Category Archives: Miscellanea

WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 8/23/2019

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):

Jacob’s Ladder (2019): An Afghanistan war veteran returns home to find the brother he thought he’d lost in combat is still alive, and has been the subject of army-sponsored psychotropic drug experiments. A remake (of sorts) of the Canonically Weird 1990 psychological thriller. US Distributor Vertical Entertainment’s home page.

NEW ON HOME VIDEO:

“Akio Jissoji: The Buddhist Trilogy”: Three rare films of the late Japanese New Wave: This Transient Life (1970) involves brother/sister incest, Mandara (1971) concerns a pro-rape cult, and Poem (1972) stars a young boy caught up in a plot to sell his ancestral home. Arrow Academy promises that these little-seen films are all stylized, experimental, erotic and spiritual. Blu-ray set only. Buy “Akio Jissoji: The Buddhist Trilogy”.

Iron Sky: The Coming Race (2019): This sequel to the Nazis-on-the-moon original finds survivors of the nuclear apocalypse burrowing into the hollow earth in search of a better life. Like the Nazis, this series still has some life left in it. DVD or VOD only (for now, at least) from Lions Gate (there is an Irish Region B Blu-ray on the market). Buy Iron Sky: The Coming Race.

Last Year at Marienbad (1961): Read the Certified Weird review! After restoration, and art house classic about a couple who may—or may not—have met last year at Marienbad is once again out on DVD and Blu-ray from Kino Lorber. Or is it? (Spoiler: it is). Buy Last Year at Marienbad.

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’S IN THE PIPELINE: Next week G. Smalley will bring you a look at the new erotic thriller Blood Paradise, and also dip into the reader-suggested review queue for a review of 1982’s The Plague Dogs, ‘s ultra-depressing animated canine followup to his ultra-violent bunny cartoon Watership Down (1978). Also, we’ve been putting off populating our Apocrypha, and next week we’ll remedy that as Giles Edwards officially inducts ‘s whimsically surreal 1974 opus Celine and Julie Go Boating onto the supplemental list. Onward and weirdward!

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 8/16/2019

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):

Birds Without Feathers (2018): Experimental feature mixing stories of six odd people—an Instagram celebrity, a performance artist, a Russian fan, and so on—in a technologically alienated world. Playing only in NYC at the Roxy Cinema, presumably with some kind of home video release to follow. Birds Without Feathers official site.

Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles [Buñuel en el Laberinto de las Tortugas] (2018): Animated biopic about the young making the “surrealistic documentary” Land Without Bread (Las Huerdes). This is one we’ve had our eye on for a while; it doesn’t look weird per se, although there are the expected dream sequences, but Buñuel fans should find this a curiosity worth seeking out. Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles official site.

FILM FESTIVALS – North Bend Film Fest (North Bend, WA, 8/15-8/18):

Set in the Washington town where many of ““‘s exteriors were filmed, the North Bend Film Fest is a ian destination. Compressed into an intense three days, it features not only weird movies but also a tour of “Twin Peaks” locations, a live podcast recorded at the local brewpub, and a virtual reality lounge with a suite of trippy experiences. It’s highlighted by a handful of movies we just screened at this year’s : the dark fairy tale (and Apocrypha Candidate) Koko-Di, Koko-Da; Extra Ordinary, an Irish ghost comedy; the teen melodrama Knives and Skin; and the druggy vampire flick Bliss. We also noticed a couple of potentially interesting curios we hadn’t seen before, but will keep an eye out for:

  • The El Duce Tapes‘s VHS-sourced documentary about 1990s shock metal frontman Eldon “El Duce” Hoke. Screening August 17.
  • Monument – Polish fantasy about a group of college interns who find themselves stripped of their identities and held in a strange hotel. Also on Aug 17.

North Bend is an out-of-the-way destination and probably not something you’re going to attend at the last minute, but you can start making your plans for next year’s fest now.

North Bend Film Fest home page.

NEW ON HOME VIDEO:

Galaxy of Terror (1981): Interstellar travelers land on a distant planet where an alien pyramid attacks them with horrors from their own imaginations. An early 80s Forbidden Planet/Alien ripoff from ‘s New World Pictures, with an infamous alien rape scene, which for some reason found its way into our reader-suggested review queue. This is a steelbook Blu-ray from a new restoration with new artwork; in other respects it seems identical to Shout! Factory’s 2010 release. Buy Galaxy of Terror.

Open Your Eyes [Abre los Ojos] (1997): Read our review. This Spanish psychological thriller about a playboy who loses his mind when he loses his looks in a car accident debuts on Blu-ray this week. Buy Open Your Eyes.

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’S IN THE PIPELINE: Next week we’ll have at least two new reviews for you: Giles Edwards opines on the absurdist cult TV show “The Mighty Boosh,” while you can see if “Old” Greg Smalley got his mind blown by Switzerland’s puberty horror fantasy Blue My Mind. In the meantime, if you haven’t entered our latest contest yet, why not take your shot at winning a copy of “All the Colors of Giallo?” We’ll pick a winner next Thursday. Onward and weirdward!

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.

CONTEST: WIN A COPY OF “ALL THE COLORS OF GIALLO” (BLU-RAY/CD)

Time for another giveaway contest! No particular reason: just because we like you.

Since the prize is a copy of All the Colors of Giallo, the entry procedure will be simple: just tell us your favorite in the comments. (We’ll be loose with the definition of the genre, but all entries mentioning Top Gun will be disregarded).

We’ll leave the contest open for a week. Of course, you may join the discussion even if you don’t meet the eligibility requirements below or don’t wish to receive the prize; please mention you’re not in it for the swag when you announce your pick.

Contest eligibility rules: You must make a nomination by commenting on this post with your favorite giallo film and informing us of your desire to be in the contest. To receive the prize, 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). 366 contributors are not eligible for the prize. You are not eligible for this prize if you have won a contest here in the last six months. We’ll stop accepting entries Wednesday, August 21, at midnight EST. The winner will be chosen randomly from all eligible comments. If the winner does not respond to our request for a mailing address within 48 hours we’ll email a runner-up, and so forth, until the prize is given away.

All the Colors of Giallo Blu-rayAs for the prize:  It’s a fresh, unopened, shrink-wrapped copy of Severin Films’ All the Colors of Giallo. This 3-disc (one blu-ray, one DVD, and one CD) set contains the title documentary, over four hours of giallo trailers with commentary, a disc devoted to the German “krimi” films, and a CD of select cuts of soundtrack faves from the likes of Ennio Morricone. It’s the must-have set for giallo fans.  You can read the description of the features in our review.

That’s it, now get to it!

WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 8/9/2019

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):

Every Time I Die (2019): The soul of a troubled paramedic migrates into the bodies of his friends after he dies. At least one critic liked this low-budget psychological thriller with “a surreal feel” quite a lot. Also available on ITunes. Every Time I Die official site.

Rapid Eye Movement (2019): A radio DJ tries to break the world record for consecutive days awake, both to raise money for charity and because a serial killer promises to put him to sleep permanently if he fails. Not sure where it will play, but it’s simultaneously released on-demand. Rapid Eye Movement official Facebook page.

SPECIAL EVENTS (8/13 and 8/19):

Millennium Actress (2001): Read the Certified Weird entry! Fathom Events parade of classic anime re-releases continues with ‘s hallucinatory biopic of a fictional Japanese actress’ three-decade career, told in a blend of flashbacks and fantasies in which her interviewers join. Newly restored and with a new English language dub, and with reflections by producers Taro Maki and Masao Maruyama to be broadcast after the film concludes. Check the Fathom Events site for a screening near you.

IN DEVELOPMENT (announced):

“The Man Who Fell to Earth” (TV Series): CBS All Access has green-lit a new series based on Walter Tevis’ 1963 novel (which made into a very weird 1976 movie starring that you may have heard of). Casting hasn’t yet begun, but veteran producer Alex Kurtzman (“Star Trek: Discovery”) is set to direct. There’s plenty of room for skepticism that this will be as offbeat as the original; in fact, there’s reason to suspect that they’ll be going for a more mainstream aesthetic: “Nicolas Roeg was a legend, and the last thing I would want to do is mimic his work in any way,” said Kurtzman. More details (with industry insider type stuff) at Deadline.

NEW ON HOME VIDEO:

Don’t Look Now (1973): Read the Canonically Weird review! It seems like the Venice-based grief horror classic just got a Criterion release, but now Studiocanal puts out the ultimate “Collector’s Edition” of the film with a new 4K restoration, Ultra HD and standard Blu-ray discs, a separate disc of extra features (some new), the soundtrack CD, collectible postcards, posters and booklets. All regions. Buy Don’t Look Now (Collector’s Edition).

Fragment of an Empire (1929): A Russian soldier loses his memory in a WWI battle and returns to his home in St. Petersburg. This rare, newly restored/rediscovered Soviet avant-garde silent sounds like it could be the model for Guy Maddin‘s Canonically Weird Archangel. In a DVD/Blu-ray combo pack from Flicker Alley. Buy Fragment of an Empire.

The Reflecting Skin (1990): Read the Canonically Weird review! This strange little rural movie about a kid who thinks his neighbor is a vampire (among other oddities like a death car and a petrified baby angel) arrives on Blu-ray in North America for the first time, courtesy of Film Movement. Also on DVD and VOD (for the first time, we believe). Buy The Reflecting Skin.

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’S IN THE PIPELINE: Now that has finished his coverage, we can return to “normal” around here… which, of course, means weird. So next week you can expect a review of ‘s latest, the stoner comedy The Beach Bum. We’ll also take a look at Severin Films’ monumental documentary/trailer collection/soundtrack compilation All the Colors of Giallo. And, to top it off, another Blu-ray giveaway contest, to thank our readers for keeping us in business. Onward and weirdward!

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.

END OF THE OMNIBUS-LINE

Post Story

2019 Fantasia International Film Festival final wrap-up and recommendations:

Seek

Somehow I managed to catch sixty-four screenings for a total of sixty-three new movies. You may recall that I watched one film, Koko-di, Koko-da, twice, and that suggests it’s my top recommendation. It was the most talked-about movie among my crew of fellow reviewers, and it elicited strong reactions on both edges of the hate/love spectrum; I did not come across anyone saying something noncommittal about it. So I give it “First Prize.” Tailing close on its heels is Why Don’t You Just Die! This was met with universal approval among all those with whom I spoke, which is quite a coup considering how extremely violent it is. That it’s also extremely funny is just icing on the blood.

 Poster for Koko-Di Koko-Da

The third place designation is a bit a tougher, so I’ll go easy on myself with a tie between Dreamland—for being most atmospherically weird—and The Gangster, the Cop, and the Devil, as probably the best example of straight-up fun and straight-up badassery. But bear in mind, such parsing is a really tough assignment when looking back on over five dozen movies.

Destroy

The bottom three were a lot easier to decide on, as I had already done so as I came across them. Sadoko set the baseline as an achievement in tedium. Flying in the face of critical and popular consensus, I designate Knives and Skin as the Most Pointlessly Melodramatic Film. I do not agree with the two defenses of the movie: strong feminist agenda (so what? There are plenty of feminist movies that have intelligent characters you can care about) and “capturing an emotional mood.” The emotional mood I found in this movie was one of idiocy. I have lived through the teenage years and knew plenty of people who had real problems. The maudlin sob-story of Knives and Skin fell flat.

Jessica Forever manages to combine the shortcomings of both of the above movies. If it’s an example of “alternative French cinema,” I understand the success of “mainstream French cinema.” Disenchanted, blandly handsome young Frenchmen who get the authorities’ dander up “just because” they go on some killing sprees? I don’t know why that seemed like a good premise.

Personal Summary

I quite enjoyed my previous trips to Fantasia, and this year was no exception. And I’m inclined to feel like I’ve become part of the family there; by the end of the festival, all the staff knew who I was and I got to know many of them myself. I’m hopeful that in future I don’t try to match to my new record film tally, but strongly suspect I won’t be able to help myself. Thanks everyone for reading; cheers.

Congratulations to those of you who’ve figured out what I’ve been up to with each of the omnibus sub-headings.

2019 FANTASIA FILM FESTIVAL: OMNIBUS FIELD REPORT #3

La Première Leçon de Fantasia

I’ve never had such a cordial time disagreeing with people.

7/24: Hard-Core

Poster for Hard-Core (2018)Notice to the authorities: this actually could qualify as Apocrypha. Nobuhiro Yamashita’s melodrama concerns a pair a brothers: the younger, Sakon, is a successful day trader; the older, Ukon, has fallen from grace and is forced to work for an eccentric millionaire, digging in a hole looking for the legendary “shogun’s gold.” Ukon’s only friend is a simpleton also in the millionaire’s employ—that is, until they stumble across a retro-futuristic robot with a ridiculous face and a quantum processor. What makes this one weird isn’t that they stumble across the robot and wacky things happen; rather, they stumble across the robot, and it just blends in. The incongruousness of its appearance does lead to some funny scenes (the trio going to a karaoke bar was particularly hilarious), but in general the robot ends up more as a witness of the unhappiness around him—save for on two occasions. So yeah, Hard-Core is a moody, darkly funny, drama about men who have trouble relating to the world. And their robot friend.

7/25: Shadow

This is a two-hour period action drama. My feeling is that it should have been closer to ninety-minutes (as period-action) or closer to three hours (as a straight-up period drama). As it stands, Yimou Zhang’s piece is fairly satisfying on both counts, helped in no small way by the dominant palette of grey. The weather throughout the movie is rainy; the costuming ranges from white to black; and the only colors to speak of are red and occasional earth tones in the final battle. Now, the combat was fun, but didn’t quite earn its place in a political chamber-thriller; the politics were intriguing, but far too truncated, especially when interrupted by the neat-o combat spectacles. I suspect you can now see the problem. Shadow is, I assure you, good. It could have been great by going further one way or the other. Or, considering everything that it hints at, it might have done better as a miniseries.

Culture Shock

Still from Culture Shock (2019)Gigi Saul Guerrero is such a genuinely fun and adorable person, and knowing she was going to introduce and field questions after Culture Shock was actually the main reason I attended. (That, and last year’s La Quinceañera, which she co-created, was Continue reading 2019 FANTASIA FILM FESTIVAL: OMNIBUS FIELD REPORT #3

WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 8/2/2019

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):

Ladyworld (2018): Eight teenage girls are trapped in a house by an earthquake in a surreal distaff take on “Lord of the Flies.” Screening in Los Angeles and New York this week, coming to VOD in late August. Ladyworld official site.

NEW ON HOME VIDEO:

Hush Hush, Nellie Oleson (2019):  documentary Hush…Hush, Nellie Oleson! about his “increasingly absurd (and gory)” attempts to fit former “Little House on the Prairie” actress Alison Arngrim into a low-budget experimental horror film.  VOD only. Buy or rent Hush Hush, Nellie Oleson.

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’S IN THE PIPELINE: Next week, all reviews must go! We’re clearing out our stock and passing the savings along to you! Save on reviews of the Russian black comedy Why Don’t You Just Die?; the children’s anime fantasy The Moon in the Hidden Woods (act now and get a bonus interview with the director!); the early-release preview of the restored classic Son of the White Mare [Fehérlófia]; another preview, this time of the coming-soon-to-theaters thinking man’s sci-fi offering Freaks; and Giles Edwards final grab bag of Fantasia leftovers and left-field recommendations. All this before Tuesday, by which time we’re expecting to recieve Alfred Eaker‘s highly anticipated report on his second summer blockbuster assignment, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. And in case that’s not enough for you, Shane Wilson will also chime in on a couple of odd shorts now streaming on Netflix: ‘s 15-minute Thom Yorke music video “Anima” and David Harbour’s30-minute mockumentary Frankenstein’s Monster’s Monster, Frankenstein. Just because you’re on summer vacation doesn’t mean you can take time off from reading 366 Weird Movies; in fact, you should be using your free time to catch up on all the sizzling weird movies news. Onward and weirdward!

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.