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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.
FILM FESTIVALS – Nightstream (Online, Oct 7-13):
Nightstream came about in 2020 as an online collaboration between smaller film festivals that were canceled due to the pandemic; it proved enough of a success to have another go in 2021. This year, the participating festivals are Boston Underground, Brooklyn Horror, North Bend, and Overlook. All titles stream exclusively online and are geolocked to the U.S.
The streaming titles we’ve covered elsewhere are the nun dramedy Agnes, the Japanese time travel comedy Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes, the experimental documentary Code Name: Nagasaki, Brazil’s sentient auto horror King Car, stop-motion nightmare Mad God, the restrospective Satoshi Kon: The Illusionist, the existential comedy Stanleyville, and the horror-drama We’re All Going to the World’s Fair. Among those we have previously noted but have yet to catch are ‘s visually amazing After Blue (Dirty Paradise) and the title-says-it-all doc Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror. There’s also one promising new-to-us debut: Bloody Oranges, a French feature involving multiple storylines about a dance contest, a crooked politician, and a pervert; programmers use the keyword “surreal.” Also with a revival of the amazingly bad and sleazy direct-to-video horror Boardinghouse (1982) and numerous shorts, podcasts and special panels.
Tickets start at $65 for five films.
IN THEATERS (WIDE RELEASE):
Spirited Away (2001): Read the canonically weird entry! ‘s most popular (and arguably best) feature, a good candidate for the title “the ‘Alice in Wonderland’ of Japan,” gets a short-lived wide release courtesy of Fathom Events for its 20th anniversary. More Miyaki revivals will come in the following weeks in what’s being dubbed “Ghibli Fest.” October 3, 4 and 6 only; look for a participating theater near you at Fathom’s Spirited Away page.
IN THEATERS (LIMITED RELEASE):
Arrebato (1979): Surprise! This Spanish horror film about a horror film director who receives a mysterious 8MM film that leads to a hallucinogenic nightmare is getting an unexpected re-release in select theaters. A cult item in its homeland, it has never been exhibited in the U.S., and is not on home video in North America (an oversight we expect to change soon). Opens this week in NYC at Anthology Film Archives. More dates can be found at the U.S. distributor’s Arrebato homepage.
Mayday (2021): A world where women are engaged in an endless war, luring men to their death like sirens; a woman not sure if she wants to be a killer. Early reviews are a bit ho-hum. Also available on VOD. Mayday official site.
Titane (2021): A woman who survived a childhood car crash makes her adult living modeling at car shows, and then things get strange. We were intrigued by the idea of Raw followup, but we were unsure whether it would qualify as weird; after reading reports of its Palme D’or winning Cannes debut, we’re now convinced. Titane U.S. distributor site.s
NEW STREAMING SERVICE: KINO CULT:
Kino Lorber has scoured their large catalog (and their sub-labels, including recently-acquired Artsploitation) for their cultiest titles and put them up for free on a new ad-supported streaming service, which advertises itself as “a deep dive into the unapologetically weird.” There are too many titles of interest, many covered here, to mention individually, so we’ll only list the canonically weird titles we noticed: Dogtooth [Kynodontas] (2009), Eden and After (1970), The Forbidden Room (2015), L’Immortelle (1963), and the restored versions of Nosferatu (1922) and Metropolis (1927). Also with a large selection of classic exploitation and most of ‘s catalog. This is truly a bonanza of online weirdness for your perusal. Now, if they’d just add watch party capabilities to the mix… check it out at Kinocult.com.
NEW ON HOME VIDEO:
Devil Story (1986): A French horror with a plot involving mummies, Nazi mutants, and ghost horses, rediscovered and released by Vinegar Syndrome. Early reports suggest it enters into Vinegar Syndrome. Blu-ray only. Buy Devil Story.territory. Currently listed as “out of stock” at Amazon (though you can check the link to see if that’s changed), but you can always order these limited editions directly from
“Melvin Van Peebles: Essential Films”: This Criterion Collection box set is, naturally, highlighted by Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song (1971). Melvin’s experimental debut The Story of a Three Day Pass may also be of interest, but the kicker is son Mario’s comedy biopic Baadasssss! (2003), about the making of Sweetback. On five Blu-rays. Buy “Melvin Van Peebles: Essential Films”.
Tough Guys Don’t Dance (1987): A drug-addicted writer finds a severed head after a two-week blackout bender and tries to piece together what happened. The directorial debut of writer Norman Mailer is seriously intended (it debuted at Cannes) but odd, campy, and raunchy; an unusual pickup for trash label Vinegar Syndrome. Buy Tough Guys Don’t Dance.
CANONICALLY WEIRD (AND OTHER) REPERTORY SCREENINGS:
This section will no longer be updated regularly. Instead, we direct you to our new “Repertory Cinemas Near You” page. We do have to mention that NYC’s the Metrograph is back, baby, showing the new restored print of Possession (1981) all week, and tossing in some oddities like the Chesty Morgan bra-buster Double Agent 73 , She Dies Tomorrow, and a smattering Halloween faves like In The Mouth of Madness through October. Also, Seattle’s Central Cinema is back in the game, with Suspiria (1977) playing next week. And heck, we’ll throw in Louisville, Kentucky’s Speed Art Museum Cinema, with 8 1/2 (1963) playing this weekend. We will continue to mention exceptional events in this space from time to time.
WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE: There’s still time to vote for our next Weird Watch Party (scheduled for the evening of October 9). If things hold up, we’ll be screening the serial killer flick Angst (1983) on Tubi.tv.
In reviews, Pete Trbovich will roll up the bizarre kiddie show standalone film Pufnstuff (1970); Giles Edwards is planning a trip to Siberia (2019) with and ; and Gregory J. Smalley braves the theater for Julia Ducournau‘s Palme d’Or winning body-horror, Titane. Onward and weirdward!
What are you looking forward to? If you have any weird movie leads that we have overlooked, feel free to leave them in the COMMENTS section.