WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 7/27/2012

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.

IN THEATERS (LIMITED RELEASE):

Convento: Documentary about a family of bohemian artists living in an abandoned Portuguese monastery, focusing on the son who builds robots with animal skull heads. The Dallas Morning News called it “lightly surrealist.” Convento official (?) blog.

Iron Sky: Nazis from the moon invade Earth. The early buzz was sky-high thanks to the nutty premise and an effective trailer, but after some early sightings of the space-fascists, people lost interest as the invasion grew nearer. Iron Sky official site.

IN DEVELOPMENT:

Old Boy (est. 2013): We immediately started grimacing when we heard that dark and strange cult classic about a man inexplicably imprisoned for years, then just as inexplicably released to seek vengeance on his unknown captor, was getting an American remake. Spike Lee is a curious choice for director, but they could have done worse, to be sure: at one point Stephen Spielberg was rumored to be a candidate, with Will Smith (!) set to star. It appears Josh Brolin will take the lead now, with Elisabeth Olsen as the love interest and Sharlto Copley as the villain. Speaking of Copley, his recent interview suggests, as expected, that they will be taking the movie in the wrong direction: he says the impetus is to make “such an unbelievable story accessible to maybe more people than it was originally.” Oldboy + accessible = disaster in the making; hopefully he’s just speaking off-the-cuff without thinking it through. Here’s the brief Sharlto Copley interview with MTV.

NEW ON DVD:

La Ardilla Roja (The Red Squirrel) (1993): A suicidal man finds a purpose in life when he pretends to be the boyfriend of a beautiful woman with amnesia in this enigmatic erotic drama. Director Julio Medem went on to make the scandalous metanarrative feature Sex and Lucia with the delicious Paz Vega. Buy La Ardilla Roja (The Red Squirrel).

Bathory: Countess of Blood (2008): This fictionalized biopic of the notorious Countess, who was rumored to bathe in virgins’ blood to preserve her youth, was adapted into a long feature from a Slovakian miniseries. It apparently has some dream sequences and features Anna Friel naked. Bathory, who was possibly one of the greatest serial killers in history and was possibly an innocent victim of a politically motivated frame-up, is an eternally fascinating figure and the primeval source of the lesbian vampire archetype. Buy Bathory: Countess of Blood.

The Corridor (2010): Partying teens encounter a corridor of light in the woods that turns them into maniacs. The boxcover suggests a mixture of Stephen King and Donnie Darko, and some internet reviewers suggest the plot is confusing to the point of indecipherability. Buy The Corridor.

Institute Benjamenta, or This Dream People Call Human Life (1995): The first live-action feature by stop-motion animators the Quay brothers is a strange parable about a school for servants where the students repeat the same lesson over and over. This was one of the first films ever mentioned in our “suggest a weird movie” thread, but we passed on it because it wasn’t available on DVD in North America at that time. We always knew it’s Region 1 day would come! Buy Institute Benjamenta, or This Dream People Call Human Life.

The Last of England (1988): From Derek Jarman comes this experimental feature mixing archival footage and home movies to suggest Britain’s decline during the Thatcher era. The film features a small early appearance by Tilda Swinton, who features prominently on the cover of the remastered Lorber edition. Buy The Last of England.

Meeting Evil (2012): Samuel L. Jackson plays a serial killer who sucks an average white male suburbanite into a “surreal, nightmarish murder spree.” Directed by … now where have we heard that name before… oh no, that isn’t promising. Buy Meeting Evil.

The Monitor (2011): Psychological horror about a paranoid, abused woman who picks up what she believes is the sound of a child being murdered on a baby monitor. This dark Norwegian thriller may be receiving extra attention Stateside because it stars Noomi Rapace (the original Girl With the Dragon Tattoo). Buy The Monitor.

Mourning Wood (2010): A pubic shampoo turns the residents of Slutton into “humping zombies.” From an Amazon reviewer (who gave it one star): “What a STRANGE TRIP… Totally bizarre comedy premise… These jokers are hoping you are drunk when renting films or high.” I seriously doubt it can live up to that praise, but we’ll see. Buy Mourning Wood.

NEW ON BLU-RAY:

Dracula vs. Frankenstein (1971): From the “you’re kidding, right”? file comes this “remastered” release of Al Adamson’s incompetent monster mash, starring John Bloom with wads of toilet paper stuck to his face as Frankenstein and “Zandor Vorkov,” sporting a bigger afro than Blacula, as the screen’s least frightening Dracula. Bride of Frankenstein isn’t on Blu-ray, but this is??? Buy Dracula Vs. Frankenstein [Blu-ray].

The Last of England (1988): See description in DVD above. Buy The Last of England [Blu-ray].

FREE (LEGITIMATE RELEASE) MOVIES ON YOUTUBE:

Kung Fu Hustle (2004): Read the Certified Weird entry. The craziest, most crowd-pleasing kung fu comedy ever made, featuring Looney Tunes sequences, harp assassins, martial arts masters in curlers, and an evil Axe gang that performs dance routines. Watch Kung Fu Hustle 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.

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