THE FINAL READERS’ CHOICE POLL (THIS TIME WE MEAN IT!) – PHASE 1, NOMINATIONS

The nominations phase is closed!

We’ve already had one final readers’ choice poll, but it was such a success that we’re doing it again. And this time, there’s a prize pack involved, so read on.

We’re coming down to the finish line in what has turned out to be an almost-decade-long countdown of the 366 Weirdest Movies Ever Made. Only 26 spots remain at the time of this writing. In the past, we’ve relied on reader input to help shape the List by running regular polls. Readers are responsible for directly placing Alice [Neco Z Alenky], Visitor Q, Pink Floyd: The Wall, Trash Humpers, The American Astronaut, Dead Ringers, Keyhole, Sweet Movie, Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny, Ninja Champion, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Vampire’s Kiss, Why Don’t You Play in Hell?, and last contest’s winners, Last Year at Marienbad and Under the Skin (2013), into the field of 366. (That’s not even counting reader-suggestions which we reviewed and found worthy.)

Some of those misfit films above surely would have made the List anyway without readers selecting them. But this new poll will be your last (and we mean it this time!) chance to have direct input on the List (at least, until we decide to expand it to 732 movies).

It’s going to work the same way as it did last time (with the added twist of a prize). We’re going to shut down the suggestion box for the time being, and you can post all your suggestions in the comments on this post. You may nominate any movie at all, whether it’s something we’ve never heard of, something that’s been languishing among our List Candidates, something that’s already sitting in the reader-suggested queue, or even something that we’ve already reviewed and rejected. Feel free to nominate the same movie you did last contest (maybe you’ll have better luck this time). The nominations are subject only to a few minimal rules:

  1. One official suggestion per reader.
  2. Don’t suggest a movie you had a part in creating. If you want us to review your work sent us a note via the contact form.
  3. Every movie suggestion will require a “second” from someone else in the comments to become a nominee. (Seconding someone else’s movie choice will not preclude you from forwarding your own nominee).
  4. Current contributors to 366 Weird Movies cannot nominate movies; they can second readers’ choices, however.
  5. If your nominee appears to be a joke (i.e. E.T. or Mamma Mia!), even a second will not help. But don’t be afraid to make a non-conventional choice for a non-conventional movie—you just have to be more persuasive about why you think it belongs here.
  6. The movies should be available for us to screen (legally) somewhere. We may consider some readily-available bootleg films, but not, for example, one of Matthew Barney’s Cremaster films (sorry! We’ll probably create another list of legendary unscreenable weird films someday.)

We will leave the nomination process open for one week. Fifteen titles is the most we’d be willing to deal with, so we’ll shut down the process if we reach that goal.

We’re trusting our readers are sophisticated enough to avoid recency bias and won’t only suggest movies made in the last two or three years (although you may certainly nominate such a film if you want to). Movies currently in theaters or film festivals should be avoided.

After one week, we’ll shut off this post to new comments and create an official one-week poll to officially add one of these movies. (Others from the poll could possibly make the List at the editors’ discretion). At that time, we’ll also reopen the “Suggest a Weird Movie!” page, though using it will be a Hail Mary pass for latecomers only.

Since you’ll need a second to get your nominee on the ballot, you’ll probably want to campaign as persuasively as you can for your choice. Since you can only vote one movie in the end, you can only second one.

Ready? Got to it! Comment away!

Oh, and did we mention a prize? We have a pair of Artsploitation horror anthology discs to give away! First up, it’s the Blu-ray version of the transgressive shock horror outing German Angst (which we have already reviewed favorably, though we didn’t nominate it for the List). We’ll pair that with the new DVD of A Taste of Phobia, wherein fourteen filmmakers fashioning flash fear films from a phobia. To draw this out as long as possible, the person who nominates the film that is eventually chosen to ascend to the List will be awarded the prize. If they are not eligible, the prize will go to the person who nominates the second-highest vote getter, and so on. The usual eligibility rules apply: you must supply a valid e-mail, you must be over the age of 18, and you must have a U.S. mailing address. You also must respond to notification that you have won within 48 hours or we’ll move on to the runner-up.

We’ll list the nominees (whether seconded or not) in the body of this post for clarity.

Final candidates:

The Adolescence of Utena

Arrebato [Rapture]

Big Man Japan (2007)

Celine and Julie Go Boating

Fruit of Paradise (1970)

The Idiots

Jigoku (1960)

Jubilee

The Last Movie

Mind Game

Multiple Maniacs (1970)

The Ornithologist

Peau d’âne [Donkey Skin]

Putney Swope

R100

Singapore Sling

Symbol (2009)

Talking Head

Tusk

Also nominated:

Aaaaaaaah! (2015)

The Addams Family

Essex Spacebin

Juliet of the Spirits

L’ange (1982)

Oldboy

See You in Hell My Darling

Slaughterhouse-Five (1972)

Sorry to Bother You (2018)

The Spirit (2008)

Tales from the Gimli Hospital

The Voices (2014)

Waiting for Godot (assuming 2001 version unless James says different)

Wet Hot American Summer

72 thoughts on “THE FINAL READERS’ CHOICE POLL (THIS TIME WE MEAN IT!) – PHASE 1, NOMINATIONS”

  1. Arrebato (Rapture), by Iván Zulueta. Cinema as a vampire and drug addiction at the same time.

  2. I’d like to nominate Singapore Sling. That’s all I have to say because somebody will second this one.

  3. I guess I’ll campaign for the same one I did last time, even though nobody but me cares about it (but that’s why only I can put it out there in the first place). Talking Head, by Mamoru Oshii! Oshii is an incredible director who’s done some very weird things, but has yet to find a place on the list or even be covered much here other than his most popular work (why…?).

    So what’s a better choice for Oshii representation on the list than his weirdest movie? Talking Head is all over the place, but is ostensibly a psychological thriller/murder mystery (without a solution) about a “shadow director” who can replicate any director’s style being called in to finish an animated film after the original director has mysteriously gone missing. Much of the film consists of spoken essays about various aspects of movie-making delivered by eccentric characters, but it gets weirder and less structured as it goes on. The later parts are completely surreal.

    One of its most notable gimmicks is that all(?) the sets are built on top of a wooden stage, which itself is placed over the seats of a movie theater. The characters do not seem to take notice of this, but it is very clear to the audience, and sometimes even weirder things are done with it…

    Even though the list is very extensive thus far, it has some huge gaps in its coverage, and Oshii is definitely one of them. So I do hope that Talking Head gets covered, although, I’m fully expecting it to not – even if it gets in the running, who would have seen it to vote for it…?

    1. Talking Head seconded. Oshii’s live action work needs more attention.

  4. As I did a couple of years ago, I will nominate Oldboy, the most famous of the “Vengeance Trilogy.” Hopefully its fans will step forward on this site.

  5. While Robert Downey Sr. is already represented on the list with Greaser’s Palace, I feel that one of his earlier works also deserve a spot, since they have in-of-themselves served as groundbreaking influences towards underground and big-league filmmakers, and are overstuffed (whether referred to congenially or detrimentally) with ideas that feel just as original today as they did in the 60’s. While his other films of this era provide such compelling moments as a dilapidated White House, a man painted on and lead to an art gallery to be sold, a time-travelling soldier, and pure plotlessness, none of them have the same quality and significance as Putney Swope.

    Putney Swope is a film that is subversive at every turn, being a biting satire on the advertising industry as a whole, and covers every aspect it can think of with the absurdist touch of Downey. Many colorful characters connected to Swope’s Truth and Soul Inc. alternate between showing the greed, corruption, and hypocritical standpoints advertising stand for, and being a vessel for Downey’s gags (some highlights include Swope’s gun-toting right-hand man, “Lawrence of Nigeria”, and potentially the world’s smallest President of the United States.

    Of course, one can’t talk about the film without mentioning the commercials created by Swope’s company, which many view as some of the most concise humor Downey has ever done. All of them profess the radical, free-spirited ideals Swope holds at the beginning, and all of them are audacious and misguided enough to make you wonder how they would get on the air in the first place. To cover every commercial would be a fool’s errand, but they all cover in some way the manipulation that advertising is forced to convey in an farcical extreme (my personal favorite being the Fan-A-Way commercial, in that the way it’s advertised is technically right, but could only be said the way it is through Downey’s way of thinking).

    Putney Swope is certainly important in what it has to say, but for the purposes of this list it is important in how it says it. The film rejects reality as we know it in order for people to take interest in, and to show how going against the grain can still lead to corruption and egoism if not careful. That said, the film never for a second takes itself more seriously than it needs (this is the same film where phones are banned because of “too much communication”, which leads into how it doesn’t matter since an employee brings up that using “the drum” is much quicker than phones ever will be) and remains a comedy full-stop, even if Downey’s comedy won’t make everyone laugh.

    Without a doubt, I will cast my nomination towards Putney Swope.

  6. The Spirit (2008):

    Sure, it doesn’t exactly work but I’ll be damned if it’s not one of the most original and auteur superhero movies ever made. The Spirit represents every Frank Miller’s quirk and obsession – questionable portrayals of women, WWII imagery, hardboiled detective monologues – and turns a classic comic into an exhilarating noir nightmare. One of those movies you cannot really predict the plot of and it’s all better for that.

  7. Derek Jarman, I feel, should have a least one of his films represented on the list. If not “the Last of England,” than maybe “Jubilee?” It is a narrative, after all, with a disco version of “Rule Britannia,” time-travelling Elizabethen tudors, one of the campiest evil record executives on film, and an ending with an elderly former dictator.

  8. I’ll submit Steven Soderbergh’s Schizopolis. I’ve seen it a couple of times and I’m still trying to wrap my head round it.

  9. Ignoring the spinoff, and the fact that its cult status had made it seem less weird over the years, Wet Hot American Summer is an extremely weird comedy. It may seem like a basic spoof of 80s summer camp movies, but the jokes don’t quite fall into the visual-pun style of most spoof movies.

  10. I’m nominating John Waters’ Multiple Maniacs (1970) – the only movie on Earth that tries to take credit for the Manson murders right before having a boiled lobster rape Divine. Yes- that Divine! Add in cavalcades of perversion, rosary job, Divine destroying a car, Divine cannibalizing David Lochary, and Divine getting gunned down by the National Guard; hence a weird movie that only John Waters would make before making Pink Flamingos (1972).

    I’m also seconding Derek Jarman’s The Last Of England (1988). If Stan Brakhage’s avant-garde masterpiece can make the list, so too can Derek Jarman’s weirder hallucinatory tone poem!

  11. I’d like to nominate Hitoshi Matsumoto’s ‘Symbol’ (2009); not easy to find in the U.S. – but it just doesn’t get any weirder than this:

    1. Seconded. Symbol is a must for anyone who has seen it. A Man locked in a room in a ridiculous pyjamas trying to escape by pushing on penises of angels appearing in the walls. And that ‘s only the starting point.

  12. I’ll second Symbol (was about to add it myself as the weirdest film I’ve ever seen), but I think it was held off on this very website because of its official unavoidability.

    1. And I’d like to nominate Jacques Demy’s “Peau d’âne”. Kistch *and* weird at the same time!

  13. I’d like to nominate Jodorowsky’s The Dance if Reality.. it’s a coming of age film like no other, with an opera singing mother, an army of local amputees, and a father who undergoes his own weird journey of redemption..

  14. either waiting for godot or end game , 2 plays by becket that were made into films. weird and great. put becket on the list

  15. I would like to nominate Dance of Reality.. the most surreal and delightful coming of age movie ever

  16. I have been waiting for a 366 review of ‘the idiots’ for months. It is the only movie in my personal inventory of weird films not yet covered on your site, and it definitely deserves a place here… I nominate ‘idioterne’ 1998 Lars von Trier.

    1. I’ll second this- though think it’ll only stand a chance due to the sliding scale of quality compared to weirdness. The fact it complies with the Dogme 95 perhaps both limits and adds to it’s strangeness. A good movie and a oddity if anything.

  17. Is there no way to get Celine and Julie Go Boating on this list? Unavailability be damned, I’d be happy to send you a dvd-r.

  18. Since Connor didn’t specify that The Last Of England was his choice, I’m gonna transfer my second away from that film. Sorry but his comment was too vague and I made my choice too quickly without reading it thoroughly. My new second is Donkey Skin, which answers the question what would happen if Jean Cocteau made a Pop Art version of another French fairy tale. Bonus points on it inspiring Anna Biller’s The Love Witch!

  19. My suggestion is Federico Fellini’s Juliet of the Spirits. Was one of the first really wierd movies and the first Fellini’s movie I have ever seen. It is supposed to be about a deteriorating marriage, but has many bizzare scenes in it that are like strange (and sometimes funny) dreams. The ending is just out there.

  20. You can put me down for “Jubilee” – that’s perfect. Sorry if I wrote it so vague.

  21. I would like to nominate The Dance of Reality…it`s the most surreal yet delightful coming of age story ever

  22. I am going to nominate “Jigoku” (1960) directed by Nobuo Nakagawa. The second half of the movie takes place in hell, a surrealist non-linear journey through hell to boot!

  23. “Dennis Hopper’s “The Last Movie” is a wasteland of cinematic wreckage. There are all sorts of things you can say about it, using easy critical words to describe it as undisciplined, incoherent, a structural mess. But mostly it’s just plain pitiful. Hopper hasn’t even been able to cover his tracks; the failure of his intentions is nakedly obvious. Near the movie’s end there’s a pathetic scene in which he sits, half-stoned, dazed, confused, and says the hell with it. It feels like he means it.”

    -Roger Ebert, January 1st, 1971

    This film feels more like Mr. Hopper’s suicide attempt than when he actually did blow himself up. It’s like Godard tried to make a real movie which meant he should make a meta-film of the most treasured genre, the western, and make it a film of 2 films, the film the Americans abandoned, and the film the Peruvians adopt. One is more dangerous than the other, as one faces reality in the way a Hollywood film will avoid.

    This film should get bonus consideration for the fact that Mr. Hopper showed his first cut to Alejandro Jodorowsky, and Mr. Jodorowsky laughed and had him edit it again, and the edit we now have feels like a wasted hybrid of Peckinpah and Burroughs’ Cut-Up technique.

    This is a weird film and should be viewed at 3 in the morning after a few shots of tequila and a joint.

    I liken this film to a mobius strip, or even a Klein bottle. That’s a more accurate description. This film is so layered and meta, you start to feel that the film’s negative stock was soaked in alcohol and made to sit through a hot box.

    1. I’m going to second this, largely on the strength of James’ pitch. I think I’d like to see his full write-up.

  24. Big Man Japan from 2007 absolutely has to have a view by this website. The images in this film are some of the strangest ever committed to celluloid.

  25. I’ll try it again: The Ornithologist by João Pedro Rodrigues. It is a very arty, cryptic and sexy cinematic odyssey. The movie mixes nature observations, paganism and Christianism. Already a list candidate, it truly deserves a spot in the final list.

  26. The Voices (2014). Pretty sure there’s a capsule review of it on here, but I honestly think it’s a contender. Talking animals and severed heads in refrigerators are typical weird fodder, but the dance scene at the end is the real treat. Also a pretty strong performance from Ryan Reynolds in a role unlike a lot of his other work.

  27. Josh Gibson’s Pig Film (2018)! Not 100% sure about the availability, but it’s a really interesting piece on environmental themes, the film-making process, opera… and pigs!

  28. I will nominate the movie I did last time around :
    THE ADDAMS FAMILY.

    I know, I know. It is a kinda mainstream/kids/family movie. BUT, I believe it is for these very reasons this tale of the weirdest, oddest, most macabre, death-fetishizing family is even better. Also, great and fun characters! And Christopher Lloyd should be on the list again!!

  29. I know I’ve suggested it before, but I really think The Adolescence of Utena deserves to be on this list.

    The movie is a different continuity from the show Revolutionary Girl Utena, so there’s not a need to have seen it, but as someone who’s seen both, I can tell you that the movie ramps up the weird factor from the already famously surreal show. Girls with holes in their chests, silhouette commentators, castles on wheels, ghost friends and, the pinnacle, a girl driving a car that was previously her girlfriend. Yeah, not even exaggerating.

    1. Seconded, one of my favorite movies of all time, an absolute symbolism apocalypse.

  30. Fruit of Paradise (1970).
    An avant-garde retelling of Adam and Eve by directed by Vera Chytilova. I think it makes the director’s previous film Daisies look tame and straight forward in comparison. Also the Czechoslovak government banned Vera Chytilova from making movies for eight years after it was released.

  31. I’d like to nominate Mind Game by Masaaki Yuasa. Also, honorable mention to Devilman Crybaby, which I would nominate if not for the fact that it’s a tv show.

  32. I would like to second the Idiots, though think it’ll only make it with the sliding scale of good quality meaning less weird.
    Following the Dogme 95 Manifesto both limits and adds to the film’s weirdness. A good film and a oddity at the least.

    1. I’ve never quite understood the motivation behind that Manifesto. Cinema allows for such a magical experience beyond the ordinary. As one living in the ordinary, watching it on-screen has rarely interested me. (In much the same way, I’ve never understood the whole “Sims” PC-gaming phenomenon.)

      Anyway, I imagine this tangent would be better pursued elsewhere so I’m going to cut myself off now.

  33. I nominate Aaaaaaaah! (2015)
    from imdb:
    Ever imagined what life would be like if humans were apes in modern life? That is the portrayal in this deeply thought provoking mind boggle.

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