Category Archives: Top 10 Lists

TOP 10 WEIRD MOVIES OF 2020

In just a few more hours, 2020 will be in the books—and we’re guessing you’re not going to miss it. Actually, for the purposes of weird movie accounting, we put 2020 to bed last month. Our annual movie calendar ends on the last day of November, to allow 366 Weird Movies Yearbooks to go out in December. We’re not missing out on much; usually, December releases are limited to DC extended universe flops and Oscar bait dramas.

The Wolf House coverAs always, there were hard cuts at the bottom of the top 10 list. Giles Edwards, in particular, fought tooth and claw for the inclusion of Cats; we had to give him a warm saucer of milk to calm him down. Lake Michigan Monster, the low, low-budget absurdist lakefaring comedy which arrived on Blu-ray in November, was endearing, but suffered from lack of exposure. The domestic horror satire Vivarium proved popular with our in-house voters, but just missed the cut. And of course, a couple of festival favorites bearing 2020 copyright dates—Labyrinth of Cinema, ‘s epic final film, and #Shakespeare’s Shistorm, which may wind up being ‘s gross-out swan song—haven’t been distributed yet and will have to wait until a future year for consideration.

I personally finalize this list. The staff here has input, but I set the voting rules, create the universe of candidates, and break all ties. Therefore, if you feel that it’s a crime that In Fabric comes in at a lousy #10 instead of the #7 any idiot can see it so obviously deserves, I am the idiot to blame. When ranking, I use a secret proprietary formula that accounts for cinematic craftsmanship, the degree of surrealism/weirdness, and the perceived prestige in the weird movie community based on buzz and reader feedback, then I shuffle them into whatever arbitrary order I momentarily feel like without regard to any of that.  As always, films are listed in random order—the weirdest of orders.

So, on to the official Weirdest Movies of 2020 List! May each successive year grow stranger and more challenging than the next… except in regard to deadly, super-infectious viruses. Screw those guys.

3. Deerskin: A middle-aged man (Jean Dujardin) becomes obsessed with his new deerskin jacket while posing as an independent filmmaker. returns after a four-year hiatus with a new movie about movies (and jackets). Considering the manic maximalism of his last major outing—2014’s Reality, which seemed like it had about fifteen interweaving subplots in a dreams-inside-of-dreams structure—Deerskin is relatively restrained, focused on only two major characters and a single absurd conceit. Perhaps he’s calming down as he himself reaches middle age? At any rate, the mad Frenchman is already at it again, with his giant fly comedy Mandibles already making the rounds and Incroyable mais vrai [Incredible but True] currently filming.

8. She Dies Tomorrow: Amy ( ) is convinced that she will Continue reading TOP 10 WEIRD MOVIES OF 2020

TOP 10 MOVIES OF 2020: MAINSTREAM EDITION

Here is my obligatory/traditional annual top 10 list of movies, ranked according to mainstream standards. In other words, weird movies are allowed in this list, but I attempt to rank the 2020 releases according to their general merit, intended for people who don’t specialize in the surrealer genres. Provocative cults film like  Jesus Shows You the Way to the Highway can (and did!) make this list, but they will not automatically be catapulted to the top. (This year, a much higher percentage of weird films made the overall list. This was based more on my pandemic-mandated change in viewing habits than on the quality of the year’s weird cinema. I took far fewer trips to the theater, which meant more time watching screeners and online rentals, which skewed my views towards the outre rather than the ordinary).  Stay tuned for the top 10 weird movies of 2020 tomorrow.

2020 honorable mentions (in alphabetical order): 76 Days, Bacurau, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, Color out of Space, The Gentlemen, Kajillionaire, Lake Michigan Monster, La Llorona, Onward, Palm Springs, The Platform, Shirley, A Trip to Greece, VHYes, Vivarium, and Why Don’t You Just Die? (The omission of Cats, Capone and Jiu Jitsu from this category is not an oversight).

There were many contenders I couldn’t (well, didn’t) fit in screenings of before this article’s deadline, including Nomadland, The Trial of the Chicago 7, Mank, The Father, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Promising Young Woman, The Sound of Metal, Da 5 Bloods, Soul, Wolfriders, and many others.

And so read on for my subjective and incomplete ranking of the best cinema the strangest year in memory had to offer…

10. Black Bear: Two stories involving a love triangle, set in the same remote cabin: which one (if either) is true? An experiment in narrative ambiguity that features a rare but remarkable dramatic performance from Aubrey Plaza in dual (?) roles. Plaza shouldn’t be overlooked come Oscar time—but almost certainly will be. Less commercially oriented awards-givers should take note, however.

Still from Black Bear (2020)

9. Beasts Clawing at Straws: A crime boss, a ruthless madam, a corrupt customs official, and a struggling sauna clerk all scheme to possess a bag stuffed with cash. An exquisitely plotted neo-noir deftly handled by first-time Korean director Kim Yong-Hoon. This twisty, out-of-sequence crime thriller is just another example of how South Korean cinema is killing it right now. With better distribution, this could have been a bigger hit stateside (pandemic theater closures certainly didn’t do it any favors).

8. Possessor: Read our review. In the near future, elite assassins carry out their work by possessing the bodies of innocent parties through a neural implant; Taysa, a top Possessor, has trouble on her latest assignment when the subject proves capable of sporadically suppressing her control and asserting his own free will. This is one dark and brutal movie that squeezes the breath out of you in its sociopathic grasp. really needs to pick up the pace and Continue reading TOP 10 MOVIES OF 2020: MAINSTREAM EDITION

WEIRD LOVE: THE WORLD’S TOP 10 ART-HOUSE INCEST MOVIES

Eugene Vasiliev provides 366 Weird Movies with his own translation/adaptation of his original article, which appeared in Russian here.

366 Weird Movies may earn commissions from purchases made through product links.

10. Murderous Maids [Les blessures assassines] (2000) (France)

DIRECTED BY: Jean-Pierre Denis

PLOT: Two lustful maids (and sisters) turn tricks in the attic, until caught red-handed by their housemistress. They ignore her remonstrances and calls to virtue. In fact, the two “guilty” servants thrash their mistress and her daughter to death after gouging out their eyes.

WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Domestic workers’ struggle for equal rights is sometimes an uphill battle.

Scores of movies about incest feature absent fathers, mothers, delinquent daughters, and criminal sons. Religious families, orphaned children, widowed mothers, and the underclass form fertile ground for weird love. (A rare exception is a case of upper-class incest in Louis Malle‘s Murmur of the Heart, discussed below.)

Still from Murderous Maids (2000)

Murderous Maids is based on a real case that shocked France in 1933, when the Papin sisters brutally murdered their employers. The film shows us how things went so bad in a very long and tedious way up until the denouement. The ruthless exploitation of the poor orphans, fated to live their lives at someone’s beck and call in a noble house, stirs up indignation in the viewer’s heart. Throughout the movie the unfortunate “feminists” are forced to iron clothes or scrub toilets.

Amazingly, the unholy acts that “the midnight maidens” do look innocent at first. They just relax for a moment in a bizarre position after vacuuming. Then something goes wrong. What we’ve got here is failure to communicate. They wish for the ground to swallow them up, but it doesn’t. The sisters then try to wipe out reality,  press the “DELETE” button, by gouging out the eyes of their mistress.

There was a trial, a society scandal, and a dungeon. In 1941 the younger sister–Lea Papin—was set free. She died at the age of 89, outliving her employers by almost 70 years.

9. A Woman’s Way [Strella] (2009) (Greece)

DIRECTED BY: Panos H. Koutras

PLOT: After serving 14 years behind bars for the murder of a promiscuous woman, a Greek man suddenly realizes that he was deeply wrong. He comes to believe true virtue isn’t found in fasting and praying, but in incest, sodomy, and other types of taboo love.

WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Cinema is an art of illusion.

The great French film theorist Jean Epstein noted in his book “Bonjour, Cinema” back in 1921: “The close-up alters drama through the impression of proximity. Pain is within reach. If I extend my arm, I touch your intimacy… I count the eyelashes of this suffering.”1.

Still from A Woman's Way (2009)

Extreme close-ups, zoom-ins and creepy music transform your perception of reality. Art can justify any sin, make black into white and Continue reading WEIRD LOVE: THE WORLD’S TOP 10 ART-HOUSE INCEST MOVIES

TOP 10 WEIRD MOVIES OF 2019

In just a few more hours, 2019 will be in the books. Actually, for the purposes of weird movie monitoring, we put 2019 to bed last month; from now on we’ll be ending our personal movie calendar on the last day of November, to allow our future 366 Weird Movies Yearbooks to go out in December. We’re not missing out on much; usually, December releases are limited to Star Wars sequels and Oscar bait dramas. (Although we do regret not being able to fit the animated severed hand romance I Lost My Body into 2019, a review will keep until early 2020. And, of course, we regret not considering December’s Cats, the Andrew Lloyd Webber adaptation that divided the furry community).

Under the Silver Lake key artAs always, there were hard cuts at the bottom of the top 10 list. After all, 2019 saw (as a mortician) and (as the homeless guy Wiseau bef(r)iends) renew their onscreen chemistry in the sprawling two-part epic Best F(r)iends. gave us another gonzo performance as a truck driver whose dead wife’s spirit possesses the body of his new girlfriend’s hot jailbait daughter in Between Worlds. And speaking of speaking with the dead, who can forget Holy Trinity, about a dominatrix who  develops necromantic abilities after huffing cans of new age air freshener? Well, you can’t forget what you never saw, and that one, along with Alien Crystal Palace, the French sex film that casts the Egyptian god Horus as a mad scientist, and Jesus Shows You the Way to the Highway, wherein the messiah and an Ethiopian President/superhero figure into a social media virus plot, have so far proven too weird to be picked up by distributors. Maybe 2020 will bring these gems to wider audiences.

As for the choice of movies: I personally pick them using a secret proprietary formula that accounts for cinematic craftsmanship, the degree of surrealism/weirdness, and the perceived prestige in the weird movie community based on buzz and reader feedback, then I rank them in whatever arbitrary order I momentarily feel like without regard to any of that. (This year, I actually solicited second opinions for each of the nominees, but I’ll still take all the blame if you want to complain that The Forest of Love should have been the fifth weirdest film of the year, not the sixth).  As always, films are listed in random order—the weirdest of orders.

So, on to the official Weirdest Movies of 2019 List! May each successive year grow stranger and more challenging than the next…

7. Diamantino: A right-wing political party tricks a simpleminded, empathetic Portuguese soccer star into becoming its spokesman. With visions of puppies, an adopted refugee who’s actually a government spy, and hermaphroditic side effects of a cloning project, this political satire gets pretty wild by the final act. As explains, “[t]he film’s delightfully crazy sense of humor and surreally satirized reality, contrasted with the sincerity with which it treats its main character, makes for a definite achievement.”

1. Under the Silver Lake: A Los Angeles slacker becomes obsessed with the disappearance of his hot blonde neighbor; his investigations Continue reading TOP 10 WEIRD MOVIES OF 2019

TOP 10 MOVIES OF 2019: MAINSTREAM EDITION

Here is my obligatory annual top 10 list of movies, ranked according to mainstream standards. In other words, weird movies are allowed in this list, but I attempt to rank 2019 releases according to their general merit, intended for people who don’t specialize in the genre. Provocative cults film like Under the Silver Lake can (and did!) make this list, but they will not automatically be catapulted to the top. When ranked by mainstream standards, they may even show up in a different order (and do!). Stay tuned for the top 10 weird movies of 2019 at a later hour.

2019 Honorable mentions (in alphabetical order): Chained for Life, The Forest of Love, Jojo Rabbit, The Last Black Man in San Francisco, Little Women, Luce, Transit, Us.

Contenders I couldn’t fit in screenings of before this article’s the deadline: Atlantics, HoneylandUncut Gems.

10. The Man Who Killed Don Quixote: Read Giles Edwards’ review! Toby, once an idealistic filmmaker and now a director of commercials, revisits Spain to find that the old shoemaker he cast as his lead in his “Don Quixote” student film now believes he is Quixote and Toby is Sancho Panza. It would have been a relief if the result of this legendary event that spent almost three decades in development hell was just acceptable. It’s actually good. gives us a whacked-out classical postmodernism reminiscent his 80s and 90s classics, with near-perfect comic chemistry between ‘s “Quixote” and ‘s “Sancho” and an almost overwhelming serving of medieval spectacle in the billionaire costume ball finale.

Still from The Man Who Killed Don Quixote_2

9. Under the Silver Lake: Read the Apocryphally Weird review! A Los Angeles slacker becomes obsessed with the disappearance of his hot blonde neighbor–his investigations uncover increasingly bizarre conspiracies involving a dog murderer, hidden messages in songs by the hip new band “Jesus and the Brides of Dracula,” and secret death cults. If you were jonesing for more Inherent Vice, here comes another messy California-set stoner conspiracy theory noir; this one puts you right inside the mind of its paranoid and dangerously unhinged antihero. It had a troubled debut at Cannes and a delayed theatrical release, but it’s destined to find an audience and be a crowned a “cult favorite” in the near future.

8. Apollo 11: An assemblage of restored footage from NASA and other sources chronologically documenting 1969’s 8-day Apollo 11 mission that landed a man on the moon. Will the crew make it back safely? Is the Earth really round? Did accidentally leave a visible boom mic in frame? You’ll have to watch to find out.

7. Toy Story 4: Woody, now with a new owner and no longer the favorite toy, tutors a newcomer, finds a lost friend, and tries to defend himself against a broken antique doll who wants his voice box. Old favorites return, but this late sequel features new toys: two stuffed carnival prizes, a Canadian motorcycle daredevil, and of course, Forky. It features some surprisingly complex moral choices, for a toy Continue reading TOP 10 MOVIES OF 2019: MAINSTREAM EDITION

WHERE’S THE WEIRDNESS?, PART 2: TOP 10 WEIRD MOVIES NOT (YET) ON HOME VIDEO

Here’s a (long-awaited?) update on a list we first published in 2011, back when DVD was the king of vintage movie viewing. (At the time we published it, it was our most commented-on post, and actually contributed to this site’s growth). Now, in the Netflix binge age, changes in the movie market have made DVDs, and even their HD successor, the Blu-ray, less significant—although we don’t think they’ve yet fallen in status to “quaint.” Any movie most people can think of—Captain America: Civil War, Pulp Fiction, Casablanca—-can be bought on DVD; unavailability, or even restricted availability, in that format is a clear indicator of obscurity.

We prefer promote films that are readily available either on physical media, or at least on legitimate streaming platforms, to the List, and hold off on those that don’t have a release. There are a couple of exceptions where we’ve added films that are still to this day only available on used VHS copies (Toto the Hero and Marquis being prominent examples). In the early days of the site, there were a couple of times (The Reflecting Skin comes to mind) when we wrote a movie up, only to find a lavish physical disc released a few months or years later. Although there are some advantages to being an early champion of an unavailable film—like the satisfaction of receiving a pat on the back when it finally gets released (again, The Reflecting Skin) —we’d still rather spend a List spot on a movie people can easily find and own. It’s easier to review and select a List entry from the vast pool of movies we can actually buy, rent or stream. And holding off allowed us to add surprises like Belladonna of Sadness, the nearly-lost 1973 psychedelic Japanese rape-revenge witchcraft anime, to the List the minute they become available.

For that reason, we held off on a reviewing and/or approving a handful of movies that almost certainly could have ranked alongside their listed brethren, had they had a release. It’s not a 100% thing, but being able to be purchased is definitely an advantage for a weird film, in our minds. When you’re dealing with the very last items on a large list, and you’ve already selected the can’t-miss titles, that small advantage can make a difference to a movie making our final cut or not.

Yeah, we know: today, everything is available on the Internet. You can probably find all of these “unavailable” titles in digital format with the help of Google and the willingness to accept the risk of downloading a virus from a shady pirate website. Our preference for legitimate releases is legitimately old-fashioned, but we’re not ashamed of it. We like prints that have been restored to reflect the director’s original vision, extra features that expand our understanding of the film, permanent ownership of a real physical object we can actually touch, and the idea of money going into the pockets of the people who made the film and/or assembled the product. Sue us.

Just to show that all hope is not lost, five titles—Arrebato (1980), Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell (1968), Eden and After (1970), Death Laid an Egg [La morte ha fatto l’uovo] (1968), and Kin-Dza-Dza (1986)—showed up either on DVD or on streaming platforms since we wrote the first list way back in 2011. Four of those went straight to Certified Weird (the other one we have yet to see). We have tracked down five new obscuro titles to take their place.

These ten movies are all “honorable mentions” of a particular kind. Any of them could have made the List, but for the vicissitudes of distribution. And who knows: maybe the Criterion Collection will add Continue reading WHERE’S THE WEIRDNESS?, PART 2: TOP 10 WEIRD MOVIES NOT (YET) ON HOME VIDEO

TOP 10 WEIRD MOVIES OF 2018

2018 was deep in weirdness. Although we deemed only a trio of movies (one of which was technically a 2017 release) as worthy of Certification as among the 366 Weirdest Films of All Time, there were a lot of hard cuts at the bottom of this year’s top 10 list. At the beginning of the year, we were confident that the homoheroic spoof Fags in the Fast Lane would remain among the ten strangest cinematic offerings by December, and yet it got lost among a multitude of odd releases. Chained for Life was a metanarrative farce starring real-life “freaks” making a movie in their off hours, but it didn’t sniff the top 10. Nor did ‘s Double Lover (despite featuring the year’s most innovative gynecological camerawork), Australia’s microbudgeted Hitler Lives! (despite depicting Nazi war criminals as marionettes), or the Suspiria remake (despite having the best avant-garde exploding-witch choreography of the year).

Poster for Mandy (2018) - weirdest movie of 2018Besides that wealth of weirdness on the big screen, we should note that the small screen brought us the second (and sadly final) season of the metaphysical comedy/mystery “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency,” while  went miniseries mad with the Nippo-Gothic “Tokyo Vampire Hotel” (also released in a condensed and even more incoherent version as a feature film). And, on a final note, we’ll mention that we’re holding off on ranking ‘s surreal Hollywood noir Under the Silver Lake, which is going back to the editing bay for a rework after debuting to puzzled audiences at Cannes (we expect his original vision will be both better and weirder, but eventually think we’ll be able to see both side-by-side for comparison).

As for the choice of movies: as always, I personally pick them using a secret proprietary formula that accounts for cinematic craftsmanship, the degree of surrealism/weirdness, and the perceived prestige in the weird movie community based on buzz and reader feedback, then I rank them in whatever arbitrary order I momentarily feel like without regard to any of that. As always, films are listed in random Continue reading TOP 10 WEIRD MOVIES OF 2018