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Our weekly look at what’s weird in theaters, on hot-off-the-presses DVDs and Blu-rays (and hot off the server VODs), and on more distant horizons…
Trailers of new release movies are generally available at the official site links.
FILM FESTIVALS – Fantastic Fest (Austin, TX, Sep. 23-30):
The Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, TX may be America’s coolest movie theater. Their brand has grown so big that now they have franchised Drafthouses across the country, and have partnered with American Genre Films Archives on a number of interesting exploitation film re-releases. One of the Alamo’s hippest projects is Fantastic Fest, now back in full force in its sixteenth year. As per usual, there is a fantastic slate of weird movies and some neato revivals here. Coming at the tail end of the film festival season, we’ve already either noted or reviewed a number of these: Agnes, Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes, King Car, the Icelandic supernatural drama Lamb, Boschain animated nightmare Mad God, and 2021 Palme d’Or winner Titane. Revivals include the Soviet sci-fi propaganda piece Aelita, Queen of Mars (1924) (with a new score by saxophonist Chris Bullock), Master of the Flying Guillotine (1977), The Visitor (1979), and the new restoration of Possession (1981) that will soon be touring everywhere. We’ll also keep an eye out for these new-to-us offerings:
- Devil Story (1986) – A French horror with a plot involving mummies, Nazi mutants, and ghost horses, rediscovered and released by Vinegar Syndrome.
- Snakes (1974) – Forgotten exploitation killer about a madman snake trainer, filled with sexual perversity.
- The Timekeepers of Eternity – Greek experiment in taking a made-for-TV Stephen King film, re-editing it, and turning it into a black-and-white animated collage.
- Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror – A title-says-it-all documentary with a surprise bonus: animated collages by
A selection of films may be watched at home with a virtual festival badge.
FILM FESTIVALS – Beyond Fest (Los Angeles, CA, Sep. 29-Oct. 11):
Beyond Fest, co-sponsored by American Cinematheque, is Southern California’s largest genre festival. 2021 brings a terrific slate of festival favorites, revivals, and guests. Lamb (with director Valdimar Jóhannsson and star Code Name Nagasaki (2021) and The Empty Man (2020). Of the extensive revivals, most notable are Antichrist (2009), Kill List (2011), Dr. Caligari (1989) (with director and writer Jerry Stahl), Starship Troopers (1997) (again with Tippett, this time as the special effects supervisor), Berberian Sound Studio (2012), Possession (1981) , and a new restoration of A Clockwork Orange (1971) (not listed on the website, so either a late addition or October 8’s “secret screening”). Besides that amazing mix of new and old, here are three interesting debuts:), Mad God (2021) (with director ), Titane (with director ), and After Blue (Dirty Paradise) duplicate screenings at Fantastic Fest, above. Other festival faves on tap here include
- Earwig – Evolution is about a mysterious girl with teeth made of ice, and the man tasked to take care of her. (This actually debuted at TIFF, but we missed it somehow.) 10/7.
‘s first offering since 2015’s
- New York Ninja – A hopefully microbudget ninja flick, originally unfinished but completed (with new dubbing) by Vinegar Syndrome. 10/2.
- Traveling Light – an occult pandemic satire (described as ) from veteran horror director Bernard Rose. 10/10.
Proof of vaccination and masks required to attend screenings (this is California).
IN THEATERS (LIMITED RELEASE):
The Nowhere Inn (2020): With the help of punk-singer-turned-comedienne Carrie Brownstein, singer-songwriter St. Vincent creates a fictional documentary Sundance programmers described as “distorted and bizarre.” Reviews have been generally positive, stressing that while it might be a bit uneven and self-indulgent, it’s also weird and funny. Simultaneously released on Apple TV, other streaming options coming soon. The Nowhere Inn official site.
Prisoners of the Ghostland (2021): Booby-trapped bank robberfights ghosts and samurai—in a film by
Saint-Narcisse (2020): Bruce LaBruce blasphemy about a man’s erotic longing for his long-lost identical twin. Exclusively at NYC’s Quad Theater; presumably it will show up on VOD or physical media soon, although with a LaBruce film that’s no sure bet. Saint-Narcisse at distributor Film Movement.
NEW ON HOME VIDEO:
Perfect Blue (1997): Read the Canonically Weird entry! ‘s debut feature is an anime psychological thriller about a pop idol’s identity crisis. Perfect Blue had been surprisingly hard to find for a film of its reputation, but this Shout! Factory steelbook with a collectible booklet, Blu-ray and DVD is now the perfect choice. Buy Perfect Blue.
CANONICALLY WEIRD (AND OTHER) REPERTORY SCREENINGS:
This section will no longer be updated regularly. Instead, we direct you to our new “Repertory Cinemas Near You” page. This week we welcome back The Apollo in Kitchener, Ontario, who will host a screening of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992) on Sunday the 19th (along with an associated artist’s market; they’ll also be screening Prisoners of the Ghostland throughout the week). We will continue to mention exceptional events in this space from time to time, like the one below:
- Coxsakie, NY – Sorry for the late notice (and we won’t tease you with what you missed yesterday), but if you’re in the area (that being the area near Albany, NY) and find yourself with nothing to do this weekend, why not head out to the Hi-Way Drive-in for a quadruple feature? Tonight’s slate is Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead (1994), Black Christmas (1974), Bubba Ho-Tep (2002), and The Last Horror Film (1982). There’s another horror quadruple feature on Saturday night highlighted (to our tastes) by Deep Red, and a concluding double feature on Sunday night. Dead Til Dawn Drive-in official Facebook page.
WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE: Don’t forget about our special Weird Watch Party screening of Strange Frame: Love & Sax (2012) with director on hand to answer your questions tomorrow night at 10PM ET! It will be hosted on Tubi.tv so no paid subscriptions required. More details here.
Next week, Ryan Aarset goes deep into obscurity for the shark flick Deep Blood (1989); Shane Wilson goes deep into debt when he finds himself Overdrawn at the Memory Bank (1983); and Gregory J. Smalley gazes deeply into Andrei Tarkovsky‘s Mirror (1975) (previously reviewed by Alfred Eaker). Onward and weirdward!
What are you looking forward to? If you have any weird movie leads that we have overlooked, feel free to leave them in the COMMENTS section.