2022 is officially in the books, and we’re still here, against all odds.

Actually, for the purposes of weird movie accounting, we put 2022 to bed last month. Our annual movie calendar ends on the last day of November, to allow 366 Weird Movies Yearbooks to go out in December. We’re not missing out on much; usually, December releases are limited to extended universe entries and Oscar bait dramas. This year, however, we do have to apologize to one movie that got caught in the late November rush: Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead‘s low-budget supernatural paranoid thriller Something in the Dirt. It might have the weirdo qualities necessary to make this list, but I confess I still haven’t seen it. So much to see!

mad god (2021) posterAs always, there were hard cuts at the bottom of the list. The eerie Finnish feathery horror Hatching was the last film cut from the top ten list. The whimsical dream auditing romance Strawberry Mansion also scored strong with our staff—when it was released in early 2022, I assumed it would finish in the top 10, but the weird movies just kept flowing in and passing it by.

I personally finalize this list. The staff here has input, but I set the voting rules, create the universe of candidates, and break all ties. Therefore, if you feel that it’s a crime that fan-favorite Everything Everywhere All at Once came in at a measly #3 when any idiot can see it obviously deserves to be #1, I am the idiot to blame. When ranking, I use a secret proprietary formula that accounts for cinematic craftsmanship, the degree of surrealism/weirdness, and the perceived prestige in the weird movie community based on buzz and reader feedback, then I shuffle them into whatever arbitrary order I momentarily feel like without regard to any of that.

So, on to the official Weirdest Movies of 2022 List! As always, films are listed in random order—the weirdest of orders.

7. Neptune Frost – In an alternate-reality Rwanda, an escaped coltan miner teams up with an intersexed refugee to hack global information systems through their dreams. This Afro-surrealist feature is also a musical (and the music is its most successful element). There’s almost too much to process here in this intellectualized film that deals with politics (global, local and imaginary), the intersection of technology and mysticism, gender identity, and more. It’s part of a larger independent universe that includes a concept album, “MartyrLoserKing,” from co-writer/composer Saul Williams.

2. Flux Gourmet – A “culinary performance” art troupe (e.g. a woman smears herself with tomato soup while a pair of DJs mike up her digestive tract and mix it with the sound of a blender) perform a one-month residency, where cutthroat rivalries and digestive problems arise. While this is definitely a major work of weirdness and deserving of a place on this list, other voters ranked it much higher than I did personally. I found it had some interesting moments and good dynamics between the characters, but besides simply playing out its absurd premise about “culinary performance,” it’s not clear what is up to (if anything). It’s not as funny as In Fabric, and I located no real satirical target (performance art?) or genuine emotional investment in the characters. But weird, it is.

9. All Jacked up and Full of Worms – Roscoe and/or Benny have a bad trip on hallucinogenic worms they got from a streetwalker. Not to oversell it, but it’s kind of like what might happen if David Lynch and teamed up to make a movie. Named one of the worst films of the year by Variety (they were offended by the world’s most disturbing sex doll), so you know it’s a love it or hate it proposition.

4. Crimes of the Future – Sometime in the future, for unknown reasons, human evolution has accelerated; one man makes performance art out of growing new organs and surgically removing them before a live audience, while other groups attempt to put their own stamp on humanity’s future. returns to his favorite theme of extreme body horror, and although Crimes lacks the narrative drive of his earlier features, the atmosphere of evil, corruption, mutation and decay is stronger than ever. Recycling a title from the very beginning of his career, this grisly summation of Cronenberg’s unique brand of carnal depravity feels like it’s closing a circle. Multi-ear-dancing-demon-dude was a particular hit.

3. Everything Everywhere all at Once – Evelyn Wang is always harried, juggling her laundry business, neglected husband, lesbian daughter, and conservative Chinese father while being audited by the IRS; then, a man from an alternate universe possesses her husband and tells her the fate of the multiverse lies in her hands. What follows is a nonstop blend of action, comedy, philosophy, pathos, and endless imagination as Evelyn jumps from universe to universe, finding different versions of herself (and of reality). Many people were publicly pushing for this to be the #1 weird movie; they’ll have to settle with it being our #1 overall movie (it’s the year’s best film, and weird by mainstream standards, but not as deranged as the ones we ranked ahead of it in this list—-sorry).

1. Mad God – An “assassin” (so says the credits) explores a stop-motion animated Hell. The lifelong passion project of special effects star Phil Tippett (Star Wars, Jurassic Park), who worked for three decades on this Boschian surrealist horror. It always impresses, and often disgusts (with surgeons graphically slicing their way through corpses looking for treasure and squirming parasite babies). Nonstop weirdness for over an hour of plotless tortures, alien occult rituals, and psychedelic freakouts; as Giles Edwards says, “a non-stop spectacle of exquisite hideousness.”

Phil Tippet works on Mad God
BTS, Director Phil Tippett with Titan – Mad God – Photo Credit: Shudder

6. Cybersatan Apocalypse Nightmares – A hitman takes on a series of jobs delivered to him by a pizza courier in this surreal black and white low budget film from Hungary. Giles Edwards, marveling that it “rides along a weird alleyway of deadpan, hazy narration, zero budget, and big ideas, transporting the viewer to another world of specific details wrapped in general ambiguity”  stumped for this one enough to get it a place on this list. Never properly released, but it was put on Vimeo for free (then removed for a time, then put back up). Check the official website for the latest.

Trailer | CYBERSATAN APOCALYPSE NIGHTMARES (2021) from Niko on Vimeo.

8. Inu-Oh – Amidst imperial intrigue, a disfigured dancer and a blind biwa player team up to sing forgotten stories of Heike samurai (using anachronistic rock and roll) in order to put their souls to rest. ‘s latest anime is deeply steeped in Japanese history, culture and mythology, but don’t miss out on the brilliant, intensely varied animation (how can you resist the chance to see a breakdancing samurai skeleton?) This is even getting some long-shot Oscar buzz.

10. Men – Harper () rents a remote English manor house to recover after what could euphemistically be called a “bad breakup”; she finds herself haunted by a strange nude stalker and the odd and unsympathetic men in the nearby village. Starts off spooky, then pulls out all the stops in the bizarro final act; the psychological symbolism is obvious, but not everyone will enjoy the lack of an in-narrative explanation for the insane events. I’m also not crazy about the lack of subtlety of the title, which will doubtlessly provoke tired cries of “not all men…” But you can’t deny Rory Kinnear’s performance, the novelty of seeing a man give birth.

5. After Blue (Dirty Paradise) – On the all-female planet “After Blue,” an ingenue digs up a woman in the sand, who turns out to be the monstrous killer “Kate Bush”; village elders task her and her mother with killing it. A bizarre, erotic scenario with psychedelic staging, there’s always something cool to look at here; this movie was composed according to rules laid out in director ‘s Manifesto of Incoherence. If nothing else, this movie produced the greatest still of 2022, which we used on our 366 Weird Movies 2022 Yearbook.

Still from "After Blue (Dirty Paradise)"

4 thoughts on “TOP 10 WEIRD MOVIES OF 2022”

  1. Mad God deserves to be #1 on the list. Thirty-something years in the making and it doesn’t disappoint. I just wish I had know about the crowd funding they did to finish the movie so I could have my name in the credits. LOL

    Something In The Dirt also deserves a spot on the list but it was probably released too late in the year. The two guys who wrote, produced, directed and acted in the movie did a fantastic job. I’ll be looking forward to anything they do in the future.

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