WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE

Only 4 more movies to Certify Weird! You may attempt to guess the remaining titles in the comments if you wish.

Don’t forget to enter our latest giveaway contest (a Blu-ray of Snowflake and a bonus DVD of the Norwegian Xmas slasher Christmas Blood) by mentioning us on social media! There is a quick turnaround on this contest, closing on 12/18. Details here.

We’ll start off next week in a holiday mood as Alfred Eaker waxes nostalgic about “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” (the real one, not the one in theaters). Next up Giles Edwards catches us up on the hallucinogen-fueled Argentinian horror Luciferina (2018). Then, it’s G. Smalley giving you the scoop on the “surreal drama” Mountain Rest 1)An earlier version of this post incorrectly reported we’d be covering the re-release of ‘s career-wrecking The Last Movie (1971); look for that the following week instead., then revisiting Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life (1983) so he can spend one more Christmas in heaven.

Not-so-heavenly is our weekly survey of weird search terms that brought users to the site this week. Among the best we saw was “bestiality twin,” which should give you a hint how normal the searches were this week. We are even forced to highlight “foriegnmoviegettingtidofaliens” as one of the strangest searches we saw; it’s never a good sign when you’re relying on broken space bars to create your weird searches. In a very ordinary week, we’ll go with “365 movies in dubbed movies” as the weirdest search term we saw. The searcher was probably looking for dubbed Indian movies, but the phraseology implies they’re searching for 365 different movies somehow embedded inside dubbed movies, which is a head-spinning concept indeed.

And finally, it’s time for our weekly cut n’ paste disclaimer regarding the reader-suggested review queue below: since we will definitely not be getting to all of these (although we will pick out the occasional title), you can consider this a list of “honorable mentions” for your own perusal and amusement. That out of the way, here’s how the ridiculously-long reader-suggested review queue now stands: The Last Movie (next week!); Genius Party; The Idiots; “Premium” (depending on availability); Spermula; Killer Condom; Sir Henry Continue reading WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE

References   [ + ]

1. An earlier version of this post incorrectly reported we’d be covering the re-release of ‘s career-wrecking The Last Movie (1971); look for that the following week instead.

CONTEST: WIN COPIES OF “SNOWFLAKE” AND “CHRISTMAS BLOOD”

Time for another giveaway! We would like to increase our social media footprint, so to enter, we’re asking you to make a post referencing 366 Weird Movies either on Facebook or Twitter (using either “#366WeirdMovies” or “@366WeirdMovies”). Then, return here to and link to your post in the comments to enter. (You can say whatever you want in your post, from “give me some free stuff @366WeirdMovies” to “You suck, #366WeirdMovies.” Just mention us and return here to tell us!)

We are going to select the winner from the eligible comments randomly using random.org (One entry per person, please).

The usual eligibility rules apply: to receive the DVD/Blu-ray, you must supply us with a mailing address in the United States. (Don’t publish your address in your comment! We’ll contact the winner through email). You also must be over the age of 18. 366 contributors are not eligible for the prize. We’ll stop accepting entries Tuesday, December 18, at midnight EST. If the winner does not respond to our request for a mailing address within 24 hours we’ll email a runner-up, and so forth, until the prize is given away. We don’t guarantee your prize will arrive before Christmas.

SNOWFLAKE (2017) Blu-rayAnd now, for our prizes, both courtesy of Artsploitation Films. First up is a Blu-ray copy of Snowflake, a meta-narrative feature in which an amateur dentist screenwriter finds his own characters pressuring him to change the outcome in his script that features hitmen, angels, superheroes, and fascists fighting it out in a dystopian future Germany. We’re big fans of this movie and heartily recommend it: if you don’t believe us, check out rave review and our just-published interview with director Adolfo J. Kolmerer.

Poster for Christmas Blood (2018)And because it’s that time of the year, our second chilly feature is Norway’s Christmas Blood (DVD). Artsploitation pitches it thusly: “Horror’s Santa-slasher sub-genre mixes with Scandinavian Noir in this bloody Xmas tale. Christmas is a time of peace, love and family. But not for Norway as a psychopath dressed in a Santa Claus suit has been terrorizing them for the past 13 years. For as soon as the caroling starts, this demented Kris Kringle dispenses bloody ax blows regardless of whether you’ve been bad or good. As the holiday approaches on one snow-covered town filled with revelers, a pair of detectives work against time to find and arrest this bearded serial killer. Will they manage to stop this demented St. Nick before he kills again? Director Reinert Kiil (The House, Whore) delivers a dark, disturbing and bloody holiday thriller.”

Now get to it! See you on Facebook (or Twitter). Don’t forget to notify us of your entry in the comments below!

CRYSTALLINE STRUCTURES: DIRECTOR ADOLFO J. KOLMERER ON “SNOWFLAKE”

Adolfo J. Kolmerer on the set of "Snowflake"
Adolfo J. Kolmerer on the set of “Snowflake”

Snowflake is a twisted meta-narrative movie in which an amateur dentist screenwriter finds his own characters pressuring him to change the outcome in his script that features hitmen, angels, superheroes, and fascists fighting it out in a dystopian future Germany. In his review of the film, raved, “Using a bold style while slavishly following scripted narrative logic, [director] Kolmerer continued to amaze me at every twist and turn.” Snowflake director Adolfo J. Kolmerer was kind enough to answer a few questions submitted by 366 Weird Movies staff via email.

366: William James is credited as “guest director” (“gast-regie”). What was his role in the production?

AK: William James is not only the guest director, he is one of the editors and the creator of Hyper Electro Man1)The surperhero character in the film.. William is one of my closest friends and collaborators, we have been working together for a long time.  He wanted to do Hyper Electro Man as a short film and direct it. We decided to put the storyline in the film and I asked him to direct it.

366: Snowflake was made independently on a very low budget— how did you convince so many people to work without immediate pay?

AK: I think we convinced them with the crazy ideas the script was offering. I promised them that I would finish the film, that it will remarkable and different.  It was a lot of energy that we invested into convincing people to help us not only the ones in front of the camera, I’m happy that at the end everyone is happy with the result and they are proud of being part of this unique and mostly wild ride.

366: Did your previous work in making commercials influence Snowflake? Commercial directors are often obliged to make a small budget look big.

AK: Well, what we spent in Snowflake is a quarter of the budget of a normal commercial, but yes, that’s something important that I learned while doing commercials, which is to find a way, always! To work under massive pressure and stay focused.  Of course shooting a film is a different job but I think it helps a lot to have experience in both.

366: With so many characters, who do you see as the primary protagonist of the story (if there is one)?

AK: I developed a different kind of love for everyone, but the primary are TAN, JAVID, ELIANA and CARSON.

366: Is Hauke (synonym for “warrior”) Winter based on anyone in particular, or just representative of the rising fringe in German politics?

AK: Hauke is based in Populism, the men of power that disguise themselves as victims of the system to get to power (Left and Right wing). It is very sad to see what is happening in the world right now. No continent is safe from their own Hauke.

366: Did you know screenwriter Arend Remmers before beginning this project? How did the script come to you?

Still from Snowflake (2017)
Arend (Alexander Schubert) performs a quick script rewrite at the urging of Javid (Reza Brojerdi)

AK:  I was involved on the project since the beginning, the writer Arend Remmers is one of my best friends. Snowflake was born out of frustration because of failed past projects, that never got done because of financing and producers trying to make our stories more conventional, so Arend and I decided to do a bonkers film and break the rules, but only under one condition: we have to do it ourselves together with our friends, so we don’t have to compromise, that meant no fancy production companies or any budget. We have known each other for 8 years now, we worked together in many small projects before Snowflake. Now Arend is one of the most brilliant writers in Germany, he is not afraid of breaking rules and changing the form, which I love. I am like that too, so we work together very well! We are like brothers, we respect each other’s opinions and share the same film DNA.

366: Why was “dentist” the day job for the in-movie screenwriter?

AK: Because a friend of ours is a dentist and said “you can shoot here.” Everything in the movie is based on ’s rule: Use what you have 🙂

366: How did you go about casting someone to portray a character with the real name of the actual screenwriter?

AK: Alexander Schubert, who plays Arend Remmers, is a friend of ours. I remember we pitched him his character and what he does and he was very excited. When we told him that his name is Arend he went crazy and started laughing. He took the job on the spot, ha ha.

366: Did you consider a cameo role for the real Arend Remmers?

AK: No, ha ha, my Arend is too shy, it would give me a headache to direct him.

References   [ + ]

1. The surperhero character in the film.

WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 12/14/2018

Our weekly look at what’s weird in theaters, on hot-off-the-presses DVDs and Blu-rays (and hot off the server VODs), and on more distant horizons…

Trailers of new release movies are generally available at the official site links.

IN THEATERS (LIMITED RELEASE):

The House That Jack Built (2018): A serial killer recounts his career using an architectural metaphor. Nothing really suggests to us that this is weird (as opposed to shocking/provocative/extreme), but the fans in our audience will be interested. The House That Jack Built official site.

IN DEVELOPMENT:

Prisoners of the Ghostland (2019?): If you thought Nicolas Cage and Panos Cosmatos was a match made in, er, Hell, then what about this one: Cage and ? Cage reveals that his next (well, one of his next, since he makes about 20 movies a year) role will be in Sono’s English-language feature film debut. Nic will star as a man tasked with rescuing a woman kidnapped and held in a country ruled by ghosts. At a festival in Macao, Cage told the crowd that it “might be the wildest movie I’ve ever made, and that’s saying something.” Thanks to Bloody Disgusting for the heads up.

The Show (2019?): Alan Moore, original author of Watchmen, V for Vendetta, and other graphic novel adaptations, produces his first feature script. The synopsis describes a detective visiting a haunted English town where he encounters “dead Lotharios, comatose sleeping beauties, Voodoo gangsters, masked adventurers, unlikely 1930s private eyes and violent chiaroscuro women,” played with a tone of “hallucinatory austerity.” The first release image shows a fanciful character with crescent moon hairdo sitting on a crescent moon, playing a ukulele. Mitch Jenkins, who worked with Moore on the related short film anthology Show Pieces, directs. Paste has the most detailed write-up.

NEW ON HOME VIDEO:

“De Palma & De Niro: The Early Films”: Three countercultural Sixties satires from a director and star destined for greatness: the b&w farce The Wedding Party; 1968’s x-rated draft-dodging comedy Greetings; and Hi, Mom!, with De Niro now a vet involved in radical politics. Considering it’s three discs with a ton of extras, this is a reasonably-priced gift idea from Arrow Video. Buy De Palma & De Niro: The Early Films.

My Neighbor Totoro (1988): Read our capsule review. Not such a weird movie, but this 30th anniversary edition may be a sign of things to come for the constantly-rereleased catalog: stacked Blu-ray+exclusive soundtrack release+commemorative booklet. Sorry, but Amazon warns that orders placed now will not arrive before Christmas. Buy My Neighbor Totoro.

Snowflake (2017): Read Giles Edwards’ review. A remarkably scripted German fantasia with hitmen, angels, superheroes, and fascists battling it out, and an amateur dentist screenwriter directing the action. This release is DVD only; if you want a Blu-ray, wait a week (it drops on the 18th). Buy Snowflake.

The Wild Boys [Les garcons sauavges] (2017): Five boys (all played by girls) are exiled to an island due to crimes they commit while under the influence of a mystical being called TREVOR. This French film has sat in the reader suggestion queue for months, awaiting an American home video release that has finally arrived. DVD, Blu-ray, and VOD. Buy The Wild Boys.

CERTIFIED WEIRD (AND OTHER) REPERTORY SCREENINGS:

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.

FREE (LEGITIMATE RELEASE) MOVIES ON YOUTUBE:

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension (1984): Read the Certified Weird Entry! Watch Buckaroo, the famous neurosurgeon/superhero/rock star, take on Dr. Lizardo and his alien allies, in all its 80s camp glory. Listed as “leaving soon.” Watch The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension on Tubi.tv.

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.

362. THE DEVILS (1971)

“There was no better director to learn from. He would always take the adventurous path even at the expense of coherence.”–Derek Jarman on Ken Russell

Must See

DIRECTED BY:

FEATURING: , , Gemma Jones, Dudley Sutton, Michael Gothard, Murray Melvin

PLOT: Father Urbain Grandier is the charismatic spiritual and political leader of the independent city of Loudun; Cardinal Richelieu wants him replaced because he refuses to allow the city’s walls to be torn down. Sister Jeanne, Mother Superior of the town’s convent, is tormented by sexual dreams about Grandier. When Sister Jeanne confesses her fantasies to a priest, Richelieu’s men hatch a plot to frame Grandier as a warlock, and the entire convent is whipped into mass hysteria, becoming convinced they are possessed by devils.

Still from The Devils (1971)

BACKGROUND:

  • Father Grandier and Sister Jeanne, among many other characters in the film, were real people. Grandier was burnt at the stake in 1634 on accusations of practicing witchcraft.
  • The Devils was based on John Whiting’s play “The Devils of Loudun,” which itself was based on Aldous Huxley’s novel of the same title.
  • Ken Russell’s original theatrical cut ran 117 minutes, after the British censors removed an infamous 4-minute sequence known as “the rape of Christ.” The U.S. distributor cut an additional three to six minutes of sex and blasphemy out so that the film could be released with an “R” rating in the States, and that release became the standard version and the only one released on VHS. The longer director’s cut was not seen until 2004, thanks to a restoration effort led by . Russell’s director’s cut has never been issued on home video; the X-rated theatrical cut is the most complete version currently available. Portions of the “rape of Christ” scene are preserved in a BBC documentary called “Hell on Earth” (included on the BFI DVD).
  • A young designed the sets. This was his first feature credit.
  • The Devils is included in Steven Schneider’s “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.”
  • The contemporary arguments over the film became so heated that Russell himself attacked critic Alexander Walker on live television, hitting him on the head with a copy of his negative review.
  • Warner Brothers has steadfastly refused to release the movie on DVD, but they did eventually sublicense it to the British Film Institute for overseas release.

INDELIBLE IMAGE: Even with the “rape of Christ” scene excised, what sticks out in The Devils are the scenes of possessed nuns, some with shaved heads, whipping off their habits and cavorting in the nude, writhing, self-flagellating, jerking off votive candles, and waggling their tongues in an obscene performance. For a single, and singular, image that encapsulates the themes and shock level of The Devils, however, try the vision of Vanessa Redgrave seductively licking at the wound in Oliver Reed’s side when she imagines him as Christ descended from the cross to ravage her.

THREE WEIRD THINGS: Crocodile parry; Christ licking; John Lennon, exorcist

WHAT MAKES IT WEIRD: Nobody, but nobody, shoots a nun orgy like Ken Russell. Aside from a dream sequence or two, The Devils is a historically accurate account of a real-life medieval witch hunt—but Russell emphasizes only the oddest and most perverse details, so that the movie itself becomes as hysterical and overwrought as the frenzy it condemns. Truth, in this case, is at least as strange as fiction.


Original U.S. release trailer for The Devils

COMMENTS: Viewed from a great distance, The Devils is a classical Continue reading 362. THE DEVILS (1971)

CAPSULE: NIGHT IS SHORT, WALK ON GIRL (2017)

Recommended

DIRECTED BY:

FEATURING: Voices of Kana Hanazawa,

PLOT: A shy, lovestruck senior follows a peppy junior (“the Girl with Black Hair”) from afar over an almost endless surreal night that includes philosophical drinking contests, an encounter with the God of Used Books, a peripatetic musical theater, and a cold epidemic.

Still from Night Is Short, Walk on Girl (2017)

WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE LIST: At this writing, there are only five slots remaining on the List. If not for that shortage, Walk on Girl might have a shot. Fortunately, we already have a slightly more famous, slightly better movie to represent Masaaki Yuasa on the List—but if he keeps making anime this weird, we may have to reconsider that hard 366 cap.

COMMENTS: A cross-dresser, a man who has vowed not to change his underwear, and a love-besotted student walk into a bar… Well, actually it’s a wedding reception, not a bar, and Night Is Short, Walk on Girl is not a joke, although it is a comedy. Nevertheless, that is the opening setup for a yarn that will quickly unfurl into a surrealistic nocturnal journey. The object of the student’s affections is the Girl, who starts with her own romance-free agenda: she wants to experience adulthood, and figures the best way to do this is through a night of heavy drinking. As she meets perverts, sophists and fellow drinkers, the evening develops into a quest for a mysterious liquor known as Imitation Denki Bran, climaxing in a drinking contest against an elderly pessimist. Meanwhile, her admirer has his underwear stolen and discovers his friend leads a secret team of electronically-omniscient high school hackers. And all that’s just in the first 20-30 minutes; the not-so-short night has many more wonders to unfurl, including another competition (this time involving lava-eating), musical numbers from “The Codger of Monte Cristo” (with meta-lyrics referring to both the main plot and subplots), and a flying fever dream finale.

The look of the film is bright and clean, with a mild retro feel: space age graphics and clean modernism, with bold use of color and geometric motifs—especially flower petals, which go drifting through the canvases like blossoms falling off invisible psychedelic cherry trees. There are plenty of abstract sequences, split screens, hallucinations, and other animated digressions, but the transition between styles flows smoothly, not chaotically as in Yuasa’s previous Mind Game. The story glides along from incident to incident in a similarly fluid fashion. Episodes are packed inside four major chapters: bar hopping, the used book fair, the play, and the cold that lays the entire neighborhood low. It’s a pleasant structure to organize the anything-can-happen action and keep us from getting totally lost in the film’s hubbub.

Night Is Short, Walk on Girl is weird, but light. The title character’s girlish optimism sets a sprightly, happy tone. While her pursuer’s actions sometimes verge on the stalkerish, we never doubt the purity of his affection, and we naturally root for the two to get together. Girl‘s dream logic is totally blissed-out; someone must have spiked the imitation brandy with mescaline. It’s a night well spent; you may even wish it was longer.

Night Is Short, Walk on Girl played theaters in a limited engagement over the past summer. It’s scheduled to appear on DVD, Blu-ray and VOD in January 2019.

WHAT THE CRITICS SAY:

“…a weird, very bemusing and sometimes wonderful anime…”–Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian (contemporaneous)

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