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DIRECTED BY: Ryan Stevens Harris

FEATURING: Haven Lee Harris, Augie Duke, Brionne Davis

PLOT: Trapped in a coma, 5-year-old Emma must find her way to her parents while avoiding the insatiable maw of a hollow fiend.

WHY IT MIGHT MAKE THE APOCRYPHA: Colors have rarely looked so beautifully “off” as they do in the Moon Garden, and that’s just the start. Making respectful nods to the likes of Svankmajer, Gilliam, and other luminaries, it would be remiss to bury this as a capsule. It is a dark, vibrant movie for children—and a perfect gateway into weird cinema.


No… no. Please give me a moment, as I need to collect myself. This film may just as well have been made with me in mind. It is dark, but accented with beautifully saturated colors; the frame is almost constantly littered with broken oddities; the pacing is brisk but never rushed; and it features one of my favorite storytelling archetypes: the fearless little girl. With the help of several ideal influences, Ryan Harris has crafted a contained little marvel of a movie, showcasing considerable creativity and an impressive performance from a wide-eyed newcomer, his own daughter Haven.

Family strife hits quickly, as young Emma is woken before dawn one morning by her mother, Sara, so the two can “chase the sunrise.” Bundled into the car, their would-be escape is thwarted by the girl’s father, Alex. Emma plays on the stairway while her parents argue, ultimately escalating to a blow-out fight. Emma interrupts them with her own fury, and storms out of the room, right down the stairs, crashing to the bottom, and falling into a coma. This is where the real story begins.

Moon Garden was filmed with vintage camera lenses, on expired 35mm film stock. Through these damaged goods, Ryan Harris encases the narrative in a fuzzy/glossy bell jar through which we observe the subconscious action. Flashbacks to happier times interrupt Emma’s journey through her mind; but as the memories grow more recent, domestic strife grows more prominent. She is also interrupted by glimpses of the world outside her mind. Mostly, though, she is interrupted by an entity I’ve dubbed “the Mouth Man.” This voidful creature inflates from a nothingness after Emma’s tear travels down a creaking network of pipes to a sub-subconscious netherworld, her mind’s dark and creepy basement.

Anyone familiar with Gilliam’s Tideland or Svankmajer’s Alice will immediately appreciate the parallels with Harris’ film. Emma’s dream quest is hindered by the Mouth Man, but aided by a kindly musician, who gifts her the portable transistor radio she uses to pursue her parents’ voices. And her fight against darkness is mirrored by clues about her mother’s battle with depression, and her father’s battle facing the melancholy—and apparent irrationality—of someone whom he dearly loves. Moon Garden is a serious film filled with equal parts wonder and fear. It also ends at the perfect moment, on an eye-opening shot. In some ways, admittedly, the story mimics the most pedestrian of Hallmark Channel tearjerkers. That Ryan Harris (alongside his daughter Haven) render this experience a beautifully scary journey, is commendable. But it is the curious clatter of mystical symbols and set-pieces that make Moon Garden an alluringly strange delight.


“…while it seems churlish to be so harsh on what is obviously a labor of love, one can’t help but wish Harris was more influenced by the actual weirdness of a Jodorowsky or the Czech New Wave instead of a pale imitator like Terry Gilliam. On the other hand, there’s a lot of undeniable talent on display here.”–Daniel Gorman, In Review Online (contemporaneous)


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Audio only link (Soundcloud download)

Quick links/Discussed in this episode:

Cosmic Disco Detective Rene: The Secret Society for Slow Romance 2 (2023): Discussion begins. Tagline: “are immortal time travelers interfering with the past” (and causing work-for-free actors to walk backwards)? An extremely low-budget film from the absurdist director of Werewolf Ninja Philosopher (and The Secret Society for Slow Romance 1). Debuting in a Glendale, CA, theater, though it may not meet the May 19 debut schedule. (Update: after we had selected it for coverage this week, the film’s debut was moved to July 7.) Cosmic Disco Detective Rene: The Secret Society for Slow Romance 2 official Twitter.

The Cow Who Sang a Song into the Future (2022): Discussion begins. A woman encounters her dead mother in this magical realist drama from Chile with an ecological angle. Debuting this week at the Quad in NYC and expanding to major cities throughout the summer. The Cow Who Sang a Song into the Future US distributor site.

“The Cremaster Cycle”: Discussion begins. ‘s seldom-screened Cremaster cycle is more legend than movie(s).  Barney very rarely authorizes screenings, so this appearance of the full series (stretched over a couple weeks) is a major event for New York weirdos. The Cremaster Cycle at Metrograph.

Moon Garden (2023): Discussion begins. A little girl in a coma voyages through a disturbing dream world, trying to find her way back to reality. After a successful festival run and some high praise from critics, this esque fantasy gets a decent release at “finer arthouses,” beginning this week at IFC Center and going on the road through June. Moon Garden official site.

A New Old Play (2021): Discussion begins. A three-hour arthouse epic from China about an opera clown reviewing his life as he prepares to enter the Ghost City. Actually debuting in Vancouver with no U.S. dates to announced, but it’s simultaneously on VOD. A New Old Play US distributor site.

On Our Way (2021): Discussion begins. A first-time director struggles to write his first script, assisted by a mysterious dream-muse. and Franco Nero appear in small roles.  In theaters (somewhere) and simultaneously on VOD (for purchase only; rental options could follow). Buy On Our Way.

Targets (1968): Discussion begins. Read Alfred Eaker’s review. Not especially weird, but noteworthy: ‘s last meaningful feature, which casts him as a fading horror star facing the real-life horror of a mass shooter, joins the this week, on your choice of DVD or Blu-ray. Buy Targets.


(Country of Hotels, about to be released on VOD) will be our guest on next week’s Pod 366.

In written reviews, Giles Edwards gives you a fuller rundown of Moon Garden (discussed in this week’s Pod), Shane Wilson dissects Excision (2021), Pete Trbovich returns to throw us a curve ball with a review of Claude Chabrol’s Alice or the Last Escapade (1977), and Gregory J. Smalley considers The Dreams of Rene Sendam (2022).

Also, we will be hosting more Weird Watch Parties this week! You can always see the schedule in the sidebar, but we’ll reiterate here:

Saturday, May 20 at Noon ET: Wax, or the Discovery of Television Among the Bees (1991) on YouTube via Discord (free for all)

Monday, May 22 at 7:30 PM ET: Robot Monster (1953) on Tubi via Discord (free for all)

Tuesday, May 23 at 7:30 PM ET: The Double (2013) on Hulu (subscription required)

Onward and weirdward!


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

Linoleum is currently available for VOD rental.


FEATURING: Jim Gaffigan, , Gabriel Rush, Rhea Seehorn, Roger Hendricks Simon

PLOT: When a rocket crashes in his backyard, failed children’s TV-show host Cameron decides to rebuild it; meanwhile, a lot of strange, inexplicable things are happening in his suburban town.

Still from Linoleum (2022)

COMMENTS: Linoleum has a lot going on in it, and for a while you may get the sense that it has bitten off more than it will be able to chew. The core story follows Cameron, who once wanted to be an astronaut but has settled for a career as an astronomer-cum-children’s show host, and whose long-running Bill Nye-esque science program has just been shifted to the midnight time slot. It also spends a lot of time following his daughter Nora, who’s a fashionably lesbian outcast until the new boy in town makes her question her sexual identity. There’s also Cameron’s wife Erin, who’s debating her own career choices and her choice of mate, and Cameron’s father, who’s in memory care with dementia. And there’s the new arrival in town, Cameron’s doppelgänger, who crashes onto the scene in a red convertible in miraculous fashion. A lot of weird, reality-defying events happen in this suburban town in an unspecified VHS-era time period, much of it precipitated by the rocket capsule that crashes in Cameron’s back yard. I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out Linoleum‘s numerous, deliberate Donnie Darko nods, from the FAA-baffling aeronautic MacGuffin to the mysterious old woman hanging around on the periphery to a climax occurring at a Halloween party. So, yeah, there’s a lot going on; to the script’s credit, it’s all eventually explained by the (guessable, but not obvious) ending twist.

Colin West’s third feature film sports capable direction, helped along by a solid cast of indie movie vets. But most of the film’s publicity and buzz rightly centers around stand-up Gaffigan’s unexpected thesping. Although he doesn’t quite sink his wholesome reputation—Cameron is likable, if a bit of a wimp—he does stretch in his secondary role as Kent Armstrong, who brings a different and darker energy. Kent is cocky, and he treats his son with a military dad’s disciplinary philosophy. He’s both a better (younger, more competent) and a worse (less empathetic) version of Cameron. Gaffigan differentiates the two parts nicely, making a strong case he should be considered for more dramatic roles.

There’s a lot to praise in Linoleum, and yet, for me, it doesn’t entirely launch—and I’m not really sure why. The plot mechanics work; the twist satisfyingly ties things together (presuming you prefer things tied up in tidy packages). But the scattered critical reception it received, ranging from raves to confusion, suggest it failed to land universally. Cameron looks at the tangled mess of wires and unknown components he’s gathered from the capsule wreckage and wonders how he’s going to assemble them into a functional rocket. An early trial of the boosters starts with nothing, followed by a gradual growing power-up, followed by disappointment. So even though the assemblage works, it doesn’t work exactly as intended. This is not quite the proper metaphor for my experience of watching Linoleum, but it comes close. On the plus side, Linoleum has a gentle, Gaffiganesque charm and a resolution that tugs on susceptible heartstrings. So although it falls short of a general recommendation, if you are looking for the unusual combination of a puzzle movie with a tearjerking element, I’ll understand if you value this film highly.

No idea why it’s called Linoleum.


“…The overload of strange occurrences and oddball coincidences gets unwieldy pretty quickly… Linoleum teases these weird glitches for most of its running time before clumsily explaining them away in a rush of exposition in the final act.”–Josh Bell, CBR


DIRECTED BY: Jason Lei Howden

FEATURING: Milo Cawthorne, James Blake, Kimberley Crossman, Sam Berkley, Daniel Cresswell

PLOT: Brodie, a dopey New Zealand metalhead, finds magical sheet music that summons a dark demon and turns the populace of a small town into homicidal abominations.

Still from Deathgasm (2015)

COMMENTS: “No way!” protests Brodie when the girl he’s sweet on asks if heavy metal music isn’t just a bunch of guys screaming. And then he considers the question. “Well… apart from grindcore,” he admits, “and death metal is kind of like that.” Thinking further: “And deathcore, screamo, pornogrind, black metal, metalcore, thrash, and murdercore. But apart from those…”

Brodie has no apology to give, and neither does Deathgasm, which has two very simple and straightforward messages to deliver: gore is fun, and metal rocks. Those two credos are delivered very efficiently, with both glorious teenage doofiness and spectacularly gross carnage. 

The lines couldn’t be drawn more starkly: Brodie, the metalhead with a mentally-ill mom, finds himself dropped into a decidedly non-metal-appreciating small town, populated by his holy-roller aunt and uncle, his bullying cousin, and an indifferent community. Under these conditions, he finds solidarity in the few places he can, including a pair of role-playing nerds, a sympathetic record store owner, and the only other hard rocker in town, Zakk. Zakk’s many skills include thievery, wounding classmates, making napalm to carve the words “HAIL SATIN” (sic) into a field, and of course bass-playing, so the four outcasts form the eponymous band. (We get to see them film their video for “Intestinal Bungy Jump,” a release on Crowbar Abortion Records. Their bonafides must not be questioned.) It’s in pursuit of even harder stuff that they raid the ramshackle house of a forgotten metal legend, and that’s when the blood starts to flow.

Director Howden has a skillful visual sense of humor, deploying edits to great effect (such as when Zakk is revealed to be stealing fuel from an ambulance). He also has a adolescent’s love of fluids, as there seems to be no end to the blood, vomit, bile, feces, and other bodily effluvia that spews forth. To his credit, he is constantly coming up with more extreme ways to build upon the bloody mayhem, with a particular appreciation for the inappropriate. Sex toys, it turns out, make for excellent weapons, and genitals are just good a target to take out the undead as a bullet to the brain. The humor Deathgasm is going for seems to be a blend of the winking dryness of Shaun of the Dead, the outlandish grotesquerie of the Evil Dead series, and the go-for-broke gleefulness of fellow Kiwi Peter Jackson’s low-budget productions; on that level, it delivers the goods.

When it comes to that list of forebears, though, Deathgasm’s approach feels awfully mathematical, as though it was carefully measuring out portions of each of those inspirations. There’s plenty of shock, but not a whole lot of surprise. There are a couple interesting twists: the slick villain who appears to be our heroes’ greatest foe is amusingly usurped by a seemingly incidental character, and the fate of Brodie’s awful cousin is genuinely hilarious. But even the most successful elements are satisfying without necessarily being inspired. It’s great to see Medina, Brodie’s eventual love interest, start to give herself over to the open-hearted release of metal, culminating in the breakthrough moment where she first listens to the disc Brodie loans her and is immediately transported to a distant mountaintop with hot babes writhing at her feet. But while her additional transformation into a badass zombie fighter is delightful, it’s not really motivated by anything but our desire to see it. Deathgasm entertains, but it often feels like it’s checking boxes on a list of horror must-haves.

And it must be said that as much as Deathgasm carries the flag for metal music, metal does seem to be at the root of all the problems that ensue. The dedicated pursuit of “devil music” as a means to be transgressive leads our heroes to find literal devil music. And the more experienced and dedicated metalhead, Zakk, is quite the jerk. As much as this movie proudly thrusts devil horns into the air, you wouldn’t be wrong to think that it’s not entirely on the genre’s side.

Deathgasm has a blessedly simple and pure goal: it wants to rock. Let the record show that it does, playing all the hits, sometimes with a catchy sound. But it’s not too strange, not too far off a path traveled before. Think of it as comfort-horror, or maybe liquid metal.


“Deathgasm combines the visual flair of Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs. the World with the manic, gory energy of Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead 2… Howden also fills Deathgasm with shockingly weird moments that catch you off guard… So many bizarre forms of murder and mutilation are up on the screen that it would be impossible to count them all.”–Mike McGranaghan, The Aisle Seat

(This movie was nominated for review by Lovecraft In Brooklyn, who described it as “Kinda Evil Dead ish.” Suggest a weird movie of your own here.)

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