Our weekly 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 at the official site links.


Embrace of the Serpent (2015): The story follows two European explorers, separated by decades but united by a common guide, who travel to the Amazon in search of a hallucinogenic healing plant.  Colombia’s official entry in the Academy Awards is a Best Foreign Language Film finalist; the BBC implies that it’s too weird to win. Embrace of the Serpent official site.

FILM FESTIVALS – Film Comment Selects (New York City, Lincoln Center, Feb. 17-24):

Each year, the venerable journal Film Comment curates an international selection of overlooked films, both new releases and revivals. This year there is an accidental poignancy in their selections, as they chose to honor with a four film series (including the American debut of Cosmos, his latest). The Polish cinema outlaw, known on these shores mostly for the overheated psychosexual monstrosity Possession, died of cancer at age 75 on the very day the festival began. The organizers posted a complimentary tribute to the man’s work before he passed, but this mini-retrospective of some of his most insane and confrontational works is an even more appropriate way to pay respects.

  • Cosmos (2015) – ‘s first film in 15 years is a metaphysical farce about a law school flunkout vacationing in a strange house. Tonight, Fri. Feb 29 (standby only).
  • The Devil [Diabel] (1972) – An 18th century Polish nobleman is groomed as a killer by a mysterious diabolic man. Saturday, Feb. 20.
  • Film (1965)/Notfilm (2015) – Film is playwright ‘s lone attempt to make a work of experimental cinema (starring ); Notfilm is a documentary about the making of Film (which, at 130 minutes, is almost six times the length of its subject). Screens Tuesday, Feb. 23 and includes a Q&A session with doc director Ross Lipman.
  • On the Silver Globe (1988) – Zulawski’s strange and cursed visionary science fiction epic, about Earth refugees who set up a new society on a distant planet and quickly ruin things, was filmed in the late 70s and partially destroyed by a suspicious Polish government before being restored in the 80s. Saturday, Feb. 20.
  • The Third Part of Night (1971) – Read El Rob Hubbard’s review of Zulawski’s weird WWII debut.  Screening tonight after Cosmos (seats available at the time of this writing).

Film Comment Selects complete lineup.


Death by Hanging (1968): A Korean prisoner in Japan is sentenced to die by hanging, but when he survives it throws the bureaucrats charged with overseeing his execution into disarray. The Criterion Collection held this, ‘s immediate followup to the Certified Weird Japanese Summer: Double Suicide, back from it’s “Ôshima‘s Outlaw Sixties” box set so it could give this celebrated Kafkaesque indictment of Japanese racism its own special release (five years later!). Buy Death by Hanging.


Death by Hanging (1968): See description in DVD above. Buy Death by Hanging [Blu-ray].


A popular Neoconservative blog, Neo-Neocon, linked to our Satyricon review to illustrate a lighthearted, non-partisan entry about fashion at the Grammys. Who says you can’t be a conservative and still appreciate weirdness?


Masters of the Universe (1987): This  fantasy adaptation of a toy franchise is a cult item, but not because its an overlooked classic. Starring a hammy Frank Langella as “Skeletor” and Dolph Lundgren as “He-Man” (Lundgren turned in an authentic performance—he truly makes you believe he’s an expressionless piece of molded plastic). This embed courtesy of Paramount Vault.

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *