 PM EST):

Dead 7 (2016): In a post-apocalyptic world, a cowboy, a samurai, a mime, and four others team up to fight zombies. The heroes are all played by ex-members of the Backstreet Boys, NSYCNC, and some more obscure boy bands. Proudly presented by the folks who brought you Sharknado. Dead 7 at SyFy channel.

SCREENINGS – (Spectacle Theater, Brooklyn, NY, tonight!, Fri., 4/1 at Midnight):

Final Flesh (2009): Read the Certified Weird entry! Those perverts at the Spectacle (and us) are the only ones keeping this absurdist experiment alive. Watch an amateur porn star breastfeed a 16-oz ribeye steak named “Mr. Peterson.” Final Flesh at Spectacle Theater (the embedded trailer is understandably NSFW).

FILM FESTIVALS – StraightJacket  Guerilla Film Festival (Everywhere and nowhere, 4/1-4/7):

Here’s an idea that’s probably overdue: an exclusively online film festival. No pesky plane tickets and hotel rooms for out-of-towners to buy, or even $3/kernel bags of popcorn. Each day of the festival, several new full-length films and music videos just show up online. The films are supposed to adhere to the “Pink 8” manifesto, which includes tenets like “no script” and “the cast must NOT know what your film is about,” though we’re not sure how strictly these rules will be enforced. The only thing we’ve heard of is ‘ 1995 cross-dressing undead action film La Cage aux Zombies, which magically appears on April 3.

StraightJacket Guerilla Film Festival home page.

NEW ON DVD:

“Death Walks Twice: Two Films by Luciano Ercoli”: Due gialli from Ercoli starring “Susan Scott” (Nieves Navarro). In Death Walks on High Heels, she’s an exotic dancer fleeing a jewel thief; in the weirder Death Walks at Midnight, she’s a model who takes LSD and witnesses a murder that happened six months earlier. Buy “Death Walks Twice”.

Fascist Frauleins [AKA Airplays of Old] (1969): An Amazonian Nazi dominatrix with a transgendered m-t-f daughter kidnaps Allied airmen and keeps them in her torture chamber, where she feeds them hallucinogenic drugs and forces them to engage in “experimental” orgies. Bizarre, forgotten Nazisploitation made at the height of the psychedelic era, in black and white but with splashes of color (red for blood, yellow and pink spirals swirling onscreen during the hallucination sequences). Buy Airplays of Old.

NEW ON BLU-RAY:

“Death Walks Twice: Two Films by Luciano Ercoli”: See description in DVD above. This is only available in a 4-disc set: 2 DVDs, 2 Blu-rays. Buy “Death Walks Twice”.

The Gong Show Movie (1980): A week in the life of “Gong Show” host Chuck Barris, featuring R-rated outtakes from the show arranged around a plot, of sorts. Not available on DVD, as it would be a cinematic crime to watch a visual spectacle of this magnitude in anything but the highest definition possible. Buy The Gong Show Movie.

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.

TRANSFORMERS (2007)

“What I look for in a script is something that challenges me, something that breaks new ground, something that allows me to flex my director muscle.”–

DIRECTED BY: Michael Bay

FEATURING: Shia LaBeouf, , ,

PLOT: Giant robots attack a military installation. Shia LaBeouf buys a muscle car, but it’s actually a giant robot in disguise. A team of good giant robots from outer space battle a team of bad giant robots from outer space for control of a Rubik’s Cube.

Still from Transformers (2007)
BACKGROUND:

  • The movie Transformers was so successful that it launched a toy franchise and a Saturday morning children’s show.
  • Against the studio’s wishes, director Michael Bay deleted thirty minutes of explosions from the final cut, then added an additional hour of character development. A yet-to-be-released director’s cut incorporates all the explosion footage that was shot, and runs for over four days.
  • Jon Voight was once a respected actor.
  • Shia LaBeouf is a pseudonym which roughly translates from the French as “Made-up name the beef.”
  • Within five months after receiving her paycheck for Transformers, Megan Fox declared bankruptcy. Reportedly, she spent all of the money on unlicensed Mexican plastic surgery, including $500,000 for an experimental procedure which would have installed an expression on her face.
  • Stephen “Schindler’s List” Spielberg executive produced, haters.

INDELIBLE IMAGE: Oh, how about just a freakin’ awesome muscle car transforming into a bad-ass killer robot, is all.

WHAT MAKES IT WEIRD: One of the basic tenets of Surrealism is its insistence on juxtapositions and transformations of unlikely objects. As poet Pierre Reverdy said, “the more the relationship between the two juxtaposed realities is distant and true, the stronger the image will be — the greater its emotional power and poetic reality.” In Un Chien Andalou, we see breasts that turn into buttocks; is this any stranger or more poetic than souped-up yellow Camaros that turn into giant missile-shooting bipeds?


Original trailer for Transformers

COMMENTS: Although some snob critics disparage the work of Continue reading TRANSFORMERS (2007)

CAPSULE: MUSHY VEGETABLES (2006)

DIRECTED BY: Ivan Tabifulinyu (as Charlie White)

FEATURING: Svetlana Avrora (as Lindsay Linton), Lazar Sukhorukov, Ray Romano (as Andrei Romanov)

April Fool's Day movie

PLOT: This film has not been translated into English, and in fact I suspect the dialogue is delivered in a made-up language (the alien “speaks” in a voice that sounds like out-of-pitch alto saxophone with a broken reed fed through a vocoder), so the plot is somewhat difficult to figure out, to say the least. It appears to involve an alien ad executive living in Tallinn who accidentally causes a woman at a cocktail party to miscarry by touching her swollen belly, and is then kidnapped and put through various psychological tortures by a gang before escaping to an orgy where he is eventually ripped limb from limb.

WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE LIST: I never thought I would say this, but this thing is actually too weird and incomprehensible to even be considered for the List. There is a reason this movie has never been picked up by a distributor, and it’s not just because Ray Romano’s agent reportedly asked to have all the negatives burned. This is pure weird-for-the-sake-of-weird nonsense, and we refuse to have any part in promoting it by placing it on the List of the 366 Best Weird Movies of All Time.

COMMENTS: Nobody will love Raymond anymore after seeing him cheer on the dairy-based psychological torture of an innocent lifeform in Mushy Vegetables, an irritating Estonian exercise in arthouse provocation. What was family-friendly comedian Ray Romano (working under the obvious pseudonym Andrei Romanov) thinking when he agreed to take a small part as an alien-terrorizing sadist in this Baltic bowel movement? My theory is that it was a short-sighted tax dodge, a way to write off a vacation in Tallinn as a work expense. At any rate, I lend no credence to the rumor that his people are responsible for Mushy Vegetables‘ unavailability; the movie is quite capable of being ignored on its own lack of merit. Crisp cinematography and clever creature design on the genitalia-free E.T. are the only positives in this utterly pretentious science-fiction experiment from conceptual artist Tabifulinyu, who should have stuck to his original enterprise of creating a line of women’s lingerie fashioned from his toenail clippings held together by hot glue. Film making is not in the artist’s blood, as evidenced by his decision to forgo an intelligible story for a series of tableaux designed to shock and irritate the viewer. Key moments include an grotesque miscarriage scored to an avant-garde jazz rendition of “Pop Goes the Weasel,” an alien whose digestive process is reversed (he sits on a recently-used toilet and suctions up the deposit, pooping eggs from his mouth), and a final (explicitly pornographic) orgy sequence where the alien is torn limb from limb (the blood that spatters on the naked revelers looks like beef gravy). All of this is far more nauseating to watch than it reads on the page, and the sickening feeling isn’t helped any by the screetchy soundtrack which mixes incessant nonsense blabber with wailing horns. Many of our readers will doubtlessly take the description above as a dare to watch the film, but trust me: you can’t sit through this one.

I received a DVD-R of this film personally mailed to me from Estonia by the director, with postage due. Thanks a lot, Estonian jerkface. Although the still reprinted above has circulated in the Internet for years, there’s hasn’t been any interest in pirating or bootlegging this impenetrable and grotesque movie. You won’t find Mushy Vegetables available for download on any torrent site. For all I know, the copy previously in my possession (I threw it out with this morning’s trash) was the last copy of the film in existence, other than the director’s master. The Cremaster series is readily available by comparison.

WHAT THE CRITICS SAY:

“Absolute crap, like what would come out of the other end of Harmony Korine if he’d eaten an expired Christ allegory for dinner.”–Lou Ebert (Roger Ebert’s less well-known, less successful, estranged half-brother), “Lou’s Views” (private communication)

WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE

This is a very special edition of “What’s in the Pipeline” (you’ll see why as you get to the big announcement at the bottom), so we’ll be altering our usual format. First, however, we have to remind you to vote in the championship round of the March Mad Movie Madness contest, as two weird titans slug it out for the title of Most Popular Weird Movie Ever: it’s Eraserhead vs. The Holy Mountain in an epic smackdown of the bizarre. WARNING: Do not watch these films back-to-back. Your head will likely explode. Voting closes tomorrow (Mon., Apr. 2) at midnight, so be sure to vote here immediately.

 

We are sad to report a dearth of deranged searches this week for our Weirdest Search Term of the Week contest. Queries were so normal this week that we are mentioning “post nuclear skeleton” as one of the stranger terms we encountered. Not very weird, is it? We hesitate to even mention the search for “huge surrealistic breasts”: that’s exactly the type of thing you’d expect to find here. A little odder is someone’s quest for information on a certain “dead vaginal movie.” But if we have to select one search as our Weirdest Search Term of the Week—and we do—we’ll settle on “movie berates homsexual rape telephone what are you doing.” We always like search strings submitted by schizophrenics who start questioning themselves in type while querying Google.

Now for the big news, which will come as a blow to some of you, a relief to others. After careful consideration, I have decided that identifying 366 Weird Movies was too lofty a goal. I am sad to announce that due to time constraints I am abandoning the review project at our current count of 107. Thank you for your indulgence over the years, but weird movies are just no fun for me anymore.

I will not totally leave you hanging, however; I am listing, without comment or commentary, the remaining movies I feel should constitute the 366 Weirdest of All Time, numbers 108 to 366. I thank all of you for your suggestions over the years; however, I am discarding 99% of them as totally misguided. Instead, I give you these greatly superior selections:

108. Bad Boy Bubby
109. Labyrinth
110. My Joy
111. Jesus Christ Superstar
112. Un Chien Andalou
113. Reality Ends Here
114. The Day the Clown Cried
115. The Story of the Eye
116. Scared Sh*tless
117. The Wizard of Oz
118. Sons of El Topo
119. Cremaster 7
120. Turkish Citizen Kane
121. Tranny Zombies: A Tromantic Comedy
122. Two Girls One Cup
Continue reading WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE

SHORT: THE DARK SIDE OF FRIDAY (2011)

DIRECTED BY:  Matt Mulholland

FEATURING:  Matt Mulholland

PLOT: A depressed cabaret singer and sometime mime, overwhelmed by the pressures of

Still from The Dark Side of Friday (2011)

life and loneliness, contemplates suicide and drifts off into a symbolic abyss of despair.

WHY IT MIGHT MAKE THE LIST:  As devastating a portrait of human despair as has ever been painted, on a canvass black as velvet, this  poison break-up letter to a cruel world from an embittered heart compresses into a mere three minutes an agony that  it would take a lesser artist four minutes or even more to convey.   

COMMENTS: The nameless singer, dressed in black, observes the camera from a skewed angle, indicating his unwillingness to face the world head on anymore.  Alone, he sings of the pressures of ordinary life, but as the tension and anxiety build, a doppelgänger (who will later moph into a trippelgänger) appears.  The ghastly mirror image both harmonizes with, and mocks, the protagonist as he agonizes over paralyzing alternatives, eternally unable to choose (“which one can I take?”).  The minimalist set dissolves into a series of melancholy reminiscences; the dateless singer hanging his head in front of the mirror (the recurrence of the doppelgänger motif); he stands trapped in on a traffic island, his black garb blending into the surrounding darkness as unheeding humanity rushes by him in both directions (more dualities); he holds his head in his hands as, utterly alone, he kills off a bottle of Ballantine’s; he hangs his head in dejection as he stares hopelessly at the wall.  Mysterious images are interspersed into these reveries: running water (shades of Tarkovsky here, with an urban update); the bright lights of the teeming city intruding on his solitude, taunting him; a clock ticking down to an unstated but ominous deadline; glass shattering like a broken will (the deadline arives—the time for reflection is over).  In the finale the singer, now a mime, poses in front of the Void itself, trapped in an invisible box before Eternity.  Flakes of white drift through the Stygian abyss like fragments of exploded angels.  As masterfully affecting as these images are, without the searingly aware lyrics—written by a young postfeminist poetess to explore the ironic dualities of spirited youth versus weary wisdom, and of abandoned Dionysian collectivism versus painful Apollonian self-reflection—without such sure, knowing narration, the project would have come off as corny, weepy and bathetic.  Instead, it is a spiritually acute and devastating portrait of how having nowhere to go on Friday night inevitably leads to a loss of faith in life itself.   

The Dark Side of Friday is currently available to watch on YouTube.

A COUPLE OF EARLY OSCAR FAVORITES?

We don’t usually like to pimp mainstream movies here, but we’ve recently learned of two upcoming films that we predict are going to dominate the Oscar buzz next season, and decided we just had to share them with our readers.

The two movies occupy opposite hemispheres of the cinema world. The first (still untitled) movie, from a director who shall remain nameless, is an inspiring drama/romance/comedy/thriller packed full of catch phrases that hip people are sure to be quoting on their Facebook profiles.

The second movie could not be more different, but is just as likely to find favor with the Academy. From visionary director James Ngyuen, master of the romantic thriller, this is a beautifully imagined, CGI-heavy (in the tradition of Avatar), an environmentally conscious thrill-ride that brings to mind Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds:

SHORT: やった (2001)

fivestar

DIRECTED BY: Unknown

FEATURING:  Greenl

PLOT:  Six bouncy naked men (whose genitals are tasteful disguised by fig

leaves) experience love and loss in modern Japan, eventually achieving artistic and financial success through music. 

WHAT MAKES IT WEIRD: やった is a hallucinogenic barrage of bizarre imagery.  A peppy musical score contrasts ironically with the magical mystery tour taken by the six naked men, whose travels through impossible landscapes consisting of fields of ostriches and giant sushi platters are shown in brief, almost subliminal flashbacks.  The six scantily clad principals appear delusional, and its is possible that the director intended this short film to be an expressionist depiction of a state of paranoid schizophrenia and multiple personality disorder, with each member representing a separate Jungian archetype.

COMMENTS:

On the surface the やった seems to be nothing more than shock cinema, weirdness for weirdness’ sake.  Closer examination will reveal it to be one of the saddest stories ever told, an entire universe of bereavement and nihilism encased in a devilishly hummable 4 minute disco montage.  The scene where a fig leaf wearing man brushes past a beautiful woman on a busy Tokyo street, looks back wistfully as she passes, and is immediately consoled by his five naked brothers (who magically emerge from a nearby alley), is perhaps the most melancholy romantic scene put to film since Bernstein told his tale of the girl with the white parasol in Citizen Kane.

Some have claimed that this short film is actually a satirical skit by a comedy troupe meant to poke fun at Japan’s eternal optimism in the face of economic and political woes.  Such reductionist interpretations miss the larger point, however.  やった tells a tale of the existential struggle to survive, forge an identity, and promote a boy band made up of naked middle aged men in an uncaring, absurd universe.  In a shot that seems almost to be a throwaway sequence, but actually is the key to interpreting  やった’s deeper meaning, a fig life springs to life from the crotch of one of the singers and rises in the air, finally transforming into the word “hope.”  American directors would do well to take heed of their Japanese counterparts willingness to express such deep emotional truths without the fear of looking silly.

WHAT THE CRITICS SAY
“Irrational Exuberance gains its genius from the fact that it effectively translates the concepts in Yatta! to an American audience, who wouldn’t get the Snore! Snore! Pass! Pass! part, but can appreciate the way that commercialism dumbs down their society. Hey, as long as we’re happy, who cares if we’re dancing in our skivvies?”–Sekicho, Everything2.com