Category Archives: Top 10 Lists – Guest Experts


We here at 366 Weird Movies appreciate the contribution of music to the tone and impact of a weird movie, and try to highlight it whenever we can, but we’re not musicologists. We had long hoped to publish some kind of feature on bizarre movie scores, but when a pair of actual experts approached us with a similar idea, we jumped at the chance. Here are Butler University composer/professors Michael Schelle and Frank Felice’s choices for ten strange movie scores:

Over the course of film’s history, the styles and indeed the function of a film’s musical score has changed frequently, from the earliest silent film’s “pianist-in-the-pit” to today’s “anti-score” sound design of Hans Zimmer. Most of the time, however, the musical score for each movie serves to intensify the emotional core, underscore/buttress the plot, or some cases, function like an unseen character. For nearly its entire history, this musical underscore has been fairly conservative, with quite accessible classical music providing the basic music for most films, augmented (or replaced at times) by the pop music of the day. However, sometimes directors and producers asked their composers to go further, or more likely, the composers themselves took the risk or writing something unique, and their bosses accepted it. Here are ten scores (well, a few more) that are weird, either in their techniques, or their instrumentation, or how they interact with the images and dialogue.

Body Parts (1991) – directed by Eric Red, score by Loek Dikker

Much of the score by Dikker uses a typical horror music aesthetic and language, but what makes this film unique is one instrument’s frequent use  a bowed musical saw. Just about perfect for a film about lost limbs and their replacements…

(listen for the saw doubling the violins at about the three minute mark)

Crash (1996) – directed by , score by Howard Shore

Howard Shore may derive much of his fame as a composer from his work on Lord of the Rings, but it’s scores like this that show his range—most of the music is derived from the sounds and a few chords played by the opening guitar parts. Other instruments augment this essential music, but the guitar is nearly always there lurking in the texture, certainly adding to the creepiness of this very bizarre film.

The Third Man (1949) – directed by Carol Reed, score by Anton Karas

This is so utterly bizarre! In what is surely one of the best suspense films of all time, wonderfully written, paced, and filmed, the music throughout the WHOLE of the film is performed largely by a ZITHER. Happy and cheerful. Even through the crazy chase scenes. Of course, some of the most intensely acted scenes have no music. Making the return of the zither each time it happens a lot less trustworthy…

Forbidden Planet (1956) – directed by Fred McLeod Wilcox, “electronic tonalities” by Louis and Bebe Barron

The first score to be produced completely by electronic means, Continue reading TEN OF THE MOST UNCOMMON AND WEIRDEST MOVIE SCORES


Scott Dwyer is a writer and filmmaker living in upstate NY with his black cat Haxan. His weird short film “Stillborn” is available to view on Youtube. He also runs the weird horror in film and literature website The Plutonian.

I have been a fan of weird films pretty much my whole life. I remember wandering around video stores in the 1990’s looking for strange thrills, surreal dreams, bleak zombie apocalypses, and poetic perversions. The thrill of finding a strange film on the rack that you have never heard of is a pleasure lost in this modern era of Wikipedia and YouTube.

The true connoisseur of the weird is the hardest to please. Most films that try to be weird fall flat. Usually the best weird films are made by people who are just so weird that they don’t realize how weird their visions are, like , or who are held back by budget or other factors and their film just ends up this strange offspring they did not intend, like Manos: The Hands of Fate. I classify the best weird movies as films that you can throw on late at night, fire up your hallucinogenic of choice, and see which of your friends gets freaked out and bounce, and which ones stay, lost in the infectious signals emanating from your television. Weird films tend to have a nonlinear logic to them, a kind of alien ambience. Sometimes you can’t tell if you are still watching a film, or have fallen asleep and are dreaming. Weird films are transgressive to those not into them, and objects of obsession to those who love being lost in a nightmare. So here is a list of my top ten, in no particular order, weird films that have somehow injected themselves into my psyche and force me to re-watch them repeatedly.

  1. The Black Cat (1934) – A couple traveling find themselves somehow caught in a tragic revenge story that seems to have emerged from some fevered horror fan’s wet dream. A revenge obsessed and a satanic square off against each other in a art deco complex built over an old battlefield, eventually sending the whole film diving headfirst into a self-annihilating abyss. The plot and the acting are so over the top that it goes way beyond the Gothic horror that the director may have been going for and heads straight into bad drug territory.
  1. Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989) – Racing camera, exploding transformations, a pounding industrial soundtrack, never has a weird film been so in your face. This film was my first exposure to the very strange field of Japanese cult films. If Eraserhead is a slow burn weird film, Tetsuo is a hyperkinetic burst of corrupted bodies, cold steel, and black blood.
  1. Still from Mystics in Bali (1981)Mystics in Bali (1981) – The image of a witch’s head flying around, dragging its spinal cord, looking for fetuses to suck out of pregnant women’s wombs, is the zenith of Continue reading SCOTT DWYER’S TOP 10 WEIRD MOVIES


Nico B. has directed the underground shorts Pig (1998) and 1334 (2012) and the feature Bettie Page: Dark Angel (2004). He has been running Cult Epics, a distribution company with a deep catalog of obscure, extreme, and downright weird movies, for the past 25 years.


1. & 2. I Was a Teenage Zabbadoing AKA I Was a Teenage Zabbadoing and the Incredible Lusty Dust-Whip from Outer Space Conquers the Earth Versus the 3 Psychedelic Stooges of Dr. Fun Helsing and Fighting Against Surf-Vampres and Sex-Nazis and Have Troubles with This Endless Titillation Title AKA Vampiros Sexos (1988), and Mondo Weirdo: A Trip to Paranoia Paradise AKA Jungfrau im Abgrund (1990), dir. Carl Andersen

I Was a Teenage Zabbadoing‘s long title alone says this must be the weirdest movie ever, but it’s nothing you expect. In 1989 we invited the director Carl Andersen to the Cult Club in Amsterdam to show this movie, but instead he gave us the premiere of his next film, Mondo Weirdo. Teenage Zabbadoing, shot on 16mm, is in part the Austrian answer to the of Richard Kern and , but even more it’s a European punk rock hardcore sex vampire film, stylistic and trashy at the same time, with an excellent no-wave score by Model D’oo.

Mondo Weirdo, Carl Andersen’s second film, is in the same style as his debut, with a script like meets It surpasses the first one in obscenity: straight, lesbian and hardcore gay sex in a world of vampires, punk rockers, and surrealism, again with the electro music of Model D’oo. Carl sadly died a few years ago, nearly forgotten.

3. & 4. El Topo (1970) and The Holy Mountain (1973), dir. Alejandro Jodorowsky

Still from El Topo
El Topo

Advertised in Europe as a Western, El Topo, Jodorowksy’s trippy masterpiece, is my favorite surreal esoteric film, along with Holy Mountain. I met Jodorowsky in the early 1990s at his home in Paris and asked him if the rights for these two films were available and if we could make a deal. He closed his eyes and meditated for 10 minutes while I stood there, and then said “yes.” Little did I know he did not own the rights, nor did he have any 35mm materials, so nothing ever came of it. Years later he finally settled his dispute with Allen Klein (manager of the Beatles) and the films became available for the first time officially on video.

5. & 6. Viva la Muerte (1970) and I Will Walk Like a Crazy Horse (1973), dir. Fernando Arrabal

I was a fan of Arrabal at once after someone brought me a VHS tape Continue reading NICO B’S TOP 10 WEIRD MOVIES


 is an independent filmmaker working out of Denver, Colorado. His second feature film, the allegorical dream fable Ink, is certified by this site as one of the 366 Best Weird Movies of all time. Ink currently holds a 100% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes, and critics compared the style to works of and . His latest feature is the mind-bender The Frame. Together with his wife and collaborator Kiowa, Winans founded Double Edge Films to release his movies on his own terms without studio interference. DVD or digital versions of Ink and The Frame, and related merchandise, can be purchased directly from Double Edge films.

As it turns out, most of my favorite movies would be classified as “weird movies” so really I just need to list some of those.  These films aren’t wildly obscure or crude films, but they’re films that weren’t easy to get made just because they were doing something different.  A majority of them are from the 90’s, which was an amazing period for unique voices.

12 Monkeys (1995 – Terry Gilliam)

What I love about this movie is that Gilliam somehow sneaked a very weird film past Hollywood and into a wide release by disguising it as a and  blockbuster.  I had never been so confused and simultaneously so moved by a movie as 12 Monkeys.  I turned right around and immediately went to see it again.  It was even better and weirder the more I saw it.

The Blues Brothers (1980 – John Landis)

Still from Blues Brothers (1980)This was one of the very first movies I saw as a kid and I just loved it.  I wanted to be Elwood.  It’s not commonly seen as a “weird movie”, but when you look at it, it’s insane!  A couple of ex-con blues musicians go on a mission from God across the country to save an orphanage where they’re chased by Nazis, hicks, and the entire city of Chicago.  Oh, and it’s a musical.  Only John Landis…

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004 – )

 is one of the greatest writers of our time.  Michel Gondry is one of the most creative filmmakers of our time.  The two working together on a very sweet, yet profoundly deep film about love and pain turned out to be something magical.  An incredible cast (my favorite  performance) and a beautiful style.

The Double Life Of Veronique (1991 – Kryzystof Kieslowski)

I admire Kieslowski more than almost any other filmmaker because he was able to reach such depth in his work while having such a gentle touch in style.  Nothing was forced or too broad, yet everything he did had such spiritual depth and tension.  Veronique is my favorite Continue reading JAMIN WINANS’ TOP 10 WEIRD MOVIES


GB Hajim is the director, co-writer and chief animator of the Certified Weird Strange Frame: Love and Sax. We described that film’s visuals thusly: “Imagine dropping a hefty dose of LSD on the set of Blade Runner, and you walk through a door and suddenly you’re in the Star Wars cantina. Now, imagine that experience animated by the team behind Fantastic Planet working under the direction of , take that result and square the weirdness quotient…”

Strange Frame is available on iTunes, Xbox, Playstation, Netflix, and most everything else, but if you really want to support the filmmaker and get all the features, the director recommends picking up the DVD from Amazon.

Strange Frame was GB’s first feature film. He makes his home in Hawaii. GBʻs current project is the fan convention HawaiiCon 2014, featuring a reunion of the cast of “Stargate Atlantis” and Walter Koenig’s 78th birthday!

Some of the very best of weird movies vanish into obscurity as soon as the actual print of the film wears out. I am thinking of the 1991 half hour film by Aussie filmmaker Shane McNeil called the Apocryphal History of Meat Part IV – The Brotherhood of Meat. Witty and weird, this movie is an excellent treatise on vegetarianism with lots of exploding meat to keep its tongue in cheek. A list of weird documentaries could be forthcoming—it would definitely include another Australian gem Cane Toads: An Unnatural History and Chris Smithʻs American Movie.

To me, the hallmark of a weird movie is a moment so unique that it can only be brilliant in the context of the certain refined bizarreness a filmmaker has created. Shu Lea Cheangʻs cyberpunk porno I.K.U. (which literally means “cum” in Japanese) has such a great moment, when two of the leads are singing karaoke into rotating throbbing dildos. Unfortunately, the rest of the movie drags, so it doesn’t make my cut for top ten. I also left off some gems that have just become too familiar, and therefore less weird, like The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

1. Bliss (1985), Dir. Ray Lawrence

The movie is a surreal journey of a man who, at the moment of death, has an epiphany so strong that when he wakes he cannot tell the real lies of his life from the lies his brain is telling him. Youʻd think that cockroaches erupting from his chest would be enough to tip the guy off, but youʻd be wrong.

The moment: Harry is having a bad day. His friend offers him a joint. His day only gets worse, beginning with rain. In the downpour, an elephant sits down for a rest, crushing Harryʻs car. Harry, unfazed and very stoned, tries to drive the now roofless car home and is surprised when the police pull him over.

The other reason I love this film is the way it points out the craziness of modern society in contrast to the more sane but difficult life on an anarchist commune. Another film to watch in this vein is How to Get Ahead in Advertising.

2. Meshes of the Afternoon (1943), Dir.

If the fact that this trip fest was made in 1943 doesn’t blow your mind, you donʻt have perspective. The sound track is eerie, but stripped of any pretension. Each element in the movie is used for maximum impact—a knife, a key, camera movement, a mirrormask. Yes, decades before Neil Gaiman, Maya made an image of a mirrormask that will be etched on my mindplane for life. Continue reading GB HAJIM’S TOP 10 WEIRD MOVIES


Adam Cooley (IMDB entry) is a microbudget film director and an experimental musician with the band Scissor Shock. All of his movies are available for free download from his personal site. You can also watch his output and see his favorites from others on his YouTube channel. We invited Adam to submit a “top 10 weird movies” list in 2011; here it is…

This list was really hard to compile, since I mainly watch what a lot of people would describe as ‘weird’ films—experimental, underground, off-beat, subversive cinema is what I’m primarily interested in—so I basically had to think about hundreds, if not thousands, of films for possible inclusion here. So, when asked to do this list, it took me a couple of years (!) to compile it and be happy with the end result, as I constantly felt the need to change it up. As such, many great little weird gems (Elevator Movie, Daisies, Frownland, Back Against the Wall, Small White House, Beaver Trilogy, SpaceDiscoOne, Pastoral: To Die in the Country, Liquid Sky) had to go.

To make this list a bit easier on myself, I decided to completely get rid of any hand-drawn/computer-drawn animated entries, which really could be a whole other list (if you’re curious, look into “Xavier: Renegade Angel,” “Popee the Performer,” and especially look into the works of Yoji Kuri), which obviously includes anime (the truly disturbing and strange Midori, Kuchu Buranko: Trapeze—the weirdest anime I’ve ever seen—and the more obvious but still surprisingly offbeat stuff like “Paranoia Agent,” “Serial Experiments Lain,” “Boogiepop Phantom,” and the last two episodes of “Neon Genesis Evangelion”).

I also decided to get rid of shorts which means I had to get rid of titles by Toshio Matsumoto (Phantom) (Emotion-–and, yes, I know not having Hausu is a big hole in my list), or Shuji Terayama (nearly his entire experimental film works series made drafts of this list at various points).

Finally, I got rid of any “collection” DVD’s here (though my top choice is disputable, note that all 30 shorts for it were made specifically for the DVD; it wasn’t a bunch of little shorts made at different times thrown into a collection). As such, I deleted such gems as “Phantom Museums” by Brothers Quay, “The Complete Short Films of Jan Svankmajer”, and Jeff Keen’s amazing set “GAZWRX” (which would be my # 1 choice for this list if I included collections here — watch this set immediately!).  So, basically, I tried to mostly include actual “movies” here — 90-ish minutes, with actual distribution, mostly available on DVD, some by established directors, though I would love to compile separate lists of some of the stuff I excluded here.

Anyway, sorry for the long-winded explanation, but without further ado, here’s ten of the weirdest movies ever…

Still from Surviving Life (2012)10. Surviving Life (Theory and Practice) [Prezít Svuj Zivot] (2010):  needs no introduction; he is quite the influential and brilliant experimental filmmaker. Really, many of his full length features—and almost all of his shorts (if I’d allowed them)—could have fit into this list. However, I chose this film, his most recent, which is almost a compilation of all his bizarre techniques, though he also invented lots of new weird devices specific to this film. The backgrounds the characters interact with are odd, mixing computer-generated elements with handmade sets. A lot of the film is still pictures of the characters, although there is plenty of stop-motion animation too. Beyond the presentation, there are also plenty of weird characters, like the pet man with a bulldog head. Visually, this film is even stranger to look at than most of the films on this list, but the storyline is a bit more coherent and conventional than upcoming entries—not to mention that several of the weirdest sequences take place inside of a dream, whereas most of the aforementioned films place their stranger moments in reality—hence why this is down here at # 10. Atill, I highly recommend this film. Top notch editing, acting, and artistry are on display here.

9. Death Powder (1986): The first draft of this list was dominated by Japanese films—Labyrinth of Dreams, Pinocchio 964, Rampo Noir, Hausu, Continue reading ADAM COOLEY’S 10 WEIRDEST MOVIES EVER


Dennis Schwartz is editor of the Vermont based film magazine “Ozus’s World Movie Reviews.” He has been a prolific online movie reviewer since 1998, also contributing to publications all over the globe and maintaining an active website–where it’s not uncommon for him to review 365 films a year. In his other life he was a poet, teacher, restaurant owner, wanderer and follower of Tibetan Buddhism (where he studied with Lama Govinda and lived in Kasa Devi, India).The first film he saw as a child, Bob Hope’s Paleface, left a hunger for films that has not been sated with all the passing years. The critic who influenced him the most was Walter Benjamin, not a film critic but one of the truly great literary critics of the 20th century. The lesson to be learned from him and other serious critics is that all true art is subversive and unsettling.

Dennis has kindly supplied 366 Weird Movies with his personal Top 10 Weird Movies list.

1. The Dybbuk (1937, d. Michal Waszynski). One of the most interesting Yiddish films ever made. It was made at the time the Nazis were going into their ‘Final Solution’ plans and were publicly blaming the Jews for all their troubles. Sholem Anskil’s folk tale of a disembodied spirit who possesses the body of the woman he is about to wed serves as the theme. What is eerie, even as the irrational is presented onscreen, is the evil that lurks for the actors and audience, as the incomprehensible is soon to descend on them in the form of a Holocaust. Also, the film’s “Dance of Death” scene has become a legendary one. [full review].

2. The Killing Kind (1973, d. Curtis Harrington). The sullen 21-year-old Terry (John Savage) is released from the slammer after serving a two year sentence for raping a teen named Tina (Sue Bernard) under the pier and moves back in with his former dancer mom, Thelma (Ann Sothern), who suffocates him with overprotective love. What’s there not to like about this perverse cult horror pic helmed with a tongue-in-cheek black humor by Curtis Harrington (Ruby/Night Tide/The Dead Don’t Die)? This obscure pic is one of those treasures that few have seen due to the studio’s unwillingness to promote a film it didn’t understand, as it had only a short theatrical run and for many years was unavailable on DVD. It’s one of Harrington’s best films. Writers Tony Chechales and George Edwards keep it a wacko mix of psychological suspense with large dabs of sleaziness, in a script that strays dangerously close to going overboard on camp. [full review]

3. The Last Bolshevik (1993, d. ): Noted French filmmaker and essayist Chris Continue reading DENNIS SCHWARTZ’ TOP 10 WEIRD MOVIES