Tag Archives: April 1

CAPSULE: TEACH A MAN TO FISH (1980)

DIRECTED BY: Felix Laurson

FEATURING: Felix Laurson, the music of Klaus Nomi, and a number of people documented as having been paid for contributing to the production

PLOT: Difficult to say; see below.

Teach a Man to Fish April 1 2021

COMMENTS: The movie industry is replete with legendary lost films, pictures–pulped to make space in warehouses or damaged beyond recovery by time–that aficionados agree, based on contemporaneous reviews and publicity stills, might today be regarded as classics. A very long list of such possible classics might include the little-known Teach a Man to Fish, a film that possibly no one other than its director (Felix Laurson, who also wrote the screenplay and did the editing) has actually seen.

What few details we have about the film come from three sources. The bulk of it comes from interviews Laurson gave to press outlets over the years, including a 1986 interview for Der Schaden from his residence in the Kugelmugel (a self-declared independent republic located in Prater Park, Vienna – see image); a 1993 interview with Texte zur Kunst while living in a villa in Gjirokaster; and a March 2014 interview he gave from his residence in Crimea for a German film podcast. Financial and legal documents also give us tantalizing hints of other details of the film’s contents. But we’ve never had the film itself; all ten copies of it were reportedly destroyed in a Berlin warehouse fire the night before they were distributed to theaters. Laurson did his best to embrace the tragedy, encouraging moviegoers to treat the entire film and its loss as performance art, asking his prospective audience and film reviewers to take part in the performance by imagining what the film must have been like, sharing how they reacted to it, and thereby contributing to the creative process.

What we know about the film suggests it was very likely weird. Laurson spent much of the late 70s as an avant-garde performance artist in the seedier end of Berlin’s countercultural scene, developing an ever-more grandiose scope for his absurd and anarchic view of the world, a scope that he eventually felt could only be expressed in the form of an art film. Teach a Man to Fish was an expansion of a performance he put on at several venues during 1978: he would goad the audience to demand he swallow live tropical fish as an expression of the cruelty to which everyday people can be driven by the lure of fame and eye of the public. In the interviews, he described a host of amateur actors hired from the Berlin art and punk scene, costumes involving brightly-colored electrical tape and Q-tips taped on actor’s faces in vortex patterns, and a warehouse festooned with fish skeletons as essential elements of his vision. He also mentioned his fascination with Klaus Nomi’s haunting rendition of “The Cold Song” as an inspiration.

Which is where the evidence from the legal documents comes in. Nomi recorded a soundtrack, expecting to be paid from the proceeds of the film and the right to all proceeds of the subsequent album. But with the film reduced to ashes before tickets were sold Continue reading CAPSULE: TEACH A MAN TO FISH (1980)

SURPRISE CRITERION RELEASE: AFTER LAST SEASON (2009)

This announcement came as such a surprise, we thought it’s worthy of its own post.

The Criterion Collection just pre-announced that their latest addition to their catalog of “important classic and contemporary cinema from around the world” will be ‘s 2009 experimental thriller After Last Season, which has been out-of-print and highly sought after since the original DVD run sold out. (We spotted a copy on E-bay recently; the asking price was over $200).

The lone film by the reclusive Region, After Last Season may seem like a strange edition to the Criterion catalog, but the art-house label has recently added the transgressive early works of to their catalog as they expand their range from stodgy art movies and begin to include more culturally significant cult films with edgy, DIY aesthetics.

After Last Season Criterion Collection back

These photographs (leaked onto the Internet by an unknown Criterion insider) are early boxcover mockups, not the finished product (which won’t go on sale until July 2020 at the earliest). Thanks to El Rob Hubbard for bringing them to our attention. According to the Criterion Collection website, the final release will have the following special features:

  • New 4K digital restoration, not approved by Region
  • The original trailer that rocked the Internet
  • “Region Free”: a documentary attempting to track down the mysterious Mark Region (the name has long been suspected to be a pseudonym for or another established director)
  • “I’ve Never Been to That Town, but I’ve Been Through It”: a feature-length appreciation by
  • New interview with star
  • A free copy of the trial animation software used to compose the special effects sequences (works on Windows 95 systems only)
  • PLUS: An essay by IMDB entry Lloyd Nickell

After Last Season has been one of the rarest titles on our list of Canonically Weird movies, and we’re thrilled that the general public will finally get the chance to experience this… um… unusual film.

ALFRED EAKER’S CRINGE CINEMA

Hello, readers, I’m Alfred Eaker and I have a confession to make.

I am a doo-doo head.

I like to promise my editor that I am going to submit an article, knowing that he is desperate for content, then not come through. This is how I get my jollies.

I enjoying doing this time and time again, swearing that it will be different this week, just to see how many times I can fool the sucker.

You see, my time and my personal projects are more important than everyone else’s. I could care less about inconveniencing others.

If the person I am betraying considers me a friend, all the better. It just makes my job easier.

For I am Alfred Eaker, doo-doo head.

PS: Happy birthday to the late !

WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE

Only 68 movies left to Certify Weird! (That number is right, we didn’t miscount: see the explanation below).

Alfred Eaker kicks us off next week with a review of Flicker Alley’s new Blu-ray release of the short that birthed the fantastique, “A Trip to the Moon.” Then,  Bryan Pike updates you on the new existential  indie release It Takes from Within, Pete Trbovich knocks one out of the review queue with a shout-out to Britain’s The Shout (1978), and G. Smalley goes classic and retro with an examination of ‘s surrealistic debut, Blood of a Poet (1930).

No fooling here: the quotes below are actual search terms weirdos used to find 366 Weird Movies this past week. First, the search for a “movie where man says etcettera” goes into our “can you narrow that down for me?” file. We would be remiss if we did not note the search for “lesbian girls and doll pul movies.com” (it was making sense until the “doll pul” arrived). Then we have a pair of perhaps related searches: a jazz cinema fan’s search for “sax films of 2012,” which might possibly be better found on the site “sax bandits.com”. Simple misspellings can sometimes lead to ambiguity: is the guy looking for “twin leaks 366 weird movies” actually looking for the television series, or the pee fetish porn parody? A similar searching error led to our official Weirdest Search Term of the Week, “link floyd thé wool”. The misspellings are bad enough, but going out of your way to add an accent aigu to the “thé” that makes the search acutely weird.

On to the bit of business hinted at above: many of you have expressed dismay that the List of the 366 Best Weird Movies ever made is nearing its end, and are afraid that your worthy favorites will not fit into the few remaining slots. If you fall into that category, we have good news: we’re removing some of the dead wood to make way for better choices. Obviously, when we started this List ten years ago, we were very different people than now. As you may have noticed with Alfred’s series on spirituality themed movies, we are (a little!) more mature than the crazy live-for-today 40somethings who started this List. We recognize that we made mistakes in the early days (and even in the later days), and canonized a few movies of questionable intent that didn’t deserve to be honored. What better day than Easter Day, 2018 to announce a culling of the List and the rebirth of a new one? We’re going to free up twenty-seven movie slots by canceling several of our rasher and more questionable choices. These entries have already disappeared from the sidebar list; we’ll detail them below, with an explanation for each film’s removal.

REMOVED FROM THE LIST:

3-Iron (2004) – With the sexual assault allegations against director , we can no longer in good conscience allow him to be honored on our List.

Continue reading WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE

WEIRD ANTI-366 MIDNIGHT TWEETSTORM FROM POTUS

Sometime after midnight, when one would expect the President of the United States to be either resting up for a big day or burning the midnight oil prepping for a diplomatic meeting, Donald J. Trump was apparently cruising the Web, and came across a site that rubbed him the wrong way:

Trump 366 Weird Movies tweet

What prompted this attack against a small-traffic, niche cinema website devoted to surrealist and cult cinema, fields in which the President had previously shown zero interest? Apparently, it was an offhand comment by leftist commentator in his review of Suicide Squad that drew the Preisdent’s ire:

Trump 366 Weird Movies Tweet

A few minutes later, after cruising the site a bit longer, the President chimed in with another, unexpected criticism:

Trump 366 Weird Movies Tweet

 

 

 

 

 

The President was, of course, referring to the 1989 Bo Derek vehicle where she plays the trophy wife of ghost Anthony Quinn, who wants Bo to kill a younger man so he can possess his body and have sex with her again, and also advises her in corporate negotiations:

A weird movie (though not a very good one), but where does this have a bearing on the point at issue?

Naturally, all tweets were deleted within half an hour of posting. Fortunately we were able to save screenshots to prove that this bizarre rant did indeed occur.

WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 4/1/2016

Our weekly look at what’s weird in theaters, on hot-off-the-presses DVDs, and on more distant horizons…

Trailers of new release movies are generally available at the official site links.

IN THEATERS (LIMITED RELEASE):

Closet Monster: A closeted gay teenager and aspiring special effects artist must face his coming out anxieties with the help of a talking hamster voiced by . Glen Dunks called it “[c]olourfully designed and with more than a hint of weirdness.” Official Closet Monster Facebook page.

Darling: A young woman goes insane while taking care of an old New York house; in black and white. Staring Jug Face‘s Lauren Ashley Carter. Official Darling Facebook page.

DVR ALERT – (SyFy Channel, Fri, 4/1, at 8:00 PM EST):

Dead 7 (2016): In a post-apocalyptic world, a cowboy, a samurai, a mime, and four others team up to fight zombies. The heroes are all played by ex-members of the Backstreet Boys, NSYCNC, and some more obscure boy bands. Proudly presented by the folks who brought you Sharknado. Dead 7 at SyFy channel.

SCREENINGS – (Spectacle Theater, Brooklyn, NY, tonight!, Fri., 4/1 at Midnight):

Final Flesh (2009): Read the Certified Weird entry! Those perverts at the Spectacle (and us) are the only ones keeping this absurdist experiment alive. Watch an amateur porn star breastfeed a 16-oz ribeye steak named “Mr. Peterson.” Final Flesh at Spectacle Theater (the embedded trailer is understandably NSFW).

FILM FESTIVALS – StraightJacket  Guerilla Film Festival (Everywhere and nowhere, 4/1-4/7):

Here’s an idea that’s probably overdue: an exclusively online film festival. No pesky plane tickets and hotel rooms for out-of-towners to buy, or even $3/kernel bags of popcorn. Each day of the festival, several new full-length films and music videos just show up online. The films are supposed to adhere to the “Pink 8” manifesto, which includes tenets like “no script” and “the cast must NOT know what your film is about,” though we’re not sure how strictly these rules will be enforced. The only thing we’ve heard of is ‘ 1995 cross-dressing undead action film La Cage aux Zombies, which magically appears on April 3.

StraightJacket Guerilla Film Festival home page.

NEW ON DVD:

“Death Walks Twice: Two Films by Luciano Ercoli”: Due gialli from Ercoli starring “Susan Scott” (Nieves Navarro). In Death Walks on High Heels, she’s an exotic dancer fleeing a jewel thief; in the weirder Death Walks at Midnight, she’s a model who takes LSD and witnesses a murder that happened six months earlier. Buy “Death Walks Twice”.

Fascist Frauleins [AKA Airplays of Old] (1969): An Amazonian Nazi dominatrix with a transgendered m-t-f daughter kidnaps Allied airmen and keeps them in her torture chamber, where she feeds them hallucinogenic drugs and forces them to engage in “experimental” orgies. Bizarre, forgotten Nazisploitation made at the height of the psychedelic era, in black and white but with splashes of color (red for blood, yellow and pink spirals swirling onscreen during the hallucination sequences). Buy Airplays of Old.

NEW ON BLU-RAY:

“Death Walks Twice: Two Films by Luciano Ercoli”: See description in DVD above. This is only available in a 4-disc set: 2 DVDs, 2 Blu-rays. Buy “Death Walks Twice”.

The Gong Show Movie (1980): A week in the life of “Gong Show” host Chuck Barris, featuring R-rated outtakes from the show arranged around a plot, of sorts. Not available on DVD, as it would be a cinematic crime to watch a visual spectacle of this magnitude in anything but the highest definition possible. Buy The Gong Show Movie.

What are you looking forward to? If you have any weird movie leads that I have overlooked, feel free to leave them in the COMMENTS section.

TRANSFORMERS (2007)

“What I look for in a script is something that challenges me, something that breaks new ground, something that allows me to flex my director muscle.”–

DIRECTED BY: Michael Bay

FEATURING: Shia LaBeouf, , ,

PLOT: Giant robots attack a military installation. Shia LaBeouf buys a muscle car, but it’s actually a giant robot in disguise. A team of good giant robots from outer space battle a team of bad giant robots from outer space for control of a Rubik’s Cube.

Still from Transformers (2007)
BACKGROUND:

  • The movie Transformers was so successful that it launched a toy franchise and a Saturday morning children’s show.
  • Against the studio’s wishes, director Michael Bay deleted thirty minutes of explosions from the final cut, then added an additional hour of character development. A yet-to-be-released director’s cut incorporates all the explosion footage that was shot, and runs for over four days.
  • Jon Voight was once a respected actor.
  • Shia LaBeouf is a pseudonym which roughly translates from the French as “Made-up name the beef.”
  • Within five months after receiving her paycheck for Transformers, Megan Fox declared bankruptcy. Reportedly, she spent all of the money on unlicensed Mexican plastic surgery, including $500,000 for an experimental procedure which would have installed an expression on her face.
  • Stephen “Schindler’s List” Spielberg executive produced, haters.

INDELIBLE IMAGE: Oh, how about just a freakin’ awesome muscle car transforming into a bad-ass killer robot, is all.

WHAT MAKES IT WEIRD: One of the basic tenets of Surrealism is its insistence on juxtapositions and transformations of unlikely objects. As poet Pierre Reverdy said, “the more the relationship between the two juxtaposed realities is distant and true, the stronger the image will be — the greater its emotional power and poetic reality.” In Un Chien Andalou, we see breasts that turn into buttocks; is this any stranger or more poetic than souped-up yellow Camaros that turn into giant missile-shooting bipeds?


Original trailer for Transformers

COMMENTS: Although some snob critics disparage the work of Continue reading TRANSFORMERS (2007)