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 (WIDE RELEASE):
The Cabin in the Woods: Five college kids find themselves trapped inside an impossibly clichéd horror movie situation at the titular locale; who is the puppetmaster pulling the strings? We passed on mentioning this big time Hollywood horror release last week as too mainstream, too hiply postmodern, but we’ve since changed our minds and now think this could be worth a bit of your weird attention. The Cabin in the Woods official site.
Bunnyman 2 [est. 2012]: The sole source of potential weirdness in this one is that the serial killer looks like a (far less terrifying) Ice Cream Bunny with a chainsaw. We confess, we weren’t even aware there was a Bunnyman 1. Here’s a link to the not-safe-for-work (NSFW) trailer: Bunnyman 2 trailer.
Mondo Art [est. 2012]: By coincidence, the day I was writing about “Mondo” movies in the context of Sans Soleil and wondering to myself where the Mondos had gone, I get a notice of a new Mondo in production, this one covering the modern/performance art scene. Fringe movements exploited in the shock-doc include feminazi films, insane asylum art, and an “assault rifle aggression” artist. Another NSFW trailer (this time, for nudity and perversion): Mondo Art trailer.
NEW ON DVD:
“Citizen Welles: The Stranger (1946), The Trial (1962), Hearts of Age (1934)”: Here’s a 2.5 movie set of Orson Welles pictures. The Stranger is a solid, conventional anti-Nazi noir; of more interest (to us) is Welles’ adaptation of Kafka’s The Trial, the story of an average man accused of a crime but never told what he is supposed to be guilty of (this movie is in our reader suggested review queue). Both the feature films were already in print, but what makes this 2-disc set a bit more interesting is the inclusion of “Hearts of Age,” Welles’ rarely seen 8-minute first film, in which a young Orson plays Death and which was actually inspired by Surrealism. Nothing new here, but an interesting collection nonetheless. Buy “Citizen Welles”.
Dirtbags (2009): According to the synopsis, this is a retitled (but identical) re-release of Dirtbags: Evil Never Felt So Good, which itself is supposedly a remake of a probably non-existent movie called Dirtbags: The Armpit of Metal. This “special” edition contains an interview with someone called Peter Steele and behind the scenes footage for extra features totaling about an hour and a half in length. Apparently, the movie is a date-rape comedy. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’d have a lot more confidence in director Bill Zebub if he’d chosen the more elegant pseudonym Bill Z. Bubb. Buy Dirtbags.
“Eclipse Series 32: Pearls of the Czech New Wave”: Although some of these movies are currently in print from other sources, this 4-disc, 6 movie set from the Criterion Collection’s “Eclipse” line still counts as one of our most anticipated releases of the year. Covering the frequently surreal movies of the Czech New Wave from 1966-1969, the star of the set is the “madcap feminist farce” Daisies (already in our review queue). Also of note is the surreal and notoriously banned Report on the Party and the Guests. Other films are the anthology Pearls of the Deep, the eccentric comedy Capricious Summer, the subversive adultery drama The Joke, and Return of the Prodigal Son, a film about which we know absolutely nothing. This set could potential contain multiple movies that we’ll eventually certify as weird (if they live up to their legendary reputations). Buy “Eclipse Series 32: Pearls of the Czech New Wave”.
Girl on a Motorcycle (1968): Marianne Faithful leaves her newlywed husband, gets on a motorcycle, experiments with psychedelic drugs, and has flashbacks inside of flashbacks. This feminist counterculture road-trip film was billed as the European version of Easy Rider. Buy Girl On a Motorcycle.
“A Hollis Frampton Odyssey”: Another compilation of “not for everyone” experimental films from the 1960s avant-garde, of which the frustratingly ambiguous “Zorns Lemma” (1970) comes closest to being famous. Brilliance, or structuralist wankery? Now you can decide. 2 discs. Buy “A Hollis Frampton Odyssey” (Criterion Collection).
The Theater Bizarre (2011): 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. Like any anthology, we expect this to be of mixed quality—but we like the title. Buy The Theater Bizarre.
Thor at the Bus Stop (2009): Ragnarök has arrived, and the Norse god Thor needs to take public transportation for his date to fight the Midgard serpent; his annoyed actions at a Las Vegas bus stop spark mini-dramas in those standing around him. Zero budget or not, you have to take notice of a concept like that. The DVD had been sold independently, but was picked up by VCI for a proper release. Buy Thor at the Bus Stop.
The Wicker Tree (2010): Two missionaries travel to a remote Scottish town where the villagers still worship the old pagan gods in this re-make/boot/hash of the Certified Weird The Wicker Man (1973). It’s from original director Robin Hardy and brings back star Christopher Lee for a cameo, but reviewers suggested Hardy should have left the Old Gods sleeping. We’ll probably check it out anyway: could it be worse than the infamous 2006 remake with Nicolas Cage? Buy The Wicker Tree.
NEW ON BLU-RAY:
Girl on a Motorcycle (1968): See description in DVD above. Buy Girl On a Motorcycle [Blu-ray].
“A Hollis Frampton Odyssey”: See description in DVD above. Buy “A Hollis Frampton Odyssey” [Criterion Collection Blu-ray].
The Wicker Tree (2010): See description in DVD above. Buy The Wicker Tree [Blu-ray].
FREE (LEGITIMATE RELEASE) MOVIES ON YOUTUBE:
Stranger Than Fiction (2006): An IRS agent (Will Ferrel) comes to realize that he is actually a character in a novel being written by a creatively-challenged author (Emma Thompson)—and even worse, he figures out that she’s trying to come up with a plot twist to kill him off. This literate comedy-fantasy with a postmodern premise is one of the biggest hits available for free on YouTube, as well as the only movie starring Will Ferrel that critics actually liked. Watch Stranger Than Fiction 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.