POD 366, EP. 57: KEITH JOHN ADAMS DRINKS INVISIBLE WINE AND TALKS ABOUT HIS TELEPATHIC JELLYFISH MOVIE, “OZMA”

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Quick links/Discussed in this episode:

Ozma (2023): Interview with director Keith John Adams begins. Read our Ozma review. In Ozma, an insomniac widower spends the night toting around an on-the-run telepathic jellyfish creature, while musicians play the score live in the background. Ozma on Facebook.

The Invisible Fight (2024): Discussion begins. After witnessing kung fu fighters massacre a guard post, a Soviet soldier becomes obsessed with learning the martial arts. ‘s long-delayed followup to November couldn’t be much different in subject matter, but sounds equally weird. The Invisible Fight U.S. distributor site.

Nostalghia (1983): Discussion begins. Read the Canonically Weird entry! ‘s gloomy meditation on exile from mother Russia joins the 4K restoration club. The print will tour finer art-houses through the first week in March before the 4K UHD drops in late April.  You can find play dates at the Nostalghia restoration home page at Kino Lorber.

Paprika (2006): Discussion begins. Read the Canonically Weird entry! This Sony steelbook release of ‘s trippy dream-conspiracy anime includes the film on UHD and Blu-ray, plus a suite of new interviews with some of the surviving animators (Kon, of course, passed away in 2010). Buy Paprika.

Stopmotion (2024): Discussion begins. The debut feature from (who has been making ultra-creepy stop-motion animation horror for the past decade) is about a stop motion animator making a horror film whose characters take on a life of their own. Early reviews have been good, but not focused on the film’s inherent weirdness. Stopmotion U.S. distributor site.

Yorgos Lanthimos projects: Discussion begins. is hot now, the rare neo-surrealist auteur who’s crossed over to mainstream success. He’s now been linked to the long-gestating remake of Korea’s canonical cult film Save the Green Planet! But before we get to that, the weird Greek has a new film coming out, Kinds of Kindness, a New Orleans-set anthology film starring much of the cast of Poor Things. No plot details or release date on that one, but we can report that it reunites Lanthimos with screenwriter Efthymis Filippou—with whom the director collaborated on the seminal films Dogtooth, The Lobster, and Killing of a Sacred Deer—and that principal photography is complete. Strike while the iron is hot, Yorgy! More details at Variety.

WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE:

We have no guest scheduled for next week’s Pod 366, but Greg and Giles will be back to discuss the week’s weird movie news and new releases. In other video content, Pete Trbovich will return with another “Weird View Crew” video review, this time of the anime TAMALA2010: A Punk Cat in Space. In written reviews, Shane Wilson keeps at the films that Came from the Reader-Suggested Queue with The Keep (1983); Giles Edwards thinks now is the time to discuss JLo’s musical vanity project,This Is Me… Now: A Love Story; and Gregory J. Smalley stops into the theater to see Stopmotion (above). Onward and weirdward!

APOCRYPHA CANDIDATE: EXTE: HAIR EXTENSIONS (2007)

エクステ

AKA Ekusute; AKA Exte; AKA Hair Extensions

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DIRECTED BY: Sion Sono

FEATURING: , Miku Satô, , Ken Mitsuishi

PLOT: A woman’s corpse found in a human-hair-filled shipping container spews forth beautiful black hair, inflicting grisly fates upon those who use it as hair extensions.

Still from Exte: Hair Extensions (2007)

WHY IT MIGHT JOIN THE APOCRYPHA:  Paranormal hair attacks alternate with domestic drama, making a strange weave of narrative that slides the viewer ever more tightly between its strands as it braids into a frightening, heartwarming climax.

COMMENTS: You may note that the word “hair” appears three times in the plot description. This is not enough times. The hair in Exte is ubiquitous, vexing its victims in increasingly strange ways. An extension harvested from an organ-harvest victim poises itself ominously at the ear canal of its wearer; a stylist is bombarded with harrowing recollections of illegal surgery. The hair tips jab into her brain, and she jabs her scissors into the side of her customer’s head. Later, the victim’s daughter views a violent, bloody thrashing through a hair-cut gash in door of the cupboard where she hides. An apartment window smashes outward as copious human hair bursts through the living space. And those are just small snips of the sinister proceedings.

Simultaneously, we hear the story of Mizushima Yoku, an up-and-coming young stylist who cheerily bombards an unseen audience with exposition—a habit that she and a co-worker picked up from a crummy television show. At work, Yoku cheerfully goes about her styling under the firm, but kind, tutelage of the master stylist. She has a jerk-bag sister, Kiyomi, who abandons her submissive daughter at Yoku’s house for a few days while Kiyomi goes out to party with her scum boyfriend. This mix of filial tension and sober depiction of child abuse exists as its own story universe while, on the other side of the narrative, a creepy coroner with a hair fetish steals the body of a mystically charged woman who grows hair at a furious pace in response to the wrongs she endured. When paths cross, as they must do, things get… hairy.

Exte juggles its tones so deftly that it’s only upon reflection that it dawns that Sion Sono is up to something very strange. To be sure, the hair-murder set pieces made me want to cheer Exte on. But the fusion of that strand with small gauge melo-tragedy is simultaneously incongruent and perfectly blended—like a cunning weave of ever so slightly off-colored hair done at the hands of a master stylist. And this tangle of a reaction has barely even mentioned Ren Ôsugi as the manic-pixie-psycho-coroner, all creepiness, whimsy, and song in his seaside shack-cum-shrine to beautiful human hair.

Sono proves once again a master stylist, lovingly curling this absurd story together from its disparate strands (in case this all was coming across as too simple, there’s also “police procedural” thrown into the mix, as detectives investigate the increasing body count). The perfect pacing, balance of soft and terror lighting, and the finessed performances calibrated to a scissor-edge between high drama and silly splatter are a sheer delight.

WHAT THE CRITICS SAY:

“Even by the standards of Japanese horror movies, Exte is a very weird film. This is a movie all about hair, not just tangentially but intrinsically. Hair isn’t the McGuffin, it’s not the setting, it’s everything.” — M.J. Simpson, MJ Simpson Films (contemporaneous)

(This movie was nominated for review by Chris Thurlow, who describes it as “a possibly weird film about a man obsessed with hair who, while working in a police morgue, discovers a woman’s body that continues to grow copious amounts of hair despite the fact that she is dead.” Suggest a weird movie of your own here.)

WEIRD VIEW CREW: THE DEVIL’S RAIN (1975)

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Pete cosplays as a devil-worshiper for this review of ‘s strange occultist feature “The Devil’s Rain” (1975), with a bizarre cast including ; Mr. “Green Acres,” Eddie Albert; ; ; ; a very young John Travolta; and real-deal Satanists Anton and Diane LaVey.

(This movie was nominated for review by Heather. Suggest a weird movie of your own here.)

APOCRYPHA CANDIDATE: THE LAST WAVE (1977)

aka Black Rain

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Note: As this review discusses a film featuring Aboriginal culture and Aboriginal actors, we wish to inform any Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers that this article contains the names and images of individuals who have died. No disrespect is intended. (Guidance taken from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.)

DIRECTED BY: Peter Weir

FEATURING: Richard Chamberlain, David Gulpilil, Nandjiwarra Amagula, Olivia Hamnett

PLOT: An Australian tax attorney takes defends a group of Aborigines accused of murder, and begins to recognize his dreams as apocalyptic visions; his clients confront him with his role in the coming cataclysm. 

Still from The Last Wave (1977)

WHY IT MIGHT MAKE THE APOCRYPHA: The Last Wave takes the already-mysterious and disorienting world of dreams and infuses them with Aboriginal mysticism, virtually guaranteeing dissociation and confusion in an audience which the filmmakers know will be predominantly made up of Western-thinking white people. If you find yourself struggling to understand what one man’s cryptic nightmares have to do with the historically unbalanced relationship between Australia’s native population and the Europeans who colonized the continent, then everything is going precisely according to plan.

COMMENTS: Peter Weir tells the story of a screening of his 1975 film Picnic at Hanging Rock, at which one prospective distributor reportedly threw his coffee cup at the screen in fury at having wasted two hours of his life on “a mystery without a goddamn solution!” The moment clearly stuck with Weir, and I suspect it was bouncing around in his mind as he began to conceive The Last Wave. It didn’t exactly persuade him to be more explicit about his intentions, but the film feels like it’s actually delving into the passions that fuel the rage over What Art Means.

Richard Chamberlain’s comfortable solicitor, David Burton, could very well be standing in for that cup-slinging critic. A white man in Australia, and a lawyer to boot, he is the very picture of upright, unquestioning conformity. With his wife, two kids, and backyard tennis court, he would seemingly have everything he could want in life. The last thing he needs are questions without answers. So all the strange dreams he’s been having about water, a mysterious Aboriginal man, and the end of the world are most unwelcome.

What follows is a chronicle of one man’s effort to provide an explanation for what seems inexplicable. He interprets the request to serve as counsel for a group of Aborigine defendants as a quest for a deeper truth. As David learns more about the cultural standards of the community that underlie the killing, he becomes increasingly determined to present the mystical elements as a solid defense. He instinctively knows he is expected to let these things go, but his desperate need for order and explanation override his sense of his place Continue reading APOCRYPHA CANDIDATE: THE LAST WAVE (1977)

YOUR VOTE DETERMINES THE WINNER OF THE 14TH ANNUAL WEIRDCADEMY AWARDS

(If you’d like to watch Gregory J. Smalley and Giles Edwards reveal this year’s nominees on YouTube first, click here. Otherwise, proceed with your reading.)

This year, Poor Things (and , Poor Things) mark the only overlap between the Weirdcademy Awards and Hollywood’s lipstick-on-a-pig hootenanny, the Most Conventional Movie Awards. Other than ‘ fantasy, weird movies got about as far with the Academy as they normally do: nothing at all. Even an Academy suck-up like can’t buy a single nomination for Asteroid City—not even a “Best Original Song” nod for the year’s best filmed hoedown, “Dear Alien, Who Art in Heaven.”

Instead, we get to choose between the usual brace of biopics, an estrogenic advertisement for a kids’ toy, ‘s attempt to remake Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles as a Nazi movie, and an indie comedy thatmade such an impression in the public consciousness that Bing is still calling it “Untitled Erasure adaptation.”

The Oscars are a joke, and everyone knows it. But you, my friend, you aren’t content with the same-old same-old. You want weird in your movies. The Weirdcademy Awards are for you, the moviegoer whose friends roll their eyes and sigh loudly when you suggest movie night should feature a black and white flick about alien bounty hunters who kidnap a corporate mogul who has developed an immortality serum with side effects that turn him into, uh, kind of a dick.

Although the editors of 366 Weird Movies select the nominees from the pool of available movies, the Awards themselves are a naked popularity contest, and do not necessarily reflect either the artistic merit or intrinsic weirdness of the films involved. The Weirdcademy Awards are tongue-in-cheek and for fun only. Ballot-stuffing is a frequent occurrence. Please, no wagering.

The Weirdcademy Awards are given to the Weirdest Movie, Actor, Actress and Scene of the previous year, as voted by the members of the Weirdcademy of Motion Picture Arts and Weirdness.

Who makes up the Weirdcademy? Membership is open to all readers of 366 Weird Movies. If you can figure out how to vote in the poll, you are qualified to join. You can not be turned down because of your age, sex, religious affiliation, pronouns, vaccination status, or the fact that you only watched the Superbowl to see what Taylor Swift was wearning. There is no requirement that you’ve have to actually see any of the movies listed before voting. You can vote for any or all categories.

You can only vote once—so choose carefully. We’ll keep voting open until March 9, so we can announce our results before the Academy Awards and steal their thunder.

We are using new poll software this year, which allows for a much cooler-looking ballot, but gives us less control of some aspects of the voting and which may have yet-unforeseen drawbacks. Please be patient.

Be sure to also vote for Weirdest Short Film of the Year. To watch all five nominees and to cast your vote, please click here.

Here is your ballot for the 2023 edition of the Weirdcademy Continue reading YOUR VOTE DETERMINES THE WINNER OF THE 14TH ANNUAL WEIRDCADEMY AWARDS

Celebrating the cinematically surreal, bizarre, cult, oddball, fantastique, strange, psychedelic, and the just plain WEIRD!