Category Archives: Miscellanea

WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 8/17/2018

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.

NEW ON HOME VIDEO:

“12 Monkeys, Season 4”: The expanded, TV version of the Certified Weird Terry Gilliam classic (Gilliam was not involved). Since we just inaugurated the film version onto the List of the 366 Best Weird Movies, we feel it’s only appropriate to  mention the home video début of the final season of the series, available on Blu-ray or as a VOD purchase. Buy “12 Monkeys, Season 4”.

Army of Darkness (1992): Read our review. Evil Dead III: Evil Goes Medieval (our suggested title, they should have used it) is now available in a new Blu from Shout! Factory, the same as the “Collector’s Edition” but with cool new artwork and in the popular steelbook format. Buy Army of Darkness.

Atmo HorroX (2016): Read our festival review. This self-described “experimental satire psychedelic horror” with no comprehensible dialogue earned our “weirdest!” badge, and is for seasoned weird-movie watchers only; it’s finally up for digital purchase (only). Buy Atmo HorroX.

How to Talk to Girls at Parties (2018): Read our review. This punk/alien/John Hughes mashup flopped at Cannes and made about $14 in theaters, but it’s not as terrible as some suggest, and may find a small audience among weirder teens and nostalgic ex-punks on home video. DVD, Blu-ray or streaming in Amazon Prime. Buy How to Talk to Girls at Parties.

Lifeforce (1985): Read our review. Another Shout! Factory steelbook, this time for the nutty nude space vampire epic that was a favorite of teenage boys everywhere during the VHS era. Buy Lifeforce.

Tideland (2005): Read the Certified Weird entry! This Arrow Video Blu-ray includes the same special features as Capri’s two disc DVD release but adds a few new interviews with the cast and some additional B-roll footage to the package. Buy Tideland.

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 WEIRD MOVIES ON TUBI.TV:

Cube 2: Hypercube (2002): Read our review. Obviously inferior to the original, but if you liked the randomly-slaughtered small-cast paranoia dynamic there, get ready for more. Watch Cube 2: Hypercube 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.

WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 8/10/2018

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):

Madeline’s Madeline (2018): Read G. Smalley’s positive review and Giles Edwards’ less positive mini-review. This experimental drama about a mentally unbalanced teenage girl in a theater troupe split our reviewers, but no one denies it’s a breakout work for director and rising star Helena Howard. Opening this week in New York city, then on to Los Angeles and other major cities in the late summer. Madeline’s Madeline official site.

NEW ON HOME VIDEO:

Lowlife (2017): Read Giles Edwards’ List Candidate review. Shout! Factory picked up this festival hit that’s a little like Pulp Fiction, but with luchadores; now on DVD, Blu-ray, and VOD. Buy Lowlife.

Zama (2017): A Spanish official posted to a remote South American colony longs for reassignment in a “subtly surreal and bizarre” film festival programmers said “often feels like it was made to purposefully confound the viewer.” Strand Releasing makes it available on all the usual platforms, including Blu-ray. Buy Zama.

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:

Cube (1997): Read the Certified Weird review! Existential horror; a pulpy Exterminating Angel in a cube. Watch Cube free on Tubi.tv.

NEPOTISM CORNER:

House of Shadows: Although it won’t be open until October, Alfred Eaker is already hard at work on the murals for the scare shack that bills itself as “Oregon’s Most Extreme Haunt.” Here’s a preview of his work, featuring a character some of you may recognize. Mark your calendars, Portlanders and other Oregonians! The House of Shadows website.

Caligari

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.

2018 FANTASIA FESTIVAL: THE FINAL SLICE OF STRANGE

Au Revoir

The Festival’s second half proved to be quite worthwhile, with a few gems tucked away in the final days. It was good, but my eyes started to hurt.

7/29: One Cut of the Dead

One Cut of the Dead Poster (2018)This should have appeared in the previous week’s “slice”, but for a couple of days I toyed with doing a fuller write-up of Shin’ichirô Ueda’s “found footage” horror exercise. I’m going to ask that you trust me on this, because I cannot say any more without compromising your viewing experience. But you Really, Really Should see this if you can. For those like me who regard the zombie genre as effectively run into the ground, this movie—despite what it seems the premise is—breathes so much life into the tired, tired tropes of zombie-this, -that, and -the-other. Top-notch cast, top-notch direction, top-notch notch. (Highly recommended.)

7/30: The Scythian

Still from The Scythian (2018)I had unfortunately missed seeing this on the big screen as both screenings conflicted with other films. However, even on a modest 41″ television in a darkened cubicle, Rustam Mosafir’s proto-Russian adventure fantasy proved itself to be one heckuva ride. Filled with sword fights, betrayals, mysterious pagans, and some crazy berserker-juice, The Scythian was everything one could want in a medieval adventure yarn. In particular, the score (which is something I’ve noticed I’ve been noticing a lot more) heightened the historical and mystical tones. Both the diegetic music from traveling performers and the ambient tribal chanting grounded the old world feeling; things cut loose a bit more during a fine bit of fighting when the chants were paired with some sick heavy metal guitar. While criticized in its homeland for a lack of historicity, I was more than happy to overlook incongruities from a millennium ago.

Cinderella the Cat

Still from Cinderella the Cat (2018)With four directors covering 86 minutes, you get about twenty-one minutes per director. I’m not sure how the assignment was divvied up (though conceivably they could had one for the animation, one for the voice acting, one Continue reading 2018 FANTASIA FESTIVAL: THE FINAL SLICE OF STRANGE

WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 8/2/2018

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):

Revengeance (2016):  A comic biker noir about a “low-rent” bounty hunter hired to recover an item stolen from “Deathface,” a former pro-wrestler turned U.S. Senator. Indie animation legend  completed this feature in 2016 (with the aid of a Kickstarter campaign), but it’s debuting this week in NYC, with a screening next week in LA (with DVD and/or VOD presumably soon to follow). Revengeance official site.

NEW ON HOME VIDEO:

Piranha II: The Spawning (1981): A scuba diver tries to figure out where all these mutant flying piranha (!) are coming from. Debuting director was fired from this picture after just one week, arguably making a hopeless project even worse—but it still gets a “collectors edition” Blu-ray release from Shout! Factory. Buy Piranha II: The Spawning.

UPCOMING SCREENINGS:

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) [IMAX]: Although prints of Stanley Kubrick‘s weird sci-fi classic have been touring all summer, Warner Brothers will be re-releasing a -supervised remastered version of 2001 specifically for IMAX theaters beginning on August 24. The reason we mention it now is that, although the film will screen in 350 locations in the U.S. and Canada, there will be only be four IMAX theaters screening it in 70mm: Universal Citywalk (LA), Lincoln Square (NYC), Metreon (San Francisco), and  Ontario Place Cinesphere (Toronto). Tickets for those four venues go on sale today, and are sure to sell out. You’re on your own finding tickets (hint: try Google), but you can’t say we didn’t give you a heads up. Here’s Warner Brothers’ full press release.

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.

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.

2018 FANTASIA FESTIVAL: A THIRD SLICE OF STRANGE

Abridgement

Last year there were three fully scheduled screening rooms. This year there are only two. With a flood of dramas from Southeast Asia clogging the Festival, pickings were a little slim. But hope springs eternal as it heads into its second half.

Short: “Hooligans” (dir. Adam-Gabriel Belley-Côté)

After a match that could at best be described as a qualified success, three members of the blue team (the fourth is in hospital with a concussion; the other three are also injured to varying degrees) discuss the prospect of letting the leader’s cousin into the group. The controversy? It was that same cousin that caused the blue team their injuries. Presenting violent European football fandom as a sport of its own, “Hooligans” eschews social commentary in favor of rib-tickling reveals about competition, induction, and club-house procedure. Beware appendix 1-A.

Short: “A/S/L” (dir. Benjamin Swicker )

A horror film about American Sign Language? Heck no. I was immediately reminded of my age when I saw this short that hearkens back to simpler times of Windows 95 and AOL 2.5. Doug ill-advisedly makes the titular inquiry of a thirteen-year-old girl he meets online. He compounds his error by taking her up on her offer to visit her place. What could go wrong; her parents are “gone for the weekend.” Upon arrival, things turn sinister/awkward. With the appearance of the girl’s “sister,” they gets doubly so—doubling again with the appearance of yet two more under-age girls. In their way, the girls have a feisty-good time; Doug, however, should have stayed at home.

7/24: Inuyashiki

Still from Inuyashiki (2018)In the tradition of Kodoku: Meatball Machine and others, Shinsuke Sato presents another in the genre of “Superannuated Superhero”: Inuyashiki. By chance, a put-upon father who has just been told he has fatal cancer and a disenchanted young man end up at the same park by chance and are struck by a blinding light and massive object. Coming to the next day, the father is first surprised to find himself alive, and then to find he no longer needs his glasses. Slowly he discovers he has a a shiny, new interior: a “switch” in his wrist releases a high-tech weapon; another node in his neck flips his head open to reveal some very impressive central processing power. The young man, on the other hand, learns about his new self faster, but chooses a more destructive path than the older man’s healing spree.

Inuyashiki deftly combines sky-high action sequences with down-to-earth ruminations on the nature of good, evil, and the feasibility of forgiveness. Both the father and the young man have understandable gripes with reality, but the former never ceases to try to do the Continue reading 2018 FANTASIA FESTIVAL: A THIRD SLICE OF STRANGE

WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 7/27/2018

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):

Dead Night (2017): A vacationing family finds a mysterious woman passed out in the snow and takes her back to their cabin; supernatural hijinks ensue. A bit of a weird long shot, but a couple of critics have independently mentioned its “strangeness.” In “select theaters” and simultaneously debuting on VOD (where you’re more likely to find it). Dead Night official site.

Good Manners [As Boas Maneiras] (2017): A poor nurse takes a job as nanny to a pregnant rich woman, but is there something strange about the unborn child? This Brazilian art-horror reportedly has werewolves, lesbianism, and musical numbers, which sounds like a solid mix. Good Manners official site.

NEW ON HOME VIDEO:

Beyond Re-animator (2003): Read our review. The prison-set and typically excessive third installment of the Re-animator franchise gets a Blu-ray upgrade from Vestron Video. Buy Beyond Re-Animator.

Dagon (2001): A boating accident finds a young couple stranded on an island of Dagon-worshiping villagers. An overlooked sibling of ‘s adaptations (though better regarded than Castle Freak, at least). Another Vestron Blu-ray. Buy Dagon.

In the Mouth of Madness (1994): Read our review. Shout! Factory joins Vestron in the Lovecraftian Blu-ray re-release sweepstakes with ‘s tale of a novelist whose books drive men mad. Restored, and with a new (and an old) Carpenter commentary and new (and old) featurettes. Buy In the Mouth of Madness.

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 MOVIES ON TUBI.TV:

Lifeforce (1985): Read our review. Astronauts discover a naked space vampire and wrecks London. This bizarro B-movie is an all-time favorite of 14-year old boys everywhere, and is listed as “leaving soon” on the service. Watch Lifeforce free 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.

2018 FANTASIA FESTIVAL: A SECOND SLICE OF STRANGE

Ambiance

Demolition is going on not too far from my window. Apologies in advance for any typos or misinformation; I’ll blame the occasional ground shudderings and Carbon Monoxide I’ve been reading warnings about.

7/17: The Nightshifter [Morto Não Fala]

Poster from NightshifterNightshifter‘s director, Dennison Ramalho, has been hovering around the periphery of the Fantasia Festival with shorts for over a decade now. During that time has met José Mojica Marins (of “Coffin Joe” fame), looking for that filmmaker’s ring (a gift from ‘s wife) on the dark floor of the cinema, as well as Ken Russell (of Ken Russell fame) at the Fantasia screening of A Serbian Film.

What Ramalho brings to the table in this outing is a refreshing bit of horror (!) revolving around a morgue attendant, Stênio, who can speak with the dead. When he makes the mistake of misusing their information he is doomed to be haunted by an incredibly angry and bitter (and dead) wife. While it is marred by a too-obvious score (we’re already dealing with corpses, murders, morgue prat falls, and haunting) that focused too much on the jump-string section instead of maintaining a quiet unease, the Nightshifter still manages to pack a bit of a punch. Its necessarily troubling finale is gratifying in its way, too, as Stênio rises to the challenge of accepting his fate. More from Ramalho will likely be a good thing for horror fans.

7/18: Boiled Angels: the Trial of Mike Diana

Trusting the voices inside my head, I took in a screening of Frank Henenlotter‘s latest film early this afternoon. This the Henenlotter of Basket Case fame: what would attract the interest of this genre filmmaker? Nothing less than the once obscure, now infamous trial of Mike Diana: the only artist in American history to have been found guilty of obscenity. Though it’s a talking-heads documentary, Boiled Angels naturally enough skirts along its periphery, using narrated illustration segments and gee-whiz-colorful meets Dear-God!-extreme examples of comics both from Mike Diana and much of American comics’ underground history. Various luminaries provide remarks, from Jay Lynch and Stephen Bissette (who testified for the defense) to George Romero and . What makes this documentary stand out in particular is that the filmmakers reached out to Mike’s adversaries and gives those players not just screen time, but also a fair shake. Must see for afficionados of underground comics: Mike Diana took Continue reading 2018 FANTASIA FESTIVAL: A SECOND SLICE OF STRANGE

ULTIMATE (AS IN ‘FINAL’) 366 WEIRD MOVIES READER’S POLL

With only 25 spots left open (!) on the List of the 366 Weirdest Movies, last week we opened up nominations for readers to submit movies they could not bear to be left off the List. This is the last chance for readers to directly vote movies onto the List, although as always, we can be moved by bribes. So what you see below is now officially the Ultimate Readers Choice Poll. (There is also a prize involved, but only for those whose nominations were chosen—you can remind yourself of those rules here, if you so desire).

You may vote your favorite from the list below, and you may only vote once per day. We trust you are an honorable bunch so no shenanigans, please. The poll includes a short quote from the reader who nominated the film or seconded the nomination (or from the IMDB if they added no commentary). You are encouraged to continue to campaign for your favorite in the comments on this post. Voting closes on July 29 at midnight, U.S. Eastern Standard time. Enjoy!


Direct voting link (use if you cannot see the poll or if your browser does not support javascript)

WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 7/20/2018

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):

Holy Hell (2018): A priest goes off the deep end and starts slaughtering sinners. With cinemas turned over to superheroes for the summer, we had nothing to spotlight, but we did find this brief trailer for a -esque splatter comedy that is playing… somewhere? Holy Hell Facebook site.

IN DEVELOPMENT (SHOOTING SOON):

The Dead Don’t Die (2019?): Genre-hopper Jim Jarmusch (Dead Man) tackles the zombie film (apparently, it’s a zomcom). , Selena Gomez, Adam Driver, , , and are attached (that is an impressive cast). Seen at Variety.

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.

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.

2018 FANTASIA FESTIVAL: A SLICE OF STRANGE

Arrival

Anyone traveling internationally should heed this advice: nothing hurries customs agents along faster than the phrase, “I’ll be covering a film festival.” Two years in a row now I’ve seen the Dear God, All Right, Moving on… expression at the border when explaining the reason for my trip.

So without further ado, the reason for my trip: Fantasia Festival movies!

7/12: Nightmare Cinema (Anthology)

Still from Nightmare Cinema (2018)“Horror” isn’t really my preferred genre—I either find it too pointless, or too scary (!).  “Anthology” also isn’t my preferred film format — I typically want one movie to carry itself. Combining the two, however, works out well: it allows for a taste of a director’s work without committing the viewer to overkill. Mick Garris, supervising a clutch of Horror luminaries, has put together a string of varyingly good vignettes. “The Thing in the Woods” (dir. by Alejandro Brugues) tells the tale of a handful of  twenty-somethings  making incredibly bad, incrediblier rapid-fire decisions as if they can’t get to their gruesome fates fast enough. “Mirari” (dir. by [the Legendary] Joe Dante!) deftly taps into the fears of plastic surgery gone awry. “Mashit” (dir. by Ryuhei Kitamura) is pretty ho-hum, until the very Catholic (that is to say, “Unorthodox”) slaughterhouse finale. And “Dead”(?) concerns a boy who, having been … dead … for seventeen minutes can now see the … dead.

What stood out with its bleak tone, creepy understatement, and grisly ambiance, however, was “This Way to Egress” directed by David Slade of Thirty Days of Night fame. A mother of two boys is growing increasingly unhinged after her husband leaves her, resulting in her seeing her surroundings and people she meets looking ghastlier and uglier as the hours go on. Her psychologist  just about recommends suicide before heading off to a meeting. This short stood out even moreso because, unlike Thirty Days of Night, it is well-written, very unnerving, and left me creeped the Hell out. (Somewhat appropriately.)

7/13: La Nuit a dévoré le monde (The Night Eats the World)

Still fromThe Night Eats the World (2018)If any of our readers are fans of the zombie/undead/shuffling corpse-people genre, they should check out Dominique Rocher’s directorial debut. Our hero, Sam (Anders Danielsen Lie), passes out in the back room of his ex-girlfriend’s apartment after an awkward encounter at a party. Upon Continue reading 2018 FANTASIA FESTIVAL: A SLICE OF STRANGE