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.


Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel: If you’re not yet burned out on B-movie documentaries—and you live in New York or Los Angeles—you might want to head out to the cinema to soak in this survey of the life and work of independent impresario Roger Corman.  An odd assortment of Oscar winners and cult figures turn out to pay tribute to the King of the B’s, including Jack Nicholson, Pam Greer, Martin Scorsese and Traci Lords.  Corman’s World official site.


1000 Kings [1000 Könige] (est. 2012): Sort of an abstract science fiction ballet set in a sky-ball dystopia where monks hate red sleeping bags, or something like that, this German first feature by Georgian-born Bidzina Kanchaveli is in post-production but still searching for completion funding. It looks like superlative weirdness; check out 1000 Kings at Indiegogo or at the 1000 Kings official site.


Astron-6 (2011): A 2-disc compilation of the 1980s-spoofing short films of the absurdist Canadian collective behind the pop-killer feature Father’s Day.  Titles include Inferno of the Dead, Gore Blade, and H.I.Z. (Erection der Zombi).  Avowed fans of the group include , George Kuchar, , and Jasmine from  Buy Astron-6.

Branded to Kill (1967): Read the Certified Weird entry!  After years of promises the Criterion Collection has finally re-released Seijun Suzuki’s totally whacko rice-sniffing yakuza film, with a new restoration and extras including interviews with the director and chipmunk-faced star Joe Shishido.  This is the new #1 killer version of the classic of weirdness. Buy Branded to Kill [Criterion collection].

Def-con 4 (1985)/Hell Comes to Frogtown (1988): Def-con sounds like just another Mad Max ripoff (The Los Angeles Times called it a “suspenseful, action-packed drama”—yawn).  Hell is much cooler, featuring wrestler “Rowdy” Roddy Piper fighting future frog-men for the right to impregnate Earth’s remaining fertile females.  Hell is in our reader-suggested review queue. Buy Def-Con 4 / Hell Comes to Frogtown (Double Feature).

Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame (2011): Read our capsule review. Tsui Hark returns to form with this colorful action fantasy set in a magical version of Imperial China. Buy Detective Dee & The Mystery of the Phantom Flame.

Jessicka Rabid (2010): The sensitive story of a female sex slave who is raised like a dog until one day she’s bitten by a rabid canine and goes on a killing spree.  Shot in a style reminiscent of a 1960s home movie, it co-stars veteran Trent Haaga, perhaps best known as the screenwriter of The Toxic Avenger 4: Citizen Toxie (2000) and Deadgirl (2008). Buy Jessicka Rabid.

Tokyo Drifter (1966):  An ex-yakuza hitman finds himself in trouble when a rival gang won’t recognize his retirement in this stylized, deconstructed gangster movie.  You wouldn’t expect the Criterion Collection to re-release Seijun Suzuki’s Branded to Kill without giving equal time to this colorful ,comic book -styled warm up, and indeed they did not.  Buy Tokyo Drifter.


Branded to Kill (1967): See description in DVD above.  Buy Branded to Kill [Criterion Blu-ray].

Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame (2011):  See description in DVD above.  Buy Detective Dee & The Mystery of the Phantom Flame [Blu-ray].

Heavenly Creatures (1994):  Two sheltered Kiwi girls develop an obsessive friendship and invent a fantasy world that they prefer to reality; their bond eventually ends in murder.  This was ‘s first arthouse movie after making three fun but tasteless underground cult provocations.  It’s also in our reader-suggested review queue.  Buy Heavenly Creatures [Blu-ray].

Tokyo Drifter (1966):  See description in DVD above.  Buy Tokyo Drifter [Criterion Blu-ray].

Velvet Goldmine (1998): An impressionistic, and frequently surrealistic, portrait of an aging androgynous glam-rock star (obviously modeled on David Bowie).  This visually splendiferous movie could not be more different than the film that first brought director Todd Haynes to the attention of the underground—Superstar, an unauthorized biography of anorexic pop star Karen Carpenter acted out by Barbie dolls.  Buy Velvet Goldmine [Blu-ray].


Faust (1926): F.W. Murnau’s telling of the Faust legend owes little to Goethe or Marlowe, but it’s a classic of German expressionism.  Watch Faust (1926) 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.

3 thoughts on “WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 12/16/2011”

  1. A small correction – Bidzina Kanchaveli is a Georgian director. 🙂 And, yeah, I can’t wait for his first feature length, since his short movies are amazingly surreal… and weird, of course. 🙂

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