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

SCREENINGS – (New York City, IFC Center, Nov 11 & 12 at midnight):

Blue Velvet (1986): Read the Certified Weird entry! IFC has made ‘s sadomasochistic 80s nightmare into a welcome midnight staple. “Now it’s dark…” Blue Velvet at IFC Center.

FILM FESTIVALS – AFI Fest (Los Angeles, CA., Nov. 10- 17):

The American Film Institute’s official film festival strictly hosts premieres. It occurs so late in the year, however, that many movies with awards aspirations choose to debut elsewhere, so programmers cheat just a little for big names like Jackie, La La Land, and Moana, which have played all over the country but make their California premieres here. It’s still a prestigious feather in the cap for smaller art films and late-debuting foreign movies. We’ve already covered the mermaid musical The Lure, which we hope will make a splash here, but here are some more artily weird offerings that are new to us:

  • Buster’s Mal Heart – Buster has two (or maybe more) personalities, literally existing in two separate bodies: one a family man, the other a bearded hermit. Debuts Nov. 11 (tonight), with an encore on Nov. 16.
  • A Dragon Arrives! – A police inspector buries the body of an assassinated politician found in a shipwreck in the middle of the desert in a nearby cemetery, causing a localized earthquake, in tis absurdist Iranian experimental film. Nov. 15 & 16.
  • Fear Itself – A “stream of consciousness” documentary about horror films incorporating clips from several Certified Weird movies: Altered States, Antichrist, Brazil, Carnival of Souls, Don’t Look Now, Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive, Night of the Hunter, Nosferatu, Repulsion, Suspiria, Tetsuo: The Iron Man, and Videodrome (credit goes to this IMDB post for the list). Nov. 13 & 14.
  • Kati Kati – Kenyan magical realist movie where Purgatory exists on the savanna. Nov. 15 & 16.
  • Malgré la Nuit – An abstract thriller about a man going undercover to search for his lost love, whom he fears may have become the victim of a snuff film ring. Nov. 15 & 16.

AFI Fest homepage.

FILM FESTIVALS – Ithaca Fantastik Festival (Ithaca, NY, Nov. 9- 13):

In only its fifth year of operation, this out-of-the-way festival held in a college town in upstate New York doesn’t get the big premieres, but they have snapped up some very cool, obscure and, yes, weird films from the second tier. Some of the films we’ve noted playing at other festivals are the Filipino bloodfest Alipato–The Very Brief Life of an Ember, the Swiss psychological detective fantasy Aloys, and the highly recommended outsider ode She’s Allergic to Cats. Here are some others to check out:

  • Altered States (1980) – Ken Russel’s creates the world’s big-budgeted trip movie. See it on the big screen Nov 13.
  • Nova Seed – Created frame-by-frame by Nick DeLiberto, it’s a post-apocalyptic fantasy that looks like a (nostalgically) cheap 1980s Saturday morning cartoon. Playing today, Friday Nov. 4, at 4 PM, so if you’re in Ithaca and you’re reading this get out there now! The rest of us will wait on a DVD.
  • A Page of Madness (1926) – Japan’s first Surrealist film is a silent movie about a man getting a job as a janitor at an insane asylum to be near his mentally ill wife. Avant-garde composer Tenzin Chopak conducts live electronic accompaniment to the Nov. 13 screening.
  • Terror 5 – This Argentinian horror import about five horrific events that occur on one night is one of the few films making its American debut at Ithaca; programmers describe it as “experimental,” “dream-like,” and “surreal.” Check it out Nov. 12.

Ithaca Fantastik Festival homepage.


Bubba Ho-Tep (2002): Read the Certified Weird entry! Nursing home Elvis and black JFK fight a mummy in this Shout! Factory Collector’s Edition with new commentary from the short story’s original writer, new interviews with cast and crew, and more (although sadly, it looks like they couldn’t get the rights to the in-character commentary track by ). Buy Bubba Ho-Tep [Collector’s Edition Blu-ray].

Night Has a Thousand Desires (1984): A woman who works in a telepathic nightclub act who dreams of murders that come true. It’s a typical uneven erotic horror of the post-Franco period, complete with a nude Lina Romay, although some say it’s both weirder and better-made than some of Jess’ other schlock cheapies. Buy Night Has a Thousand Desires.

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.

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