I’d like a vacation.
For ten years now, I’ve tried to make sure that there’s been content on 366 Weird Movies every day. Even if someone else wrote it, I still had to format it, edit it, and introduce the embarrassing tpyos you’ve come to expect as part of the 366 Weird Movies experience. This means that I’ve usually done some work on the site every day for the past ten years, even if it was only an hour’s worth of editing. I have generally been able to take Thanksgivings and Christmases off, and work half-days or just a few hours on Christmas Eve. But I haven’t taken three consecutive days off in ten years.
I’d like a vacation. Even a three day one.
To answer the question everyone’s been asking for years now—yes, we’re going to keep going past #366. But you can expect a bit less content here in the coming year(s). With the 366 milestone achieved as of tomorrow, we’re going to be focusing more on new releases… but since older movies are always being re-released on home video, there will be a good sprinkling of vintage titles, too. And every now and then we’ll get a hankering to decrease that ridiculously-long reader-suggested review queue by one more title (although I expect it will continue to fill up faster than we can empty it, as long as we keep that suggestion page open).
This is a milestone, not a farewell, so I’m not going to get sentimental, except for a bit of personal revelation at the end. For one thing, I don’t have the time. I still have a review to write, then I have screeners I’ve committed to review, and then Sundance/Slamdance is upon us before you know it… I refer you to Alfred Eaker‘s fine not-farewell post, Reflecting on a Decade of 366 Weird Movies, for the sentimental stuff.
I echo his sentiments about every contributor listed in the sidebar, even the ones who got mad at me and stopped contributing because I said something silly or thoughtless. I’d like to thank each of you personally… although, let’s face it, that’s probably not going to happen. So all of you can fill in the blanks for yourselves: thank you, _____ _____, for your ____ contributions to 366 Weird Movies! Your writing was ____! _______ was my favorite; no one else would have come up with ______.
For readers, here’s what you can expect in a post-366 world in terms of recurring features:
- As previously announced, Alfred Eaker’s Fringe Cinema will now appear irregularly.
- “Weird Horizon” will continue indefinitely on Fridays.
- Cameron Jorgensen has agreed to continue curating Saturday Shorts for the foreseeable future.
- Sunday’s “What’s in the Pipeline” will disappear as a separate column, but we’ll announce upcoming reviews as part of “Weird Horizon” instead.
- Reviews will be published whenever they are submitted by our contributors. I personally plan to scale back to one capsule review a week, with the occasional longer article. We’ll see if I can restrain myself.
- We plan to continue publishing print and digital copies of the Yearbook annually, although we reserve the right to tinker with the format.
And here are some new projects we may or may not be taking on, in descending order of importance:
- We’ll start work on a book version of the canonical list of 366. This was always the plan since day one. I have no estimate on when such a massive project will be completed. Any publishers out there want to jump on this lucrative, pre-sold brand?
- Considering that new weird movies will continue to be made, and the weirdest movie of any future calendar year surely belongs on a list of the weirdest movies ever made, we’ll continue adding new titles—slowly—up to another 366 of them, making for two movies per calendar day. (732 titles should be enough to stop complaints in the form “how could you put X on the List, but not Y?”) I’m still searching for a name for these supplementary titles; the working name for the category of “Official Alternates,” although I’m sure you guys can think up a snappier name (mention your suggestion in the comments, won’t you?)
- There will be more contest DVD/Blu-ray giveaways. We already have one scheduled.
- In March we’ll hold an elimination tournament to determine your favorite among the 366 official entries. That should be a messy undertaking.
- An official day will be assigned to each of the 366 certified weird movies (who gets February 29?)
- A complete website redesign.
- Maybe a podcast?
- Maybe a webcast?
- Maybe host our own small-scale underground film festival?
- A combination bar/screening room here in beautiful Louisville, KY? I already have a name picked out: CineSaloon 366. Screening one weird movie off the List per day. Featuring gourmet popcorn and our signature cocktail, “The Holy Mountain” (vermouth, Cointreau, grenadine, a hint of mushroom extract, and the transmogrified “mystery” ingredient). (OK, we’re reaching now).
- Personally, I’d like to work on some more fiction (my first love), which I will write concurrently with my work on this website.
So rest assured, this is not the end, but a transition to a new state of being.
And now, for the reflective confession.
A little more than ten years ago I graduated from law school. I had a job lined up in a largish city on the not-quite West Coast. Prior to entering law school, I had struggled with depression, diagnosed as moderate to severe. For a few months, before I sought treatment, it manifested itself as agoraphobia: I was literally too terrified to leave my home for weeks at a time, even to step outside to get the mail. Even worse was the anhedonia. I literally could not feel pleasure—food tasted like cardboard, and although my equipment worked, sexual contact gave me no feeling whatsoever. It was as if the positive reinforcement switch had been turned to “off” in my brain.
One of the odd things about deep melancholia is that it’s hard to remember specific incidents from when you were in its grip. Those days are all a gray blur. That’s probably a blessing, as I wouldn’t want to revisit those memories, much less tell strangers about them.
After therapy and medication, I started to get better, got a job, and entered law school. I did well, but I had some unfortunate personal experiences, and the stress of constant studying wore on me. The depression returned sporadically before I graduated, although I kept myself busy enough to soldier through.
Upon graduation, my mother fell ill, and I passed on that job I had lined up to return to the not-quite East Coast to be near her. I was admitted to the bar in my current state and began searching for legal employment, although I had few local connections. Worse, my depression came back full force, aided by my new psychiatrist fiddling with my medication. I lost another month (I estimate) of life in a haze of despair and paranoia.
My medication got sorted out and I briefly entered therapy, and started feeling—not happy, but normal. I gave up on the employment search—temporarily, I thought, although to tell the truth I had never really been much interested in the practice of law, as opposed to its theory. I started to search for something to fill my time, temporarily, while I recovered. And I thought of my love of movies, and specifically of strange movies. The online amateur movie reviewing community was booming at the time, but although there were plenty of people covering art movies, and plenty of people covering B-movies, there was almost no one covering weird movies. There was a “bizarre movie” reviewer with a small site, and the now-defunct “Odd Films,” and a few of the older blogs you’ll find in the sidebar… but I had the niche almost to myself.
I started writing reviews, slowly at first, aiming for 366 total without consciously realizing that it would take me over ten years to reach that total. I told my therapist at the time that I was reviewing Repulsion. He told me maybe I shouldn’t be watching movies like that. I stopped seeing him. I continued writing and, silly though it may sound, the project gave me a sense of purpose. After Certifying 17 movies, I moved to my own webhost in 2010. I was in it for the long haul. I successfully transitioned off antidepressants, and I haven’t had the slightest recurrence of melancholia in years.
In short: weird movies literally saved my life. Probably. Sort of.
And that means all of you who read these weird ramblings over the years—whether you commented, encouraged me, challenged me, or just showed up as one more click count on my visitor log—you saved my life, too. Sort of.
Thank you, Dr.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a review to write. Then a vacation to schedule.