WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 7/20/2012

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 on the official site links.

There’s nothing new for weirdos in theaters this week; The Dark Knight has driven away all competitors. Even the weirdest features are afraid to challenge its mighty debut. (Heck, even the DVD releases have largely gone quiet for the week).

FILM FESTIVALS: FANTASIA (Jul. 19 – Aug .9, Montreal, CAN):

In its brief 15 year existence, Montreal’s Fantasia International Film Festival has become one of the premier destinations for foreign (especially Asian) and independent fantasy, science fiction, horror and action films. Thankfully, the festival programmers’ tastes skew towards the weirder side of genre cinema. We highly some of the debuts and new-to-us films below, but we also noticed a lot of interesting titles that were familiar to us from Sundance, Tribeca and other fests: the Possession-esque romantic horror Beast (Zuwalski’s original will also screen at FIFF); Carré blanc, a the surreal dystopian French fantasy that’s nearing the end of its festival run; another bow for Traci Lords and John Waters, headlining the misfit cast of the shock-horror Excision; the anthology The Fourth Dimension, anchored by a Val Kilmer/ collaboration; and Grabbers, about Irish pub-dwellers who get drunk to dissuade invading aliens from snacking on them; the Unabomber-inspired magical realist drama Monsters Club; ‘s absurdist missing dog comedy Wrong; and the crowd-pleasing Zombie Ass: Toilet of the Dead. Unique features playing Fantasia are mentioned below; there are a couple we’re extremely excited about…

  • Ace Attorney Takashi Miike‘s second film to play 2012 Fantasia (his musical comedy For Love’s Sake screened on opening night), this futuristic courtroom comedy is based on a video game and involves improbable hairstyles and ghost co-counsel. Screening Aug. 2 (sold out).
  • As Luck Would Have It –  absurd satire about an ad-man who gets a spike through the head, and uses his public relations savvy to make the best of it. This one’s not new to the festival circuit, but we overlooked it before. July 25.
  • Dead Sushi (The Machine Girl, RoboGeisha, Zombie Ass) is making 3-4 horror comedies per year since 2008; this one involves killer sushi (not “really good” sushi, but sushi that must be kickboxed into submission before it can be sampled). July 22.
  • The Devil’s CarnivalRepo! The Genetic Opera fans will want to check out this followup rock musical, which is a sort of variation on Dante’s Inferno with Hell as a circus. There will be live performances of the score, celebrity guests and carnival sideshow attractions at this gala event, but Fantasia forgot to mention whether the movie will actually screen. July 22.
  • A Fantastic Fear of Everything – Simon Pegg stars as a children’s author turned crime writer undergoing a hallucinatory nervous breakdown in this paranoid black comedy. July 31.
  • Honey Pupu – Experimental Taiwanese techno-pastiche about the ephemerality of modern life. July 21.
  • The Human Race – Random American citizens are whisked away to a netherworld to participate in a brutal death race; two of them are deaf, and the main character has only one leg. July 29.
  • Isn’t Anyone Alive? – Follows about 20 characters through two hours as they suddenly die without explanation. July 31 & Aug. 3.
  • Lowlife – Two lowlife musicians engage in an orgy of drugs that ends with them descending to a state of permanent hallucination. It’s weird. Check out this trailer (narrated by a dog) if you don’t believe us. Jul. 21.
  • Mondomanila – Filipino sleaze about a gang of poor drunk outcasts and freaks who extract revenge on a racist pedophile rapist. July 20 & Aug. 1.
  • “Outer Limits of Animation” –  Twenty short films, two of which are especially noteworthy to us: ‘s “It’s Such a Beautiful Day,” the third installment of the stick-figure psychodrama that began with Everything Will Be OK, and ‘s “Guard Dog Global Jam,”which sees dozens of animators remaking a section of his 2004 Oscar-nominated short “Guard Dog” in their own styles. July 22.
  • Resolution – A buddy ties his crack addict pal up in a cabin in the woods for an involuntary detox, and things get weird. July 25.
  • Schoolgirl Apocalypse – A plague makes men kill women in this zombie-apocalypse tale with a bow-firing Japanese schoolgirl heroine and animated scenes. July 30.
  • The Warped Forest – Here it is: the spiritual sequel to Funky Forest, this time a solo flight by Shunichiro Miki, the director of the infamous “Wanna Go for a Drink?” segment.

That’s one hell of a lineup! Fantasia official website.

SCREENINGS (Hollywood, CA, Egyptian Theater):

Foxfur (2012)/Spacedisco One (2007): The world premier (possibly to be the only theatrical screening) of microbudget icon Damon Packard’s Foxfur, which looks to be a surprisingly straight-faced, gee-whiz sci-fi drama that takes Billy Meier’s insane UFO theories at face value, with CGI flying saucers that would make Ed Wood cream. The companion feature, Spacedisco One, is an unauthorized psychedelic/absurdist sequel to both 1984 and Logan’s Run. Both movies run under an hour. Also featuring a documentary short and a Q&A with Packard and the Foxfur cast. Foxfur/Spacedisco One at the Egyptian Theater.

NEW ON BLU-RAY:

The Butterfly Effect (2004): Trippy, Donnie Darko inspired cult movie about a time-tripping college student who suffers blackouts. We’ll be honest: we skipped this on release solely because it starred teen heartthrob and Dude, Where’s My Car? alumnus Aston Kuchner; now that Kuchnermania is long past, maybe it’s time to give this one a fair look with unbiased eyes? The Blu-ray contains both the director’s and theatrical cuts, in case that matters. Buy Butterfly Effect [Blu-ray].

FREE (LEGITIMATE RELEASE) MOVIES ON YOUTUBE:

Highlander 2: The Quickening (1991): The first movie about battling Immortals was a cult hit because of its originality; the sequel is a notoriously confusing and illogical mess that’s a cult movie for the wrong reasons. This movie is so bad, it actually has less than a 4 1/2 out of 5 star rating at Amazon.com. This upload has Dutch subtitles. Watch Highlander 2: The Quickening 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.

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