One Groovy Bat

Blacula. Still not cornier than Duckula.

Blacula. Still not cornier than Duckula.

As a fan of Dracula (from Lee to Lugosi) and blaxploitation cinema (from Coffy to Dolemite), I have a hard time resisting the nocturnal urban lure of Blacula (1972). By the 1970s Count Dracula had seen countless screen re-imaginings and misrepresentations. The movies were hammering the final nail into the classic icon’s coffin, but there was always the occasional hit that kept him from staying in the grave permanently. Blacula may not be considered a great film, but for what it is—a movie about a black Dracula—it’s actually a really enjoyable romp through the supernatural…and it’s got soul. Sure, it has it’s fair share of cheese and hokiness, but even the immortal Bela Lugosi version from 1931 wasn’t perfect and was certainly not lacking in the melodrama department.

Dracula is a racist.

Dracula is a racist.

The story of Blacula begins exactly as it should: in Transylvania in the year 1780. The African noble, Prince Mamuwalde of the Ebani tribe (played by impeccably William Marshall), is having a little chat with the notorious Count Dracula. Mamuwalde urges the Count to aid him in his efforts to end the slave trade, but the Count evidently likes the slave trade and, additionally, has developed a fancy for Mamuwalde’s wife, Luva (Vonetta McGee). Dracula feels it is perfectly acceptable—nay, even complimentary—to take Luva as a concubine. When Mamuwalde refuses the diabolical insult, the Count reveals his vampiric powers and has his undead minions attack the Prince and his wife. Pay attention to the disappearing and reappearing candles during the scuffle. Biting Mamuwalde on the neck, Count Dracula curses him with an unquenchable lust for human blood and seals him shut in a coffin, leaving Luva to die alone in the stone room with her trapped husband.

Where was Luva's skeleton when the coffin was exhumed again in the 1970s???

Where was Luva’s skeleton when Blacula’s coffin was exhumed again in the 1970s???


Then the awesome animated credits pop up. It’s very Fistful of Dollars, but with a funkier score.

Flash-forward to 1972. Two gay interior decorators are buying stuff in the Count’s old castle and, naturally, just have to have the coffin, unaware of the horror within. While unpacking their Transylvanian bounty they unleash a very cramped Blacula. Bewildered and stiff, Blacula discovers the unstoppable desire to snack on human blood. He makes short work of his first two victims.

Never sass a vampire, lady.

Never sass a vampire, lady.

Blacula wanders the streets of Los Angeles and chances upon Tina (Vornetta McGee again), a dead-ringer for the deceased Luva. The encounter proves incredibly taxing on Tina as she frantically flees the strange man as a chase reminiscent of a Pepé Le Pew cartoon ensues, ending with one of my favorite scenes in the whole movie: Blacula’s pursuit of Tina is punctuated by him getting hit by a taxi cab and a rattled female cabbie berating his apparent lack of intelligence as he casually rises up off the ground, muttering about the collision ruining his reunion with his reincarnated lover. When at last he realizes the cabbie’s antagonism he snaps into vampire mode (developing fangs, some super-gnarly eyebrows, a rather pronounced widow’s peak, and cheek-burns) and bites her. Awesome.

Autopsy.

That’s weird. The deceased is completely drained of blood, clutching a crucifix, and has two small holes on her neck. It must have been a car accident.

Things get more coincidentally complicated when Tina’s sister, Michelle (a very fine Denise Nicholas), is the girlfriend of Dr. Gordon Thomas (Thalmus Rasulala—easily the coolest name ever) who is investigating the mysterious murders of the gay interior decorators and the cabdriver. The deep holes in the necks and the absence of blood in their bodies seems suspicious, so Dr. Thomas reads up on the occult.

Clubs back in the day.

Clubs back in the day…

At a night club, Tina, Michelle, and Gordon are treated to a special guest. It is Blacula, arrived to return the purse Tina dropped when she ran away. He apologizes for frightening her and joins them for drinks. The sight of this caped, eloquent, and charismatic aristocrat (with the diction of a god!) against these modern settings doesn’t seem to bother anybody. And the stranger’s deep poetic voice with its enchanting cadences (seriously, I want William Marshall to read me bedtime stories) echoing back to time’s long past captivates his new friends. Things are going well, bloody Marys are ordered, Tina is warming up to Mamuwalde, and then someone snaps a picture of them and the gallant ex-prince excuses himself…to kill the photographer just as she’s developing the pictures and discovers that Blaculas don’t show up on film.

No pictures!

No pictures!

The movie goes on with many things happening at once. Blacula courts Tina like a true gentleman while Dr. Thomas digs up corpses and realizes they’ve a vampire epidemic on their hands that the police station will never believe. Also, several characters that Blacula has bitten earlier in the film become vampires themselves and start biting everybody indiscriminately. Apparently you never truly die from a vampire bite, you only become a superhuman vampire with greenish skin (there is one cop and a guy with a hook hand we never see again after they get bitten, but seeing as how every other character survives to be vampires I just bet those two guys are still wandering around somewhere). It almost reminds me of Cannibal Apocalypse (1980) starring John Saxon (Enter the Dragon), a particularly terrible movie where so-called cannibals bite people and then those people in turn become “cannibals” who only desire to bite other people and make them “cannibals” (yeah, nobody ever dies. They just become oppressed minorities with weird nibbling habits fleeing government retaliation. Like Blacula the only characters who truly die are the ones who get killed by normal means).  A highlight of Blacula is the police raid on a warehouse full of vampires bitten by one of the gay guys from the beginning. People get shot, attacked, bitten, and set on fire. Major points for all the full body burns, but I can’t help but wonder about this scene. The gay vampire seems to have bitten (by far!) the most people. Is Blacula making some kind of commentary about promiscuity or the spread of social diseases during the 70s? Should we be offended?

These vampire zombies are fabulous.

These vampire zombies are fabulous.


As Tina falls more and more in love with Blacula/Mamuwalde, Dr. Gordon Thomas and the cops get closer and closer to unmasking the vampire and discovering its daytime coffin hideout. Actually, the romance between Tina and Blacula is the least interesting and least believable part of the movie, but the movie seems to know that and focuses on other things while that stuff is happening. By the time Gordon and the cops find Blacula’s hideout in a chemical plant, Tina has already agreed to be Luva II for the undead Prince Mamuwalde (it’s like The Mummy). Time is running out and cops with spherical helmets—seemingly from Mel Brooks’ Spaceballs —fill the chemical plant, putting Blacula on the defensive. Comically, the cops are very easy to kill. Gently bumping their big, stupid helmeted-heads against a wall takes them out in a flash. Something I noticed the second time I watched it; I wonder if Dr. Gordon Thomas is safe from vampire attacks because he’s always wearing a turtleneck.

SPOILER ALERT: skip to the next paragraph to avoid spoiling the epic finale of Blacula.

Will our heroes stop Blacula before he seduces Tina? Tune in next week...

Will our heroes stop Blacula before he seduces Tina? Tune in next week…

One dopey cop catches Blacula and Tina running away down a hallway and discharges his firearm, killing Tina. Blacula dispatches the policeman by gently bopping his helmet head on a pipe and punching him. With no time to lose he bites Tina to ensure she will have eternal undead life as a vampire with him. Angered and vengeful, Blacula storms through the dark chemical plant killing cops left and right. Guys get stuff dropped on them, they get thrashed, and some guys get thrown off ledges, but soon Dr. Gordon gets to the coffin, hands the stake to the police sergeant, opens it up, and the sergeant rams the stake into the body…only to discover it’s Tina! Tina sits up (now with vampire fangs) and claws at her bleeding chest and finally dies. Her sister Michelle screams in horror and cries as Gordon stands off to the side (probably tacitly reflecting on the grim turn of events and thanking God Almighty he gave the stake to the sergeant). Blacula appears and everyone backs away with fear and respect as he steadily approaches Tina’s dead body. A beaten and heart-broken vampire, Blacula announces that he has lived again only to lose Luva twice. With a heavy heart Balcula turns and marches up the stairs and into the dawn’s early light to commit vampire suicide. He stumbles as the sun’s cruel rays burn him and he at last collapses and his flesh melts away revealing a maggot-filled skeleton.

That might take more than a Tums.

That might take more than a Tums.

For the all the questions Blacula raises, the film is kind of awesome. Perhaps Mamuwalde’s acclimation to life in the 20th century was a bit too easy, but maybe they didn’t want to rely on simple fish-out-of-water jokes like the George Hamilton movie Love at First Bite. I do wonder how he innately knew that cameras—an invention he would have never been introduced to beforehand—would not pick up his image, but that’s nit-picking, I guess. There are some continuity errors, but the editing is pretty good for the most part. The plot moves quickly and the characters (with the possible exception of Tina, unless Mamuwalde put some spell on her to make her fall in love with him) have believable motivations and are interesting and engaging. William Marshall takes the role very seriously and commands every scene he is in. Another actor might have tried to bring humor to the part, but Marshall plays it completely straight and, you know something? It works. Any Dracula character needs one essential ingredient: charisma (unless you’re the gnarled Nosferatu type). William Marshall has great charisma and screen presence as Blacula and he elevates the entire film. It’s a fun Halloween movie with classic horror-tragedy and some great action. Unlike the Bela Lugosi or Christopher Lee Draculas, Blacula is almost a good guy. He is the victim of Dracula’s evil and is driven more by love than by wrath. He is a compelling character with a life full of tragedy. Maybe Blacula isn’t quite as raucous or ground-breaking as other blaxploitation movies like say Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, but for my money it’s pretty entertaining.

There's a distasteful joke concerning my imminent evaporative death right behind me, isn't there.

There’s a distasteful joke concerning my imminent evaporative death right behind me, isn’t there.

The sequel, Scream Blacula Scream (1973) is not as fun. Blacula’s not in it as much and it doesn’t have the same quick pace and much of the magic is gone, but Pam Grier is in it and the last scene in the house is pretty neat. I like the first movie and I hope you will too. For great soul horror this Halloween look for Blacula.

Top 10 Reason to See Blacula

1. Blacula totally sticks it to the Man (by gently bopping their helmeted heads against walls).

2. It’s got a great funky score.

3. Thalmus Rasulala’s mustache.

4. Denise Nicholas is real pretty.

5. William Marshall’s commanding and elegant performance.

6. If we all watch it maybe we can bring back the cape look.

7. People get set on fire.

8. Blacula was the first movie to win the Saturn Award for “Best Horror Film” (to put this in perspective: other great films to win since include The Exorcist, Young Frankenstein, The Wicker Man, The Fly, The Silence of the Lambs, and Army of Darkness).

9. It’s a cherished classic from the blaxploitation genre.

10. Remember Twilight? Me neither, watch Blacula.

Good evening.

Good evening.

Originally published for “The Alternative Chronicle” Oct. 30, 2010

The Amazing Movie Mash Up Game 2

  • Remember when we did this? The Amazing Movie Mash Up Game? You know the rules, but here’s how Dave started us off:
    “Let’s play a game. Combine movie titles and their plots! For example 301 Dalmatians: A small group of dogs must defend themselves against an invading Persian army that wants to use their spotted coats to make clothes. Or I Spit on Your Grave of the Fireflies: Orphaned after the bombing of Hiroshima, a young boy and his infant sister maim and torture the American soldiers responsible for killing their parents.”
    This time maybe wasn’t quite as classy and epic as its original incarnation, but like all worthy sequels it offers new things for hungry appetites.
    David Halberstadt Ocean’s Thirteen Assassins: Thirteen thieves, led by a battle-worn samurai, go through a series of complicated twists and turns in order to kill the evil casino owner who betrayed their friend.
    Hannah Seven Brides for Seven Samurai: Warriors kidnap promising young women from a mountain village. They sing, they fight, they burn things down. Only three of the marriages last more than a few days.
    Chris Forrest on Fire: Forrest Gump: mentally handicapped ex special-ops, takes on the role as the personal driver for a wealthy family’s six-year-old girl in corrupt Mexico City. When the girl is kidnapped for ransom, Forrest goes on a killing spree, hunting down each person responsible.
    GregoryThe Assassination of Jesse James and the Giant Peach: Trying to escape the tyranny of his two wicked aunts, a wanted bank robber decides to escape to New York City in an over-sized piece of fruit.
    Daros I Know What You Did Last Samurai: Four teenagers attempting to cover up a hit-and-run escape to Japan to train an Imperial Army. They join up with the Samurai villagers and learn about their traditions and codes in a race to figure out who’s killing them off one by one.
    David Halberstadt The Matrix Step Up Revolutions: Neo must face an army of land developing robots in an epic dance-off for the fate of humanity.
    David Halberstadt – The Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World is Not Enough: In 1805, a young man just out of the Royal Navy, seeking direction in his life, joins a cult led by a mysterious man who cannot feel pain.
    AllisonBattle Casino Royale: A kidnapped group of Japanese schoolchildren must face off against the world’s wealthiest poker players in a gory televised event where the goal is to avoid being slaughtered by your machete-wielding friends long enough to play one final game of Texas hold’em.
    Andrew Bowcock  – The Jungle 2 Jungle Book of Eli: Tim Allen finds out he has a son named Mowgli (played daringly by Mila Kunis) from the tropics, but when he arrives to retrieve his son he must become mankind’s only hope for surviving the post-apocalypse from marauders and a crazy Gary Oldman. Also, he carries a bible (or something like that) around.
    Kevin  Singin’ In The Rain Man: Selfish yuppie Charlie Babbitt’s cannibal savant brother swallows three classic era Hollywood movie stars whole. They attempt to make the transition to talking pictures while inside his belly.
    Andrew BowcockHorton Hears a Doctor Who Framed Roger Rabbit Hole: a giant elephant with keen auditory senses picks up on the screams of a dying society (or so he thinks) — which turns out to be just the roaring of the Tardis as the Doctor arrives, placed in a fake scandal with Jessica Rabbit, in order to get close to the foul play surrounding the case of Roger Rabbit. As it turns out, the discovery of genocide of the ‘toons results in the tragic collateral death of a young boy, whose mother Becca (Nicole Kidman), becomes a candidate for Doctor’s new companion, as her son’s death may wreak havoc upon the fabric of the universe.
    Dan  –Secondhand Lion King Kong: An awkward teenager goes to live with his two uncles after his father Mufasa is killed in a freak wildebeest accident caused by a gigantic, power-hungry gorilla.
    Burrello SubmarineXXXcalibur: Vin Diesel is an extreme sports athlete who must take the council of the wise Merlin to embrace his destiny and become a government agent of the knights of the round table.
    Burrello Submarine Alice: Woody Allen directs this nightmarish stop-motion comedy about a horse skull attached to a miniature hansom cab who visits a stuffed rodent who changes her perespective on life. Neurotic nonsense ensues.
    Burrello SubmarineSwimming Pool with Sharks to Cambodia: A sexy crime drama about a naive temp and his sadistic sociopathic publisher in Hollywood enacted entirely by Spalding Grey alone at a desk.
    Dan Dunston Checks Inception: An orangutan causes hijinks in a fancy hotel, only to discover that a rival is attempting to break into his subconscious.
    Kris  Die Hard Days Night of the Living Dead: While attempting to escape from the throngs of obsessive Los Angeles fans, Four “Moptop Kids From Liverpool” take shelter in the Nakatomi B.
    Burrello Submarine – Don’t be a Dennis the Fantômas Tollbooth Menace to Southland Tales from the Crypt Central While You Were Drinking Your Beetlejuice in the Boyz n the Leprechaun in the Robin Hood Mystery Men in Tights: the Wayans Brothers play misfit superheroes in this send up of the classic Hank Ketchum adaptation of the original Mel Brooks 1913 version of the first Star Wars prequel based on the popular horror comic book series that was later adapted into a cryptic science fiction fable about the end of the world wherein the ghost with the most grows up on the mean streets of an animated limerick-filled Los Angeles while it is plagued by a malevolent Irish imp in a coma. It’s silent, but in French.
    Kris The Importance of Being Ernest Goes to Jailhouse Rock: In a modern take on the Oscar Wilde classic, Jim Varney reprises his classic role of Ernest P. Worrell in a film that sees everyone’s favorite accident prone yokel nearly destroy the Broadway adaptation of ‘Jailhouse Rock’ when he leaves the show’s lead, the world’s greatest Elvis impersonator, in traction. Facing both lawsuits and jail time, Ernest’s only option is to take on the role with just over a week before opening night.
    Burrello SubmarineThat’s My Boy in the Plastic Bubba Hotel Rwanda: a geriatric Adam Sandler thinks he’s Elvis and must reunite with his son, John Travolta, who suffers from a rare disease that relegates him to a life inside an oxygen tent while an evil Pharaoh’s ghost persecutes the Tutsis.
    David Halberstadt – Metetropolis: Francis Ford Coppola directs this touching sci-fi drama film about a man who finds his long lost brother’s play and decides to stage it using human-like robots but the working class citizens rebel and the opening night is a disaster.
    Dan Good Will Hunting for Red October Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow Never Dies: A janitor at Harvard University is discovered to be a secret genius who left his small, West Virginia coal mining town to build rockets and futuristic war machines. He is then recruited by MI6 to locate a Soviet submarine. He finds the sub, ends the war, and scores a beautiful woman’s phone number.
    Andrew Bowcock The Dark City Knight Rises of the Planet Terror of the Apes: Bruce Wayne wakes up in a strange tub, only to discover that an alien race is experimenting on people researching  intelligent apes who in turn retaliate against their captors by becoming zombies. The alpha-male ape (Bane) is one strong, scary SOB.
    David Halberstadt Batman and Robin Returns Forever: Batman battles villains who get progressively sillier as the movie goes on. Robin joins up with The World’s Greatest Detective but the effect of everybody’s cartoonish wackiness begins to rub off on The Dark Knight as he struggles to hold on to the last shred of dignity he has left. But an even darker enemy looms. One who could break The Caped Crusader’s back for at least eight years: The Bat Nipples.
    Burrello SubmarineJust Because of My Winnipeg Dixie: a precocious pooch’s charms lead to murder in the deep south. Now Sean Connery must film his way out of the saddest city in Canada in time to solve the crime in this ripoff of “Cape Fear.”
    Kris  End of Days of Thunderballs of Fury: Tom Cruise reprises his role as hotheaded driver Cole Trickle, who along with his car’s Owner (Sean Connery), Crew Chief (Arnold Schwarzenegger), and Childhood Friend/Pit Crewman (Dan Fogler) are forced to compete in the world’s most deadly Stock Car Race/Ping-Pong Match for the fate of the world against International Supervillain, Thunderballs (Christopher Walken), who gained his power after striking a deal with Satan (Tom Jones*).
    David HalberstadtNo Country for Grizzly Old Children of Men: In a world where women have become infertile and all hope for a future has been lost, Timothy Treadwell takes it upon himself to protect the first baby born in over 20 years but he soon finds himself on the run from the evil Chigurh who chases them across Texas. Ironically, the very baby that he was protecting kills Treadwell in a climactic gun battle… that happens entirely off-screen.
    David Halberstadt – Murderballs of the Fast and the Furious: In this inspiring documentary, a police detective must go undercover to infiltrate a dangerous gang of wheelchair-bound ping-pong players to uncover their secret operation and get revenge on the man who crippled his own father.
    David Halberstadt 50/50 Shades of the Grey: A young woman falls in love with a cancer-stricken wolf in the Alaskan wilderness. They have weird, kinky sex and discuss their differing viewpoints on death.
    Abe About a OldBoy: Hugh Grant stars in this heartwarming comedy about a man who spends his days locked in his room watching television, but when a kid enters his life, he learns to live outside the room and eat live squid.
    Burrello SubmarineLike Practical Magic Mike: outcast witches develop a spell that will make their murderous ventriloquist dummy (played by Lil’ Bow Wow) stop stripping and play basketball really well so they can find love and kill Burgess Meredith all whilst wetting the theater seats.
    Andrew Bowcock Something’s Gattaca Give: A biologically superior Jack Nicholson’s mid-life crisis reaches its peak when he re-connects with his genetically mundane younger brother who prevents him from getting laid and going into space.
    Burrello Submarine Dirty Dancing Harry and the Henderson Potter: the Spanish The Prisoner of Zenda: someone thinks retired secret agent bigfoot looks just like a strange royal so they con him into becoming a cop, but dad won’t let him dance.
    Andrew Bowcock – FitzCarsaldo: A wealthy, hot-shot, opera-obsessed anthropomorphic car gets fed up with his boring peers and convinces jungle natives to help him drag his ship over a hill so he can avoid some dangerous rapids up ahead. He gets a flat tire in the process.
    Andrew Bowcock MatchPointStick Men Who Stare at Goats in Black Swan Narcissus: An OCD con-man takes up tennis in England, contemplating the murder of his secret lover’s significant other. In order to get away with the crime with ease, he receives training from army vets who claim to have paranormal powers. Meanwhile, his lover (a schizophrenic ballet dancer) grows increasingly paranoid, and decides to skip town and join a convent in the Himalayas, but that goes terribly wrong and leads to her suicide.
    Nate A Clockwork Orange County: An overachieving high schooler mistakenly enlists in an ultra-violence gang.
    Nate The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Duckling: An emotionally abused swan joins with a posse of outlaws searching for Confederate gold.
    Nate The Emerald Forrest Gump: A mentally challenged war veteran is abducted by an aboriginal tribe on the edge of an Amazon rainforest. His love, Jenny, spends the next 10 years searching for him.
    Nate – The Shawshank Raid: Redemption (A SWAT team becomes entrapped in a high security penitentiary full of decent, patient men.
    Nate Se7en Brides for Seven Brothers: A group of singing backwoodsman are hunted by a religiously motivated serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his inspiration.
    Burrello Submarine – The Pink Cadillac Man Who Fell from Deep Rising River Runs Through It Came from Outer Space from Earth Girls are Easy A Night at the Phantom of the Operation: Endgame to Remember the Titans A. E.: Lost horny aliens are stranded and trying to fix their spaceship, but they need to sell 12 cars to an integrated high school football team who are also cannibals. When the Marx Brothers sink the Titanic on it’s maiden voyage to Montana it’s up to aliens to spread rumors in school to figure out which one of their corporation’s employees is betraying everyone to a tough bail bondsman. The irony is that the aliens started the corporation. As the ship sinks a ravenous monster begins devouring the passengers. Also Earth is destroyed in the beginning.
    Burrello SubmarineThe Descent of a Woman in Lizard’s Skin I Live in Fear In: a blind Al Pacino, deathly afraid of an impending nuclear war, takes his Italian family into cave where he dreams he surgically replicates his dead wife out of cave-dwelling mutants.
    Burrello SubmarineThe Bridge Too Far on the River Kwaidan: Sean Connery tries to stop Alec Guinness from committing suicide on the Golden Gate Bridge replica he built in WWII Germany by telling him ghost stories.
    David Halberstadt Susturbira: A teenager under house arrest spies on a neighboring ballet school and witnesses a horrible, brightly colored murder. He soon suspects that the school is actually run by a coven of witches.
    Burrello SubmarineAnd the Band’s Visit Played Onibaba the Silverado Globe: gay Egyptian cowboys in haunted space Poland get lost and have to live several generations before AIDS finally kills the demon possessed Israeli mask. Also Kevin Costner plays a Japanese guy.
    David HalberstadtNew Year’s Valentine’s Day: A bunch of actors you know hang out and get paychecks.
    Burrello SubmarineLawnmower Man with the Golden Gunga Din-dza-dzatoichi: the Blindside Swordsmanitou: James Bond is stranded on a racist planet that doesn’t see an Indian waterboy as an equal so he corrects their misconception by tormenting them with a centuries old sword-wielding Native American spirit he captures in virtual reality. Can he get back to Moscow in time for the swashbuckling finale?
    David HalberstadtMy Neighbor Totorobocop: Two young girls move to Detroit and have adventures with a robotically enhanced police officer.
    Burrello Submarine Everything Putney Swope Together: when her baby dies the CEOs ironically hires her to run the company, but her black American ideas tainted by her recent loss swiftly change the tone of network television.
    Burrello Submarine The Shadow Warriors of Virtue of the Interview with a Vampire Batman Return to Rhinoceroz: Bruce Wayne hires a destitute Alec Baldwin (with an uncanny resemblance to the Caped Crusader) to take his place not realizing he is the Shadow and also requires human blood to live. Dwight Frye plays a persecuted simpleton who gets trapped in a film world somewhere over the rainbow where perfectly ordinary people are transforming into cantankerous pachyderms in an unwieldy flashback social satire about kangaroo ninjas.
    David HalberstadtBaby’s Grand Blow Out of the African Villiage Queen of the Damned: After her baby is kidnapped on the moon, and with only a sound recording as evidence of an inside job, a plantation owner hires a surly boat captain to track her baby to a small town filled with alien children who play vampire-raising rock music.
    David HalberstadtThere Will Be Blood Diamonds are Forever Young Gunzatoichi: the Blind Swordsman Who Wasn’t There Will Be Blood: Prospector Daniel Plainview finds an immaculate diamond and special agent James Bond, who has recently awoken from a 50 year cryogenic sleep, must enlist the help of Billy the Kid to protect the diamond from a murderous cult of telepathic aliens, led by the blind barber and prospector Daniel Plainview… …
    Andrew Bowcock The Rescuers Falling Black Hawk Downfall Underworld: Two adventurous mice think their albatross friend is bringing them to Australia, but it turns out he’s a disgruntled middle-aged bird on the edge of sanity, and ends up crash landing in Somalia where after surviving a bloody firefight they all encounter a goofy submarine crew who turns out to be a secret vampire society harboring Hitler.
    David Halberstadt The Moone: Sam Rockwell plays a lone astronaut working on the moon. He is nearing the end of his three year job but it turns out that he is not alone. He discovers that another version of himself has come from an alternate dimension to kill him so he can absorb his energy and grow stronger.
    Burrello Submarine Used Cars Too Mr. Wong Foo Thanks for Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sexy Beast of Yucca Flatland That Time Machine Forgotten Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams That All That Money Can Good-Buy Mr. Chipsmunks: a cryptic and violent anime documentary that takes place in a dinosaur and Nazi-filled future in a lesser dimension about a radioactive Ben Kingsley that terrorizes three drag queens after they make a deal with the devil to explain their nightmares regarding a Chinese Boris Karloff selling secret agent automobiles while their rodent trio counterparts reflect back on their years as they approach retirement and end their lives as ejaculate.
    Burrello SubmarineSchindler’s Lisztomania: a sexually charged psychedelic retelling of the courageous acts of a horny musician in Nazi Germany.
    Burrello SubmarineHoward the Westworld Duck Soup was Wonderful Life of Piano Tuner of Earthquantum of Solaris Stood Still Smokin Aces Ventura: When Harry Foxy and the Brown Met Salem’s the Lottery Ticket, Take the Moneyball and Blade Running Manhattan Murder by Death Becomes Her Mystery Science Theater 301 Birth of a Dalmational Lampoonmee Who can Totall Recall His Blast from the Past Tree of Life of Timothy the Big Soylent Green Mile You were Sleeper Hollow Man with the Golden Children of the Damned Pride of the Yankees Largo Western the Front Christmas Mr. Hugo’s 2 Holidays in Paris, Texas of Thunder-the-Birds Are Gone Fishin’ with the Wind: A wise-cracking cocaine-addicted space waterfowl who is also a vampire, recently appointed head of state, is sentenced to a life in prison (for pecking children at a birthday party) by a racist judicial system of Jewish mathematicians on Christmas Eve. He befriends a large, gentle Thai gentleman who is magic and likes to mock schlocky movies. His aging silent mentor proves he can still stick it to the man as long as they are only automata replicants who may or may not be secret agents. Gort must wander through the wilderness to convince his wife living in black and white New York City that she is no longer living underground with robot cowboys who can’t dream about life in the Civil War south. Alone on a boat with only a tiger and a bilingual Lou Gehrig, cannibal soccer player Chevy Chase must lose the lottery to stay alive or come back as a host to haunt marching band cellist, Bruce Willis, who is plagued by memories of an overbearing father who came from the garden. An invisible African horseman with no head makes racial stereotypes of the Senate on a daytrip to the beach before attacking Persia against the council of shell-shocked WWI vets who stalk Georges Melies from future LA Chinatown. Meanwhile a subterranean death tournament wherein an astronomical number of spotted pure-bred gangster puppies must survive a typhoon and overcome hallucinations surrounding past lovers who formerly starred in Lethal Weapon II-IV. And a racecar driving cowboy Eddie Murphy uses computers to prove that you can in fact have sex with marionettes and still be friends.
    Burrello SubmarineMosquito Ghost Rider: after a horrific accident Harrison Ford rides a motorcycle to South America where he tries to construct a giant ice machine to keep his skull from continuously catching fire.
    Burrello SubmarineThe Motorcycle Diaries of a Mad Anne Frank Woman: Tyler Perry presents the true story about Che Guevara rescuing Anne Frank and then riding around on bikes deciding what life is really about.
    Burrello SubmarineThe Great White Noises Off: Michael Keaton is an African American boxer whose in-the-ring persona is comically at odds with who he is behind the scenes. Also ghosts.
     Burrello Submarine Angel Heart of Glass: Robert de Niro is hypnotized into thinking he is Satan. As a result of this movie Bill Cosby never speaks with Werner Herzog again.
    Burrello SubmarineCaptain Horatio 400 Hornblows: a troubled youngster embarks on a high seas adventure of petty thievery during the Napoleonic Wars.
    Burrello SubamarineThe Secret Window of Walter Mitty’s Arietty Garden: in a chilly English castle, orphan Danny Kaye daydreams he is haunted by a rogue band of diminuative people who accuse him of stealing their story about the Laws of Attraction.
    Burrello Submarine The Abduction of Zach and Miri Make a Big Green Porno: amateurish juvenile soccer player and secret agent, Taylor Lautner, is kidnapped by an irrationally drawn Isabella Rosselini who insists on filming giant puppet bugs mating with the lad in order to make some extra cash before the big game.
    Burrello SubmarineMetropolistan: in a densely envisioned dystopic future a heavy science fiction epic parables the class divisions and the alienating treatment of workers in Weimar Republic Germany as realized by a bunch of preppies dressing in fancy clothes and talking to each other in different social settings.
    Burrello Submarine Poprika: Robert Altman weirdly creates a Japanese animated musical about a beloved sailor man who gets trapped in a colorful dream world of Carrollian proportions.
    I got a little carried away. Also everyone else got bored with the game.
    Does anybody else wanna add some titles in the comments section??? Come at me, bra.
    Long live Movie Nerd-dom.

Surpassing Sequels: Followups That Followed Through

Sequels are just a recent product of an unimaginative Hollywood, right? Wrong! …well not just anyway. Sequels, prequels, spinoffs, franchises, etc. have been a part of the movie money machine since the beginning. Paul Wegener’s great silent German expressionist classic about a rampaging Jewish clay man, The Golem (1920), was actually the third movie in a series. Snack on that. There are at least two other movies before 1920 about a rampaging Jewish clay man.

Whenever you see a list of great movie sequels you invariably run across many repeating titles. You’d have to be an idiot not to include The Empire Strikes Back (1980), The Godfather: Part II (1974), or The Bride of Frankentstein (1935). These films in particular are wonderful because of their ability to not only recapture the magic and what was great about their original incarnations, but because they were able to expand upon the mythos and even improve on their themes. They created new, complex conflicts built upon stones already laid. It is not too terribly often that one gets to see a sequel that surpasses its predecessor, but it might happen more than one might think. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966), Mad Max: the Road Warrior (1981), Star Trek: Wrath of Khan (1982), Clear and Present Danger (1994), Legend of the Drunken Master (1994), and I’ll argue Iron Man 3 (2013) are only a few movie followups that, in my humble opinion, improved on the originals. The Toy Story and Back to the Future franchises also did a fine job of retaining their integrity throughout. The Four Musketeers (1974) was the perfect continuation (although I wonder if it should count because it’s just the second half of the book), and Hellboy II: the Golden Army (2008) has even more monsters than the original and is funnier (I am biased towards more monsters and being funnier).

Then there’s your more divisive ones. From Russia With Love (1963) is technically a better film than Dr. No (1962), but it’s only because Dr. No derails itself in the last act and gets really campy in the homestretch. I still probably prefer Dr. No though. Superman II (1980) is a good sequel because it uses the established characters to present a novel dilemma (the one ripped off by Spiderman 2) and because it keeps a far more consistent tone. If the first Superman did not shift gears and become too cartoony after Lex Luthor showed up, the first movie would have still been better. And Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) is still a far better sequel than Temple of Doom (1984).

If memory serves Ewoks: The Battle for Endor (1985) was the better of the two made-for-tv ewok movies, but it really doesn’t matter because both were pretty awful.

So what’s this all about? A good sequel should expand, not simply rehash. I just wanted to remind everybody that not all sequels are complete garbage. Furthermore, I would like to share some of my favorite movie sequels that sometimes get forgotten or missed when people think of sequels.

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12.) Technically 1985’s Return to Oz is not a better movie than Wizard of Oz (1939), but it’s such an off the wall departure from the tone of the original that it deserves to be mentioned. Made by a completely different studio decades after Wizard, Return to Oz was directed by Walter Murch and even if it seems a bit random, it’s completely in keeping with L. Frank Baum’s world. It’s a much darker and stranger tale with a much younger Dorothy (GOING IN FOR SHOCK THERAPY!!!!) and although it is actually more uneven and more dated than Wizard of Oz, it has a lot of its own charm. Dorothy was played by a very young Fairuza Balk. The real stars of this film are the wonky 80s special effects and cool puppetry from the Jim Henson studios.

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11.) Jacques Tati‘s Mr. Hulot’s Holiday (1953) was followed by three sequels starring the bumbling Mr. Hulot (Tati). All are wonderful, but the first sequel, Mon Oncle (1958), is regarded by many as his best. It is quiet and subtle and beautifully set up. Tati’s penchant for comic juxtaposition and clever mise-en-scène is as sublime and sharp as ever. The color photography is textured and pretty, and the amusing clash between the rustic, old world and sterile, malfunctioning modernity makes for wonderful satire. Playtime (1967) might beat it though for sheer breadth of and scope of comic beauty and satirical examinations of alienation in society.

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10.) Japanese auteur Akira Kurosawa knows his period action epics. The man behind such fantastic movies as Seven Samurai (1954), Throne of Blood (1957), Ran (1985), and many others served his sequels up pretty good too. 1961’s Yojimbo starring Toshiro Mifune was remade by Sergio Leone as A Fistful of Dollars so you’re probably familiar with the storyline of a super cool nameless warrior who lives by his own rules and plays warring gangs against each other. It’s sequel Sanjuro (1962) continues this ronin’s story and—because of a malfunction that ended up looking really cool—it introduced the blood spray geyser gimmick for a whole generation of action and samurai films to copy.

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9.) Before Sunset (2004) is the excellent sequel to Richard Linklater’s classic romantic drama Before Sunrise (1995). The first movie followed two strangers, a young American guy (Ethan Hawke) and a young French chick (Julie Delpy), as they simply walk around Vienna for one magical but short-lived night. Even though they know they will probably never see each other again they cannot help but plant the mysterious seeds of romance. The sequel picks up a decade later after the American has written a book about that magical night and is touring around. The girl meets him in Paris at a signing. The sequel goes in real-time and it is the perfect second installment for these two characters. They have aged and they have grown and life is more complex than it was, but that special connection that existed between them is still powerful and captivating. It is a pleasure to revisit these two endearing personalities. I eagerly anticipate Before Midnight (2013).

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8.) I love The Muppet Movie (1979), but Jim Henson’s The Great Muppet Caper (1981) might be even more fun. It was a successful follow-up to The Muppet Movie because it gave the characters a chance to go overseas and get mixed up in a heist storyline with all the classic moves…only with Muppets. Kermit, Fozzie, Piggy, Gonzo, Animal, everybody is back and in Great Britain. The Muppet Movie is still great and you can’t beat the song Rainbow Connection, but Caper is directed with more style and it seems to be having more fun playing with the conventions of the crime genre and it’s less episodic. Another personal note: it’s still before Gonzo became too front and center. Gonzo was always my favorite, but I liked him better as a side character. When he’s the main focus he loses his mystique. I feel the same way about the Fonz on Happy Days.

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7.) Joe Dante’s Gremlins—along with Temple of Doom—resulted in the MPAA employing the PG-13 rating system in 1984. Gremlins is a dark and cynical horror-comedy, and so is 1990’s Gremlins 2, but it’s much more anarchic and cartoony. It’s more satirical than merely cynical and it manages to effectively parody itself, it’s predecessor, consumerism, TV, and sequels in general. It’s wilder and more unhinged and if Christopher Lee’s presence isn’t enough, Tony Randall voices the Brain Gremlin. People still like Gremlins, but for my money the sequel is far more daring and fun. Gremlins, as I always understood them, were more mischievous and wild than simply horrific. I hearken back to the classic 1943 Bob Clampbett cartoon Falling Hare starring Bugs Bunny and one of his few devilish matches: a gremlin.

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6.) Chan wook Park’s vengeance trilogy does not share characters so much as it shares themes…of vengeance. Oldboy (2003) is the second film in the trilogy (sandwiched between Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and Lady Vengeance) and it is the most famous in the west and I’d say it’s my favorite of the three as well. It’s a dark and complex revenge story of man who is kidnapped and upon his release he must figure out who abducted him and why. Memories, love, loss, pain, anguish, action, chills, suspense, tragedy, you name it. This intense South Korean flick has got it all.

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5.) The Rescuers (1977) never got me. I liked some of the songs and the animation is strong and emotive (the last time animators Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston would work together for Disney), but the colors are yucky, the villains are ugly and uncharismatic, and the whole mood of the film feels a little off-putting…but I liked the mice. In 1990 they brought back Bernard and Bianca (voiced once again by Bob Newhart and Eva Gabor) for The Rescuers Down Under. Evenrude the dragonfly is gone, but funnyman John Candy plays an obnoxious albatross and George C. Scott is a mean poacher out to get a giant eagle. The memorable mouse duo embarks on a dangerous mission to Australia to rescue a young boy. It’s a sleight film, but it works and I like it a lot more than the original. It’s fun, funny, and the animation is great.

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4.) Here’s a fun one. Finnish filmmaker Aki Kaurismaki won me over with Leningrad Cowboys Go America (1989), which was a surreal comedic tale of Finland’s worst band and their road trip to the states to obtain an audience, but the sequel Leningrad Cowboys Meet Moses (1994) is just as good. Their old manager allegedly has been born again as Moses and so goes on a mission to find all of the Leningrad Cowboys and take them back to Europe…but not before stealing the nose off the Statue of Liberty. Just as surreal the second time around this sequel gets a littler kookier to boot. This movie also has one of the best sight gags I’ve ever seen.

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3.) If you like your horror with a side of humor then you already agree with me when I include Sam Raimi’s 1987 classic, Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn (a half-remake, half-parody type sequel of the first Evil Dead). The first film was more a straight horror film with some campiness, but the sequel plays with the material in much bolder ways. It’s kinetic, gory, AND FUNNY, and the special effects are better. I wish the whole movie could have been just Ash (Bruce Campbell) alone in the house fighting the demons of the Necronomicon…I suppose they needed a bigger body count though. The scene where Ash battles and cuts off his demon-possessed hand and replaces it with a chainsaw is hilarious. As much as I enjoy this super energized tribute to supernatural slasher flicks (complete with gratuitous homages to the Three Stooges), I might even like the next sequel Army of Darkness (1992) even better.

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2.) Satyajit Ray made a stellar directorial debut with Pather Panchali (1955), and he continued to do something truly special with the followup films Aparajito (1956) and Apur Sansar (1959). The story follows the development of Apu, a young boy growing up in squalor in 1920s India. It is a powerful and potent trilogy. You will run the emotional gamut watching it. What makes the sequels so interesting is that as the character of Apu grows, so does Ray as a filmmaker. Pather Panchali is almost documentarian in its approach and style, while Aparajito becomes more a narrative-driven plot and finally Apur Sansar is almost Hollywood-esque with its calculated rises and falls (the good Hollywood).

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1.) The best sequel of all time I list here. It is one that I am shocked and appalled does not appear on more lists. It is Troll 2 (1990). I know what you’re thinking. Troll 2 is an odious train wreck of a film that completely disregards anything concerning the previous movie…and most things concerning any movie. Everything about it is terrible. Acting, writing, direction, production, special effects, dialogue, structure, you name it, it has screwed it up royally. It is so terrible that it’s actually quite wonderful. Who am I kidding? I love this movie! I really love it. Where the first Troll (1986) was simply a really bad, forgettable movie (that curiously featured Sonny Bono, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and a character named HARRY POTTER), Troll 2 is a devastating rape of the art-form and has developed a huge cult-following. Nobody even remembers that there was another Troll. Troll 2 completely eclipses all previous troll efforts. How many movie sequels can totally obliterate the first movie? People love Troll 2. People have Troll 2 parties. There’s a documentary about it called Best Worst Movie (2009) which is also pretty awesome. Few bad movies have had the impact and staying power on the cult fan base that Troll 2 has. So while some may say it’s a failure as a movie, I wouldn’t say it’s a failure as a sequel.

There you have it. Go watch some movies. Leave a comment if you have a suggestion. Also, am I only one who liked Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003) more than Desperado (1995)?

http://www.listal.com/viewimage/1263332

http://saradobie.wordpress.com/2010/06/04/return-to-oz/

http://thepinksmoke.com/ak100.htm

http://collider.com/ethan-hawke-on-a-3rd-before-sunrise-before-sunset-movie/13503/

http://twynkle.com/movies/928/backdrops/203918

http://www.the-other-view.com/oldboy.html

http://www.miradas.net/2007/n59/estudio/leningradcowboysmeetmoses.html

http://bestworstmovie.com/nil-blog/film-interview-george-hardy/

Some of the Most Idiosyncratic Movies I Have Encountered (for better or worse)…abridged

For a slightly more up-to-date list click HERE.

What makes a film idiosyncratic or weird? Almost every movie, book, painting, person, or moment can be weird when you stop to think about it, however, some things favor a more common denominator of strangeness. The films listed below, for better or worse, do what they can to deviate from the already abstract norm.

And be sure to check back in on occasion as I am always adding new absurd titles!

200 Motels,” dir. Frank Zappa and Tony Palmer (1971). This film will test your stamina for Frank Zappa’s special brand of crass craziness. The Mothers of Invention, Ringo Starr (dressed as Zappa), Theodore Bikel, and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra star in this surreal farce that truly proves that touring too long brings about insanity. Bizarre and cheap, this musical comedy is perhaps best viewed under the influence of some illicit substances. DECENT

2001: A Space Odyssey,” dir. Stanley Kubrick (1968). One of the most breathtaking, incredible, lyrical and enigmatic science fiction films ever made. We unravel the mysteries of the universe only to discover even more questions in this Kubrick masterpiece. AWESOME

The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai Across the 8th Dimension,” dir. W. D. Richter (1984).  “Buckaroo Bonzai” is a strange hodge-podge of every genre you might think of, but for all its luny airs, it fails to excite or entertain…or be coherent for that matter. This cult favorite lacks a lot, but it will please somebody out there (it is a cult favorite, after all). Features Peter Weller (“Robocop”) and a young Jeff Goldblum as well as Christopher Lloyd and John Lithgow. BAD

The Adventures of Baron Munchausen,” dir. Terry Gilliam (1988).  Rudolph Raspe’s fantasy epic of the tall-tale telling Baron Munchausen comes to glorious life. Crammed with imagination and astounding special effects. Famous for being one of the biggest financial flops in movie history, this charming adventure features Gilliam at his most untethered. John Neville (“Little Women”) plays a grand Munchausen. Also stars Eric Idle (fellow “Monty Python” alum with Gilliam) and Uma Thurman (“Kill Bill”). AWESOME

The Adventures of Mark Twain,” dir. Will Vinton (1986). Mark Twain decides to crash his airship into Halley’s Comet. Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, and Becky Thatcher stowaway and learn a few things of the great Mr. Twain and some of his other stories. Wonderful animation in this very odd story from Will Vinton. GOOD

The Adventures of Prince Achmed,” dir. Lotte Reiniger (1926).   A great silent German film. This unique fantasy based on the Arabian Nights features beautifully detailed stop-motion shadow puppets and color tinted backgrounds. Reiniger’s lush film boasts impressive feats of movie magic, adventure, monsters, shape-shifting showdowns, and it’s just a lot of fun. A feast for the eyes and the imagination. Although this film is considered the oldest surviving feature-length animated movie, both it and director, Reiniger, remain relatively obscure. How sad. AWESOME

The Adventures of Stella Star,” dir. Luigi Cozzi (1978). The awesomest bad Star Wars rip off ever! It’s chaos and I loved it! AWESOMELY BAD

Aelita-Queen of Mars,” dir. Yakov Protazanov (1924).  The communists go to outer space to start an intergalactic social reform in this creaky Soviet silent science fiction fantasy. MEH

After Last Season,” dir. Mark Region (2009). Easily one of the all time worst films ever made. Bow to stern this incompetent and incoherent mess stinks and sinks. Its mindless convolutions are only matched by its artistic and technical ineptitude. BAD

Alice,” dir. Jan Svankmajer (1988).  Czech animator, Jan Svankmajer takes Lewis Carroll’s classic story and runs wild. This dark, ominous, and twisted film features a young Alice wandering around a decrepit house riddled with weird stop-motion creatures that only Svankmajer could dream up. This film is so textured it has a flavor. That flavor is wood and earth.  AWESOME

Allegro Non Troppo,” dir. Bruno Buzzetto (1976). An Italian parody of Disney’s “Fantasia.” It’s an irreverent, silly, dark, satirical, and cynical musical experience. The animation might not be as daringly abstract as some of “Fantasia’s” more bold pieces, but this film has a very special humorous surrealism. An orchestra of decrepit old ladies must play the classic tunes for a tyrannical conductor as an oppressed cartoonist is forced to animate the entire show live. The story of evolution to Bolero is a highlight. AWESOME

American Pop,” dir. Ralph Bakshi (1981).  Once again Bakshi makes innovative use of rotoscoping technology, only this time to tell the semi-fictitious story of the history of American music. This is definitely one of Bakshi’s finest works. GOOD

Angel’s Egg,” dir. Mamoru Oshii (1985). This film is a dazzlement. Gorgeous animation, almost no talking, and crammed with symbolism to leave you with more than enough to talk about.  AWESOME

Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters,” dir. Matt Maiellaro and Dave Willis (2007). If you’ve seen the show you need no explanation. It’s actually very in keeping with the weirdness of the show, but the jokes are too far apart. “South Park” made a much finer transition to the screen. MEH

Arabian Nights,” dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini (1974). Sheherezade’s tales get a trifle kinkier with Pasolini at the helm. There’s magic and exotic locations but you have to squint to see them through all the turgid members. Perhaps overly sexually charged, but the movie is pretty well done. GOOD

Archangel,” dir. Guy Maddin (1991). Only Maddin could pull off a “romantic comedy” this original. Like the rest of his cannon he delicately recaptures 1920s vintage film quality to fun effect. GOOD

Baraka,” Ron Fricke (1992). It’s like the Qatsi trilogy, but perhaps a bit less heavy-handed. An enjoyable tour through other cultures with some absolutely gorgeous photography (Ron Fricke was also the DP for Qatsi). GREAT

Barbarella,” dir. Roger Vadim (1968). Outer space gets a mega does of campy, funky psychedelica…also naked Jane Fonda. AWESOMELY BAD but not as awesomely bad as “Starcrash.” FUN

Barton Fink,” dir. the Coen Brothers (1991).  John Turturro (“Do the Right Thing”) plays a neurotic, one-hit-wonder playwright from New York who moves out to Hollywood and gets writer’s block. This might be the Coens’ weirdest film. Turturro’s weird neighbor (played by “Roseanne’s” John Goodman) never quite makes you comfortable and the finale is something that will be hard to shake off. Also stars Judy Davis (“The Ref”), Jon Polito (“Miller’s Crossing”), John Mahoney (“Frasier”), Steve Buscemi (“Ghost World”), Michael Lerner (“Strange Invaders”), and Tony Shalhoub (“Big Night”). GREAT

Baxter,” dir. Jerome Boivin (1989).  It is nothing like a French “Cujo.” It’s actually probably more comparable to a dog “Taxi Driver.” A dark character study of man’s best friend. Baxter is a sociopathic bull terrier who plots the demise of his owners in search of someone who understands him. When he winds up with a young, reclusive boy obsessed with Hitler that’s when the film takes an even darker turn. A chilling and fascinating French film with a finale that will leave you shuddering but thoughtful. AWESOME

The Bed-Sitting Room,” dir. Richard Lester (1969). One of the funniest and most surreal post apocalyptic films ever made. The “Hard Day’s Night” director delivers comic gold with this fractured and cynical story starring Spike Milligan (“The Three Musketeers”), Michael Hordern (“The Spy Who Came in From the Cold”), Marty Feldman (“Young Frankenstein”), Ralph Richardson (“Murder On the Orient Express”), Roy Kinear (“Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”), Peter Cook (“Bedazzled”), Dudley Moore (“Arthur”), Rita Tushingham (“Dr. Zhivago”), Harry Secombe (“Doctor in Trouble”), and more! It’s a hilariously warped excursion to radioactive wastelands where people mutate into furniture and even weirder stuff happens. Imagine if Terry Gilliam and Alejandro Jodorowsky made a movie together, but with the humorous illogic of “The Goon Show.” AWESOME

Beetlejuice,” dir. Tim Burton (1988). The story of a haunting gone haywire and the reluctance to cross-over. Michael Keaton (aka “Batman” as the eponymous ghost with the most), Alec Baldwin (“The Hunt For Red October”), Geena Davis (“A League of Their Own”), Winona Ryder (“Little Women”), Catherine O’Hara (“Home Alone”), and Jeffrey Jones (“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”) star. Wild, weird comedy. DECENT

Being There,” dir. Hal Ashby (1979).  Peter Sellers (“Dr. Strangelove”) plays an extremely infantile man with not a single thought in his head. His conversation consists of the blind parroting of TV slogans and regurgitation of what other people around him say. His simple mind and gentle nature fool everyone into believing he is a great, deep, intellectual genius (largely because he is validating their own opinions through his ignorant repetition of it). A superb film with wonderful performances. Also stars Shirley MacLaine (“The Apartment”), Melvyn Douglas (“The Tenant”), and Jack Warden (“12 Angry Men”). AWESOME

Being John Malkovich,” dir. Spike Jonze (1999).  Charlie Kaufman’s immensely imaginative and bizarre script will be hard to forget. When a gateway into actor John Malkovich’s (“Shadow of the Vampire”) head is discovered behind a filing cabinet it is found that gradually one can assimilate their own mind with Malkovich’s body and control it. There is a lot more going on in this film so you’re just going to have to watch it. Also stars John Cusack (“Hot Tub Time Machine”), Cameron Diaz (“The Mask”), and Catherine Keener (“The 40 Year Old Virgin”). GOOD

Big Man Japan,” dir. Hitoshi Matsumoto (2007). A fun throwback to the Japanese city-stomping entertainment of yore. It’s the story of the mundane life of a regular guy…who happens to fight giant monsters. Some really inspired funny moments, but it’s much slower than you might think. DECENT

The Black Hole,” dir. Gary Nelson (1979). A strange and dark science fiction fantasy from Disney. Floating robots and kooky villains and the answer to what is actually inside a black hole reside in this hokey but charming movie. Features Ernest Borgnine (“The Wild Bunch”), Maximillian Schell (“Judgement at Nuremberg”), Anthony Perkins (“Psycho”), Yvette Mimieux (“The Time Machine”), and the voices of Roddy McDowall (“Planet of the Apes”) and Slim Pickens (“Dr. Strangelove”). MEH

Black Moon,” dir. Louis Malle (1975). If Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” was about the battle between the sexes and female puberty then it would be “Black Moon.” Bizarre, baffling, grotesque, and gritty this peculiar fantasy features naked children chasing a giant pig, an old woman who still drinks milk from the breasts of women, bugs, gas masks, and a rather motley and rotund unicorn. Malle is one strange director. Shot by frequent Bergman  collaborator, Sven Nykvist. GOOD

Blue Velvet,” dir. David Lynch (1986).  If you haven’t seen any of David Lynch’s films, I’d say start with “Blue Velvet.” A peculiar mystery noir and Dennis Hopper (“Easy Rider”) might be crazier than usual in this one. Also stars Kyle McLachlan (“Twin Peaks”), Isabella Rossellini (“Green Porno”), and Laura Dern (“Jurassic Park”).  GREAT

The Boxer’s Omen (Mo),” dir. Chih-Hung Kuei (1983). Downright deranged. The alternate title for this tripped-out clunky kung-fu horror flick should be “Attack of the Halloween Toys.” Lots of fun though, but I absolutely love this kind of garbage. AWESOMELY BAD

A Boy and His Dog,” dir. L. Q. Jones (1975).  Don Johnson (“Miami Vice”) stars as a man in a post apocalyptic future (kinda like “Mad Max”) who happens to share his adventures with a dog (voiced by Tim McIntire) who he communicates with telepathically. Together they search for food to eat and women to rape until they stumble upon a subterranean civilization that dresses like mimes. Also stars Jason Robards (“All the President’s Men”). GOOD

Brazil,” dir. Terry Gilliam (1985).  Arguably Monty Python alum Terry Gilliam’s most epic, layered, and significant work. It’s like James Thurber’s “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” meets George Orwell’s “1984” with a touch of Franz Kafka. A great cast, spectacular special effects, and classic Gilliam bizarro black humor and welcome swipes at creaking bureaucracy. Features Jonathan Pryce (“Evita”), Michael Palin (“A Fish Called Wanda”), Katherine Helmond (“Everybody Loves Raymond”), Robert De Niro (“Taxi Driver”), Bob Hoskins (“Who Framed Roger Rabbit”), Ian Holm (“Alien”), and Jim Broadbent (“Moulin Rouge”).  AWESOME

Brewster McCloud,” dir. Robert Altman (1970). Bud Cort (“Harold and Maude”) stars as a strange lad who lives like a hermit in the Houston Astrodome. People who accost him keep ending up strangled and he keeps attracting women, but he better not lose sight of his goal: he’s building a set of wings so he can fly away. One weird little film from “M*A*S*H” director, Altman. Also stars Shelley Duvall (“The Shining”), Margaret Hamilton (“The Wizard of Oz”), Stacey Keach (“American History X”), and Rene Auberjonois (“Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”). GREAT

The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari,” dir. Robert Wiene (1919).  One of the classics. This silent German Expressionist film is still bone-chilling and exquisite to look at. Tim Burton especially borrows heavily from this film for character designs, sets, etc. Stars Conrad Veidt (“The Thief of Bagdad”) as the poor somnambulist, Cesare, who is forced to murder by the evil doctor. AWESOME

The Call of Cthulhu,” dir. Andrew Leman (2005). It’s a bold little short film that comes closer to the feel and atmosphere of an H. P. Lovecraft story than anyone has ever done before. Made to look like an old silent film, the style and special effects and expressionist touches work wonderfully well. Fans of Lovecraft will not be disappointed. GREAT

Casino Royale,” dir. Val Guest, John Huston, Ken Hughes, Joseph McGrath, Robert Parrish, and Richard Talmadge (1967). And it feels like it was directed by even more people. So woefully disjointed and fractured and many jokes that don’t land on their targets. This spy comedy behemoth stars David Niven, Peter Sellers, Woody Allen, Ursula Andress, Orson Welles, Barbara Bouchet, William Holden, Daliah Lavi, and whole bunch more and yet so little works together in this madcap psychedelic romp. BAD

Chained for Life,” dir. Harry Fraser (1951). Real life conjoined twins, Violet and Daisy Hilton (“Freaks”) play Vivian and Dorothy Hamilton in this strange tale of vaudevillians on trial. When one of the twins commits a murder how can the court punish her without harming the innocent party? It was made to be a curiosity, but it’s actually pretty good and there are lot of fun vaudeville acts that sneak in to help establish the atmosphere…and pad the thin script. GOOD.

Citizen Dog,” dir. Wisit Sasanatieng (2004)  One of the loopiest and most surreal romantic comedies you are likely to see. This endearing Thai charmer explodes with color, energy, and a decidely off-beat aura. The chain-smoking, foul-mouthed Teddy bear in the abusive relationship with a 6 year old girl is a highlight…then there’s the zombie motorcycle chauffeur. You get the idea.  GOOD

The City of Lost Children,” dir. Marc Caro/Jean-Pierre Jeunet (1995).  Caro and Jeunet team up to give us one of the strangest environments we’ve ever seen. Reminiscent of German Expressionism, this film follows the saga of a young orphan girl and a circus muscle-man, Ron Perlman (“Hellboy”), on quest to find his lost brother who has been abducted by an evil scientist, Daniel Emilfork (“The Tribulations of Balthasar”), who kidnaps children to steal their dreams because he cannot dream himself. Weird characters and crazy chain reactions abound in this visually astonishing French film. Also stars Dominique Pinon (“Amelie”) in multiple roles. AWESOME

A Clockwork Orange,” dir. Stanley Kubrick (1971).  Almost every Kubrick film could make it on this list (from “Lolita” to “Eyes Wide Shut”), but the one I choose to mention here is his dark sci-fi drama starring Malcolm McDowell (“Time After Time”) as a chilling gang lord who enjoys violence, rape, and milk. After being brainwashed by the government McDowell’s character feels increasingly confused and out of place. A nightmarish social satire from master filmmaker, Kubrick. GREAT

Club of the Laid Off,” dir. Jiri Barta (1989). Mannequins old and new come to life and battle for turf in a rundown house. This as well as the rest of Barta’s short films in his “Labyrinth of Darkness” collection are well worth a look. This one also appears on “Cartoon Noir.” GREAT

The Company of Wolves,” dir. Neil Jordan (1984). A nightmarish anthology of various Red Riding Hood Stories. It’s a bit of a mixed bag, but it’s innovative enough to keep you interested. Angela Lansbury (“Manchurian Candidate”) plays granny! DECENT

Conspirators of Pleasure,” dir. Jan Svankmajer (1996).  A series of vignettes about the secret bizarrely meticulous fetishes of 6 seemingly ordinary people. GOOD

The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover,” dir. Peter Greenaway (1989). Halfway between stage play and fantasy this demented peek into the unhappy life of an abused woman and her boorish gangster husband is much more odd than any synopsis could explain. GOOD

Cool World,” dir. Ralph Bakshi (1992).  This curious mess of a movie tries to be a more adult “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” but fails at making any coherent sense. The animation is interesting and maddeningly kinetic, but the story is ridiculous and unsatisfyingly executed that for all the love that might have gone into it, it just doesn’t work. Explosive finale, but good luck to you explaining it. Stars a young Brad Pitt (“Fight Club”), Kim Basinger (“Batman”), and Gabriel Byrne (“Miller’s Crossing”). BAD

Coonskin,” dir. Ralph Bakshi (1975). Extremely controversial cartoon featuring Scatman Crothers and Barry White. Come think of it, a lot of Bakshi ought to be on this list. God help me, I love the opening song! GOOD

Cronos,” dir. Guillermo del Toro (1993). Del Toro does something NEW with the traditional vampire story. Very Lovecraftian. Also stars a plastic-surgery-preoccupied Ron Perlman. GOOD

Cul-de-Sac,” dir. Roman Polanski (1966).  Donald Pleasance (“Halloween”) can’t catch a break when some thugs on the run get lost and camp out at his luxurious getaway home on the beach. Marital problems abound between Pleasance and his wife and their uneasy relationship with the gangsters is strange enough to make this lesser known Polanski flick make the list.  GOOD

Dante’s Inferno,” dir. Sean Meredith (2007). James Cromwell voices Virgil in this odd stick-puppet retelling of “Dante’s Inferno” where hell seems to resemble Los Angeles and various other gutted American metropolitan venues. You got your politicians and you got your pimps and all other manner of hellish entities. Paul Zaloom (“Beakman’s World”) plays the devil. DECENT

Darby O’Gill and the Little People,” dir. Robert Stevenson (1959).  One of Disney’s live-action fantasies. Set in Ireland where an old codger starts seeing leprechauns and he discovers their magic, but not everyone believes him. Nifty special effects, fun Irish lore, and a singing Sean Connery (“From Russia With Love”) in the supporting role that got him James Bond. It’s probably most weird just because of how seemingly forgotten it is. GOOD

Dark Crystal,” dir. Jim Henson (1982). Henson’s darkest dreams unleashed and they don’t exactly resemble the Muppets. Magic and pseudo-zen prophecies and not a human in sight in this all-puppeted film. Nostalgic for many. Nightmare fodder for the too young. A good double feature with “Labyrinth” (1986). GOOD

The Day of the Dolphin,” dir. Mike Nichols (1973). George C. Scott and Paul Sorvino star in one loopy premise: Scott has secretly taught dolphins how to speak English, but the evil government wants to steal them to assassinate somebody somewhere for some reason. As ridiculous as that sounds, I actually kinda like this movie despite its hokiness…or maybe because of it. DECENT

Death Bed: the Bed That Eats,” dir. George Barry (1977). Barry allegedly spent 5 years making this movie and then forgot about it completely. The idea of a haunted bed that eats people sounds ludicrous enough to be fun camp, but this film is epically bad. Only serious MST3K fans need apply. BAD

Death Race 2000,” dir. Paul Bartel (1975). David Carradine (“Kill Bill: Volume 2”) stars as a gaunt, pleather-clad car racer from the future. It is a brutal game of violence and death and only he can stop evil Sylvester Stallone (“Rocky”) from winning the race. Awesome in that cheap undeserving way. FUN

Delicatessen,” dir. Marc Caro/Jean-Pierre Jeunet (1991).  Caro and Jeunet’s first film features more dark atmosphere, fantastic cinematography, and weird characters galore. Dominique Pinon stars as a clownish and hapless new resident in a fishy apartment building where the landlord, Jean-Claude Dreyfus (“The City of Lost Children”), kills tenants at random and sells their meat in the meat-rationed distant future. GREAT

Der Golem,” dir. Paul Wegener (1920). A 16th Century rabbi makes a clay monster to protect the village and do menial labor…then he goes bad and much havoc is wreaked. Like many a great silent epic, the sets are incredible. GOOD

Die Nibelungen,” dir. Fritz Lang (1924). The man who brought you “Metropolis” and “M” delivers a fantasy epic of tremendous proportions. Some great filmmaking and rich atmosphere plus a gnarled dwarf creature and a dragon fight at the beginning. GREAT

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie,” dir. Luis Bunuel (1972). Bunuel throws every rule of story telling out the window in this bizarre and strangely humorous satire of all that we think society and film should be. It’s oddness is more visually subtle, but it’s deconstructive Dada attitude is truly one for the books. GREAT

The District,” dir. Aron Gauder (2004). This was not fun. Maybe it’s because I’m not Hungarian. I didn’t get it. It’s just grating and unfunny. It’s trying for raunchy satire but it falls so far short of “South Park” that it’s hardly even fair comparing the two. It’s based on a show so maybe it will appeal to fans. BAD

Divine Intervention,” dir. Elia Suleiman (2002).  Palestinians and Israelis (why aren’t they still called Israelites?) living side by side in the pressure cooker known as the Middle-East. This semi-autobiographical work from Suleiman moves slowly, seemingly erratically, and with unabashed redundancy, yet it’s bizarre tone and wit resonate to convey something with a lot to think about. Some scenes are audaciously wild and bizarre and out of the blue so stay awake. Almost no talking, but a lot is said in this Tati-esque Palestinian “romantic comedy” (?). GREAT

The Doberman Gang,” dir. Byron Chudnow (1972). Some two-bit bank robbers think up the perfect crime: have doberman pinschers pull a bank heist! It’s about as pulpy and cheap as it sounds but it’s actually a pretty fun movie with a great ending. They sure get some mileage out of that one theme song, but the biggest problem with this film is that the tone is all over the place. Is it whimsical and quirky or is it violent and cold? Not sure the movie itself knows, but I still liked it. FUN

Dogville,” dir. Lars von Trier (2003). Nicole Kidman (“Batman Forever”) heads an all-star cast in this extremely intentional arthouse film about the nature of mercy and human abuses of mercy. This film is an ethical satire of not only homespun Americana, but also human nature and the insulation of rationalization. The film has some interesting ideas floating around in its none-too-murky pretentiousness, but at 178 minutes I’d say it overstays its welcome. Von Trier did another minimalistic flick that is a sort of sequel to this movie called “Mandalay.” DECENT

Dracula: Pages From A Virgin’s Diary,” dir. Guy Maddin (2002).  This is Canadian avant-garde director Guy Maddin’s highly stylized and energetic film adaptation of the ballet based on Bram Stoker’s famous work. Delirious and dizzying, this motion-filled movie treats not only character movement, but camera work and editing like ballet subjects, moving and juxtaposing with vibrant lyricism. Maddin again uses his trademark of capturing the look and feel of silent cinema, but enfuses it with such frenetic abandon that you might be out of breath yourself by the end. GREAT

Dreamchild,” dir. Gavin Millar (1985). An adult Alice reflects on the inappropriate relationship she had with the real Lewis Carroll as a young girl as she travels to America to honor his legacy. Haunted by nightmarish manifestations of the Wonderland characters (created by the Jim Henson Creature Shop) she fights to forget the way things really were as reporters press her for more information. An interesting film, but sometimes dull. DECENT

Dreams” (aka “Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams”), dir. Akira Kurosawa (1990). As a huge Kurosawa fan, I regret to say that this is one of my least favorites of his, but come on! The guy filmed his dreams. That’s pretty out there. Like all anthology films, “Dreams” is a mixed bag, but the ones that stay with you are quite exquisite. Definitely worth a look. Martin Scorsese (“Raging Bull”) even has a cameo as Vincent Van Gogh. For more Japanese anthology films check out Masaki Kobayashi’s “Kaidan.” GOOD

Dreams That Money Can Buy,” dir. Hans Richter (1947). Ahead of its time in almost every way. This super surreal, experimental collage is a mesmerizing kaleidoscope of Dada wonderfulness. And the music is fantastic! So many great artists worked together to make this strange, strange movie. AWESOME

Dream of a Rarebit Fiend,” dir. Edwin S. Porter (1906). A silent film adaptation of Windsor McKay’s comic strip. FUN

Eax d’artifice,” dir. Kenneth Anger (1953). A wonderfully magical transporting experience. An elegant woman marches through blue-tinted gardens full of water fountains and stone faces to the music of Vivaldi in this avant-garde short. GOOD

Edward Scissorhands,” dir. Tim Burton (1990). Burton’s take on the Beauty and the Beast story and it’s pretty entertaining and strange. Vincent Price (“The Abominable Doctor Phibes”) as a mad scientist making cookies is priceless. Also stars Johnny Depp (“Once Upon a Time in Mexico”), Winona Ryder, Alan Arkin (“The Rocketeer”), Anthony Michael Hall (“The Breakfast Club”), and Dianne Wiest (“Hannah and Her Sisters”). FUN

El Topo,” dir. Alejandro Jodorowsky (1970).  The original midnight movie has lost none of its strangeness or elusiveness. One part classic cowboy western, one part cultic eastern spiritual journey, and all parts very Jodorowsky. Lots of violence, amputees and dwarfs, just like he likes it. Easily the weirdest cowboy movie ever made (yes, I include that awful film, “Blueberry”). GREAT

The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser,” dir. Werner Herzog (1974). Similar to Ashby’s “Being There,” this early Herzog film follows the life a simple man (Bruno S.) who has been isolated in a cell his whole life and he gets dropped into society. GOOD

Epidemic,” dir. Lars von Trier (1987). I kept falling asleep through this. I tried watching it 3 times and I just could not get into it. For some reason or another, von Trier eludes me. MEH

Eraserhead,” dir. David Lynch (1977).  The quintessential Lynch film. His first and one of his weirdest. Jack Nance (“Twin Peaks”) plays a man who experiences the worst of his fears of married life: in-laws, pregnancy, bizarre fetal child critter, and marital squabbles. If that sounds straightforward…it’s not. GREAT

Even Dwarfs Started Small,” dir. Werner Herzog (1969). Proactively peculiar. Dwarf mental patients run amok and create all manner of chaos be it setting potted flowers ablaze, tormenting the blind, setting an old truck in a maniacal circle, or crucifying a monkey. Amidst the bizarre behavior, erratic plot(lessness), incessant laughter, and constant chicken violence Herzog manages something shockingly engaging and somehow tranquilly (if a bit disturbingly so) profound. When the revolutionaries get their way what happens next? AWESOME

The Exterminating Angel,” dir. Luis Bunuel (1962).  Another social satire from Bunuel. When upper class party guests discover they cannot leave the house (nothing is physically stopping them, they just can’t seem to exit) they slowly deteriorate to anarchy as they try to understand why. A brilliant, biting, and baffling film. GREAT

The Fabulous Baron Munchausen,” dir. Karel Zeman (1961).  As a fan of the Terry Gilliam version from 1988, I was eagerly looking forward to what Czech effects guru, Karel Zeman, would do with the story. Zeman’s “Munchausen” is a spectacular visual frenzy with some of the most unique and impressive special effects you are likely to see. AWESOME

The Fabulous World of Jules Verne,” dir. Karel Zeman (1958).  Zeman attempts to place all of Jules Verne’s prophetic gadgets and machinery into one adventure. Stylistically it works very well, but the story probably won’t knock you out. A gently pleasing Czech curiosity. GOOD

The Face of Another,” dir. Hiroshi Teshigahara (1966). A Japanese melodrama about a man with a scarred face would be interesting enough, but Teshigahara’s crazy surreal sets and directing make this awesome. Faces get swapped and relationships get tested. It’s all pretty great. More than a little reminiscent of Georges Franju’s “Eyes Without a Face” (1960). GREAT

Fando y Lis,” dir. Alejandro Jodorowsky (1968).  Jodorowsky’s first feature (caused riots when it first came out!) is as human as it is hard to look at. It’s more than just grotesque imagery at work here. A surreal gut-wrenching and painfully tragic look at the frustration in a romance that has been robbed of innocence yet maintains its characters as perpetually child-minded. Is romance hopeless? GOOD

Fantastic Planet,” dir. Rene Laloux (1973).  Laloux’s animated sci-fi flick is truly a weird find. Humans are dwarfed by huge blue alien giants who treat them like a common infestation until one man can learn their ways and use his knowledge to help the humans overcome their oppressors. My favorite sequences, however, are the non-sequitur creature encounters that have no bearing over the story. Very surreal and imaginative. Reminded me of a serious version of Bob Clampbett’s “Porky Pig in Wacky Land.”  Really good score. GOOD

Fantasy Mission Force,” dir. Yen-Ping Chu (1982). One of the weirdest and wackiest kung-fu movies ever made. Hopping vampires, Amazons, cowboy chaps, the works. Stars a young Jackie Chan! FUN

Fata Morgana,” dir. Werner Herzog (1970). Herzog films mirages in the Sahara desert for about an hour and a half. It’s a loose non-narrative reminiscent of more directionless “Koyaanisqatsi.” GOOD

Faust,” dir. Jan Svankmajer (1994).  Svankmajer tackles the classic tale of a man who sells his soul to the devil, but with a unique visual style, kooky sense of humor, and a few other twists. Lots of puppets in this one. GOOD

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” dir. Terry Gilliam (1998).  Johnny Depp stars as Hunter S. Thompson, the drug-loving gonzo journalist in this crazy head trip of a film. After the film you will feel like you’d gone to Vegas with Thompson. Also stars Benicio Del Toro (“The Usual Suspects”) and a lot of cameos. Thompson’s own wonderful words make up most of the script so that’s a big plus. AWESOME

Fearless,” dir. Peter Weir (1993).  Jeff Bridges (“Tron”) stars as a man who loses all fears, trepidations, allergies, and seeming mortality after he survives a plane crash. This film may be more subtly weird than some of the others, but it’s still kind of odd. Also stars Rosie Perez (“Do the Right Thing”), Isabella Rossellini, John Turturro, Tom Hulce (“Amadeus”), and Benicio Del Toro. GOOD

The Fifth Element,” dir. Luc Besson (1997). What do Bruce Willis, Gary Oldman, Chris Tucker, Ian Holm, Milla Jovovich, and Lee Evans have in common? Nothing, which is why this kooky space flick from the director of “Leon: The Professional” and “La Femme Nikita” deserves a shout out. It sounds like a sci-fi action adventure, but it’s really more of a human cartoon with cartoony characters, cartoony situations, and cartoony plot. I remember the film fondly, perhaps because it was sort of like “Blade Runner” and “Total Recall” meets “Kung Fu Hustle.” GOOD

Fire and Ice,” dir. Ralph Bakshi (1983). This tepid and tedious flick wants to be so cool so bad. On paper the idea of a filmmaker like Bakshi animating an adult sword and sorcery epic in the style of Frank Frazetta sounds perfect! Unfortunately the execution leaves much to be desired. It’s not just the jarring rotoscoped performances and murky color palette, or shallow characters or even the monotonous throwaway story…it’s that it reminds you that the artwork of Frazetta is just too complex and imaginative to be animated. BAD

For Y’ur Height Only,” dir. Eddie Nicart (1981).  A Filipino little-person action spy movie. Not a great movie, but if you’re into cheesy, schlocky, or low-grade exploitation fare you will enjoy this kooky flick starring Weng Weng as a superfly midget on a mission. I actually really like this movie quite a bit. AWESOME FUN

The Forbidden Zone,” dir. Richard Elfman (1982).  The band “Oingo Boingo” made this film to feel like one of their live shows. This musical movie is a Frankenstein monster of Max Fleishcer cartoons and dirty jokes. The crudity, and rampant absurdity are part of this film’s weird charm. Features some great songs and Herve Villechaize (“Fantasy Island”). Film composer Danny Elfman also appears as Satan covering a Cab Calloway favorite. FUN

The Fountain,” dir. Darren Aronofsky (2006). How far will Hugh Jackman (“X-Men”) go to convey his love for Rachel Weicz (“The Mummy”)? Moreover will it be understood by the audience? Doesn’t matter. The film is gorgeous and fascinating. GOOD

Freaks,” dir. Tod Browning (1932).  It’s amazing to me that this film was even made. “Dracula” director, Browning, uses his past experiences with the circus to bring this chilling and controversial horror yarn of sideshow freaks to life. The freaks themselves (played by real sideshow exhibits) prove their mettle as performers and the finale is memorably frightening. This film was banned for several years. AWESOME

Funky Forest—the First Contact,” dir. Ishii/Ishimine/Miki (2005).  It’s sort of like if David Cronenberg and David Lynch had a baby in Japan and it grew up to be a bafflingly weird sketch comedy with some songs and something to do with aliens. MEH

The Gods Must Be Crazy,” dir. Jamie Uys (1980). It’s a charmer everyone remembers. A tribe of bushmen discover a glass soda bottle and presume it is a gift from the gods, but when it breeds jealousy and violence among the simple family they send N!xau off to get rid of it. Naturally he runs into “civilized” man and many funny things will happen before the happy conclusion. GOOD

Gozu,” dir. Takashi Miike (2003).  Japanese cult filmmaker, Takashi Miike, pays homage to David Lynch in this strange mystery set in a small town. If Freud were alive he would have an aneurysm at the finale. GOOD

Greaser’s Palace,” dir. Robert Downey (1972). A weird combination between the Gospel scriptures and almost “El Topo.” A very strange film indeed. Satan (referred to only, not seen) is named Bingo Gas Station Motel Cheeseburger With A Side Of Aircraft Noise And You’ll Be Gary Indiana. DECENT

Gummo,” dir. Harmony Korine (1997).  That’s right, this film is arbitrarily (perhaps) named after the fifth Marx Brother who ended his performing career with the brothers at vaudeville before they made it into film…but this movie has nothing to do with that. Effectively recreating a pseudo-indie/documentary feel, this film features several vaguely connected vignettes about white American trailer park type folk living (sometimes proudly) amidst squalor, ignorance, and violence. Sort of a stream-of-consciousness tribute to white trash. MEH

Gymkata,” dir. Robert Clouse (1985). The best kind of cheap 80s action garbage: the kind that combines karate with gymnastics. Wait. What?! Also stars a very attractive Tetchie Agbayani to offset the lame pimple-faced protagonist with a mullet. FUN

The Happiness of the Katakuris,” dir. Takashi Miike (2001).  Miike lightens the mood for this rambunctious musical dark comedy. When the Katakuri family tries to open a bed and breakfast and all their guests die horribly and unexpectedly it can only mean that it’s time to hide the bodies so bad publicity doesn’t break them…it also means it’s time for a song. Hilarious and anarchic. You will laugh out loud at its absurdity and your heart will be warmed by the important message of family sticking together through thick and thin. AWESOME

Hausu,” dir. Nobuhiko Obayashi (1977).  One weird and wild psychedelic horror flick (yeah, it’s Japanese). The best movie about a haunted house that eats Japanese school girls. DOUBLE AWESOME

Hawk Jones,” dir. Richard Lowry (1986). An all children cast performing a shoot-em-up cop drama. This goofy premise is so wonderful it’s a shame the movie is so hard to get through. Think “The Little Rascals” doing “Lethal Weapon” but not as fun as you’d think. MEH

Haxan,” dir. Benjamin Christensen (1922). A silent documentary on the history of witchcraft through the ages. GOOD

He Who Gets Slapped,” dir. Victor Sjostrom (1924). Lon Chaney, Sr. (“The Phantom of the Opera”) plays a brilliant scientist whose theories are stolen by his mentor who is also sleeping with his gal. Naturally he becomes a sad, tormented clown and joins the circus. His circus act consists of being repeatedly slapped in the face. GREAT

Hell Comes to Frogtown,” dir. Donald G. Jackson and R.J. Rizer (1988). “Rowdy” Roddy Piper is Sam Hell, the last fertile male in a post-apocalyptic future overrun with grouchy mutant frog people. It’s campy, alright. BAD

The Holy Mountain,” dir. Alejandro Jodorowsky (1973). Jodorowsky’s wildest and most self-indulgent film is also one of the weirdest movies I think a person can watch. A spiritual quest that satirizes everything about modern society, even the quest itself and the fact that we even watched the film in the first place. GREAT

The Hour-Glass Sanatorium,” dir. Wojciech Has (1973).  Polish filmmaker, Wojciech Has, sets his main character to wander about an old sanatorium where his father has been. The building exists in a place that can reorganize time, so we follow our hero as he revisits his past and fumbles through the surreal and wonderful environments that only Has could pull off. GREAT

How I Won the War,” dir. Richard Lester (1967). John Lennon and a fairly big cast of great Brits star in this wobbly satire on war. Lester’s style is so wild and hard to follow that the movie can feel a bit more like an endurance test, but for the innovative comical twists and parodying punches no other director would dare pull, this surreal war film might just be worth checking out. DECENT

How Tasty Was My Little Frenchman,” dir. Nelson Pereira dos Santos (1973). Copious amounts of nudity. Naked people painted to look like natives in this black comedy that failed to give me a chuckle. There’s no tension and not much character to this bizarre little film. Although some might call it a subversive classic I suppose I like my stories a little more storier. BAD

Howard the Duck,” dir. Willard Huyk (1986). So bad it hurts…but it’s so weird you have to wonder how they managed to get the money they did to fund it (*cough* George Lucas). Howard (the Duck) is randomly blasted into outer-space and lands on earth where he befriends rock diva Lea Thompson (“Back to the Future”), science nerd Tim Robbins (“The Shawshank Redemption”), and a slowly mutating demon from the back of the universe who is taking over the body of Jeffrey Jones. Interesting puppetry (that might give you nightmares), but this movie is a chore to get through. Admittedly the monster in the screenshot is cool, but he’s only in it for like a minute. BAD

The Ice Pirates,” dir. Stewart Rafill (1984). This might be the best “Star Wars” rip-off comedy out there. It’s light and breezy and the time warped finale is fantastic. Angelica Huston (“Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou”), Ron Perlman (“The Name of the Rose”), and John Carradine (“Bluebeard”) have minor roles. FUN

The Illustrated Man,” dir. Jack Smight (1969). A mixed-up pseudo science fiction/fantasy anthology piece in which a traveler is told bizarre (very Bradbury) stories by a mysterious stranger, Rod Steiger (“In the Heat of the Night”), who is tattooed from head to toe. Weird and a bit uneven, but not a complete waste of time. MEH

I’m a Cyborg…but it’s Ok,” dir. Chan-wook Park (2006).  “Oldboy” director, Chan-wook Park takes on off-beat romantic comedy. Set in a mental institution a host of oddball characters live out their bizarre lives, but the new girl is convinced she is a cyborg and that eating human food will kill her. When she’s not talking to lights and vending machines or wearing her grandmother’s dentures she’s busy learning the laws of the cyborg and starving to death until one patient with a crush on her breaks out of his bubble in order to help her and save her life. An interesting look at what can make a society works, but this brightly-colored film was just a little too uneven for me so I’d recommend “Oldboy” or “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” first. MEH

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus,” dir. Terry Gilliam (2009). A mess that only Gilliam could dream up. Parnassus (“The Sound of Music’s” Christopher Plummer) makes a deal with the devil (singer/actor Tom Waits) to gain immortality and run a carnival that brings people’s dreams to life, but also they have a choice to choose the devil…also Parnassus’ daughter (Lily Cole) is drifting away and there’s this new guy, Tony (Heath Ledger/Johnny Depp/Jude Law/Colin Farrell), who may be a bad guy…it’s crazy and convoluted, but you will have something to talk about for sure if you make it through. DECENT

Immortal,” dir. Eric Jacobus/Chelsea Steffenson (2006). There are so many levels on which none of this film works that it would be silly of me to try to explain it. Starts with some fairly interesting concepts but outright refuses to be interesting or engaging (for me anyway). BAD

In the Attic: Who Has a Birthday Today?,” dir. Jiri Barta (2009). It’s like if Svankmajer did “Toy Story.” A brilliant and wonderfully imaginative and intricately textured stop-motion adventure from master Czech animator, Jiri Barta. It’s so ridiculously adorable! AWESOME

Infra-Man,” dir. Shan Hua (1975). A super awesomely cheesy knock off of Ultra-Man. A super guy in a robot costume fights giant monsters. Win! AWESOMELY BAD

Inland Empire,” dir. David Lynch (2006).  This Lynch flick looks crude, but there is a lot going on (so much that it takes 3 hours). Laura Dern plays a woman who’s stardom is diminishing and she is losing touch with herself. As with all Lynch, it’s not that simple. This film, I think, works  best as a companion piece to Lynch’s earlier film “Mulholland Dr.” Also stars Jeremy Irons (“The Mission”) and Justin Theroux (“American Psycho”). GREAT

Institute Benjamenta,” dir. The Brothers Quay (1995).  More surreal atmosphere and questions from the Brothers Quay. In all honesty I probably need to see this one again. GOOD

Ivan Vasilievich: Back to the Future,” dir. Leonid Gaidai (1973). A lowly Russian scientist invents a time machine and accidentally switches his landlord with Ivan the Terrible. Comedy ensues. GOOD

Jacob Two-Two and the Hooded Fang,” dir. Theodore J. Flicker (1978). Holy hell this is mind-bogglingly bad and strange. A beloved Canadian children’s book is brought to extremely low-budget life. A young boy dreams of going to Children’s Prison on Smog Island which is run by a fish dude and a bird lady…also a luchador played by Mongo from “Blazing Saddles.” Child power!  BAD.

James and the Giant Peach,” dir. Henry Selick (1996).  Yeah, I know everyone’s seen it, but it’s still really weird. Selick (“Nightmare Before Christmas”) adapts Roald Dahl’s classic tale to the big screen with brilliant imagination and technical wizardry. Young James joins a gang of giant bugs and embarks on a quest to New York City atop a mammoth peach suspended in the air by a flock of seagulls (not the band). Wonderful stop-motion animation and a great voice cast featuring Simon Callow (“Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls”), Richard Dreyfuss (“Jaws”), and Susan Sarandan (“Thelma and Louise”). GREAT

Jigoku,” dir. Nobuo Nakagawa (1960). This movie has one of the weirdest story arcs I’ve ever seen. The first half of the film we see a man (after a fatal hit and run accident) trying to ignore the advice of his friend who is, in fact, a demon. We are introduced to many characters and bad things happen. The second half of the movie all of the characters are killed and sent to hell to be tormented for the remainder of the film’s runtime. Gripping and strange. GOOD

Kin-dza-dza!,” dir. Georgi Daneliya (1986). When two guys from Moscow unwittingly transport themselves to the planet of Pluke in the Kin-dza-dza galaxy, it will take all of the matches and endurance they have to return to earth in this cult Soviet science fiction comedy. AWESOME

The King and the Mockingbird,” dir. Paul Grimault (1980).  Wonderfully imaginative animation. The English dub features the voice of Peter Ustinov (“Topkapi”), but it’s really obnoxious. I have been told that the French version is much better and has footage not seen in the dub. GOOD

Kirikou and the Sorceress,” dir. Michel Ocelot (1998). It’s a delightful animated African folktale full of adventure and many acts of bravery and even more naked people. When a newborn infant in the tribe has more valor and ambition than anyone it’s up to him to go on great quests and battle many dangers to free all the men from the clutches of the evil sorceress and to set her free as well. GREAT

Koyaanisqatsi,” dir. Godfrey Reggio (1982). One of the most astonishing documentaries ever conceived. Reggio proves that a picture is truly worth a thousand words. Carefully and vividly explores mankind’s impact on his world without words. Also check out his sequels, “Powaqqatsi” (1988) and “Naqoyqatsi” (2002). AWESOME

Krull,” dir. Peter Yates (1983). It’s a sci-fi/sword and sorcery b-grade epic with lots of monsters, dopey weapons, and fun special effects. It’s like a brainless “Neverending Story” made for adults. And I still liked it better than “Legend.” FUN

L’age D’or,” dir. Luis Bunuel (1930).  A very early, and I think, still effective surrealist film. Perhaps not as disturbing or controversial as when it first came out, but definitely worth a look. You can really tell which parts Bunuel did and which parts Salvador Dali did. GOOD

The Last Circus,” dir. Alex de la Iglesia (2011). One of the darker and more gross trips to the circus you are likely to ever take. This bleak and nasty film follows the fall and then further fall of a disgruntled clown and a host of grim characters. It’s like an evil Jean-Pierre Jeunet directed it. Very violent. MEH

L’avventura,” dir. Michelangelo Antonioni (1960). Your mind will try to figure out who the main character is too soon, so don’t try. The movie drifts in and out of plots like real life in this Italian neo-realist (or would this one be new wave?) drama from Antonioni. Beautiful to look at. GOOD

Legend of Dinosaurs and Monster Birds,” dir. Junji Kurata (1977). It’s so deliciously bad, but super boring most of the time. The crappy monster effects are only on screen a few times…and this was supposed to be the most expensive movie shot in Japan up until that time. Disappointment. BAD

Lemonade Joe,” dir. Oldrich Lipský (1964). Can a teetotaler and an alcoholic live together in the wild west of Arizona, Czechoslovakia…Egypt…London…wherever they are. A great chaotic spoof of classic Hollywood western musicals. It’s a deranged delight from start to finish. GREAT

Leningrad Cowboys Go America,” dir. Aki Kaurismaki (1989). As cool and hip as a pair of pointed shoes and matching pointed pompadour. This Finnish musical road comedy is truly a bizarre, unforgettable experience and a nonstop delight. The songs are fun, the costumes are wild and hilarious, and the characters are all wonderfully stoic and odd. GREAT

Leningrad Cowboys Meet Moses,” dir. Aki Kaurismaki (1994). Finland’s worst band is back and kicking it all over again when they are reunited with their old manager who has been spiritually reborn. He takes them back to Europe, but not before stealing the nose off the Statue of Liberty. GREAT

L’inferno,” dir. Francesco Bertolini and Adolfo Padovan (1911). An incredibly stylistic silent adaptation of Dante’s “Inferno.” Fairly straightforward if you’re familiar with the poem. Basically it’s a tour of hell. The visuals are inspired by Gustave Dore’s illustrations. GOOD

Lisztomania,” dir. Ken Russell (1975). Ken Russell’s “biopic” about Franz Liszt (Roger Daltrey) is pretty much a cocaine-binge rape of musical history. It’s nearly totally incomprehensible, but not entirely unenjoyable. DECENT

Little Otik,” Jan Svankmajer (2000). An infertile couple pretends a tree root is a baby until, after nine months of believing it, it comes to life…with an appetite for human flesh! As it grows it requires more and more meat (think “Little Shop of Horrors”) until only one person can stop it. Gritty and bizarre (like all Svankmajer fare) but not without humor. GOOD

Lost Highway,” dir. David Lynch (1997).  Very difficult to explain. Identities get switched all over the place and we may never be sure of what it all means, but Lynch knows how to create suspense and atmosphere. Robert Blake (he used be Mickey in the “Little Rascals” but more recently was on trial for his wife’s murder) is terrifying in this movie. GOOD

Lucifer Rising,” dir. Kenneth Anger (1972). OK. So pretty much all of Anger’s films should be on this list. This one is definitely no exception. GOOD

Lunacy,” dir. Jan Svankmajer (2005).  Svankmajer asks which is worse: extreme liberalism or extreme conservativism. We see the dark sides of two extreme positions after the mental patients take control of the insane asylum and lock up their doctors all whilst a steady stop-motion parade of meat dances by. Spooky in its conclusions and darkly humorous for the duration. GREAT

Magic,” dir. Richard Attenborough (1978). Anthony Hopkins (“The Elephant Man”) stars as man slowly going insane from overexposure to his ventriloquist dummy. This has got to be the only romantic thriller that’s centered around a foul-mouthed murder puppet. It also stars Burgess Meredith (“Batman: the Movie”) and it’s directed by, yes, THAT Richard Attenborough. DECENT

The Man Who Fell to Earth,” dir. Nicholas Roeg (1976). Singer David Bowie (“Labyrinth”) stars as an unfortunate interplanetary being stranded on earth. In an effort to find a way home (and with water) he utilizes American industry…but he gets sidetracked with women. A wildly sexual and psychedelic 70s head trip of pseudo-science fiction mayhem. Also stars Rip Torn (“Men in Black”). DECENT

The Man Who Laughs,” dir. Paul Leni (1928).  Famous for being the inspiration behind Batman’s “Joker,” this silent melodrama follows the life of a man who had his mouth carved into a garrish grin when he was a boy. People laugh at the grinning man for his deformity, but the audience roots for him through all his calamities. Conrad Veidt does a great job as the title character. GREAT

The Man With the Movie Camera,” dir. Dziga Vertov (1929).  The closest thing to this movie today might be Godfrey Reggio’s “Qatsi” trilogy. Vertov (extremely abhorrent of narrative film) sets out to put every type of camera technique invented before 1930 and mesh them together to form a fantastically spellbinding and energetic ballet that is a portrait of his contemporary Russia. He succeeds with gusto. AWESOME

Manos: The Hands of Fate,” dir. Harold P. Warren (1966). It’s as incomprehensibly bad as you can imagine and then some. Believe the hype and find the treasured MST3K riff of it. It’s weirdly bad. AWESOMELY BAD

Mary and Max,” dir. Adam Elliot (2009). A young awkward Australian girl becomes pen pals with the first random person she picks out of the phone book. She happens to pick an elderly, obese, autistic Jewish guy in New York City. Their odd relationship develops sweetly over the years. DECENT

Meet the Feebles,” dir. Peter Jackson (1989).  Before “Lord of the Rings,” Peter Jackson made gross-out comedies like “Bad Taste” and “Dead Alive,” but none so repugnant and objectionable as “Meet the Feebles” which is a pervertedly sick send up of “The Muppet Show” with every possible deplorably stomach-churning turn you can think of and then some. Grotesque but rewarding for a lucky deranged minority. GOOD

Men at Work,” dir. Mani Haghighi (2006). An Iranian satire about a group of middle-aged men who can’t seem to get past a rock on the shoulder of a highway. Once they get it in their heads that they’re going to push it over they just can’t give up. GOOD

Meshes of the Afternoon,” dir. Maya Deren (1943). Deren’s work is spellbinding. Where does dream end and reality begin? A wonderful, exploratory avant-garde piece. GOOD

Metropolitan,” dir. Whit Stillman (1990). A movie about preppies talking. GREAT

The Mill and the Cross,” dir. Lech Majewski (2011). Pieter Bruegel’s 1564 painting is brought to life in this captivatingly strange and hypnotic film. Rutger Hauer (“Blade Runner”) and Michael York (“Romeo and Juliet”) star in this truly one of a kind movie. Less bent on conveying a story with rich characters, Majewski immerses us into the world of the painting as we meticulously explore every nook and cranny. Sumptuous cinematography captures the era beautifully if a bit more ethereal and realistic. It won’t be for everybody, that’s for sure. GREAT

Mondo Cane,” dir. Paolo Cavara, Franco Prosperi, and Gualtiero Jacopetti (1962). The documentary that started the whole shockumentary trend. The film takes us all over the world to observe the strange habits, beliefs, practices, customs, and traditions of many different people (some customs with dubious authenticity). All in all it’s more humorous than shocking today. “Mondo Cane” has a real knack for ironic juxtaposition. GOOD

Mulholland Dr.,” dir. David Lynch (2001).  This bizarre nightmare mystery crafted by Lynch has a lot of really good moves. Naomi Watts (“King Kong”) stars. GREAT

My Dinner With Andre,” dir. Louis Malle (1981). Wallace Shawn stars in the film that is literally just one long conversation about different topics. Looks like someone beat Richard Linklater to the punch. GREAT

The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello,” dir. Anthony Lucas (2005). A shadow puppet short fraught with delicious elements of steampunk. Visually impeccable. GOOD

Night of the Lepus,” dir. William Claxton (1972).  Of all the giant animal/bug horror movies, this one might’ve had the least potential to begin with. Giant rabbits attack people. Move over “The Killer Shrews.” Stars Janet Leigh (“Psycho”) and DeForest Kelley (“Star Trek”). AWESOMELY BAD

The Nine Lives of Tomas Katz,” dir. Ben Hopkins (2000). A strange, surreal black comedy about the end of the world that no one could have predicted (way weirder than “Southland Tales”). GOOD

Onibaba,” dir. Kaneto Shindo (1964).  A quiet Japanese erotic horror flick. An old woman and her widowed daughter-in-law live in the tall grass, hunting samurai to kill and sell their armor in feudal Japan. When a young man steals the heart of the daughter-in-law, the older woman will do anything to keep the status quo, even don a demon-possessed mask. GREAT

The Ossuary,” dir. Jan Svankmajer (1970). So maybe all of Svankmajer’s shorts deserve to be on this list, but this one barely counts as a film so it’s extra weird. A manic ten minute tour of a temple constructed of the bones of the thousands of victims of the Black Death. GOOD

Paris, Texas,” dir. Wim Wenders (1984). A man (“The Straight Story’s” Harry Dean Stanton) who has been wandering the desert for the past several years tries to remember his past and reconnect with his son and fix the mess he made with his ex-wife…if he can find her. Haunting and beautiful. GREAT

Persona,” dir. Ingmar Bergman (1966).  Many of Swedish auteur Ingmar Bergman’s films are weird or puzzling, but this one might be one of the strangest. Two women, an actress and her nurse discover more about each other than they might have counted on. Stars Bibi Andersson (“Wild Strawberries”) and Liv Ullman (“Face to Face”). Also see “Face to Face,” “Fanny and Alexander,” “Silence,” and many other Bergman films. GOOD

The Phantom Tollbooth,” dir. Chuck Jones (1970). Based on Norton Juster’s  novel for children, Looney Tunes animator, Chuck Jones, brings the topsy turvy limerick-filled adventure to life by combining live-action with animation. DECENT

Pi,” dir. Darren Aronofsky (1998). If you like you math gritty and Jewish then this is the movie for you. (I need to see it again). GOOD

The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes,” dir. The Brothers Quay (2005). The Brothers Quay paint a lyrical surreal fantasy with their own rules. This visually sumptuous  and original puzzle is both refreshing and delirious. Gottfried John (“Goldeneye”) plays a nefarious and mysterious doctor. GREAT

The Pied Piper of Hamelin,” dir. Jiri Barta (1986). The classic tale told with very dark expressionistic sensibilities. An incredible feast for the eyes. GREAT

Pink Flamingos,” dir. John Waters (1972).  John Waters (“Hairspray”) does everything he can to gross out the audience. If the grotesque, debaucherous or psychotically perverted act exists, then it’s in this movie. If it didn’t exist, then “Pink Flamingos” invented it. Not the most enjoyable way to lose an hour and half of your time, but you will lose it. BAD

Pink Floyd The Wall,” dir. Alan Parker (1982).  If you like the surreal imagery and you like Pink Floyd’s music you will probably enjoy this at some level. I did. GOOD

Primer,” dir. Shane Carruth (2004). A very technical and very talkie take on the time-travel genre. Much to think about here. GOOD

Puss in Boots,” dir. Eugene Marner (1988). The famed cat of classic folktale comes to life…as Christopher Walken (“The Deer Hunter”) in a mustache. No makeup. Just Walken. The film is bad and hokey and the songs are obnoxious, but for the oddity of seeing a grown man (Christopher Walken no less) trying to keep it all together is worth it. Terrible film, but the Walken bits are fun. BAD

Putney Swope,” dir. Robert Downey (1969). A strange satire of corrupt corporations, black politics, and the advertising industry. MEH

The Rainbow Thief,” dir. Alejandro Jodorowsky (1990).  Although Jodorowsky disowned this project and it was minimally released and critically panned, it’s not all bad. Omar Sharif (“Doctor Zhivago”), Peter O’Toole (“The Ruling Class”), and Christopher Lee (“The Devil Rides Out”) come together for the peculiar tale of wealthy eccentrics and poor vagabonds in their journey to discover which is more important: riches or friendship? DECENT

The Return to Oz,” dir. Walter Murch (1985).  A dark and twisted yarn to be sure and although not nearly as good, magical, or consistent as “The Wizard of Oz” (the films have very little in common) it possesses its own unique charm and fun puppetry. GOOD

Riki-Oh: the Story of Riki,” dir. Ngai Kai Lam (1991).  Hong Kong prison super-gore never looked this ridiculous. Ricky (or is it Riki?) has been trained in a secret (and quite ludicrous) form of martial arts that makes him invincible. Once in prison for murder he takes on the evil and corrupt prison wardens to make the world safe once again (for murderers and rapists?). One crazy splatterfest and it really helps if you’re into the whole campy feel. A bit nostalgic for me. FUN

Robot Bastard!” dir. Rob Schrab (2002). A Robot with an attitude must rescue the president’s daughter from Blood Mamba in this wild tribute to sci fi schlock. FUN

Robot Monster,” dir. Phil Tucker (1953). Everything you heard is true. A gorilla with a fish bowl for a head and antennas kidnaps people and tries to reason with the puny humans as to why he is the superior being. It’s awful. BAD

Rock and Rule,” dir. Clive Smith (1983). Stellar animation and 80s rock riffs  can’t save this creaking half-baked post-apocalyptic saga of mutant mouse folk and their band as they fight an evil rocker guy who wants to unleash demons from hell with their lead singer’s voice. BAD

Rollerball,” dir. Norman Jewison (1975). James Caan (“The Godfather”) stars in this murder-sport version of the future that’s just never quite as entertaining after you’ve seen “Death Race 2000.” MEH

Rubber,” dir. Quentin Dupieux (2010). A car tire roams around the desert and kills people by exploding their heads in the style of slasher revenge flicks. The concept and the trailer is hilarious. The actual execution of the feature is a little too preoccupied with telling you how clever it is rather than actually being clever. The stuff with the tire is funny, the stuff with the people wishes it was “Behind the Mask: the Rise of Leslie Vernon.” It could have been great. A tragic disappointment because a movie about a killer tire will probably never happen again. Sigh…missed opportunity. MEH.

Run, Lola, Run,” dir. Tom Tykwer (1998).  A very popular German film about a girl in a hurry. She must get money to save her boyfriend from the mob and everyone she interacts with along the way will live a completely different life depending on how she runs into them. The film will reach a conclusion and then stop, rewind, and play the same story again only if she had behaved a little differently. We get three shots at a happy ending and you get to pick which one actually happened. GREAT

The Saddest Music in the World,” dir. Guy Maddin (2003).  Guy Maddin is one of the weirdest directors. Styling all of his films to look like vintage silent features he blends the classic aura with his own absurd humor and surrealism. Isabella Rossallini stars as the beer queen who puts forth the international contest to see which country has the saddest music in the world in this unique and unforgettable Canadian comedy-drama…did I mention she has glass legs full of beer? AWESOME

Salo-120 Days of Sodom,” dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini (1975).  Shocking and repulsing (though if you watched all of the films before this you might be deadened to much of the horror). Pasolini’s last film, based on the writings of the Marquis de Sade, chronicles the miserable lives of individuals who have been captured by a four evil aristocrats at the end of World War II in Italy. The gruesome depravity and graphic dehumanization of the victims is profoundly arresting and will leave you queasy, but there is undeniable talent at work. You will most certainly have much to discuss after viewing this film. GOOD

Santa Claus,” dir. Rene Cardona (1959). Up there with “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” in yuletide derangement. Santa must outwit Satan and team up with Merlin before he can leave his space castle and deliver toys to the good girls and boys. BAD

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians,” dir. Nicholas Webster (1964).  A perennial classic of stinkdom. The Canadian channel used to put this on every year. It’s one of the most mind-bogglingly bad films you are likely to come across. There are scores of weird B movies and some of them I barely recall the titles of. Investigate this genre. Depending on your point of reference, it can be very rewarding. BAD

Santa Sangre,” dir. Alejandro Jodorowsky (1989).  One of Jodorowsky’s most accessible (though that’s not saying much) movies features a man with the ultimate mommy complex. His armless mother makes him stand behind her and be her arms…to either play the piano or kill young women who might be interested in the young man. A powerful and focused film loaded with surreal symbolism. A bizarre, disturbing spectacle. GREAT

The Saragossa Manuscript,” dir. Wojciech Has (1965).  Martin Scorsese (“Raging Bull”), Francis Ford Coppola (“The Godfather”), Luis Bunuel (“Belle de jour”), and Jerry Garcia (“The Grateful Dead”) loved this movie and it really is quite good. This movie, by Has, plays with narrative story telling in so many ways it defies description. A myriad of interlocking tales of humor, hauntings, and horror are spun round and round until we give up trying to understand it all from moment to moment and just let the film take us where we need to go. Beautiful, bold, bizarre, and unforgettable. AWESOME

Saturn 3,” dir. Stanley Donen (1980). Harvey Keitel (voice awkwardly dubbed) plays a mentally imbalanced guy in space who kinda sorta sometimes controls an 8 ft. tall rapist robot. The robot chases a naked Farrah Fawcett and Kirk Douglas around a spaceship thing. It’s terrible. BAD

Save the Green Planet,” dir. Joon-Hwan Jang (2003).  This Korean sci-fi-suspense-drama-torture-mystery-comedy is one for the books. A man suspects his old boss of being an alien so he kidnaps him and seeks to torture him until he admits it, but there is a lot more going on in this emotional and tonal roller coaster from Joon-Hwan Jang. GOOD

Schizopolis,” dir. Steven Soderbergh (1996).  Easily Soderbergh’s (“Sex, Lies and Videotape”) weirdest and most inventive film. I’d try to explain it, but you’ll just have to see it. In addition to directing, Soderbergh plays two of the main characters in this film. Some scenes are laugh out loud crazy funny. GREAT

Science is Fiction,” dir. Jean Painlevé. This exuberant collection of lyrically surreal science and biology shorts is a visual delight all around. From his early silent studies to his later color selection Painlevé’s technique is spellbinding. AWESOME

The Secret Adventures of Tom Thumb,” dir. Dave Borthwick (1993).  Weird doesn’t begin to cover it. Using a process called pixelation (where they stop-motion animate human actors) and blending it with classic clay puppet stop-motion animation, Borthwick creates a film experience unlike any other. Fetus-like Tom Thumb wanders from the land of the bug-eating human giants to the evil science lab, to the toxic wilderness full of gnome-like people who are at war with the insensitive giants, and back again in this wildly imaginative and peculiar fable full of wit and thick with atmosphere. GREAT

Shakma,” dir. Tom Logan and Hugh Parks (1990). A crazed baboon murders med students playing a nerdy role-playing game in a research facility. It also mauls Roddy McDowell (“Planet of the Apes”). Now maybe a murder baboon had more potential than killers shrews or giant rabbits, but this is just a strange set up. The bulk of the movie is people slamming doors and the baboon freaking out and trying to bust the doors open. I think what we can ultimately glean from “Shakma” is that man is the real baboon. BAD

Sita Sings the Blues,” dir. Nina Paley (2008). Director Paley parallels a personal chapter from her own life  with the great Indian epic “The Ramayana” and combines it all with 1920s recordings of Annette Hanshaw singing classic blues tunes. The best part is it’s funny, colorful, and she did it all herself. GREAT

Skritek,” dir. Tomas Vorel (2005).  A wordless Czech screwball comedy set to grunts of gibberish and an exuberant brassy score. A dysfunctional family learns to cope through all the monotony and absurdity of their humdrum lives…with the help of a ubiquitous magical gnome (“skritek” is Czech for gnome). Fun, funny, lively, and surreal. A real treat. Your toes will be tapping by the end. GREAT

Something Wicked This Way Comes,” dir. Jack Clayton (1983).  Ray Bradbury adapts his story wonderfully to the screen with a steady tempo and very classic-feeling moves. An evil carnival comes to a sleepy turn-of-the-century American town in October to tempt people with their longings and regrets. A chilling coming-of-age fantasy with great performances from Jonathan Pryce and especially Jason Robards. GOOD

Son of the White Mare,” dir. Marcell Jankovics (1982). Trippiest cartoon ever. A wild bunch of Hungarian folktales are brought to vivid life in this deliriously colorful and liquid movie. Treeshaker battles dragons with multiple heads and restores the kingdoms. GOOD

Spirited Away,” dir. Hayao Miyazaki (1999).  Miyazaki is one of those rare filmmakers whose talent and imagination seem to have no limit. All of his films are wonderful and many of them are very odd, but “Spirited Away” might be his best and oddest. A young girl winds up in a land of spirits and demons and must be sure to not forget her identity lest she succumb to the magic and be bound there forever. Superb animation. AWESOME

Spooky Encounters,” Sammo Hung (1980). It’s got some fun action scenes and your typical Hong Kong action comedy plot, but the ghost stuff is kinda fun and the battle at the end is crazy town in a hat! (“crazy town in a hat” is the intellectual property of BurrellSubmarine. Anyone wishing to use aforementioned phrase will owe the BurrellSubmarine estate 12 cents per use). FUN

Stalker,” dir. Andrei Tarkovsky (1979).  Ok, ok, ok, so Tarkovsky isn’t that weird (although “Andrei Rublev” was executed rather strangely), but how often do we get to throw this guy’s name around. I stretched to get Kurosawa and Bergman in hear and by thunder, Tarkovsky’s going to have his moment too. This slow-moving Soviet science fiction drama follows the lives of 3 men who venture out into the colorful wilderness in search of a wish-granting room located in the forbidden zone (no relation to the Elfman film). This haunting tale of human hope is both profound, enigmatic, poetic, and stirring. AWESOME

Stephen Tobolowsky’s Birthday Party,” dir. Robert Brinkmann (2005). Busy character actor who most people have never really noticed (he was in “Groundhog Day” and “Memento” and over 100 other films as minor characters) gets his time to shine by just being himself. The whole documentary is simply Tobolowsky telling stories and anecdotes about his life as he prepares for his birthday party. Simple set up, but the man tells a great yarn. GREAT

The Stolen Airship,” dir. Karel Zeman (1967). Once again Zeman dazzles with his imagination, sense of whimsy, and innovative special effects to craft another steampunk flavored adventure on land, air, and sea. GREAT

Street of Crocodiles,” dir. The Brothers Quay (1986). One of the Brothers Quay most famous pieces. This short will dazzle you with its rustic stop-motion charm that feels like it was pieced together from objects found in old suitcases and attics and cellars. Their influence from Svankmajer is quite apparent here, but the Quays devise their own unique style. Also watch “This Unnameable Little Broom,” “The Comb,” “Cabinet of Jan Svankmajer,” “Stille Nacht” and all their other shorts. A mighty collection is gathered on “Phantom Museums: The Short Films of the Brothers Quay.” GREAT

Super Mario Bros.,” dir. Annabel Jankel and Rocky Morton (1993). Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo (“Ice Age”) star as the iconic Mario and Luigi video game characters. This was a weird idea for a movie to begin with, but that it is so strange and so far removed from its source material its a wonder no one tried to stop it. Also Dennis Hopper plays a dinosaur. BAD

Symbol,” dir. Hitoshi Matsumoto (2009). Matsumoto (“Big Man Japan”) directs, writes, and stars in one of the weirdest and funniest movies about the universe. A Japanese guy wakes up in a doorless, windowless room upholstered in cherub phalluses that, when touched, make different musical notes and toss random objects into the room. As he becomes increasingly frustrated with his surreal prison he gradually learns the rules and unravels the mysteries of the universe. It’s “2001” on shrooms. There is also a subplot about a Mexican luchador. AWESOME

Synecdoche, New York,” dir. Charlie Kaufman (2008).  Almost all of Kaufman’s films deserve to be on this list, but I limited myself to this and “Being John Malkovich.” Definitely check out “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and “Adaptation.” Philip Seymour Hoffman (“Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead”) stars as a troubled director who, in an attempt to create the ultimate stage reality, winds up becoming the subject of possibly the most ‘meta’ story in the world: his own. Fascinating, dark, and twisted. Also stars Catherine Keener, Dianne Wiest, and Samantha Morton (“Minority Report”). GREAT

Tarnation,” dir. Jonathan Couette (2003). No one ever made a documentary in this manner before and I doubt anyone else ever will. GOOD

Tears of the Black Tiger,” dir. Wisit Sasanatieng (2000).  Sasanatieng’s cowboy-comedy-melodrama is a gaudily saturated with pyschedelic mismatches of color and genre, yet it’s still a pleasure to watch. GOOD

The Terror of Tiny Town,” dir. Sam Newfield (1938). An old-timey cowboy musical with an all little person cast. It’s fairly straightforward and some of the gags might be considered a trifle insensitive to some, but you know what? It’s pretty darn awesome. I just won’t say it’s not silly. GREAT

Testament of Orpheus,” dir. Jean Cocteau (1960).  Cocteau’s (“Beauty and the Beast”) last directorial film is perhaps a bit self-indulgent, but I’d step inside his imagination any day. “Orpheus” flows like a dream (and makes almost as much sense), but it holds our attention through Cocteau’s ever-expanding poetic  philosophies on life and art. Yul Brynner (“The Ten Commandments”), Pablo Picasso, and many others make random appearances. GREAT

Tetsuo,” dir. Shinya Tsukamoto (1989).  Another one of those Japanese Cronenberg meets Lynch type things. This cyberpunk body-horror movie will horrify you and exhilarate you with its rousing energetic finale. A very unique film indeed. GOOD

The Thief and the Cobbler” (re-cobbled), dir. Richard Williams (1993).  If given the opportunity find the “re-cobbled” version of this film (it’s unfinished and features the interspersing of pencil sketches where the animation is not completed). This film, by the great Richard Williams (most famous for “Roger Rabbit”), was over 25 years in the making and if it was completed the way Williams had intended it might have been one of the most impressive animated feats captured on film in history. It dazzles, it tantalizes, and it makes one guffaw unashamedly at its clever wit and spectacular ingenuity. AWESOME

The Thing With Two Heads,” dir. Lee Frost (1972). A wealthy racist played by Ray Milland (“Dial ‘M’ For Murder”) must graft his head onto a big black guy in order to stay alive. It’s like if “The Defiant Ones” was terrible and also wanted to be “Smokey and the Bandit.” Some really lame car chases and bad everything else make for a super ludicrous movie. BAD.

Tideland,” dir. Terry Gilliam (2005).  One of Gilliam’s most debated and misunderstood films. “Tideland” is about the resilence of children and how the imagination is sometimes a child’s only defense mechanism, but that it can ultimately be its savior or its downfall. Young Jeliza-Rose deals with her junkie parents, then her dead parents, and the strange inhabitants of the vast, lonely plains of her new home. Unsettling and complex. Features Jeff Bridges and Jennifer Tilly (“The Bride of Chucky”). MEH

Time Bandits,” dir. Terry Gilliam (1981).  One of my favorite children’s films for adults. A young boy joins a team of dwarves (played by former Oompa-Loompas, ewoks, and R2-D2!) to travel through time to steal the treasures out of historical figures’ hands, until Evil David Warner (“The Omen”) lures them to his lair for the final showdown. Monty Python alums Michael Palin and John Cleese also join Gilliam in spreading darkly weird mirth about the cinema. Also features Sean Connery, Shelley Duvall, Katherine Helmond, and Sir Ralph Richardson (“Murder On the Orient Express”). AWESOME

Time Piece,” dir. Jim Henson (1965). Muppets aside, Mr. Henson was also a brilliant experimenter in the realm of film, storytelling, and special effects. This short abstract little film explores the frightening captivity we are all victim to. You see, we are all prisoners of time…but with occasionally very funny results. AWESOME

Tokyo Drifter,” dir. Seijun Suzuki (1966). Psychedelic Yakuza extravaganza. I don’t know how to tell you all this, but this is kind of the coolest movie ever made. It’s a pop-art super-saturated Japanese flick that explodes with color and action and is almost as incomprehensible as it is cool. This movie is absolutely bananas. The mise-en-scène is like some sort of hyperactive comic book and the plot, although meandering, is one of sly satire. This is James Bond on acid. AWESOME

Touki Bouki,” dir. Djibril Diop Manmbety (1973). It’s a really fascinating movie that combines the essence of French New Wave with the energy and anarchy of urban Senegal. A young couple schemes a way to run away to Paris.GREAT

A Town Called Panic,” dir. Stephane Aubier (2009). Based on the popular animated Belgian television show the film follows the exploits of a toy Cowboy, Indian, and Horse who are roommates as a birthday surprise goes awry and sets the trio on a very strange adventure. It’s a lot of fun if you can deal with how inane it all is. GREAT

Tree of Life,” dir. Terence Malick (2011). A visionary epic that sprawls and reaches for meaning in the universe and searches as far back as it can and then moves forward to Sean Penn on a beach of memories. It may be hard to follow and perhaps unnecessarily cryptic but there is no denying the beauty captured in this peculiarly intimate tale from Terence Malick. GOOD

A Trip to the Moon,” dir. Georges Melies (1902).  Almost everyone has seen the iconic black and white image of the man in the moon with the bullet-like spaceship wedged in his eye. This classic silent film from effects pioneer, Georges Melies, based on Jules Verne’s classic tale is wonderful to behold. Some scientists shoot themselves out of a giant canon to explore the moon, but the aliens aren’t quite so friendly. By no means Melies’ weirdest film (his other stuff might even be too weird for this list), but definitely an important idiosyncratic film. This movie takes you back to a time when there still seemed to be mystery and wonder in outer space. AWESOME

The Triplets of Belleville,” dir. Sylvain Chomet (2003).  One of the most impeccably stylized animated films I have seen. Each cel is breathtakingly wonderful in its caricature and character design. An old woman trains her bike-enthusiast grandson, Champion, for the Tour-de-France, but when the French mafia abducts him for their own weird designs, the old woman and her dog must go on an adventure to America to find him and rescue him. Along the way she teams up with 3 old vaudevillian singers (the eponymous Triplets) who prove that they may be old, but they still have some spring in their step. A delightful caper comedy that’s sure to please anyone with a heart for cartoons. AWESOME

True Stories,” dir. David Byrne (1986).  That’s right, David Byrne of the “Talking Heads” directed and starred in this laid back movie that introduces us to the fictitious town of Virgil, Texas and some of the idiodyncratic residents and their even weirder habits. Gently, comically amusing. Features some good songs and a very young John Goodman. AWESOME

Turkish Star Wars” (aka “The Man Who Saves the World”), dir. Cetin Inanc (1982).  Easily the worst film ever made. In an effort to prove that Turkey could make a science fiction film as good as “Star Wars”, director Cetin Inanc made the worst film of any country, genre, decade, etc. It’s hard to believe that the people responsible for this debacle had seen a movie before. Not only is it bad and incomprehensible, but it steals so much footage from the original “Star Wars” and other films (as well as music from “Raiders of the Last Ark” and other movies and tv shows) it’s ridiculous. That being said, go out and watch it. It’s hilarious! AWESOMELY BAD

Twelve Monkeys,” dir. Terry Gilliam (1995).  One of Gilliam’s most successful and accessible, but it’s still pretty weird. Bruce Willis (“Die Hard”) comes from the future to stop a virus outbreak that will wipe out most of civilization, but psychiatrist Madeleine Stowe doesn’t believe him and psychopath Brad Pitt has other things on his mind. Some very bizarre turns from what might have been your average 90s sci fi flick, courtesy of Terry Gilliam.  GREAT

Twice Upon a Time,” dir. John Korty (1983). An impeccably clever and inventive animated surreal fantasy about the war between dreams and nightmares. Quite possibly the only cartoon as visually imaginative and as joke-filled as “Yellow Submarine”…the songs date the film a little harshly! But I really dig this one. GREAT

Un Chien Andalou,” dir. Luis Bunuel (1929).  One of the first surreal films (second only to “The Seashell and th Clergyman” I believe), Bunuel and Dali team up to bring us a film that was supposed to be little more than a series of scenes and weird imagery. Any similarity between scenes was purely coincidental. Pure Dada. After all these years this film still shocks, repulses, intrigues, and puzzles. GREAT

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives,” dir. Aoichatpong Weerasethakul (2010). A strangely structured and languidly paced tale of a man dying of kidney failure and several spirits from his past manifesting themselves perhaps to ease him into death. A very slow but beautiful and enigmatic, perplexing Thai film. Whatever you’ve been told about this movie and whatever you’re thinking, it’s not anything you could expect. AWESOME

The Unholy Three,” dir. Tod Browning (1925). Lon Chaney, Sr. plays a circus ventriloquist who also dresses up like an old lady—along with his/her strongman “son” and dwarf (“Freaks” star Harry Earles) posing as a baby—to work out of a parrot store and together form an “unholy three” of jewel thieves. GREAT

The Unknown,” dir. Tod Browning (1927). Lon Chaney, Sr. plays a circus performer who is allegedly armless Alonzo. He’s really a fugitive with double-thumbs. He convinces a pretty bareback rider that hands and arms are disgusting and to be feared so that she will only love him. When Alonzo realizes that she would eventually discover the truth if they were married, he gets a doctor to remove his arms…but as he recovers from surgery the girl gets over her fear and falls in love with another man. Will revenge come swift? Watch and see. GREAT

The Valley of the Gwangi,” dir. Jim O’Connolly (1969). Ray Harryhausen gives us a cowboys versus dinosaurs movie. Finally! Maybe “Mysterious Island” is technically weirder (they fight a giant crab!), but this movie combines two genres that just never went together before. FUN

Videodrome,” dir. David Cronenberg (1983).  James Woods plays a tv executive who is getting confused about reality after watching the newest previews for an upcoming controversial snuff program. So confused, in fact, that he develops a huge vagina on his torso that he must feed beta max tapes, and that’s not even the weirdest of it. Cronenberg again utilizes his penchant for body distortion and mutilation to grimly imaginative effect in this odd thriller. I hear “Naked Lunch” totally has this beat though. James Woods (“Hercules”) stars.  GOOD

Visioneers,” dir. Jared Drake (2008). “The Hangover” star, Zach Galifianakis (who my friends and I have lovingly dubbed an avant-garde comedian), plays George Washington Winsterhammerman, an emotionally repressed man in an emotionally repressed society that resembles our own. When people start exploding at work his wife and he become worried that he is showing some bad symptoms. Despite some fine performances and a few humorous gags this film offers little new to the social satire/dystopia genre and ultimately leaves one feeling a little empty and wishing for Aldous Huxley to bust in the door of the movie and make some stuff really happen. This film lacks the hard bite it needed. Also stars Judy Greer (“The Village”) and Mia Maestro (“Frida”) MEH

Visions of Suffering,” dir. Andrey Iskanov (2006).  The title is an accurate description. This film goes beyond pretentious to the point where you feel as though you are watching the rape of the cinema. Pretty boring and uninspired, although you can tell the filmmakers were in love with it. BAD

Waking Life,” dir. Richard Linklater (2001). A rotoscoped dreamscape brimming with metaphysical and existential conversation. Linklater’s dazzling wonderland is all talk, but never boring. AWESOME

Walkabout,” dir. Nicolas Roeg (1971). Take a look at who the director is and look at the date. What might have been your average story of two dopey Australian kids lost in the outback, gets a huge dose of originality, peculiarity, and sexuality with Roeg at the helm. GOOD

Warning From Space,” dir. Koji Shima (1956). Giant cyclopian starfish from outer space warn Japanese people about stuff! BAD

We Are the Strange,” dir. M dot Strange (2007). A visually psychedelic phantasmagoria that gets incredibly exhausting. I admire the complex artistry at work, but the tedious storyline, characters, and dialogue don’t exactly sing to me for its 90 minute run time. It’s weird alright, but setting it in the world of a video game kinda limits its scope and strips away some of the self-professed strangeness for me. BAD

Werkmeister Harmonies,” dir. Bela Tarr (2000). When a traveling exhibit of a dead whale comes to the small Hungarian town everyone seems to be reacting negatively toward it. Dreamlike, slow, and enchanting. This film will leave you with much to think about. Also interesting that there are very few cuts (like “Rope” only more impressive). GREAT

Westworld,” dir. Michael Crichton (1973). Yul Brynner plays a homicidal robot cowboy in an amusement park gone haywire. An interesting precursor to “Jurassic Park,” but the hokey outlandishness of this one might make it even more fun. FUN

White Dog,” dir. Samuel Fuller (1982). Paul Winfield (“Wrath of Khan”) and Burl Ives (“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”) team up to retrain a vicious dog that was trained to attack black people. A fascinating commentary on ingrained racism and a good animal performance to boot. GOOD

Wild at Heart,” dir. David Lynch (1990). Nicholas Cage (“Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call, New Orleans”) and Laura Dern star as 2 lovers on the run in what I have been informed is a comedy. This is one of the few David Lynch films that just didn’t appeal to me, but it does have a pretty great ending. Also features Willem Dafoe (“Platoon”). BAD

Wild World of Batwoman,” dir. Jerry Warren (1966). Such a painful experience you had to wonder what they were on when they thought this up. MST3K ripped this one good too. BAD

The Wind in the Willows,” dir. Terry Jones (1996). Terry Jones, Eric Idle, and Steve Coogan (“The Trip”) pretend to be animals for this odd but charming live action adaptation of the British literary children’s classic. Michael Palin, John Cleese, and Stephen Fry also make brief appearances. GOOD

Wings of Desire,” dir. Wim Wenders (1987).  This beautiful poem of a film flows with the richness of a novel. Half black and white and half color, this unique film follows the life of an angel played by Bruno Ganz (“Downfall”) who desperately longs to feel what he cannot: human. It’s a beautifully thoughtful, pensive, and lush film that’s difficult to walk away from without a sense of awe and exuberance about being human. This German film also stars Peter Falk (“Columbo”). AWESOME

Yellow Submarine,” dir. George Dunning (1968).  If you like the Beatles songs and always wanted to know what they would be like on acid, you can’t go wrong with this movie. When the Blue Meanies attack Pepperland, it’s up to John, Paul, George, and Ringo to save the day…but not before some great music and some truly trippy animation. This 60s flick begs unite the world and say, “why can’t we all just get along?”  AWESOME

You, the Living,” dir. Roy Andersson (2009). This film is a collection of 50 interconnected sketches about the tragically humorous lives of several people living in Sweden. This movie is a comedic treasure and a biting celebration of the ludicrousness of our silly, human lives. GREAT

Zardoz,” dir. John Boorman (1974). Sean Connery (007 himself) sports a smashing mustache and bandolier of bullets and a bright red diaper as he runs around in the asexual future. This movie wants to be so important so badly yet it fails so gloriously, collapsing into a chaotic uber-pretentious mess of bizarre imagery and half-baked philosophy, that it’s hard for me to hate. If you like your sci-fi cinema weird and incomprehensible then this is the movie for you. Weirder and more nonsensical than “Highlander” but perhaps more enjoyable. MEH

Zazie dans le metro,” dir. Louis Malle (1960). One of the most energetic and absurd comedies you likely to stumble across. A delightful portrait of childhood and the ridiculousness of adulthood. Features Philppe Noiret (“Cinema Paradiso”). AWESOME

The previous films were only but a few of many. Both good and bad, all are worth further investigation and should be celebrated (perhaps some more than others) and shared and discussed. God bless the power of story telling…especially at its most daring and, yes, idiosyncratic.

To see list: Emperor Tomato Ketchup, Blood Tea and Red String, Liquid Sky, The Apple, Themroc, Begotten, Nasty Rabbit, A Lizard in Woman’s Skin, Arizona Dreams, Swimming to Cambodia, Sayonara Jupiter, Chained for Life, Kooky, Hypothesis of the Stolen Painting, Phantom of Liberty, Yeelen, Robot Carnival, Black Devil Doll from Hell, Raise Ravens, Air Doll, One Night in a City, Tales From the Gimli Hospital, Valeria and Her Week of Wonders, Autumn Spring, Idiots and Angels, Cassandra Cat, and so many more…