Tag Archives: Fabio D’Orta


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Quick links/Discussed in this episode:

Aggro Dr1frt (2023): Discussion begins. ‘s latest project is typically experimental and alienating: an action-packed, infrared video-game-on-film starring rapper Travis Scott. The release strategy has it playing in unconventional venues; this week, it plays its first non-festival date at an L.A. strip club (sorry, already sold out). Aggro Dr1frt distributor (?) EDGLRD’s official site.

Burnt Offerings (1976): Discussion begins. Read Gregory J. Smalley’s review. A great cast for this haunted house movie— , Oliver Reed—but it’s only on the far fringes of weirdness. It’s nevertheless a fondly remembered cult item, as this Kino Lorber special edition Blu-ray suggests. Buy Burnt Offerings.

The Complex Forms (2023): Discussion begins. Read Giles Edwards’ Apocrypha Candidate review. Today’s interviewee, , made this rare (in today’s climate) independent Italian fanatstique film about aging men volunteering for possession. No official word on distribution prospects yet, but the film has received a warm reception, so we’re cautiously optimistic this will be widely available after it finishes its festival run. The Complex Forms Instagram.

Dark Crystal (1982)/Labyrinth (1986): Discussion begins. Read Gregory J. Smalley’s Dark Crystal review and Labyrinth review. Shout! Factory re-releases ‘s two weirdish 80s puppet fantasies on VOD. Not that they weren’t available previously, but they are now being offered (via Apple) in a bundle together with all the special features you would usually find on Blu-ray. Wave of the future? Buy Dark Crystal/Labyrinth digitally.

Frogman (2024): Discussion begins. A deadpan found-footage spoof about a documentarian searching for the elusive cryptid known as “Frogman.” As a marketing gimmick, this was pre-released in a limited edition VHS (already sold out, unfortunately, but if you are curious you can see it here). Debuts more widely in early March. Frogman distributor Rotting Press on Twitter “X”.

The Memory Police (202?): Discussion begins. First announced way back in 2020, we’re finally seeing movement on ‘s adaptation of Yōko Ogawa’s 1994 dystopian/surreal science fiction novel “The Memory Police,” about a secret force that ensures what has been erased from the world remains forgotten. The first big news has come out, with Oscar nominee Lily Gladstone now cast (presumably as the lead). No more roles have been announced, and we have no clues on the time frame for the release. The Hollywood Reporter has more details.


We have no guest scheduled for next week’s Pod 366, but Greg and Giles will be back with more coverage of the week’s weird movie news and releases.

In written reviews, Shane Wilson handles another that Came from the Reader-Suggested Queue with The Dark Side of the Heart, a lightly surreal 1992 comedy from Argentina about the romance between a poet and a prostitute. Pete Trbovich‘s written contribution is also a reader suggestion, as we finally get around to Trainspotting (1996). Meanwhile, Giles Edwards visits the distaff dystopia of Ladyworld (2018), and Gregory J. Smalley finds out what the heck’s up with England’s just-released telepathic jellyfish indie, Ozma. Onward and weirdward!


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FEATURING: David White, Michele Venni, Cesare Bonomelli, Enzo Solazzi

PLOT: An out of work cook needs cash, and a mysterious organization can provide it, so long as he is willing to undergo temporary possession.

WHY IT MIGHT MAKE THE APOCRYPHA: D’Orta’s background in commercials, music videos, and set design is on display here—in a mighty fine way, to be sure. And while there are plenty of odd flourishes, ornate screen compositions, and the noodle-scratching premise itself, the “entities,” and their grand bejeweled appearance, is what delightfully seared my mind.

COMMENTS: There is a villa deep in the Italian countryside, and every so often a shining black Mercedes saloon pulls up to deliver a new occupant. This guest is, invariably, a middle-aged man with scant prospects and no family to speak of—but in good health. The management prefers the men be hard-up loners; the “clientele” prefer them healthy.

My thoughts on art house films would be more positive if there were more art house paranormal thrillers. The Complex Forms is among the few of those. (I’d be interested to hear further recommendations in the comments.) The action takes place in a hotel that looks plucked straight out of Marienbad, with officious, cryptic—and friendly—staff. We are often assured that, once an occupant leaves, “He’s fine. He’s left the villa. Nothing to worry about. Go back to your rooms.” While this would be unconvincing on its own, it’s typically intoned after a dramatic visitation from the beings who occupy the woods surrounding the lushly appointed edifice.

D’Orta’s film is an always beautiful, often menacing, and occasionally puzzling examination of angst, ritual, and time, done up in the guise of a horror film that occasionally borders on creature feature. The rote choreography of the dispirited guests, whether synchronicly mopping or dining in isolated assembly, lends a monastic quality to the film, while the protagonist’s occasional nightmares and growing fear spike the proceedings like a thumbtack jabbed, ever so slightly, under the fingernail.

And then, as I’ve mentioned, there are those sylvan forms. Are they are what the title refers to? Probably yes; but, the film does kick off with the main character filling in an exhaustive survey before traveling to the villa. No matter. D’Orta has crafted a playful and enigmatic debut, whose slick looks and cheeky musical cues meld perfectly with the heavy melodrama of the narrative. And in addition, he does us the favor of serving up many memorable, majestic monsters.