Weirdest Movies I’ve Seen…(A to L)

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. Please bear in mind that this list is limited to what films I have personally seen, but I do take suggestions.

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

3women

3 Women,” dir. Robert Altman (1977). It doesn’t seem all that weird. At first. Sure, the music seems a touch herky-jerky, but this one is really a slow burn. It’s a subtle sort of weird that creeps up on you in a very Altman way. Shelley Duvall, Sissy Spacek, and Janice Rule star in this dreamlike movie about adulation, denial, and who knows what else. It’s a great little movie. AWESOME

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

Altered States,” dir. Ken Russell (1980). William Hurt (“Dark City”) goes into a sensory deprivation box on hallucinogenic drugs for scientific research and transforms into a prehistoric ape creature. Bob Balaban (“Waiting for Guffman”) watches. Ken Russell truly is more of a mad scientist than a movie director and this science fiction horror flick shows it once more. Actually this might be one of his most normal films (along with “Women in Love”), but it’s still weird by normal movie standards. GOOD

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

Ashes and Snow,” dir. Gregory Colbert (2005). A hypnotic and visually stunning and poetic picture study of humans and animals. This gorgeously photographed non-narrative should make everyone walk away with a sense of wonder at the subtle and complex beauty of the human body, animal bodies, water, and sand whether still or in motion. GREAT

bad boy bubby

Bad Boy Bubby,” dir. Rolf d Heer (1993). Nicholas Hope gives a spellbinding performance as a physically, verbally, and sexually abused man who only recently has discovered the air outside his mother’s basement is not poisonous. There’s a weird innocence inside this deeply dark and grotesquely grim Australian cult oddity. It’s like a twisted “Being There” or “Enigma of Kaspar Hauser.” AWESOME

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

Beasts of the Southern Wild - 6

Beasts of the Southern Wild,” dir. Benh Zeitlin (2012). Adorable, little Quvenzhané Wallis gives a powerhouse performance in this fantastical Hurricane Katrina allegory and story of finding the stubbornness and the strength to carry on. It’s different and fun and pretty magical. Danger and angst and charging Aurochs abound. DECENT

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. GREAT

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”). GREAT

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

Blood of a Poet,” dir. Jean Cocteau (1930). A sumptuously surreal feast for the eyes. Cocteau’s imaginative visuals are wonderfully realized. Using cinematic wizardry and a sly poet’s sensibilities Cocteau fashions a Carrollian-Bunuelian world worthy of a Dali painting. AWESOME

blood of beasts

The Blood of Beasts,” dir. Georges Franju (1949). Burly Frenchmen covered in blood chain-smoking their way to an early grave hack various animals to bits in this startlingly honest vintage documentary about slaughterhouses. It’s a powerful film that should be watched by everyone who eats meat. It may not make you a vegetarian, but maybe you will appreciate what you are eating a little more. AWESOME

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

Blueberry,” dir. Jan Kounan (2004). A psychedelic western about ayahuasca. Despite some truly impressive (yet overlong and exhausting) drug trip sequences this movie is almost unwatchably bad and full of itself. Vincent Cassel (“Black Swan”), Michael Madsen (“Reservoir Dogs”), Juliette Lewis (“What’s Eating Gilbert Grape”), Ernest Borgnine (“The Poseidon Adventure”), Djimon Hounsou (“In America”), and Eddie Izzard (“The Cat’s Meow”) co-star in this awful, awful movie. BAD

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 theHalloween 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

Bronson,” dir. Nicolas Winding Refn (2008). Not your average biopic. Tom Hardy (“Inception”) is Charlie Bronson, Britain’s most famous and most violent and most bizarre prisoner. A brilliantly crafted film that takes us more into the character’s mind than anything else. The wonderfully stylized execution along with Hardy’s phenomenal performance brings Bronson’s subjective reality to life. AWESOME

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 (“The Guns of Navarone”), Peter Sellers (“The Pink Panther”), Woody Allen (“Manhattan”), Ursula Andress (“Dr. No”), Orson Welles (“Citizen Kane”), Barbara Bouchet, William Holden (“Network”), 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 Color of Pomegranates,” dir. Sergei Parajanov (1968). A remarkable slap in the face of Soviet neorealism. This “biopic” about the Armenian troubadour Sayat Nova is really a delirious fever dream or revelation of the man’s words more than the details of his life. It’s “Andrei Rublev,” “The Mill and the Cross,” and “The Holy Mountain” rolled into one but all its own and utterly plotless. This film is a series of abstract and poetic tableauxs that continue to surprise and wonder through the whole run time. 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

5

Confessions of an Opium Eater,” dir. Albert Zugsmith (1962). Vincent Price weirdly stars as a sort of action hero guy in old Chinatown with a mostly Asian cast. The story concerns the sex trade industry at the turn of the century. It’s weird for numerous reasons, the least of which is not the casting of Price for the lead. AWESOME

congress

The Congress,” dir. Ari Folman (2013). When Robin Wright (The Princess Bride) sells her identity to the future of film, she has no idea what she’s in for. A bizarre dystopia where drugs allow you to become animated versions of your favorite celebrities and a revolution is happening just outside. A wonderfully original film. AWESOME

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

The Crippled Masters,” dir. Kei Law (1979). A guy gets his arms cut off and another guy gets acid poured on his legs, but does that stop the kung-fu from happening? Of course not. Together the limb-deficient kung-fu fighters join forces to battle the evil humpbacked guy with the pervy mustache. The movie may get lost in the woods from time to time in deciding who and what the plot are actually about, but it’s fairly interesting watching these two guys fight. A weird Chinese curiosity that should make you feel at least a little uncomfortable. It’s actually not near as much fun as it should be though. MEH

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

Daisies,” dir. Vera Chytilová (1967). A wild, exuberantly surreal adventure with two leading ladies who love to exploit the meaninglessness of life with a good prank. In many ways it feels like a cross between “Easy Rider” and “Ghost World.” Colorful, humorous, innovative, and hypnotic. GREAT

"The Dance of Reality"

The Dance of Reality,” dir. Alejandro Jodorowsky (2014). Jodorowsky returns to film after a 23 year hiatus and explores his own origins and his relationship with his parents in this hyper-surreal autobiography that takes place in a version of Chile that could only exist in the mind of the original midnight movie cult filmmaker. AWESOME

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

Dead Man,” dir. Jim Jarmusch (1995). Johnny Depp (“Ed Wood”) stars as an accountant to murderer and fugitive in the old west. A strange, heavyset Native American (Gary Farmer) is his guide. It’s solidly weird and unabashedly slow. Sort of an existential acid western. Crispin Glover (“Back to the Future”), Robert Mitchum (“Cape Fear”), Gabriel Byrne (“Miller’s Crossing”), John Hurt (“The Elephant Man”), Lance Henriksen (“Aliens”), and Alfred Molina (“Chocolat”) have small roles. The scene with Iggy Pop and Billy Bob Thornton is pretty funny. GOOD

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

Don’t Look Now,” dir. Nicolas Roeg (1973). Child dies and then weird stuff happens. I don’t think it’s all supposed to add up, but it sure is photographed well. Donald Sutherland (“Invasion of the Body Snatchers”) and Julie Christie (“Dr. Zhivago”) star. GOOD

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

The Draughtsman’s Contract,” dir. Peter Greenaway (1982). It’s probably one of zany auteur Peter Greenaway’s more accessible films, but it’s still odd. As a randy young artist draws several angles of the glorious Herbert estate it becomes apparent that his illustrations may provide clues to a mystery. Features Anthony Higgins (“Young Sherlock Holmes”) and Hugh Fraser (“Agatha Christie’s Poirot”). GOOD

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. MEH

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

Dune,” dir. David Lynch (1984). While I may be of the opinion that most of this film just really does not work at all, I have to give props to Lynch for making one of the weirdest sci-fi flicks out there. Impressive designs and incomprehensible plot and cringe-worthy voice-over narrations make this bizarre, fractured epic at least something that won’t be easily forgotten. Stars Kyle MacLachlan (“Twin Peaks”), Sting, Jose Ferrar (“A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy”), Max von Sydow (“The Exorcist”), Brad Dourif (“Chucky”), Linda Hunt (“Silverado”), and others. Before oddball Lynch got this it was almost made by even bigger oddball Alejandro Jodorowsky with an elderly Salvador Dali and Pink Floyd. Ah, if only. BAD

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”). GOOD

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

Enter the Void,” dir. Gaspar Noé (2009). A drug dealer starts learning about reincarnation moments before his death and spends the rest of this POV movie as a voyeuristic soul. A slow-going occasionally psychedelic trip that I confess I never finished. DECENT

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

Everything is Terrible!: Doggie Woggiez! Poochie Woochiez!,” dir. Everything Is Terrible (2012). The guys who take random uncomfortable bits of forgotten VHS-dom and display them out of context to make them even more uncomfortable have taken found crap footage from crap dog movies and remade Alejandro Jodorowsky’s “The Holy Mountain.” This is their third feature and I have to give it props for looking to Jodorowsky when examining all of this garbage. FUN

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. Sort of like “Blade Runner” and “Total Recall” meets “Kung Fu Hustle.” DECENT

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

Flash Gordon,” dir. Mike Hodges (1980). Queen does the score and Max von Sydow (“Seventh Seal”), Brian Blessed (“Much Ado About Nothing), Topol (“Fiddler On the Roof”), Ornella Muti (“Oscar”), and Tomthy Dalton (“The Living Daylights”) costar in this oh-so-campy re-imagining of the classic serials. What makes this work is how much of it doesn’t work. Some people making this movie to think it was a joke while others seemed to take it extremely seriously. Despite much lunacy it does sport impressive art direction and sets. Queen seems to be phoning in the theme song. FUN

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

Freaked,” dir. Alex Winter and Tom Stern (1993). Easily one of the weirdest big budget studio movies ever…at least since “Beetlejuice” and it’s a whole lot weirder than that. Alex Winter (“Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure”) is a snotty celebrity who has to endorse an evil corporation’s toxic mistake but winds up as part of a mutated South American freak show run by Randy Quaid (“Christmas Vacation”). A gross-out surrealist farce that pulls some of the most anarchic punches feels like David Cronenberg adapting Mad Magazine. Bobcat Goldthwait plays a sockhead. FUN

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 Garbage Pail Kids Movie,” dir. Rod Amateau (1987). I must confess I have not seen this movie in its entirety. It it far too gross and too stupid. There is nothing I could wish for more than to eradicate these bizarre and objectionable images out of my head. This awful movie based on a popular series of trading cards make “Howard the Duck” look like a Georgia O’Keefe painting. BAD

Glen or Glenda,” dir. Edward D. Wood, Jr. (1953). This is easily the weirdest and my favorite Ed Wood movie. Renown for being one of the worst directors in history this particular film, just about sums the man up (yes, even more than “Plan 9 From Outer Space”). It’s a bizarre, surreal, docudrama about the daily struggles of transvestites, pseudo-hermaphrodites, and the rest of society trying to understand, but there’s also a lot of random bondage, suicide, hallucinations, police investigation, mad science, military stock footage, Satan, stampeding buffalo, and there’s at least three different narrators all trying to tell these incomprehensibly bad stories. Stars Wood and Bela Lugosi (“Dracula”). Ironically this and the rest of Wood’s awful cannon would inspire Tim Burton’s best film, “Ed Wood” (1994). FUN

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. Perhaps the first installment isn’t that weird, but trust me when I say that it’s four sequels (mostly dealing with China) get much weirder. 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

Heart of Glass,” dir. Werner Herzog (1976). A glass-maker in a weird isolated village dies and nobody knows how to make the secret ruby glass. It’s not the story so much as the rumor that the entire cast was allegedly hypnotized while filming. True or not it does feel that way. A very weird dreamlike mood permeates throughout. MEH

IMG_5406Heaven and Earth Magic,” dir. Harry Smith (1962). Terry Gilliam’s Python animations seem to be inspired by this film. It’s an amazing, hypnotic stream of consciousness bit of animated surrealism. 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

holy motors

Holy Motors,” dir. Leos Carax (2012). Denis Levant (“Tokyo!”) plays a man who enigmatically and compulsively continues to don peculiar roles and act out increasingly bizarre scenarios to seemingly almost no discernible purpose. I won’t be for everyone, but maybe it will be for you. AWESOME

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

hyp stolen paint

The Hypothesis of the Stolen Painting,” dir. Raoul Ruiz (1979). The very definition of “art film.” With its speedy run time, beautifully shot tableaux-vivants, and engaging aura of mystery there’s plenty to enjoy. Two narrators try to uncover the possible connections between a series of paintings and the only way to do that is to step inside them and analyze them from new angles. A brisk visual treat. GREAT

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 another country

In Another Country,” dir. Sang-soo Hong (2012). An elliptical dream that finds ways of being very modest while being really entertaining. I can’t tell if it’s really simple, or really complicated. Whatever it is it is enchanting and it sucks you in. GOOD

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

Just Imagine,” dir. David Butler (1930). This is a 1930 science fiction musical comedy about 1980. Flying cars, state-arranged marriages, racial caricature, insta-babies, Mars, and Prohibition. All at once. It’s a cheesy little triviality but kinda fun all the same. FUN

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

Kooky,” dir. Jan Sverak (2010). A lost pink teddy bear must make friends with the fickle forest guardians in order to get back home. Unlikely friendships, gorgeous cinematography, and remarkable marionette work bring this charming Czech story to life. It also has some of the best car chases I’ve seen in awhile. AWESOME

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

1

The Last Time I Saw Macao,” dir.  João Pedro Rodrigues and João Rui Guerra da Mata (2012). What appears to be random faceless footage of a trip to Macao has been overlaid with a strange noir mystery about the murder of a transgender singer. It might be the only film of its kind and it’s worth a look. GREAT

Last Year at Marienbad,” dir. Alain Resnais (1961). This was not a movie at all. It was a dream. Beautiful and enigmatic, this film is not your typical story by any means. Do I know what it all means? Maybe not. Do I like it anyway? Absolutely. GREAT

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. Let’s just say that towards the end a deceased Liszt flies out of heaven in a pan-flute rocket ship, powered by his former lovers, so he can launch missiles at zombie Hitler-Frankenstein-Wagner. 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

Your welcome. Sleep well.

A Lizard in Woman’s Skin,” dir. Lucio Fulci (1971). Perhaps a quintessential giallo film. It’s all a rather peculiar dream spectacle of murder, lesbianism, and LSD wrapped up in a surreal mystery plot. Several memorable and bizarre sequences make this a gem worth checking out. GREAT

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

For the continuation of the “Weirdest Movies I’ve Seen” click HERE.

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