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):
Champions of the Deep: The Sword of the Sea: It appears to be some sort of children’s martial arts aquatic environmentalist allegory where two kid black belts battle grownups who represent the evils of overfishing (or something). In the most absurd scene in the trailer, a villain armed with a kayak paddle fights a hero wielding a magical sword. Many independent films aimed at specialized audiences only play theatrically for one week at a single theater in New York City or Los Angeles; this one is playing at a single theater in Providence, Rhode Island. Champions of the Deep: The Sword of the Sea official site.
SCREENINGS (Sat, Aug. 11, Chicago, IL.):
The Movie Orgy (1968): If you think the mash-up is a new phenomenon, you should check out Joe (Gremlins) Dante’s epic (270 minute!) feature which mixes together several full-length B-movies (including the grasshopper invasion of Beginning of the End) along with commercials, discarded industrial films and other video effluvia to create a surreal pop culture stew. Dante will be at the screening presenting a new digital print of the film. The Movie Orgy at the Nightingale (Chicago).
SCREENINGS (Thur., Aug. 16, Nationwide):
Rifftrax Live: Manos, the Hands of Fate: Read our review of Manos. The weird little minimalist horror feature made by an El Paso fertilizer salesman on a dare gets re-mocked (with all new jokes) by the Mystery Science Theater 3000 veterans of Rifftrax (the MST3K crew originally broadcast a mangled Manos in 1993, in the process rediscovering the movie and sparking a minor Torgo cult). Find out where the live simulcast is playing near you.
Thunder-Sky! – Celebrating the Life and Times of Artist Raymond Thunder-Sky: 366 contributor Alfred Eaker‘s documentary about autistic artist Raymond Thunder-Sky—who frequented construction sites dressed as a clown wearing a hard hat—will play at the Cincinnati Film Festival this September. More details when the full festival lineup is announced, but congratulations are in order! More on the Thunder-Sky documentary from thundersky.org.
NEW ON DVD:
Johnny Guitar (1954): Read the guest review. Nicholas Ray’s unique feminist western may not be weird, but it has undeniable cult appeal, and this Olive Film’s release is—shockingly—the movie’s first appearance on Region 1 DVD. Buy Johnny Guitar.
Prairie Love (2011): Sundance programmers described this Dakota-set story of a man who sneaks into the place of guy going to meet his prison-bound paramour for the first time as “wonderfully bizarre” and “brazenly idiosyncratic.” Of course, that equates to no theatrical distribution and belated debut on DVD, but at least we’re happy to see it. Buy Prairie Love.
NEW ON BLU-RAY:
Johnny Guitar (1954): See description in DVD above. Buy Johnny Guitar [Blu-ray].
Sebastiane (1976): A homoerotic version of the story of St. Sebastian, the third century Catholic martyr; it was shocking at the time for its copious full-frontal male nudity and filthy phantasmagoria. The first feature from Derek Jarman, who apprenticed as a production designer for Ken Russell. Buy Sebastiane [Blu-ray].
The Tempest (1979): Derek Jarman’s avant-garde interpretation of Shakespeare’s play features bizarre costumes and characterizations and moves the action from an island to a Gothic mansion. Kino’s release includes three of Jarman’s short films as a bonus. Buy The Tempest [Blu-ray].
FREE (LEGITIMATE RELEASE) MOVIES ON YOUTUBE:
Obsession: Letters to David Lynch (2005): Homemade semi-mockumentary (mixing man-in-the-street interviews with scripted segments) about a struggling actor on a quest to meet David Lynch. Part of the Troma trove. Watch Obsession: Letters to David Lynch 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.