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.


The Wizard of Oz: An IMAX 3D Experience (1939): Read our review. Dorothy is off again to see the Wizard, now with flying monkeys in 3D. We love the movie, and are willing to tolerate the gimmick if it brings it to a wider audience. The Wizard of Oz Imax 3D official site.


+1 (2013): Supernatural happenings disrupt the collegiate blowout of the year. The synopsis is coy about the movie’s twist, but online chatter suggests it may be something we’ve seen before. +1 official site.

FILM FESTIVALS – Fantastic Fest (Austin, TX, Sep. 19-26):

The Alamo Drafthouse may be America’s coolest theater—where else can you grab a burger and an Irish coffee milkshake before watching a screening of Willy Wonka with Veruca Salt and Mike Teevee in attendance? Their brand has grown so big that now they even distribute their own (generally weird) movies. Sure, some of them kind of suck, but still, how cool is it that an arthouse theater chain gives movies that are too “special” for general audiences a chance to be seen? One of the Alamo’s hippest projects is the Fantastic Fest, now in its eighth year. As per usual, there is a fantastic slate of weird movies and some astounding revivals here. While there are a dozen or more “of interest” movies showing here that we’ve already noted in our entries on Cannes, Venice, Toronto, and other venues, here are some other titles and events that are special to Fantastic Fest:

  • Detective Downs – Norwegian mystery (?) about a detective with Down’s Syndrome who is hired because of his presumed incompetence. Screens Sep. 20 & 25.
  • The Devils – If you’re within a two-hour drive of Austin, quick, drop whatever you’re doing; ‘s notorious, outrageous nunsploitation/artsploitation hybrid is screening today only, Friday Sep. 20th, at 2:45 PM Central Standard Time.
  • Escape from Tomorrow – To our knowledge, this surreal theme park satire, with scenes secretly shot guerrilla-style on Disney resort property, has not been screened since Sundance. Not only does it suddenly appear at Fantastic Fest, but there is an elaborate new trailer supporting it. We still worry that Disney lawyers will never allow this film to see the light of day in any meaningful way (although small scale screenings are scheduled in the future), so catch it while you can—if you missed today’s 11:30 AM showing, then Thursday, Sep. 26 is your only chance.

  • Journey to the West‘s first directorial effort in five years is a fantasy adventure adaptation of a Chinese mythology classic featuring Buddhist demons and the Monkey King. Sep. 21 & 24.
  • Kid’s Police – A cop action/drama, performed entirely by a cast of 10-year olds (a la 1976’s Bugsy Malone). Sep. 22 & 26.
  • Mood Indigo directs a lighthearted surreal romance from a novel by Boris Vian, starring Amelie‘s Audrey Tautou as the female love interest. No wonder it’s in our reader-suggested review queue. Sep. 22 & 25.
  • Maruyama, the Middle Schooler – From the writer of Zebraman comes this hallucinatory tale of an imaginative middle-school boy who dreams of one day becoming flexible enough to perform auto-fellatio. Sep. 22 & 26.
  • Nightbreed – The Cabal Cut – This is the director’s cut of Clive Barker’s 1990 cult horror about an encounter between a village of mutants and a serial killer. Sep. 21 only.
  • Proxy – A pregnant woman joins a support group after she is assaulted on the streets; festival programmers boast it’s “one of the most… truly crazy stories ever seen at Fantastic Fest.” Screening Monday, Sep. 23.
  • Septic Man – It sounds like a Canadian version of The Toxic Avenger, featuring a plumber who gains super powers after being trapped in a septic tank. Sep. 20 & 23.

Fantastic Fest official site.


Somebody Up There Likes Me (2012): A suitcase keeps a man eternally young in this partly animated absurdist comedy that spans decades. Keith Poulson stars, but word has it that “Parks and Recreations”‘s Nick Offerman steals every scene he’s in.  Buy Somebody Up There Likes Me.


The Bride of Frankenstein (1935): The evil Dr. Pretorius manipulates Frankenstein into creating a new creature: a mate for his Monster. This sequel adds elements of black comedy and is superior to the excellent original; it transcends the macabre genre and is truly one of the greatest movies ever made. Buy The Bride of Frankenstein [Blu-ray].

The Devil Bat (1940): In an absurd revenge scheme, mad scientist invents a giant bat and an aftershave that makes it attack the wearer. As good as The Bride of Frankenstein is, that’s how bad The Devil Bat is; still, this poverty row embarrassment has some cachet among camp fans. Buy The Devil Bat [Blu-ray].

Dracula (1931): Read our review. The Blu-ray contains the contemporaneously-shot Spanish version as a bonus feature, so you can judge for yourself which interpretation is superior. Buy Dracula (1931) [Blu-ray].

Dracula, Prince of Darkness (1966): Read our capsule review. Hammer won’t let Universal hog the pre-Halloween classic Blu-ray spotlight all to itself. Buy Dracula, Prince of Darkness [Blu-ray].

Frankenstein (1931): A scientist creates life from dead bodies, then loses control of his creation. Not quite as astounding (or as weird) as the sequel Bride, but an excellent horror classic on its own terms. Buy Frankenstein [Blu-ray].

Slacker (1991): Read our capsule review. The Criterion Collection upgrades ‘s seminal indie to Blu-ray. Buy Slacker [Criterion Collection Blu-ray].

The Wolf Man (1941): Read our capsule review. Fill out your Blu-ray collection with this tale of a poor soul cursed to become a beast when the wolf-bane blooms and the autumn moon is bright. Buy The Wolf Man [Blu-ray].


The Impossible Kid [AKA The Impossible Kid of Kung Fu] (1982): 2’9″ martial arts star Weng Weng returns in this goofy exploitation sequel to the Filipino “hit” spoof For Y’ur Height Only. In this outing, the kid-sized karate expert rescues kidnapped businessmen from the mysterious Mr. X. Watch The Impossible Kid 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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