A 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 on the official site links.
IN THEATERS (LIMITED RELEASE):
Bombay Beach: Footage of three residents of the decaying Salton Sea region—a bipolar boy, a high school athlete fleeing gang violence, and a retired oil-rig worker—is mixed with musical montages from Beirut and Bob Dylan to create what the makers describe as a “slightly surreal documentary experience.” The screening order goes like this: New York this week, L.A. next week, DVD afterwards. Bombay Beach official site.
The Skin I Live In [La piel que habito]: Pedro Almodovar (who has never gone fully weird, but is always off-center) delivers a mad scientist revenge movie with significant superficial similarities to the Certified Weird Eyes Without a Face. The power of Antonio Banderas got this released in New York and L.A. this week, with scattered showings through the middle of the country in the months to follow. The Skin I Live In official site.
FILM FESTIVALS: TORONTO AFTER DARK (Toronto, Canada, Oct. 20-27)
One of the worlds most important horror-themed film festivals. This year’s lineup didn’t blow us away with its audacity or weirdness, but here are a few interesting titles:
- Love – a man alone on a spaceship orbiting earth slowly loses his mind; there are Civil War battle scenes. The producers are proud of the score by Angels & Airwaves. Screens Oct. 23.
- Monster Brawl – horror comedy featuring a werewolf, vampire, zombie, etc. fighting it out in a wrestling ring. Almost a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Screens Oct. 20.
- The Theatre Bizarre – A six-film horror anthology from directors Douglas Buck, Buddy Giovinazzo, David Gregory, Karim Hussain, Jeremy Kasten, Tom Savini, and Richard Stanley. Apparently Hussain’s segment is surreal. Screens Oct. 23
We hope to have some semi-official skinny for you on this one. Toronto After Dark Film Festival website.
NEW ON DVD:
Night of the Demon (Maria’s B-Movie Mayhem) (1980): Not to be confused with Jacques Tourner’s 1957 witchcraft classic, this Night of the Demon is an almost unreleased 1980 oddity mixing Bigfoot and black magic, with some of the most laughably inept gore effects ever seen onscreen. Or, as the Amazon “Editorial Review” inspiringly puts it, it’s a movie about “a psychodic [sic] Bigfoot on a killing rampage” that “has some of the goriest death scene!” Hosted by WWE Diva and Playboy Playmate Maria Kanellis. A true horror for Halloween. Buy Maria’s B-Movie Mayhem–Night of the Demon.
Night Patrol (1984)/The Wrong Guys (1988): Night Patrol is an spectacularly, unbelievably unfunny attempt by the uber-untalented Jackie Kong to make an Airplane! style spoof set in a police station. But what a weird cast: Pat Paulsen, Linda Blair, Billy Barty, Pat Morita and “The Gong Show”‘s Unknown Comic! The Wrong Guys, on the other hand, stars Louie Anderson, Richard Belzer, Richard Lewis, and John Goodman—and yet, you’ve never heard of it. What does that tell you? From Image Entertainment, it’s the perfect double feature for anyone who hates comedy and longs to see it spat upon and defiled. Buy Night Patrol/The Wrong Guys.
No Reason (2010): A woman wakes up from a bath in a pile of severed limbs with a mysterious figure promising to lead her to the white light; nudity and graphic gore follow. There are no English language reviews of this yet but from what I can tell from the Germans and the trailer, its brutal, confusing, and probably not very good. Buy No Reason.
Septien (2010): This story of an ex-high school athlete returning to live with his two eccentric brothers played at Sundance in the Midnight Movie category. Reviews were mixed, but Dennis Harvey of Variety suggested the movie “proves the paths of ‘weird’ and ‘interesting’ do not always intersect.” Buy Septien.
“Snuff Box: The Complete Series” (2006): This dark and bizarre BBC Comedy about two executioners who travel through time meeting prostitutes of various eras and breaking into random songs lasted one season (six episodes) before the censors had enough. Fans of Chris Morris’ “Jam” may be interested in this one. Co-creator Rich Fulcher went on to write and perform the similarly absurd series “The Mighty Boosh,” while his partner Matt Berry worked on “The IT Crowd. “Buy “Snuff Box: The Complete Series”.
NEW ON BLU-RAY:
Boccaccio ’70 (1962): An Italian short film anthology wherein Vittorio De Sica, Luchino Visconti, and Federico Fellini direct Sophia Loren, Romy Schneider, and Anita Eckberg in naughty (for the time) vignettes. It’s of some interest to weirdophiles because of Fellini’s segment featuring Eckberg as a milk-selling billboard temptress mocking a moralist. A fourth story by Mario Monicelli was originally cut for reasons of running time but has been restored for this release. Buy Boccaccio ’70 [Blu-ray].
The Tree of Life (2011): Read our capsule review. So far, the movie of the year, and with its Christian dinosaurs, a fairly weird one, to boot. This is a DVD/Blu-ray/Digital combo pack; we would expect a standalone DVD release to follow, though we haven’t heard anything yet. Buy The Tree of Life (Three-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy).
NEW ON CD:
“Tales from Beyond the Pale, Season 1”: Ten thirty minute horror stories spread across 5 CDs, recalling the old days of radio plays (this writer is old enough to have actually been glued to the radio, terrified, while hearing a rendition of Poe’s “The Black Cat” read on CBS Mystery Theater). The likes of Larry Fessenden and Graham Reznick direct the voice talents of Ron Perlman, Doug Jones, Angus Scrimm, James Le Gros and more. A singularly spooky way to celebrate the season. Buy “Tales From Beyond The Pale, Season One”.
FREE (LEGITIMATE RELEASE) MOVIES ON YOUTUBE:
Dracula [Bram Stoker’s Dracula] (1992): Read our capsule review. Francis Ford Coppola‘s visually overheated Dracula adaptation is a fun fever dream, and could have been a real classic—if not for Keanu! This was one of the first major films the studios offered for free on YouTube; when it was quickly withdrawn, we thought the experiment of offering quality entertainment for free had been scrapped. But now Dracula‘s back, and free YouTube seems like it’s here to stay… Watch Dracula free on YouTube.
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.