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Donnie DarkoThe masterpiece I always hoped Lynch would create. Mixing bizarre elements into a gripping and complex tale of time-travel, this one doesn't get lost in twisted creativity but magically ties it all together with a carefully layered and clever plot. Donnie is a troubled youth who seems at first to be just another teenager out of touch with reality. An evil rabbit tells him to commit violence and that the world will end, he discusses theoretical physics with a teacher and smurf sex with his friends, has anger issues with hypocrisy and idiocy, and his hallucinations at first get worse until some scary, otherworldly logic starts to tie it all together...
DreamsFor some reason, it almost never occurred to me to add this classic movie as a surrealism. Perhaps because it captures simple dreams on film in such a visual, dreamy and slow-moving way that it appeals to a completely different part of the brain. Kurosawa directs this anthology of eight short movies attempting to capture his dreams and visions with vibrant color, all with varying themes and moods. Kurosawa often directs his movies in a meditative pace, but this one is quite extreme in this sense and will not appeal to the impatient or to people that don't experience this movie with the right side of the brain. Some images dig deep into the subconscious and stay there, like the ghost in the snow that meshes tactile textures while a man is passing out in a blizzard, or the dead men that emerge from a dark tunnel. The dreams range from childish innocence and imagination, to dark nightmares of war and hell involving commentary on society, to a magical art tour inside the paint of Van Gogh paintings, to a final optimistic and simple, happy utopia that is pure Kurosawa. Meditative magic.
Holy MotorsThis is a movie to love for its sheer bonkers humor, and yet it also finds and projects deep pathos in its main character. I see it as an homage to character acting, interesting faces, and heartfelt cinema, to actors that put their soul into their work and remain invisible. Except that, until it gets there, you get to be entertained by nine odd acting jobs that mess with your mind, blending acting setups into the real streets of Paris in surprising ways until the actors themselves become emotionally involved. The opening features Carax himself opening a secret door to a cinema full of sleeping people using his finger mutated into a key. Then we see Denis Lavant transform and throw himself into nine roles, including a reprise of his delightfully insane 'Merde' character from Tokyo!, this time satirizing models and their trained passive attitude in an unforgettable scene that must be seen to be believed. He also interacts with his chauffeur who cares for him, temporarily becomes a normal person for his daughter whom he punishes by telling her to live with herself, leads a parade of accordions during his break, and performs a dramatic musical stint with Kylie Minogue in a sad but magically dilapidated ex-department store. The rest are left as surprises, and just when the movie seems to be reaching a heartfelt ending, Carax pulls two more absurd jokes out of his sleeve. Silly, entertaining, gripping and touching all at the same time.
Hour-Glass Sanatorium, TheA masterpiece of surrealism presenting a character study and artsy meditations through dream-logic. A man's past, existentialist ruminations and relationships with his parents and women are explored in exquisite surrealism and incredibly detailed and odd sets. He visits his sick father in a dilapidated mansion with tombstones blocking the door, where they treat him using time-travel. He wanders between his bitter mother and eccentric father, his orthodox Jewish past and village, his obsessions, his fascination with the local voluptuous redhead, a young, innocent but clear-headed boy (youth), and his search for the mysterious Bianca (wife?) who comes from a conflicting culture, her father raising historical wax figures that are real people moving like puppets. All this and much more interweaves with many thoughts, psychological symbols, meditations on tradition and Jewish existentialism, the sets, locations and people appearing out of nowhere and flowing together like a dream. Drifts at times and is quite long, but altogether a beautiful, multi-layered, challenging and fascinating experience. This one goes very well together with Terayama's films.
I Can See YouA valiant and interesting attempt at psychological horror by way of Lynch, and I don't compare movies to Lynch lightly. It starts very slowly and roughly, draws in a patient and participating viewer during the middle section using deliberate slow atmosphere and sound, then comes together beautifully for the psychologically horrifying and highly surreal ending. Three young men working together in a marketing startup company decide to hike to the woods for a photo shoot. But how well do they know each other and what will emerge in their personalities when they are disconnected from the commercial world of plastic veneers, social masks and marketing facades? Several other elements all tie into this theme: One man is an amateur painter and is strangely challenged by portraits and faces, they are working on an ad for a liquid that cleans surfaces, there is blurriness in some pictures and in his eyesight that seems to have a hidden meaning, etc. Stick with it, and think about the theme, and it will all come together. How well do you know people and don't you prefer to see their facades clearly instead of their real, muddled and hidden personalities? This is Lynchian not only in its use of bizarre horror imagery, but also with an absurd personification of the subconscious, and the theme of underlying darkness. An underrated movie that worked for me even on second viewing, which obviously turned most viewers off due to its slow pace and very confusing final 20 minutes that don't explain a thing. But this is a hidden gem for the discerning, thinking fan of surreal psychological horror despite its low rating.
InkThis is one of those magical-realist blends of sci-fi, surrealism and fantasy like Donnie Darko and MirrorMask. For the first half you will be held by its grip, a new world opens up and its rules and elements very slowly unfold. People appear in a flash in the middle of the night and link to human dreams and nightmares, strange black figures with faces hidden behind glasses and warped transparent screens, a strange disfigured character kidnaps a girl, warriors fight, and so on, all wonderfully filmed to give the impression of other dimensions at work. The story of a man and his daughter emerges, their relationship and a troubled past. The second half has one flaw in that it explains everything to death, but despite this pandering to brainless audiences, it works nicely and the human, surreal, metaphysical and emotional threads reach an obvious but wonderful climax.
John Dies at the EndAn underrated, superbly entertaining and endlessly inventive genre-bender from Coscarelli that will keep you on your toes. I can't say that the movie is structured well, and the approach seems to be to just keep throwing insane absurdities and endlessly bizarre comical horror at the audience, but the writing is so deliciously inventive and witty that it becomes an instant cult hit. There are endless ways to describe this movie (for example, Supernatural meets slacker comedy twisted around the spine of Naked Lunch), but none will do it justice, and the plot is too convoluted to describe either. There is soy sauce that gives you supernatural powers, creatures made up of frozen meat, parallel dimensions with computerized Lovecraftian monsters and a welcoming committee of breasts and masks, Vonnegut-style time-travelling, and much much more. Vastly entertaining and highly recommended.
Kin-Dza-DzaA delightful cult movie if I ever saw one. A very low-budget sci-fi fantasy from Russia, this tells the tale of two hapless pedestrians who accidentally get sent to another world and try to make their way back while trying to survive the severe and absurd class system of another planet. Amongst other things in this absurdly hilarious world, people are defined by a colorful gadget, yellow pants and flashing light head-gear and the lowly must perform terrible musical numbers in cages. Matches are worth their weight in gold, and the vocabulary consists of about 10 words, with 'Kuh' covering everything else. Endlessly inventive and guaranteed to satisfy silly cult movie fans.
Midori-koHighly surreal and unique Japanese animation that is quite an experience. It is surreal not only in content, but in style, which uses lovingly hand-drawn, semi-static, but shimmering charcoal images that, like dreams, are instantly identifiable but hazy, full of not-quite-defined detail. A little girl wishes for a world of vegetables and vegetarians, and promptly finds herself in a bizarre grotesque world with a food shortage, in a house where they are growing manure in the basement, where she is trying to grow strange vegetables with the help of her creature-computer. Her friends and acquaintances are strange hybrids, half human half fruit, or half fish, and five bizarre sense-creatures (nose, ear, mouth, eye and hand creatures) are creating their own alien seed. One vegetable escapes and finds a home with the girl, and promptly grows a face to avoid being eaten, except that everyone becomes strangely obsessed with this vegetable-human and wants to eat it. Thus, food, hunger and people mix in this surreal nightmare. The frenzy grows, an old pervert man keeps appearing in the shower, and a menacing robot in the toilet, and the sense-creatures frequently mutate into an orgiastic mass of flesh and song while chasing down their creation, leading to an insane climax that will make your mind explode. A must-see for fans of bizarre and dark animations. You won't know what to make of it, but it's mesmerizingly strange.
Mood IndigoThis is actually the third film adaptation of this cult surreal novel after a weaker 60s movie and a non-surreal Japanese version, and this third try by Michel Gondry is definitely the best, although it is not without its difficulties. The story uses surrealisms, absurdities and whimsy to tell two magical love stories that go sour (to say the least), one due to illness, and the other thanks to an unhealthy obsession with a 'spoonerized' philosopher. Thus the tone veers from quirky, imaginative and magical, to tragedy and depressive darkness, and it is important to know this in order to approach the movie prepared. Gondry's inventive and quirky visual style is perfect for this material, and nothing even in Gondry's own repertoire can prepare you for this never ending feast for the eyes and the imagination. It throws all logic and science out the window, depicting people in an alternate world with a pet human-mouse as part of the family that has his/her own elaborate transport system inside the house, a reality typed by a room full of typists with typewriters on conveyor belts, television cooking shoes that interact with the audience in impossible ways, steampunk computers that visually zoom in on anywhere in the city, clothes that are alive, weapons built by incubating them with human warmth, doorbells that run around the house and regenerate themselves, split-screen weather, underwater marriage ceremonies, the famous 'pianocktail', and much more more. Except the people are real, the absurd props and behaviour are recognizable in surreal ways, paralleling our lives, and the tragedy hits hard. As a visual feast, this is a masterpiece. As a story it is quite simple, and not so interesting. In addition, the first half may feel like an endless whimsical music video, while the second half veers into jarring darker territory. But, taken as a whole, the movie manages to capture something more: For, amidst the magical absurdities of love enhanced by physical impossibilities, what can be more absurd and more fitting than unexpected tragedy and death?
Mr. NobodyDormael creates another metaphysical challenging movie eighteen years after Toto the Hero. Similar to that movie, this is also slightly messy with too many ideas and no sharp focus and vision, but also features superb visual playfulness and plenty to meditate on. The themes are choices, randomness, an unfair life based on minuscule details, meaningful consequences no matter what they may be, and the state of infinite potentialities versus the necessity to make a single choice. These heady themes are explored through the eyes of a man who seems to live multiple alternate realities, each with a different wife and love of his life, resulting also in very different lifestyles and endings. His memory is a jumble, his timeline is anything but linear, and his realities often bleed into each other in daydream-logic. He is also living as an old man in the future where he is the last mortal man having to face his own death, as well as in a detailed sci-fi fantasy involving a trip to Mars. There are plenty of questions to muse over backed by a constant stream of visual inventiveness to jar you out of each reality. This is not coldly technical like a Nolan movie and is more European in its meditative style, neither is it as sharply focused and rewarding as an Aronofsky, but perhaps we can say it is somewhere between Resnais, Julio Medem and Donnie Darko, and comes recommended.
Nine Lives of Tomas Katz, TheA great absurdist surrealist comedy from the UK. A being emerges from the sewer on the day of a solar eclipse and starts the apocalypse. Only this isn't raging fire and brimstone or a comet, but pure chaos at every level of existence. He exchanges personalities with various people and antagonizes the system and reality, shutting down the London Underground by turning it into a cult and passage to the afterlife, policemen report window conspiracies, fishery ministers declare war, the government's assets are transferred to an old man's bank account, a talk show spouts random nonsense about the situation, an ultimately empty-headed man with god-like powers makes things disappear, etc. A blind policeman with strong ties to the spiritual world tries to stop this through the astral plane. The cinematography shifts randomly from music-video to silent film, the soundtrack changes from middle-eastern chants to trance music, and people get stuck in a film-loop. The atmosphere is as if David Lynch were filming absurdities instead of nightmares, portraying a dream-logic picture of reality itself falling apart, all systems buckling under a spiritual force of chaos, one with a strong sense of black humor. It's truly a one-of-a-kind movie with a special atmosphere that involves many senses and levels of thought. Fascinating and very amusing in highly unusual ways.
1-IchiA prequel to the incredible Ichi the Killer (Miike) directed by his cinematographer. This low-budget, twisted work may indulge itself in too many pointless camera tricks and suffer under its minuscule budget, but its acting, story-telling and black heart are all in the right place. This is Ichi-lite, the high-school version. Ichi is constantly bullied even by small kids but is perversely attracted to extreme cruelty and butcher shops. Mr Dai is a superb and brutal boxer with an existential need to be the number one fighter in all high-schools. When the riveting Onizami joins in and changes the rules of the game by breaking bones with uncompromising brutality, Ichi explodes into a perverse, sado-maso killing machine.
PersonaBy far the most enigmatic and abstract creation by the existential Ingmar Bergman. This one baffles and evokes numerous interpretations but always creates a spell. My own impression is that this is an ultimate study of existentialism and being. As usual, Bergman asks more questions than he answers: What makes us who we are? How do we separate ourselves from the influences, traumas, masks, and habits that make up our character? What if we are only masks and actors? An actress breaks down after a dark epiphany because she does not know who she is anymore and a nurse takes care of her, effectively becoming her soul (Alma). Personalities transfer, they merge until even the husband cannot see who is who. The actress studies and tries to transfer Alma's character to her own, even sucking her blood in the process. Alma goes along at first but then resists and learns her own self. Words in an erotic story are so vivid they become reality, the film breaks down at a character development climax and forces us to remember we are only seeing masks. The film provokes the audience with random provocative images and the actresses are themselves affected by photographs of real traumatic events. Many more intriguing details appear after multiple viewings. A treat for people that like to be challenged.
Sea That Thinks, TheThe equivalent of staring at Escher drawings while contemplating existential philosophy for 100 minutes, this endlessly inventive movie is fiercely self-referential. Incredible, live, 3d optical illusions and uniquely inventive special effects punctuate a meditation on what we are and what is the mind's I, serving as mental provocations in the best tradition of Dada art. The movie shows a character who is writing the movie, and the movie dictates the character and his actions. Real life seeps into the movie but becomes part of the movie, etc. But this is just the tip of the iceberg, as every other minute there is another self-referential game, wonderfully imaginative twists, and jaw-dropping illusions, all coming together as a mental gymnasium while the character reaches an existential crisis and nearly goes insane. The movie has superb momentum and timing, knowing when to pile on the mind-warping tricks, and when to stop for Tarkovsky-esque meditation. This is the movie Being John Malkovich wished it were. Ultimately re-watchable.
Secret Adventures of Tom Thumb, TheSvankmajer would have been proud of this one. A re-imagining of the Tom Thumb fairy-tale that is both grotesque and cruel/dark, perhaps a bit too cruel. But the imagination, visuals and painstaking stop-motion animation work are all superb. Tom is born to a sick mother after an artificial insemination accident involving an insect. He is a tiny doughy-fetus-like creature, and the evil laboratory powers-that-be soon kidnap him for some cruel experimentation in an astounding lab full of grotesque living body-parts and mutated creatures. An escape with the help of a lizard-like creature leads him to a little city of tiny people like him, one of which found a way to wage war on the giants. Everything is slimy and crawling with bugs, and the humans are real actors that have been filmed in stop-motion style with a seamless integration with their clay counterparts. I can only imagine how painful that must have been to film. The ending is disappointingly unrewarding, and the cruelty sometimes seems gratuitous, but the trip is still worth it
Small Gauge TraumaGreat short movies are getting lost amidst thousands of unseen little pieces out there that never get distributed. Synapse and Fantasia film festival attempt to correct this by releasing a compilation of the best and most striking sick little shorts from the past few years. Hopefully, there will be more of these releases. Features 13 various shorts, of which at least a handful are guaranteed to be exceptional. Standouts: "Abuelitos" - an atmospheric, disturbing short that gets under your skin about old men in a decrepit building and their mysterious meals and hygiene habits, "Love From Mother Only" - a horrifying gore movie about evil, sex and possession, Tea Break - both hilarious and sickening featuring a conveyor belt human abattoir, and "The Separation" - a stop-motion poetic, twisted and depressing piece about separated siamese twins that long to get back together.
StayA mainstream, subtly surreal movie with some Lynchian aspirations. A psychiatrist tries to help a strange and suicidal college student who for some reason knows he is going to kill himself in three days time. His girlfriend, who was also suicidal in the past, tries to help, but things become more and more confusing. The movie uses many great transitions and beautifully tricky cinematography and editing that reminded me of Robert Lepage, and many subtle odd touches such as multiple twins and triplets, time-bending and time-loops, some fantasy, or pants that are too short, to drop hints of what is to come. The ending kinda ties it all together, but not necessarily in a logical sense, and you have to think about it as a right-brain, dream-logic, emotional experience driven by human needs to extract the factual details from the rest. Because of all this, viewers of this movie either tend to wrongfully hype this movie's genius, or discard it as empty and confusing, but it's a good movie nevertheless and beautifully put together, subtly evading the twists that experienced movie-goers will easily predict by not allowing it to fit too neatly into these theories. A good, albeit relatively inferior companion piece to Donnie Darko, but a slightly better variation of The I Inside.
Survive Style 5+5 intertwined crazy plot-lines with insanely colorful cinematography. A man repeatedly kills his wife only to have her come back more annoyed than ever, a family man is hypnotised into thinking he's a bird with unfortunate consequences, teenage thieves deal with a homosexual complex, a maker of crazy commercials tries to deal with annoying coworkers and husbands, and a British hit-man asks his victims their function in life via a Japanese interpreter. Visually stunning, very entertaining (but with a flawed, overlong second half), and works at several levels, one being the connecting theme of karma and accepting things in life in order to survive.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre, TheA unique classic that set the standard for backwoods horror dementia and atmosphere, and which has never been duplicated since. A group of youngsters, one disabled and prone to morbid interests and childish tantrums, stay unexpectedly at an old heirloom house, and encounter an extremely demented neighbour family with deranged obsessions for the meat industry and slaughter houses. Avoids the Hollywood teenage-horror cliches, masterfully builds a horrific and brutal atmosphere mostly thanks to a great sound design and a unique gritty style of cinematography, as well as the horrific and brutal dementia of the family, and is still very disturbing and unrelenting today. Features an unforgettable insane dinner scene with a killer great-grandfather, and it introduced Leatherface, his human-skin-mask, and his chainsaw.
ThreadsOf all the movies about a nuclear holocaust, this one emerges not only as one of the best, but also as the most brutally, relentlessly and mercilessly realistic. It is actually more of a 'documentary' than a movie, and that is one of its flaws. But the terror and horrors are indescribably intense and disturbing. It's a systematic British depiction of what will happen when a nuclear war breaks out, focusing on the residents of Sheffield England from days before the attack until over a decade later when humanity has been reduced to animalistic survivors with almost no hope. The attack itself is riveting in its intense terror, and then it deteriorates from there. Forget The Day After or Testament; this one is backed by science and an educational narrative, and holds nothing back, except that its flaw is that it focuses masochistically only on the worst case scenarios, hopping from one nightmare scene to another relentlessly without giving us much time to get to know the characters and without developing much of a story. Its power is undeniable, however, and has shaken many to their cores.
Tokyo!I'm not usually a fan of anthologies or the popular triptych omnibus approach to releasing short movies, but this is the most successful and delightfully strange one yet. The theme is the effect of life in a big city taken to absurd extremes, and these movies could have been based in any city except they use some Tokyo-specific details. Michel Gondry's "Interior Design" whimsically explores the attempts of some youngsters to find their place in the city, with amusing battles involving apartment-hunting and car-pound bureaucracy. When a girl finds herself superfluous and lost, her body mutates into something more useful... Leos Carax's "Merde" features an inspired unforgettable creation in the misanthropic sewer-dwelling foreigner with a crooked red-beard and a language that involves high-pitched grunts and slapping. When he terrorizes the city with general abuse and old Nanking grenades, they take him to trial. Bong Joon-Ho's "Shaking Tokyo" is my favorite, dealing with a hikikomori (Japanese city-hermit) with OCD who falls for a pizza-delivery-girl and forces himself to go out of his house for the first time in 11 years with surreal results. Everyone seems to have their own favorite, but I like how all three different but inventive shorts join forces to create a delightful portrait of extreme city life.
Upstream ColorCarruth finally follows up on Primer nine years later with an even more challenging, existential and abstract experiment. It's one of those rare movies that are so dense with mysterious details, you'll keep snapping pieces of the puzzle into place with every viewing, and you'll keep watching it because you sense that it's not just weirdness for its own sake. Thoreau's 'Walden' and his views on transcendentalism are a big key in deciphering this one. It explores themes of stolen or borrowed identities, people that live without their own identity, a breakdown of self-understanding, society and civilization as potential maladies, people that try to rebuild again after their self has been broken or stolen, and their emotions or connections with other people as well as the physical/natural world. There's a 'Thief' that uses grubs to control other people, playing with their perception and control of reality and stealing their money and lives. There's a very abstract character of 'The Sampler' who records sounds onto machinery as well as people's identities onto pigs, who seems to go beyond psychically observing lives to being some kind of a warden of souls. There are emptied victims that find each other, a cycle of life portrayed via worms, pigs and orchids, shared and stolen memories, and a symbolic, transcendental breakthrough through orchids, isolation, and water. All this should provide more than enough keys to unravelling the mystery, and the movie's density and uniquely challenging viewing experience ensure that it can't be spoiled. I would have liked more insight, humanity and depth once the puzzle is solved, but I loved the method it used to communicate, merging cold abstraction, challenging terseness, intelligence, surrealism, and existential need.
Of Some Interest
ABCs of Death, TheA very colorful and extreme production of 26 horror shorts, each named after a letter in the alphabet and given to a director to do with it what they will. And boy, do they let go of all restraints and limitations. The wide variety covers everything from disturbing horror to artsy nastiness, disgusting comedy, gruesome violence, general insanity and tongue-in-cheek extreme comedy. Of the 26, the following are the most bizarre and extreme (but not necessarily the best): 'F is for Fart' by Iguchi features death by poison farts, lesbian teacher love, death clouds and other silly surprises. There is a very strange killer in 'G is for Gravity' and that's all you can say about this puzzling one. Going completely bonkers is 'H is for Hydro-Electric-Diffusion' involving a fox-stripper, a dog-audience, Nazism and campy death-machines. Yudai Yamaguchi lends another cartoonishly mad Japanese short involving a man making impossible gruesome faces during a hara-kiri ('J is for Jidai-geki'). The hilariously disgusting animation 'K is for Klutz' features death by... well, I can't say it. 'L is for Libido' is a really sick one involving masturbation contests mixed with torture porn, killings for entertainment, and increasingly sick 'erotic' shows. Forzani-Cattet deliver another psychedelic visual short of textures, sound, leather, bubbles and violence in 'O is for Orgasm'. Some gruesome hospital & skin-disease splatter is offered in the impenetrably artsy and puzzling 'R is for Removed'. 'W for WTF' is an insane chaotic montage of psychedelic horror imagery including over-the-top splatter. 'X is for XXL' is a truly nasty & gory but barbed satire on how society abuses fat women and how women torture themselves. 'Y is for Young Buck' is a surreal take on child sexual abuse involving hunter symbolism and graphic violence. 'Z is for Zetsumetsu' by Yoshihiro Nishimura is by far the most insane of the bunch, and that's saying a lot. I have no idea what it is about, but it involves Dr. Strangelove, a Nazi woman with a monster penis, projectile vaginal-vegetables and penises being chopped up into a meal, a gory fight scene with nudity, maggots, and a food commercial. Altogether a very mixed bag as expected, with several good ones, but even the bad shorts are too short to do anything but surprise you.
Acid HouseA twisted triptych of tales on the topic of losers who have really lousy lives only to get hit by something worse to make things more miserable. The first one is dumped by his team-mates, girlfriend, and parents, arrested, and then God punishes him by turning him into a fly. The second marries a pregnant slut and is forced to take care of the baby while she has loud sex with the violent neighbour who steals his electricity. The third vulgar idiot takes drugs to avoid marriage and is hit by lightening only to find he has switched bodies with a new born baby (to the horror of the parents). A lurid, fast-paced, surreal exercise in nasty dark humor.
Adam 2Delightfully surreal and odd, groundbreaking, but plotless Polish animation from 1968 (with German intertitles). A man escapes his humdrum life with endless imaginative fantasies and memories. The inside of his head communicates with a girl at a train station, and he fantasizes about resting his detached head on her lap, people and objects mutate freely into other objects or creatures Bill-Plympton style, a business meeting turns into a Kafka-esque nightmare where they try to literally reshape his head, and so on. Daydreams turn into full blown fantasies involving witches, him as Superman, chasing angels in heaven, travelling on a time-machine, or being chased by God after stealing a numbered fruit from Eden. Many other fantasies are just bizarre and often lose themselves in freewheeling imagery. Some sequences are reminiscent of Plympton except the animation style is very different, some are silly free-associative absurdities with cut-outs reminiscent of Gilliam, and most others are just plain off-the-wall. Unfortunately the movie is just a sequence of incohesive fantasy scenes, but it's fun anyways.
AdrénalineA collection of 13 French shorts and vignettes, ranging from nightmarish to absurd to surreal. One recurring theme in several shorts is technology getting a life of its own as cars and trains drive their drivers to scary destinations, surveillance cameras turn into aggressive robot-insects, ceilings lower themselves threatening to crush everyone and everything in the room, and a TV abuses its viewers at home in every channel until they order a TV exorcist to do battle with the evil contraption. The most surreal short features a man obsessed with cutting the legs off flies and gluing them in a meticulous pattern on his wall, another short features a man who has to overcome several fatal booby traps before he buys a house (this was way before Saw), another shows a man donating his face to art for a new violent sculpturing technique, and so on.
Adventures of God, TheAnother intellectual metaphysical movie by Subiela, this one employing surrealism to explore life itself. A man emerges from the sea and walks to a strange beach-hotel where abandoned luggage is piled up in the lounge and men line up to look through keyholes. He knows he is in a dream and even grows to think he is living someone else's dream. He discusses various aspects of this dream-life with a mysterious woman who serves as his emotional guide, considering whether it would be good to leave this life, how it is possible to enjoy it, and whether it would be better to confront or kill the person or God who is dreaming them. The movie is existential and mesmerizing, but not particularly insightful or coherent, and it simply tries to hard to be weird and Lynchian, yet at the same time is very anchored in its intellectualism. The guests in the hotel talk in random absurdities or pseudo-profound aphorisms, a priest advises to masturbate, a man congratulates another on being an imbecile as expected, people line up to peer through a keyhole to see strange or kinky erotica, miracles transform a picture of a suffering Jesus into a toy for a young boy, a lottery metes out deaths, and mothers are consumed. Intriguing but unrewarding.
Aerial, The (AKA Antena)A TV mogul has taken over the world, stealing all the people's voices except for one hooded singer whom he uses as entertainment. He plots to take away more from the people while feeding them TV cookies but a group may have found a way to topple his tyrannical rule with the help of a boy with no eyes. Weird elements include a rat-like henchman, a man with a screen covering his face, balloon suits and more. This is visual candy, but empty, like an MTV homage to 20s expressionism and fantasy with a nod to Guy Maddin. The style is a shiny silent film, but the dialogue is splayed all over the screen with endlessly inventive and distracting text effects. I'm also not sure as to how they communicate and why they move their lips even though they have no voice, and why bells make noise but machine guns make text effects.
AftermathA beautifully shot sick movie. This short features high production values, great camera work and colors, crystal clear sound, no dialogue, very realistic special effects and extreme graphic detail of an autopsy and necrophilia while performing an autopsy. The ending is as subtle as it is thought-provoking and raises this whole sickening work into the single most gut-wrenching and extreme expression of irony ever made.
After the Day BeforeHungarian Lynchian murder-mystery in a pastoral setting. A man is looking for a house in the country he supposedly inherited. He wanders between sparse homes and their strange occupants in search of his home, but everything feels off and disjointed, and the local folk seem to be occupied with dark secrets involving violence. Dreams merge into reality, blackouts transport him and us to different places and times in the non-linear story, with key objects that include snail shells with a hole in them, and a broken watch and toy. As far as tension, odd mystery and atmosphere go, this film is masterfully constructed. But, disappointingly, the movie goes nowhere and ends up being a murder-mystery exercise that makes absolutely no sense, perhaps a bit like a Robbe-Grillet story, which would be interesting except the motivations are completely missing and everybody as well as nobody seems to have committed a crime.
Alice in WonderlandAny adaptation of Alice is going to be labelled as surreal, but this French TV movie for kids from the 70s even adds its own layers of wackiness, crazy visuals, wordplay and psychedelia. It's very cheaply made though, with live action against a bewildering backdrop of crudely drawn and very bright colors. The director adds superimpositions, nutty musical scenes, a wide range of silly costumes, psychedelic backgrounds, many little surreal visual details that he thought would add more dimensions to the already surreal story, many games with words, and other constant surprises. Basically LSD for kids.
Allegro Non TroppoDisney has nothing on this animated movie that tries to put both silly and adult-oriented surreal imagery to classical pieces. The wrapper is live-action featuring a stream of odd gags and surreal slapstick as a producer tries to present the animations drawn by an artist who was locked up in a dungeon, accompanied by an orchestra of old ladies, while drawings, cartoon characters, and gorillas disrupt the proceedings and turn reality into a cartoon. Debussy's Prelude shows an old Faun trying to seduce young girls and finds that he cannot, as the women turn into surreal unreachable objects and merge into his world and scenery. There's Ravel's Bolero accompanied by a surreal montage of evolving life and society, all emerging from a coke bottle. A Slavonic Dance by Dvorak is accompanied by a comedy of trends as a herd of people emulate a pioneer in a dance of absurdisms. Valse Triste by Sibelius shows nostalgic visions of family life as imagined by a mangy, abandoned and sad cat. And Stravinsky's Firebird turns the story of Adam and Eve into a surreal montage of overwhelming materialism and devilry as triggered by a snake eating the apple. Fun at times, silly at others, and, overall, an entertaining and surreal spoof of Fantasia.
Alone (Sami)This Croatian oddity starts as an intriguing meditation on loneliness, then changes into a disappointingly near-conventional psychological thriller with a twist. A man lives in what looks like a dark dilapidated warehouse with his woman, their relationship a shambles as well. Dialogue is minimal or uncomfortable and fragmented, sex is mechanical, while each obsesses over their own weird fetishes. He takes an erotic picture of her then leaves her alone to brood over it, she has a strange affinity for fish in her bath, and so on. One day he accidentally kills a boy and covers it up. He collects sounds, and has an affair with a strange woman who provides him with sounds in a garbage-dump marketplace, but his past starts to catch up with him. Unfocused.
Alone in the T-Shirt ZoneAmateurish dream-logic explores the mind of a persecuted almost-braindead young man in an insane asylum. For some unknown reason, he is constantly being chased by women who want him, use him, and get him in trouble, to the point where his own doctor rapes him while he's in a vegetative state. Memories of his life as a T-Shirt designer help unravel his past, with several objects and words repeating themselves as in a dream, especially a mysterious t-shirt that says "Foxy Lady". Bugs and mice crawl under everything, t-shirts magically change to express their wearers' personality and intentions, and a drug causes him to experience a dream where t-shirts are pulled out of his intestines. Unfortunately, the acting is very stiff, hokey and awkward, and the writing doesn't lead to anything.
American Astronaut, TheCory McAbee seems to live in his own world populated by very eccentric, catchy and silly music, and I wouldn't be surprised if he were influenced by Zappa. This is his debut feature after a few unusual musical shorts, and its a bizarre sci-fi creation with its own funny rules that sometimes made me think of Maddin. Samuel Curtis is on a trading mission to exchange a cat for a real live girl, which he trades on Mars for the "Boy Who Actually Saw a Woman's Breast" so he can bring the Venusian women a new King. See, women and sex have become extinct ever since the women discovered they can reproduce on their own and moved to Venus. So he takes part in a weird dance competition, is chased by a killer who only kills for no reason and who performs an insane dance over many little piles of ashes that were once men, picks up Bodysuit a stinky Earth boy, and witnesses the miners get their morale boosted by a two word description of breasts. All obviously peppered with McAbee's unique brand of rock music and musical scenes.
Amanece Que no Es PocoOne-of-a-kind Spanish surreal comedy that is so dense with gags, eccentricities, sketches, characters, fantastical absurdities and punchlines, that it is almost impossible to describe. It takes place in a village where the locals take magical happenings and surreal personality quirks in stride, even brushing it off with cynicism. A drunk man splits into two people and the priest warns him about his double's behaviour, a woman finds a man growing in her field and decides to try him out as her boyfriend, elections vote not only for a mayor, but also for the military police versus the secret police, and they also vote for women in the roles of Bitch and Adulteress, a cynical sage is growing out of the ground in the entrance to the town, a Russian choir and dance group entertain in the local church, a man levitates to heaven but complains about the bad timing, police instruct teenagers how to grope each other better, and so on and on. At first, there are so many characters, it feels like a series of sketches, but then it develops. I sense that many jokes and cultural references flew over my head, but there is plenty of amusement and surprises left even for outsiders.
Angel MineA series of surreal and absurd vignettes structured chaotically like a Monty Python episode. The theme is marriage and society, as depicted by a couple with their marriage on the rocks. The opening scene shows him emerging from the ocean as a sailor, trying to dress her as she sits naked on a toilet seat on the beach while guests draw near. We then learn they are fighting over dressing and toiletries in order to visit friends they don't want to visit. Commercials promise marital bliss via various products, Death mows the lawn and drinks beer, absurd TV shows and radio programmes hover in the background, there are gender and religious politics over a gory abortion, and all the while, their evil, lusty, animalistic, cruel doppelgängers, dressed in leather, stalk them with plans to torture them.
Another Trip to the MoonIndonesian strangeness that starts as a meditative and visually beautiful fable that takes place in a magical forest, then it starts injecting absurd elements from the modern world into the fairy tale, drawing parallels between myth and modern culture. At least that's what you think it's about, until the UFO appears, and then you just give up and try to enjoy the movie nevertheless because it is so pretty. Drawing from Indonesian legends and myths which I know nothing about, it tells the tale of Asa, a Shaman's daughter who ran away into the woods with her female friend to live in nature, until her mother with the help of a TV screen as medium, sends a man-dog creature after her and she falls in love. There's no dialogue, only simple melodies and repetitive chants and lots of nature. The forest is full of magical half-human creatures, wind-up plastic bunnies, dangerous lightning, undead rituals and other forms of magic, until she takes the bus home to her mother, that is.
AntibirthThis horror movie lives in its own reality. It's protagonists are the dregs of humanity: First and foremost is Lou, a party-animal that eats rotten pizza, takes any drug indiscriminately, has no idea when she had sex last, and ignores freaky skin diseases and mutated feet as minor annoyances. There's also a crazy conspiracy lady that seems completely insane (or is she?), an immoral friend who only cares about money, a mutilated woman who is exploited for her clean urine by a criminal who deals with various stuff that comes his way, including stolen experimental chemicals. When Lou very slowly realizes she may be pregnant, things become really freaky, leading to a completely insane ending. There is some nasty gore, but it isn't a gore movie as much as it is a freak show movie that may as well have been made by aliens. Although people are calling this 'body-horror', the characters are so removed from reality, that nothing seems to faze them, even physically impossible freaky stuff, which makes this movie more like an insane alien art piece made under the influence, rather than a horror movie that gets under your skin. The party girls have a ball being as insanely irresponsible as they can though.
ArcanaVery weird supernatural horror movie by the maker of Death Laid an Egg. A woman is exploiting a large group of people by faking psychic powers, promising them resolution of their various psychological problems and haunted pasts. Her strange son, whom she has a borderline incestuous relationship with, is disgusted by the whole affair, only he has real powers. He unleashes magic that grows increasingly more bizarre and confusing, abusing and molesting the customers, releasing an evil poltergeist twin that grows more powerful and abusive, collecting many strange objects and hanging them all over the city, gaining control over some kids, using them for general malicious deeds, and before you know it, frogs come out of people's mouths, a strange dwarf appears with ominous messages, and indescribable things happen to crowds in a train and the streets that are for some reason mixed with scenes from a Macedonian rite.
Asylum SeekersThe first half of this movie is an unbearable mix of reality-game-show mentality with Forbidden Zone camp, featuring 'insane' contestants with stupid names like 'evangelical nihilist' and 'nymphomaniac virgin' competing to get the last bed in an insane asylum by having each obnoxious actor try to chew on more scenery than his peer. The mysterious 'The Beard' watches them from loudspeakers, while a nurse takes them through various odd colorful tests, including one where they get to perform on stage in an 'Insane Idol'. Yes, it's that dumb and obnoxious. But then it goes surreal and teases with satirical points that are not quite explored. Their insane fantasies are tested by fulfilling them in a virtual world, reality keeps twisting after they take some pills, including one reality where they all have animal heads, and another where they perform an autopsy with a gang of fake-moustache-wearing professors. Who will get to have a life in the wonderful insane asylum, and who will be equipped to leave and run the world? Mildly interesting in the second surreal half, but undeveloped and undisciplined.
Atrocity Exhibition, TheBased on the experimental book by J.G. Ballard that explores the mind of an insane man using segmented but abstractly linked chapters. The mind is deeply affected by recent atrocities and media events like Marylin Monroe, Kennedy, Challenger, various wars, as well as other difficult and disturbing concepts such as gory plastic surgery, the dangers of cars and extreme car crashes, pornography, etc. All of these are linked together in the mind and visually in the movie through geometry, shapes, common features, often shockingly juxtaposing entities such as sex with a model and Ronald Reagan, and car crash dummies with sexual positions (he also wrote Crash). Important events are recreated and warped through imagination, and then analyzed metaphysically by the scientists who are fascinated by his insanity. The effect is occasionally interesting and mind-opening in a twisted way but the overall movie is tedious to sit through and unrewarding.
Attic Expeditions, TheAn attempt at Lynchian dream-logic mystery and dark subject matter with confusing plot jumps. A man finds himself plagued by memories of a dark ritual involving a murder, he may or may not be locked in an insane asylum with a doctor who is after his occult knowledge, he finds himself in a House of Love where his fellow patients seem to have secret agendas, a ghostly girlfriend with confusing purposes is at his back, and an attic with a nightmarish trunk haunts him. The movie fails because it has none of the talented nightmarish atmosphere of Lynch, and the acting is too mediocre and flat to convince anyone. This is one of those where you constantly see the cogs turning instead of enjoying the escapism.
Attimo di Vita, Un (Moment of Life)Italian cult movie that was censored, full of anti-establishmentarian symbolism and surrealism and a lack of plot. Naked youth puts on pure white clothes and become entangled with an angry man on an existential adventure. Society literally overruns them in a crowded town of regular people, they are exploited for sex, emerge from an occult gateway, party and dance, they rebel, and rebel some more, wear black and grow violent or suicidal, and eventually, come up with some plot to fake a kidnapping and extract money from their bourgeoisie parents that keep their dining room out in the open fields. A chaotic weird one that could only have emerged from the 70s.
AUN: The Beginning and the End of All ThingsA magical and mystical movie, except that that's all it has to offer as you will be none the wiser regarding any narrative, plot or meaning even after the ending. But the experience is a rich and perplexing one in a good way. The themes are nature and man, science and new sources of energy (no alarmist or human-hating messages here), all wrapped in a continuous stream of inexplicable and bizarre fantasy. A scientist is trying to work on water as fuel when he discovers some kind of natural source of enlightenment in a shell that his son found that mixes 'seed with movement'. His son Aun has mystical visions of his dead mother, a group of some kind of forest-fairies care for strange growing plants in the woods, a Brazilian mute mathematician is on a quest of his own and psychically finds magical forces in the forest, and his assistant, the stunningly beautiful Rosanne Mulholland, is trying to track down Aun. Spells are cast, a priest flutters like a butterfly, time, death and aging lose their meaning, a magical door in the forest opens to strange structures and a mystical testing laboratory, a woman gambles with the Yakuza and receives a message from a child-elf, and so on, while people make cryptic statements about the future of mankind and how anything man-made is also nature. It won't make any sense, but it's beautifully filmed.
BabaouoWritten by Dali in 1932 as a follow-up to Chien Andalou and Âge d'or, but, like Destino, only filmed in 2000. The film combines documentary footage on Dali and public opinion, the screenplay itself, and various images from Dali's paintings come to life, resulting in a deeply surreal and bizarre, but unsatisfying and incohesive work. The plot is very simple, presenting a man called Babaouo who is sent for by his love to save her from a castle imprisonment. He travels through war-torn but surreal landscapes and scenes, has an accident, and takes up painting. Like Chien Andalou, the focus is on provocatively bizarre imagery and a series of surreal vignettes, including scenes of a large woman smashing a harp with bread, melting omelettes and clocks laying about in strange places, cyclists with bread on their heads swarming around a piano like ants, strange performers in a tree, an unwanted corpse, nude disappearing women, esoteric, nonsensical dialogue and poetry, and more.
Baby BumpExtremely bizarre humor and surrealism envelop this coming-of-age Polish comedy like a chicken's foreskin. It takes the confusion of an 11 year old boy whose body and mind are starting to change, and ups it to eleven with deliriously surreal and fearlessly graphic visual humor. The movie is structured like a Möbius strip of themes and images, a variety of fears, dreams, confusions and fantasies in the boy's mind as well as various experiences at school, some of which will be very confusing at first but which slowly and gradually make more sense as the movie progresses, but the rest seem to be spliced into the movie only for their strange whimsical humor. There's his new confused thoughts revolving around his hot mother who still treats him like a kid, except the boys at school all have the hots for her. There are many bodily fluids, inappropriate erections, and worst of all, his ears seem to be sticking out more and more. A precocious girl at school has a filthy mouth and is somehow way too adult for her age, he is running a business involving the selling of urine, his mom's flings seem really perverse and disturbing, and he has dreams and daydreams involving him as an innocent cartoon mouse with huge ears being eaten by his mother. In addition, for some strange reason, there is much surreal ado about pregnancy, gender, castration, eggs and a chicken. This movie doesn't choke the chicken, it decapitates it. Thoughts on solving his problems often involve surgery, horrifying or bloody home experiments, and scary mutations. Definitely a one-of-a-kind confusing, colorful and quirky movie.
BacchanaleSurreal porn movies seem to be quite rare (the most prominent one was Through The Looking Glass), but this one is special in that it focuses on the erotic surrealism and dream-logic first, and added some hardcore inserts later. The whole movie is a dream that mixes death, guilt, eroticism and incest. A woman that seems to be recovering from family deaths and incestuous longings for her brother when he was alive, wanders through scenes that morph into each other: A party featuring a fashion announcer that describes women as they descend the stairs, is suddenly transported onto a fire-escape, and, in classic dream-logic, she finds herself descending the stairs completely naked. There is a locked room with grabbing hands, lust for a man in a coffin, a couple having sex with palm-prints on their faces, sex in a cemetery, and so on. It's all nicely done surrealism until the final scene that seems to get bored and suddenly veers off into a completely irrelevant scene in a cave involving gay sex and S&M.
Bad Boy BubbyAn incredibly unswerving movie that tells the tale of a 35 year old man who, for his whole life, has been locked up in a squalid room by his abusive and incestuous mother who convinced him that the air outside is poison. When he discovers what cling-wrap does around people's faces, he goes out into the world for the first time with pure, childish but warped innocence. His adventures include first-time encounters with music, pizza, various women that react in different ways to his perverse but innocent urges, breasts (some like mother's), jail, sodomy, church, religion, atheism, etc. A repulsively twisted beginning leads to a fascinating black comedy that pulls no punches, and the experience while watching this movie can wander from sadness, to repulsion, laughter and wonder. It's all very entertaining, as long as you can get past the sick first third, the endless Freudian worship of big tits, and the dumb straw-man approach to bashing and cursing religion. Nicholas Hope delivers an incredible and unforgettable performance, losing himself in a complex role that few could have pulled off. Unforgettable and unique.
BarrierSkolimowski previously made two increasingly complex but playful movies following the adventures of a man finding his place in society. Long, meandering and complex takes focus on this alienated man as the scenery magically changes around him, employing snippets of whimsical dialogue, satirical humor and random social interactions to portray personal feelings of cynical but confused existentialism. With Barrier, Skolimowski extends this approach into Felliniesque deliriousness and surrealism. In this exploration, the man is a medical student tested by fellow students in an initiation ritual, receives a symbolic piggy bank from society, and a sabre from his father, escaping into society where he encounters many barriers built by generation gaps, money, religion and social classes. He courts an elusive female tram-driver, he symbolically tries to climb walls decorated with chickens, crowds run around like sheep, stopped cold by a traffic light and a single car, he goes to a restaurant empty of customers but full of waiters, and pays for his meal with his piggy bank, and suddenly the restaurant is full of dancing customers wearing paper hats, he fights a car with his sabre, etc. A difficult but interesting, rich and creative movie with many strange scenes and complex takes that feel both whimsical and carefully constructed, just like Jazz.
BaskinTurkish horror movie from the Rob Zombie school of horror. Its focus is on gruesome and imaginative imagery rather than on cohesiveness, with an added layer of surrealism and nightmarish alternate reality. A group of rough and depraved police-men are called as backup into a place with a bad reputation. They encounter hell in the form of shifting realities, a horde of feral freaks, gore-soaked orgies, a cult with bizarre and violent rituals, brutal tests, and confusing nightmares. The gruesome horror and atmosphere is quite effective, but strictly designed for visual and primitive effect rather than for engaging the mind.
Battle Heater: KotatsuWacky Japanese black comedy about a Kotatsu (heater in the shape of a table) that comes alive and eats people. It is brought into a house where a gentle old couple commit suicide via clock, a rock band practice at all hours of the morning and abuse their neighbour, all of whom are in love with the same schoolgirl, and a woman is trying to get rid of her husbands body and keeps the upper half in a bucket. To fight the evil Kotatsu, come a master electrician and an unfortunate Buddhist with sunglasses. Entertaining silliness.
Bed-Sitting Room, TheTake the post-nuclear wastelands of junk, wrecks and scraps of Mad Max, mix with very dry Pythonesque absurdist humor, add some surreal touches and a slew of bizarre characters, and you may get this. A group of very strange characters wander the wastelands, some turning into cupboards, rooms or parrots, dogged on by policemen in balloons or cranes who tell them to keep moving. A girl is pregnant for 18 months with a creature and the doctor decides it makes more sense to move the furniture in instead of the baby out, a man is made prime-minister due to his 22-inch inner leg measurement, a man delivers BBC announcements through a TV frame with only the top third of his suit intact, and a man asks a women to take his wife's place in throwing dishes at him then calls her a slut, etc etc. The absurd humor doesn't work as often as you'd like and the consistent strangeness is both its strength and weakness.
BegottenThis one makes most surreal movies look like children's stories. The movie is in grainy black and white with such a dreamlike, muddy quality that many images look like Rorschach tests where you stare and your mind tries to work it out using its own internal imagination. The story is a metaphysical fable about a god that kills himself, Mother Nature abused and raped, and the Son of Earth - a gift that is worshipped and then misused by the people. The dreamlike but dark quality of this movie is truly admirable and there are some brilliant as well as failed sequences, but overall it goes on way too long with its pretentious metaphysical horror symbolism and shock imagery that doesn't really make any sense once you think beyond the visual.
Belladonna of SadnessIt doesn't get more trippy and psychedelic than this erotic & musical animation from Japan from 1973. Actually the third in a trilogy after some x-rated entries, but this one went a very experimental route and allegedly ruined the studio. The bleak plot is about a newly married woman in medieval and cruel times who starts her marriage with getting raped by the local baron on her wedding night, and then her husband is made into a tax collector and abused while she tries to dedicate herself to helping him. A small phallic devil appears to give her power over her tormentors and take her down the dark path, and the devil grows and grows as he gains more control over her. She alternates between turning evil and being hounded by everyone, as her power and their anger escalate. All this is shown in a combination of animation styles, often just scanning static artistic or grotesque paintings, and the rest of the time either employing crude animations or flowing psychedelic imagery, everything portrayed with endlessly inventive visuals, psychedelic effects, grotesqueries, or symbolic images exaggerated to the point of surrealism. Visually wild and very unique, but the characters and story don't exactly leap out of the screen.
Beyond the Black RainbowTry to imagine some of the ideas behind Firestarter and Altered States, filmed in the style of THX 1138 by Tarkovsky. It sounds and looks promising, but has a fatal flaw. It is set mostly in the 80s in a sci-fi-dome where the mysterious Arboria is conducting advanced hybrid experiments in order to reach ultimate human happiness. Pharmaceuticals, herbs and machines combine, but they also perform experiments that take them to another state where they are forever altered by seeing some kind of evil god. Barry Nyle is the creepy sadistic man in charge who keeps his eye on his protege, a young girl and child of an experiment with scary powers of her own. The stars here are the immersive atmosphere, cinematography and sound, as well as the imagination that employs creepy supernatural forces blended with odd sci-fi. Except that it is not surreal enough to be a Lynchian nightmare, and since it never explains any of its mysteries, you are left with no meat except the experience itself. The characters don't raise thoughts and questions as Tarkovsky would do despite its meditative pace, and the plot only introduces new elements without explaining any of the previous ones, even after the ending. We never learn even basic things like what the experiment was for, and what any of their motivations are. The last ten minutes further harm the movie with its out-of-place cliched horror and a non-ending that only makes you feel like you watched half a movie. Full of potential, but merely an immersive one-time watch that leaves you empty.
Black MoonA movie so alluringly bizarre I really wanted to like it and tried to find ways to approach it, unsuccessfully. Lily is trying to escape a world gone mad where men and women are literally at war with each other, brutally killing each other. She runs over a badger, finds herself in a strange house occupied by a strange, bedridden, whimsical mother who talks to a rat and a radio, there's an oddly quiet son and daughter, a talking unicorn, many naked children, and lots of sheep, chickens and insects. There's not much of a narrative, the rare dialogue is cryptic, poetic or nonsensical, and instead we get many bizarre and symbolic scenes of an invisible attacker, Lily drinking milk from a huge glass, panties that keep falling down, breast-feeding the old mother, crying flowers, decapitation of an eagle, etc. This movie can be interpreted as an indecipherable dream, an Alice in Wonderland type of story, or perhaps yet another surreal female coming-of-age story with Freudian imagery. For example, the gender war obviously represents scary behaviour of adults, the unicorn is her romantic fantasy which she chases at first and then nurses, the man is lust and sex, and the old mother is a complex and confusing adult version of herself. But many details don't fit in with this theory, especially all of the nonsensical conversations with the mother. In addition, it's too bizarre to be a fairy-tale or story, and just a bit too intent and consistent to be a dream. I think it's simply elements from Malle's dreams forced into an attempted fantasy narrative in an experiment which even he doesn't understand. This is one of those movies that intensely intrigues with its surreal mysteries for its full running time, but then leaves you feeling empty.
Blood Orgy of the Leather GirlsA truly one-of-a-kind cult movie. It's a really bad one on many levels, but strangely watchable with camp value. Think young Russ Meyer drops acid and makes a movie on a pocket-change budget with some friends and neighbours. It's about a 'crew' of insane and violent girls (the narrator explains what a crew means), that go on a violence and revenge spree to teach misbehaving men a lesson. The narrator, a law-enforcement dude, explains to us their behaviour and actions like something out of a 60s educational 'scare' movie. The girls are introduced by their kinks, one of them deeply into Christian philosophy and bloody self-flagellation, they wander here and there, attacking random people in the street and homes. There are smatterings of gore and nudity, but at the level of an Andy Milligan flick. Someone's dining room serves as a 'bar' where guys have an endless improvised conversation, a band plays music while the camera goes psychedelic, a guy orders a bodyguard over the phone and says that he doesn't mind if the bodyguard wears shorts, there's a ninja academy and 'ninja roulette', the last 20 minutes goes all out into confusing psychedelia as if the director was taking more and more drugs, and it ends with some nasty drill torture and a feminist moral. Don't look at me; I just describe 'em the way I see 'em.
BorgmanWarmerdam's movies are often just this side of surreal, featuring black comedy, strange coincidences and behaviour, or even a bit of fantasy and magic. With Borgman, he dives into Teorema territory with full surrealism and symbolism, without losing his dark and bizarre humor. If one watches this movie as a 'home invasion' by a disruptive evil human being, nothing will make sense, neither their motivations nor behaviour. But if the invaders are taken as a symbol of the inner discontent and potential evil in human beings within our modern world, then it works as a disquieting movie, made even more off-kilter by the humor within the darkness. Religion in the form of a priest and his followers know exactly where the evil fallen angels are hiding underground, and they drive them away temporarily, only to let them wander into the home of a modern affluent family where underlying discontent and boredom poise ready to disrupt their lives. The devilish fallen angels use everything they have against them, even using cell-phones to co-ordinate their plots. Inspired by the classic painting, Borgman sits on the wife's chest, causing her fears and nightmares. The wife develops an emotional dependency on the fallen angels (her own dark side). There is disruptive seduction that preys on wandering hearts, which amusingly disconnects once the seduction has been successful, leaving confusion and anger in its wake. Borgman assumes the role of their gardener and takes it very seriously as they do their own roles, disrupting from within. There is lots of death via poison, the bodies hidden with surreal methods. There are hounds of hell, marks of the devil, and a surreal play that demonstrates how all is smoke and mirrors. And so on... until, of course, the lost children are ready to weave more destruction onto the world.
Born of FireMystical-Islamic, symbolic horror movie with surreal and rich visuals. The location, costumes, acting, and makeup are all stunning, making this a must see once, it's just a pity the movie is impenetrably enigmatic and unapproachable in its symbolism. A flautist and an astronomer are both struck by something otherworldly, leaving their lives behind to meditate and stay in a remote exotic location in Turkey full of caves and strange pools, and ultimately to face their pasts and a Master Musician. There are many strange visions that include a skull eclipsing the moon, stoning of a woman with flowers, a Djinn haunting a man in his sleep in the form of a mosquito, and more. There's a strong primal performance by a deformed actor who lives in the caves, a demonic naked and burnt being that can shoot fire out of his eyes, a flute duel, the giving birth of a big moth larva, and other unforgettable images. But there's not much beyond the images and atmosphere.
Box Head RevolutionFans of Guy Maddin's brand of film-making should feel right at home here. It is highly bizarre and idiosyncratic sci-fi made on the cheap (out of trash), filmed in grainy black & white with post-editing sound. The actual story is cliched and uninteresting, about a dystopian planet where everyone is repressed by strange rules and is born with a permanent mask, and punishments consist of attaching a permanent box to your head. When a message from Earth arrives in the Voyager, containing alien sounds and rock & roll music, two lovers fight back and the system is shaken into a revolution. Yawn. The visuals and aesthetic sense, however, are somewhere between Maddin and Forbidden Zone, complete with several psychedelic dance-numbers, some of them to the tune of generic prog-rock sounds. Frequent digressions and confusing scenes will have you scratching your head as you try to figure out what is happening, and some sequences are downright surreal, especially the birthing scenes involving strange machines that create mask-wearing babies to an audience of mask-wearing worshippers. While the visuals make this one vaguely worth watching if you can take the overall boredom, the voice-overs, however, are terrible (so bad its good?), often sounding like they MST3K'd themselves using stoned and bored nerds, spouting cliched lines altered by a thesaurus into statements like: "lend me your acoustical orifice", or the ultimate romantic declaration of "may our vectors coincide".
Box of Life, The (AKA Sacrifices)Exquisitely bizarre Syrian surrealism with a national and social message and subtle subversiveness. The movie takes place mostly in a dwelling made of clay that houses an extended family. Although it sometimes brings to mind Parajanov with its earthy, surreal mannerisms and otherworldly portrayal of traditions, the movie has its own unique language. The acting is very idiosyncratic, with constant fear and simple-mindedness over-acted with twitching lips, heavy gasps, and emotions unhinged. The patriarch of the family is dying, a pigeon appears to take his soul, and he must pass on his name to one of three newborns but doesn't. The children grow up nameless, each attempting to find meaning in their respective approaches of submissiveness, love or abusive power. Religion, ritual and obscure family tradition fill their lives, and every time somebody questions with a 'what?' the only answer they receive is 'what what?'. In the meantime, the fathers go to war with Israel and come back covered in mud, with ideas on progress, unity, broad-mindedness and feminism. A challenging, intriguing watch that forces active understanding through abstruse mannerisms.
Box, TheNakajima's accompanying piece to his earlier 'Iron' is another meditative but much more cryptic and surreal poetic visual essay on technology, poetry and nature. As with Iron, children playing innocently encounter their ancestors in the form of a patient old man who fixes machines, and who is in touch with both technology and nature. He 'listens' to rocks and creates machines according to the rocks' wishes. Except there is an enigmatic mobile box that seems to have a life of its own, and the man patiently waits to figure out what it wants. But his generation is passing, and the box seems linked to the old man and his ways. A surprise development after he passes leads to new hope in progress and the next generation that instinctively knows what to do with the 'box', albeit which still seems to have a life of its own.
Bread and CircusPart surreal existentialist satire, part Bad Taste-like splatstick, and part sick Tromaesque toilet humor. This unique Norwegian film shows man born from the Earth in a huge vagina, programmed by monks, and sent in business suits with blank papers to kiss statues and finally end up crawling through the earth's anus. Outlaws become flesh-eating zombie-like creatures and are hunted with brutality by the military. This leads to many entertaining over-the-top splatter scenes with bodies being sliced or blown up in various ways. If this isn't enough we get to see a Nazi-like woman who stabs her victims while raping them, and a man getting his anus kicked in so hard he has to plug it with a bottle of beer. An entertaining movie with great cult potential but one that can't seem to make up it's mind what it wants to be.
Bunker of the Last Gunshots, TheEarly experimental short from the team of Jeunet-Caro about a bunker during some kind of war with a countdown to some unknown catastrophe and the people inside it. Some electrocute cockroaches, some collect boogers, others go crazy and torture or kill scapegoats, keeping dead people wrapped in strange rooms. Features the typical eclectic and complex set design and it predates Brazil. Visually and atmospherically interesting, but nothing more than that.
Bunny the Killer ThingYou will probably not know what you just watched when this demented one is over. Its level of idiocy is only just surpassed by its level of insanity. It's a Finnish horror-comedy about a killer... bunny... thing. There are some evil criminals with some kind of mad scientist and a bunny serum, and even at the end I did not quite figure out what they were up to, but it involves some kind of combination of human bunny mutations, sex and celebrities. In the meantime, one of their crazed creatures escapes and goes on a killing spree. It's a man in an obvious bunny costume equipped with super-strength, super-hunger, and a super-penis, who runs around the snowy country murdering, raping, eating and yelling various adjectives to describe female genitalia. Except that he isn't exactly a straight bunny, and neither are some odd criminals and a permanently drunk Finn. The movie is obsessed with penises and penis violence, there are two or three blood-water-geyser splatter scenes, the comedy is too silly and warped to be really funny, but it's definitely one-of-a-kind.
Burning Buddha Man, TheThis Japanese animation is bizarre and bonkers on several levels. For starters, there's the visual style which is not so much animation as a complicated puppet-show using thousands of cardboard cut-outs, with some extra liquids squirted at the cardboard for special effect. The beings in the story are all grotesquely drawn, even the humans, and each emotion is displayed over-the-top, most of them looking like either grimaces or terror. The story is typical anime, that is to say, incoherent and crazy, piling on more and more gobbledegook and nonsense improvised made-up rules as the fight scenes keep escalating. It involves a gang stealing large Buddha statues using a strange form of teleportation, a cult that trains to become "virtual Buddhas" and practicing merging their bodies with Buddha statues, becoming various grotesque mutations and super-humans. A girl finds herself neck-deep in bizarre training and cults when she finds her grandparents have been sliced in half by the thieves. Naked grandmas, Kaiju-style Buddha fights, silly training, and lots of bizarre mutations ensue. Definitely unique and somewhat entertaining, but basically just empty-headed incoherent strangeness.
Bye Bye MonkeyFerreri's most bizarre outing, exploring and taking apart gender roles as usual, this time with various different approaches, some of them quite abstract or odd: Lafayette (Depardieu) is raped by a group of feminist theatre actresses, he often communicates by blowing a whistle, he adopts an abandoned baby-monkey found next to a huge statue of a dead King Kong, and he works in a wax museum where a Cleopatra heats his loins and a strange aggressively male boss attaches himself to the Roman wax figures. He also hangs out with a troupe of old people, all of which are either depressed, alone, or nostalgic and all of which seem quaint, irrelevant and obsolete next to the modern youngsters. The finale features a couple of shocks and some bizarre violence. It seems that women are now scared, confused, aggressors, modern men are caregivers, and strong men and old people are obsolete.
Café FleshThe definitive cult surreal porn flick. This bizarre classic by Stephen Sayadian features a dystopian future where most humans have become Sex Negatives and can only dream of sex and their lost libidos, since any awkward attempt at doing it makes them sick, while the last few remaining Positives are made to perform sex on stage for the rest of humanity. Except that since this is Sayadian, the sexual performances are highly surreal and striking, and the dialog is as eccentric, bizarre and colorful as it gets. On the one hand, it seems hardly surprising that the Negatives stare at the performances with a mixture of jaw-dropped confusion and lust, seeing as the performances include a rat milkman complete with snout and tail having sex with a housewife while three bearded 'babies' clamor in the background. But if anyone can make sex seem alien, artsy, bizarre, and primally exciting all at once, it's Sayadian. The choreographed and bizarre sexual performances continue with pencil-headed office workers, disembodied dancing body parts, and whatnot, while the plot develops and uncovers Positive posing as a Negative who is outed onto the stage much to the consternation and excitement of the audience while the Negatives are humiliated and teased. Sayadian also made Nightdreams in the same period, featuring a couple of similarly surreal sexual fantasies.
Can Heironymus Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe and Find True Happiness?Anthony Newley, an all-around entertainer, made this movie about himself in which he shows a movie he made about himself while talking about his life and a movie that is currently showing about his life. At first, this seems to be as insufferably self-indulgent as it sounds, but the approach is an attempt at surrealism a la Fellini's 8 1/2 with brutal honesty and self-deprecating humor and criticism, making this tolerable. Newley acts as Heironymus Merkin, an all-around performer constantly tempted by a wise-cracking, lame-joke-telling Satan who supplies him with endless sexy women, in between which he sings and dances. He sometimes appears symbolically as a clown, a faceless puppet, or a ridiculous cartoon character, his women all have sex-oriented names straight out of a bad James Bond spoof, his story is acted out for his mother and children on a beach filled with memorabilia, stage props and film canisters, there's an amusingly dirty fairy tale about a princess and her donkey, and there are actors acting as directors, producers, writers and critics who provide an ongoing criticism of his movie. The film improves as it progresses, but underneath all the surrealism and songs, this is just a boring story about a sex-addict entertainer who mindlessly jumps from one bed into another.
Cartoon NoirAnthology of 6 adult-oriented cartoons with a surreal and dark edge. As with most releases of this type, it's a mixed bag but the short lengths don't let you wander, and overall, it's an above-average experience with some interesting ideas. "Story of the Cat and the Moon" is a five-minute minimalistic story of a cat wandering the streets narrating about his love and seduction games leading to a little sublime ending. "Club of the Discarded" is a very Svankmajer-esque stop-motion animation about discarded mannequins and their repetitive hidden lives, quirks and difficulties in a squalid house. "Ape" is a twisted and absurdist short about a very unusual dinner and squabbling couple who accuse each other of depraved things revolving around a symbolically absurd monkey. "Gentle Spirit" is a dark one, visually and surrealistically depicting a broken relationship with unnamed bad things and regrets, using symbolic morphing visuals with beds and spiders. "Abductees" doesn't belong here, splicing together interviews of 'alien abductees' and an accompanying montage of animations. "Joy Street" features a very depressed woman and a happy/cutesy Disney character emerging from her ashtray to try to save the day. The blending of dark and nightmarish imagery with Disney-esque character turns surreal very quickly.
Case for a Rookie HangmanCzech surreal political and social satire that uses the backdrop of Jonathan Swift's travels of Gulliver in the countries of Balnibari and Laputa, but with an atmosphere that is part Kafka, part Lewis Carroll. The movie contains references to all these works, but also takes many bites out of Czech society, history and politics. The first twenty minutes or so contain a masterpiece of surrealism as a man travels into a strange land by way of dream-logic, his car running away from him, meeting a dead rabbit dressed in trousers and pocket-watch, wandering through a bizarre house where he meets himself as a child and falls down sideways through doors, etc. Most of the movie then wanders into something from Kafka's The Castle, only with absurd humor, as he finds himself battling with strange bureaucracy, breaking odd rules like a day of silence to conserve air, and trying to track down important people that may help him, with continuous distractions and complications. Citizens get executed for absurd, unexplainable reasons, they look forward to visits from the mysterious floating land of Laputa, build thinking machines, and he finds that people at the higher rungs of the hierarchy are never what they seem to be. One flaw with this one is its fragmented approach, and the fact that it lost some of its universal appeal present in Kafka/Swift. I would probably appreciate this more if I were Czech.
Cassandra Cat, The (AKA When the Cat Comes)This Czech family movie has something for both adults and children, and yet it may also be too simplistic for adults, and too full of adult themes and symbolism for children. In a small town, a man overlooks the various characters that are introduced to us, and he tells a strange tale to the children of his adventures with a shipwreck and magical cat with glasses. Before you know it, a performing troupe arrive in town with the magical cat, and after the delightfully bizarre magic act with the help of camouflaged people making various objects float and fly, the cat's glasses are removed. Suddenly, every person is categorized by their misdeeds and is seen in a psychedelic color as befits their personality. Chaos ensues, the audience go into a dancing frenzy, the adults fear and hate the cat, while the children adore it. What will happen to the town now? Full of strange slapstick, symbolism, childish charm, and surreal antics.
Cat and MouseBased on the second book in a trilogy by Günter Grass, who served as an SS soldier in WWII and later got a Nobel prize (go figure). The first book (and movie) was The Tin Drum. This one also features a very odd, awkward, heartless and not-so-innocent young protagonist who grows up during WWII. In this case, it's a teenager influenced by military heroism and speeches made at his school by decorated SS officers. He hangs out with his friends at the wreckage of a minesweeper, showing a freaky talent for diving and salvaging trinkets while his friends play cruel teenage games with him. He steals a Nazi's Iron Cross at school, joins the army, and dreams of coming back to his school and making a similar speech even though he is now disgraced. Themes include his vulnerable and impressionable psyche as symbolized by his protruding adam's apple (the mouse), attacked and scratched by a cat, which he then tries to hide, and only succeeds in doing so with the Iron Cross. Other surreal touches include the constant switching of his friends with mannequins, and the cat with a stuffed cat, as visualized by the narrator who feels guilty for possibly sending him to his death.
Catechism Cataclysm, TheTruly one-of-a-kind movie that manages to be incomprehensible, meaningless and pointless, but at the same time very entertaining. The fun title (try saying it out loud) refers to a catastrophe that befalls a very childish priest when his bible falls into the toilet, possibly unleashing some very strange and disturbing sequence of events. It's a road (canoe) trip between two antipodal characters, a priest so childish and innocent he probably has mental-damage, and a bored horny loser who manages to wreck everything in his life and who has nothing better to do. It starts as a quirky comedy, but when two Japanese girls called Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn and their large black friend Jim appear, things take a turn for the extremely surreal. Some would try to shoehorn an explanation into this movie that involves his state of mind and possibly symbolic, unreal characters. But it wouldn't help. I was tempted to call this a nihilistic Satanic statement taking into account its black metal soundtrack and its many jabs at Christianity, but it really never feels like it has an agenda or a subversive bone in its body, and the silly priest never resembles reality. It just wants to have fun with telling strange stories that get under your skin and funny bone, without a moral, neat ending or meaning. Thus, it starts with a priest telling a moral story, shifts to unsettling stories without endings, and ends with a question mark and a post-cataclysmic silly punchline. Recommended one-time cult watch for fans of weirdness only, even though it may not have you coming back for more.
Cat Sick BluesThis may just be the sick antidote you were looking for to excise all those sickeningly cutesy cat-videos and cat-lovers on the internet from your brain. This is a sick movie about a sick serial-killer that misses his cat, that latches on to a girl who recently lost her internet-celebrity cat as well. The way I see it, this is two horror movies: One disturbingly good, the other just randomly extreme with unrealistic sick scenes that says more about about the film-maker than anything else. The effectively horrific aspect of the movie is the story of what happens when you become an internet celebrity and attract all sorts of disturbed wackos, and then are stupid enough to engage them, including the even more horrifying and realistic reaction from the internet community when something very bad happens to you. Unfortunately, the majority of the movie however, is about the killer (who is acted disturbingly well) and his obsessions with behaving like a bloodthirsty killer-rapist cat with a huge grotesque killer cat-dildo. This guy is truly demented in a variety of ways, but the film-makers merely use this as an excuse to film a series of sick, disturbing, twisted, splattery, depraved scenes, each more twisted and extreme than the next, doing completely different demented, sickening and grotesque things to each of his victims, and so the killer never starts to make sense as a character with any kind of defined pathology or mental problem. More actual writing, less coming up with sick kill-scenes please.
Cat SoupA very unusually bizarre and surreal 30-minute anime. The background plot is a cat who tries to restore his fatally ill sister's soul after he wrestles for it with a Buddha-like cat, after which he goes on a metaphysical, surreal and grotesque quest full of visually bizarre adventures to bring her back to life. The imagery is never-ending and includes a huge transparent balloon-cloud creature in a whale-circus that causes a flood, carving up a live pig for food and giving some of his cooked meat back to him, a water-elephant that comes out of the sand which they ride and swim in, a pervert fetish-robot that tries to make soup out of them, time standing still as God grapples with metaphysical levers and tries to eat planet Earth, and much more, and this is only the describable stuff. This is somewhere in between random acidic imagery, a surreal-mystical exploration of life and death, and Dali mixed with Bill Plympton. A must-see at least once for fans of the bizarre.
Cheonggyecheon Dog, AOne hour of pure surrealism and dream-logic from Korea. The topic and story is uninteresting piffle; but its superb technique and ability to conjure up dream-logic in every scene and in its progression, is a wonder. A transsexual obsessed with his desires and dreams to be a woman, loses himself in his dreams until he can't tell reality from his fantasies. A song and image of a mermaid, combined with a fantasy he dives into while working as a female phone-sex operator, triggers this fugue, as he wanders out into the city. He is literally transformed into a girl in a clothes store, strange people and voices throw out aphorisms at him, or advice on the dangers of dreaming too much, and he symbolically turns into a blind man who seeks a seeing-eye dog that will show him a new world, a dog that transforms into various people, while the clothes-store's security-man, who may or may not exist, chases him through the city. His fugue grows increasingly more chaotic and climaxes with a surreal rape by a beast in a mask, as all the elements of the dream weave together.
ChilleramaAn anthology of Troma-esque comedy-horror, all filled to the brim with over-the-top juvenile comedy, camp, bad taste and gore. Like a good Troma movie however, most of it is fun as long as you know what you are getting into and are in the right mood. The wrapper story isn't a throwaway like with most anthologies, and features a zombie outbreak that spreads via necrophiliac sex, featuring dozens of sick sexual acts involving the dead and the living, taken over-the-top to camp levels of bad taste. Wadzilla is probably the most outrageously funny and features a huge mutant sperm creature and a date gone horribly wrong. Werebear is the rotten one of the bunch, being a musical teen movie about a group of Lost-Boys-style, hungry 'werebears' that stand in as endlessly silly symbols for coming out of the closet. Then there's the really silly but entertaining one about Hitler stealing Anne Frankenstein's journal and bringing to life a Jewish, Hasidic undead monster. And finally, we thankfully only get to see two minutes of 'Deathication' featuring a stream of surreal images starring excrement.
ChronopolisA 60 minute abstract, meditational, atmospheric and surreal animation (translation: heavy drugs needed) by Piotr Kamler who usually makes shorts. The background description is of an eternal, mystical, unreachable city of immortals who have mastered time and seek to break their monotony by reaching out to a human (depicted scaling a wall). Unfortunately, the animation is all about an endless cryptic process of preparation and communication, depicted using silent ancients playing with sticks and flying spherical objects that keep morphing into other objects or pass through a factory-like process of magical manufacture also involving an endless series of opening doors. The human falls and is saved with flying magic, encounters the bouncing sphere, cuddling then dancing with it, until the cryptic ending involving an unexpected disintegration. The atmosphere and bizarre electronic soundtrack may keep your mind hypnotized for a while, but the film is unrewarding.
Cinéma AbattoirA screening and releasing company of avant-garde, shocking, experimental or transgressive shorts by various directors. I'm tempted to call this a more modern incarnation of Zedd's Cinema of Transgression, but that movement had more humor and a conscious lack of artistic pretension, whereas this markets itself more as art-house transgression. The shorts vary from bizarre, impenetrable, nightmarish pieces, to filth and pornography with pretensions of art simply by experimenting with cinematography, editing and sound. You never know what will appear next, from nonsensical Kenneth Anger-esque eclectic occultism or Satanism, to sophomoric shock involving violence, mutilation, scat, or perverse porn, to purely visual experiments involving light, sound and cinematography and random footage. The DVD collections released so far are mostly similar in their eclecticism and their titles (L'Èrotisme, Incarnation, À Rebours) won't help you, since they don't reflect any detectable themes. For those that enjoy experimenting with snippets of avant-garde, transgressive cinema, this will be welcome, and some of the more strange shorts are mildly intriguing, but I found the content too often disappointingly empty, pointlessly perverse, or sophomorically confrontational and shocking. Standout intriguing short: Burn by Patrick Jolley.
ClashUnrewarding French dream-logic horror that is basically one long dream-sequence. A woman on the run with her criminal friends has to hide at a derelict warehouse full of mannequin body parts. Fragments of childhood nightmares blend with reality, teasing with clues as to her psyche, but never coming together. A scary father-figure with a stain on his hand, a scary man in the warehouse, doors that lock by themselves, but who has the key? Nightmarish chase sequences that never seem to end, random violence and some gore, a self-mutilated hand, mannequins, a child with a magic warding spell, and so on. Sometimes effective in a surreal way, but it never goes anywhere, it has no setup, plot or end, and eventually just becomes quite tedious.
CoonskinControversial blaxploitation from Bakshi that dives head-first into grotesque stereotypes and a parade of trashy characters. The movie is a pioneering mix of live-action and animation, mixing a story of a black prison-break with the longer animated tale of the Brother Rabbit, Bear and Preacher Fox. They get in trouble with a racist sheriff and the sheriff's daughter at a whorehouse, encounter a violent black resistance movement and are sent to kill a redneck cop and a grotesquely fat Godfather who is followed by an odd entourage of transvestites, a gay son, a headless black man, midget clowns, and bugs. A live stripper strips for an animated sheriff, there's a surreal speech by the fat, naked head of the resistance, a woman gets killed as she turns into a butterfly, there's an ongoing satirical clash between a small black man and a huge, white Ms America and it only gets more bizarre toward the end. Fragmented, satirical, trashy and raunchy.
Countess of Baton Rouge, TheForcier takes his usual quirkiness and touches of magical realism several steps further with this surreal and sometimes Felliniesque meta-movie. This is a movie within a movie, with themes of imagination and film-making, versus elusive dreams and banal life-obstacles. It uses a film within a film, telling the fantastical story of a film-maker chasing his muse: a bearded lady who joined a Cajun circus called the Circus of Happiness. He jumps through hoops ,or, in this case, shoots himself out of a cannon for her, but gets sidetracked by easy American women, financial woes and other annoyances, and even his audience doesn't appreciate the difficulties involved in shooting himself through the cannon. In the freak show, there is a also a cyclops whom he envies, who has the ability to project his imagination straight onto the canvas via his single eye. In the movie, the film-maker shows a movie about his adventures that make them seem even more absurd and fantastical, except a ghost haunts his film projection. Themes on the relationship between a film-maker and his creations are explored surrealistically, the film both celebrating and ranting about the elusive muse, via a carnival of imagery and magic.
CoyoteSome movies rely solely on a single acting performance, and some, like this one, don't bother with offering much of anything else except the performance. Bill Oberst Jr. delivers another one of his intense, unhinged performances, portraying an insomniac who goes off the rails. Usually, with movies of this type, the protagonist starts off semi-normal so that the audience can connect with the character, and deteriorates subtly over time. With this one, he starts as a wacko and deteriorates into a complete mass-murdering mental case, going insane in a variety of extreme ways. This is a big minus for the movie since there is nothing to sympathize or connect with here. The character he portrays can't sleep, then refuses to sleep as his paranoia grows and starts having increasingly disturbing hallucinations involving random things like alien/creature gory mutations on his own body, and a variety of people and creatures that don't exist, many of which attach themselves to him in surreal ways. His co-worker and friend is an angry racist, he adopts a sad older woman as his girlfriend for his own demented internal reasons, and as his mental state becomes worse, his anger and aggressive or violent whims grow uncontrollable, except we cannot tell what is in his mind and what is real anymore. As he detaches from society more and more, he escapes into a literal hole in the ground or into a wild forest, and there things really become dark, filthy and gruesome. Unfortunately, as mentioned, this unhinged performance is all the movie has to offer.
Crazy LipsMix black comedy, horror, a murder mystery, some nasty rape and necrophilia, a touch of incest, a musical, very bizarre agents that sing the American Anthem while prancing in leotards on TV, and some kung-fu action and what do you get? I don't know, but this movie seems to be directed by a man with many whims. The story goes something like this: A mother and two daughters are hounded by police and journalists, accusing her son of beheading some schoolgirls. One daughter brings in some nasty psychics with an evil agenda of their own, convincing their customers to submit to rape, supernatural forces and other nasties. But who really is the murderer? Will breaking out into song or a flurry of kung-fu save them from the angry mob? And what's with the ending? A bad movie somewhat redeemed by its insanity.
Cutting MomentsA short, extremely disturbing masterpiece about a marriage that has deteriorated to depression, perversions, long uncomfortable silences, and an unhealthy relationship between the husband and son. When the wife unsuccessfully tries to get her husband's attention by dressing up, she loses it and goes to more extreme, gory and nasty self-inflicting measures. Very disturbing and depressing mostly due to the sympathetic character and familiar horrors of a bad marriage. Featured as the first of three shorts on Family Portraits. Also featured on an anthology of short tales under the same name, of which the first four are mildly entertaining silliness: A violent dog that smokes crack, a wife that keeps nagging her husband even after he kills her, a man with an unhealthy obsession for meat and a talking bowl of oatmeal, and a silly punk teenage angst movie.
Dark Backward, TheCult movie about an absolutely terrible stand-up comic who grows a strange appendage out of his back, and his hyperactive friend with a taste for hugely fat women and accordions. They try to make it big in show-business while working in garbage-collection. This one is truly one of a kind with a uniquely bizarre cast of characters, the actors are almost all covered in slime, grime, filth and garbage, and the scenes keep surprising you. There's an orgy with huge women and dog food, a touch of necrophilia, and their stage routine keeps getting weirder. Runs out of cult charm toward the end and it's a bad movie overall, but it keeps you watching.
Dark Side of the Womb, TheA really warped, indie, anything-goes, pitch-black comedy that is somehow trashy exploitation, darkly amusing and twisted all at once. This movie lives in a world with a warped logic of its own. There are not one, not two, but three births from the point of view of inside the vagina, the babies here being born along with some kind of emotional trauma such as severe mother's hate and rejection, or via an encounter with an insane doctor who at first confuses a birth with an abortion. There's a head-transplant, a psycho clown who has a sick clownish way of dismembering people, a bizarre love between huge girl and a mentally-challenged male dwarf, a skateboarding dwarf scene, and a surreal squishy encounter between a human and the various anthropomorphized organs inside a woman's body. Entertaining, but only for like-minded warped people.
Day Dream (Hakujitsumu)Early Pinku that allegedly started the whole genre and was later remade by the same director with hardcore porn inserts. I suppose it was inevitable that given the fascination the Japanese have with erotic abusive relationships, that they would somehow find a way to exploit the relationship between a dentist and a woman. As the dentist manhandles her mouth, she gives in to erotic fantasies then goes under the nitrous oxide. A young man in lust with the woman and who is being treated nearby also joins in as the three get lost in a surreal fugue. There's S&M, XXX scenes, a naked chase through a hotel, the dentist becomes a vampire, she beheads him, there's a ghost train, hardcore porn with a puppet, she finds herself naked inside a car wash, and so on. Also followed by a sequel in 1987 alternatively named 'Captured for Sex', but which is basically the same movie with tons of sex, then a freewheeling surreal chase through trains, beaches and dungeons with vampire dentists, lesbian witch nurses, and hallucinative doorways. Also remade in Korea a year after this one as 'Empty Dream'.
Death Bed: The Bed That EatsA demon falls in lust with a girl, but when she dies from his attentions, he grieves and his blood falls on a bed, turning it into a hungry creature that digests anything placed on it. The bed can make flowers grow out of a skull, lock doors, drag bodies around, make munching sounds and pour pepto-bismol out of a bottle. The bed has a pool of digestive juices with blood that can swallow anything without soiling the sheets and it can bring an artist back as a ghost, paint his fingernails black and imprison him behind a painting. The bed is simply incredible. The only thing more amazing than the fact that this LSD-inspired surreal idea was conceived, was that it was actually filmed. Very entertaining in a bizarre way and must be seen to be believed.
Death PowderIf you're looking for the cinematic equivalent of a wild LSD trip, look no further. A humanoid female is kept tied up in a decrepit basement and several unknown groups of people seem to be interested in this creature. When the creature blows dust on some intruders, it sends them off to another world and gives them deep understanding of... something or another to do with rising above the limitations of flesh. These various parties fight it out amongst themselves, some turning out to be more than human. That's as much of the plot as one can gather from this bizarre experience however. The real movie is industrial hallucinogenic horror and gore spliced with random images of people and various creatures doing... random things. Oh nevermind, I give up summarizing this one.
DecoderCult underground film that is a kind of gritty, paranoid, industrial-music-fan's fantasy with the involvement of William S. Burroughs. Big-brother government and corporations are monitoring the people, controlling information and generating muzak to play in hamburger joints that control people's emotions. When a youth decodes these signals in his home studio, he literally goes underground where he encounters a cult led by Genesis P. Orridge that treat information as their religion, make a lot of rhythmic noise on industrial and metal artifacts, and plot a revolution with sound tapes as weapons to disrupt society. In the meantime, his girlfriend has a bizarre obsession with frogs and a government agent with a strange attitude towards people tries to develop a relationship with a prostitute. A throbbing, rhythmic, blinking, beeping, whirring, gritty experience with some random disturbing imagery on screens.
Deep DarkUndeveloped absurdist & silly surrealism about an artist's relationship with his muse. The muse, in this case, is a very female hole in the wall. Yes, you read that right. A tortured unsuccessful artist desperately rents a moldy apartment from his manipulative uncle, and suddenly finds success when he develops a relationship with the hole. It pretty much goes where you expect it to go, and then the characters do a little twist for a very weak ending, leaving you unsatisfied. In short, a very undeveloped single-idea movie that may have worked only as a short.
Devil, I'm BoredNeglected Russian phantasmagorical art-house work of surrealism. It is an alternate version the story of Faust in the wry and dryly humorous spirit of Bulgakov with elements from Pushkin and Thomas Mann. It is also obviously a product of the post-Perestroika chaos, black markets and disillusionment. It takes place in a surreal world that combines elements from many different periods, each set is a visually rich hodge-podge of striking props, bizarre characters, fantastical elements and outlandish costumes from different historical eras, on a par with Jodorowsky. A depressed but athletic Mephistopheles wanders the market where anything and anything is sold, and hears of a soul of a male, pretty-boy ballet dancer Faust. He literally climbs to heaven to negotiate with God for the soul and finally gets permission to acquire it, but he must convince Faust first, after a deal involving supernatural pleasures. He takes Faust on a tour of decadence and pleasures and various adventures, including visits to the underworld, sexual bats, and fights with religious icons, always full of social commentary and irony, until God interferes and turns the tables on an increasingly depressed devil.
Didn't You HearIn what feels like an enthusiastic, student-made, surreal movie project, a college student dreams of being a pirate in an adult world in between bouts of college confusion, stress and humiliations. His pirate adventures include strange home-made props as scenery, he travels and clashes with an adult-populated island, has strange discussions and philosophical arguments about individualism with his mates, and longs for a sorority girl who constantly hovers in his dreams. Mildly entertaining, sporting nonsensical dialogue, dream-logic, bad acting and bargain-basement surrealism.
Die You Zombie Bastards!In the spirit of Troma and Toxic Avenger, this goofy wannabe-cult film tells the tale of a married, loving, cannibalistic serial killer couple and the evil Nefarious who wants to turn the whole world into zombie slaves, starting with 3 naked female scientists. After his wife gets kidnapped, Red goes on a road trip in search of Nefarious, meeting Swedish boobs, trailer trash, angelic pizza guys, and Jamaican gurus, while gorily tearing apart zombies. In the meantime, Nefarious inflates the unimpressed wife's boobs and gets zombie chicks to hammer his overly enlarged penis while he plays a tune on his prickly butt.
DisDefinitely a very unique, otherworldly and visually memorable horror movie. Emphasis is on atmosphere and warped visuals however, and not a plot or characters. This takes place in a strange, alternate self-contained world of dark witchcraft, where humans living in forests as well as strip-bars, and become obsessed with plants, using them as drugs, Here humans turn into plants, and plants come to life as creatures that abduct and harvest humans for their body fluids. Specifically, this revolves around various legends of the mandrake plant that has human-like appendages and allegedly screams when pulled out of the earth. An ex-soldier with some kind of dark past wanders forests and abandoned buildings (amazing location shooting), and encounters a very bizarre mandrake 'farm'. Injections, feeding, filthy and muddy chain-tied servitude, and forceful extraction of body fluids via creepy sexual acts ensue. However, the movie holds back way too much when it comes to back-stories and character, providing only very unsatisfying snippets, and leaving its audience with no points of interest to think about. But the atmosphere, acting (Bill Oberst Jr. once again in an intense performance) and locations are very effective, demented and disturbing.
Dog's Dream, AGreek movie that creates a strange, dream-like world where a man dreams of a confusing shootout in an opera and a woman who loves him, a singer's voice is stolen, a psychic detective solves a furniture theft using his powers, an oracle tells the future through a tea-cup, and a red-headed whore finds a magic wand that grants her wishes. The movie's fatal flaw is that it doesn't develop or build up anything, not even a mystery, and wallows in meandering atmospheric strangeness instead, wandering between its many empty characters. Interesting, but lacking substance and only occasionally effective as a dream.
Dorothea's RevengeA surreal, amusing exploration of sex, love, innocence, knowledge, happiness and capitalism through the sexual awakenings and experiments of Dorothea. She comes downstairs one day as the parents are narrating their own words and actions, and informs them and us that an alien visited her and left her a strange red meteorite. The parents immediately are concerned about her sexual habits and thus starts her misadventures with unhappy, perverted or lost people. She tries a sex documentary with friends, working as a model and prostitute (where she gets abused), befriends a depressed Dominatrix, follows advice from Jesus (who comes to visit her out of the blue) to sleep with children and fools (a flasher) until she reaches some kind of conclusion in the rural, naked life of the country. In the meantime, her father works producing bags of canned laughter to make people happy. Didactic and meditative in some parts, an amusing sex romp in others, and unfocused in the rest.
Dracula of ExarcheiaBonkers Greek trashy satire that is basically a series of vignettes in a freewheeling, gonzo, guerrilla style that sometimes feels improvised. There's a vampire and his team of ghouls that ravage the cemetery for body parts so that they can build the next big music band. But this angers the zombies who promptly go on a protest march against exploitation of zombie singers. Dracula's daughter(?), who enjoys having sex with dolls, runs off with the fat Frankenstein-esque singer who runs on batteries, and seems to have no inhibitions. They encounter a group of amazonian feminists that watch male bodybuilders and plot against men's rights, they meet a necrophiliac, are chased by zombies, run into aggressive supermarket salesmen and try-it-before-you-buy-it sex toys, and lots more, until the final concert of Nazi-zombies where they sing full-length, trashy, what-the-hell-was-that songs in front of an audience.
Dr. CaligariThe sets are low-budget German expressionism with garish colors, making the movie look like a cheap cartoon, the actors are mostly deadpan (with notable exceptions) and perform with their body movements, the insane dialog includes phrases like "My feelings are like filthy prayers. I want to scream in your face", the camp is over-the-top, there is black-comedy with nudity and nastiness, and the whole effect is surreal. It can't get more cult than this and yet it hasn't gained a following. The story is secondary but involves a Dr. Caligari who is in charge of an insane asylum and whose questionable methods include human experimentation, playing with a masochistic cannibal and a nymphomaniac, and the swapping of minds through hypothalamus injections. By Stephen Sayadian, a director who otherwise makes classic bizarre porn like Cafe Flesh and Night Dreams with highly idiosyncratic dialog and surreal, bizarre costumes and performances.
Eaten Alive (AKA Death Trap)Tobe Hooper's follow-up to Texas Chainsaw Massacre is the closest in plot and mood but somehow loses the grit and realism amidst too much style and bizarreness that is almost surreal. A local seedy hotel is owned by a madman who tends to mumble on and on about nonsense, and who owns an insatiable crocodile to whom he feeds all his guests. This movie visits this location on a very busy night where sometimes the clients are crazier than the hotel owner. Lots of madness, gore and twistedness ensues.
EggBizarre and silly Japanese horror about a girl who starts seeings weird eggs in her eyes. Annoying repetitive imagery of the egg keeps appearing, upsetting her life, interrupting her work (that consists of clicking on screenfuls of 1s and 0s), and causing all kinds of reactions from her highly eccentric boss, friends and coworkers. When the egg hatches, a weird monster emerges and she is chased by silly group of police and looney bin doctors, things get even more crazy, silly, surreal and bloody. Perhaps symbolic of menstrual cycles, but the movie prefers to play it as silly, mildly entertaining horror.
Elevator MovieA low-budget B&W that starts as an absurd comedy involving two people stuck in an elevator for days. The guy is a 26 year old virgin, obsessed with anal sex and venus fly traps that give fellatio, and the girl is an ex-slut born again Christian. They chat, date, share their personal lives, try to shave and shower, and deal with the sexual tension, all in the elevator. As the days become weeks and then months, she starts mutating, starting from the genitals which look like something out of Tetsuo. All this leads to an ending which is outrageous on many levels. Must see at least once.
Eliza's HoroscopeA strange one from the 70s. Eliza is looking for her love and baby with the help of a mysterious old astrologer who lives in a house full of strange characters. While she is waiting for the predicted One to appear, she lodges in this house and has a series of misadventures while dressing up in increasingly more bizarre clothes and makeup: She develops a complex relationship with an angry half-native who wants to blow up a bridge infringing on his reservation and home, she meets a sea captain who has a fetish for dressing her up as a china doll, and have her whip a statue of a centaur he is riding on with her wig while being filmed, and she joins a strange new-age cult that keeps live specimens of the zodiac signs and participates in bizarre orgiastic rituals while taking mushrooms. Memories and symbols keep popping up including old baby shoes, her brother, some violence, a guide in an eye-patch, a bearded clown, and all of this comes together at the end in an all-out surrealistic nightmare. Interesting and unique, but it didn't come together for me and remains an enigma.
Empty Dream (Chunmong)Korean remake of the Japanese pioneering surreal Pinku 'Day Dream', except this one eschews the explicit sex. Once again, both a woman and a man visit the dentist, both enduring difficult physical discomfort and pain by an all-too-efficient dentist, and both are put under the gas. Her erotic look combined with her submission to the oral abuse by the dentist evokes a fugue of nightmarish erotic-abusive scenes that function under dream-logic. The trio find themselves in one artificial set after another, from a cabaret to an expressionistic city, to a scorching desert or cave, and the dentist always interrupts the lovers attempts to make love, with sadistic games and abuse, and she always submits to him. There is some exquisitely surreal juxtaposition of imagery to evoke both sadism and eroticism as inspired by the dentistry.
EnemyThere is a known phenomenon where the same concept is often explored in two movies within the same year. This movie is a surreal thriller involving a doppelgänger, coming out in the same year as The Double (the slightly better movie of the two), and this duality is quite fitting here. In this one, a man finds he has an identical double leading a completely different life, except that the women in his life are having trouble accepting this and seem to know something that he doesn't. When his double becomes aggressive and decides to take over his life and use the situation to seduce his girlfriend, things increasingly become stranger, more tense and intriguing. He also has surreal visions of women and spiders. The spoiler-interpretation is obviously that the two men reflect the two sides of his subconscious, and aspects of his life are split up between the two, and that is why the women behave that way, commenting on his fantasies and affairs and disturbed by his split behaviour. His temporary acting job is glamorized over his teaching job, he seeks flings to free him rather than staying with his pregnant wife and being caught in the web of the spider, etc. Which is all very well, except the movie doesn't really have insight into this cliched character, and the surrealism is clumsy. An intriguing one-time watch only.
Escape from TomorrowA ballsy, indie surreal movie that became notorious fast thanks to its guerrilla-style filming at Disneyworld, while depicting the world as a very screwed-up place indeed under all the smiles, costumes and princesses. This is the day in the mind of a family-man who has just lost his job and whose marriage to an overbearing wife is full of tension. He desperately and pathetically follows cheery underage teenage girls around the park, neglects his kids, and has unpleasant encounters with pushy kids and a strange flirty woman who may or may not be a witch. Perhaps its a 'cat flu' that is messing with his mind, or just his own fears and anxieties, but his day rapidly turns surreal and disturbing, encountering neurotic women with an unhealthy attraction to kids, costumed princesses catering to horny Asian businessmen, turkey-meat that may not be turkey, and an unexplained conspiracy involving Disney his job and some robots. This one wants to take you on a dark and fascinating ride, and doesn't flinch from the vomit that ensues.
EscoriandoliItalian surreal comedy consisting of a series of satirical vignettes all acted with broad, silly acting and over-the-top gestures and facial expressions. A group of manic people attend a wake including an enthusiastic relative that kisses everyone, and where the corpse, due to scientifically explained phenomenon, talks his wife and his brother into a sex frenzy. After which, the new couple decide they cannot live together without the corpse. Marriage gets attacked again as a rooster-punk-undertaker falls prey to some commercial temptations, and then falls for a woman under absurd circumstances, and he rapidly ages while her previous lover turns young and energetic. But a social symbol quickly runs over the rejuvenated single male. Then there's a young woman who is committed to an asylum to make her conform and act with proper social compulsions, but she is incorrigible, so the insane doctor finds another way for her body to socially comply. In another story, a poet goes insane trying to find forgiveness for the sin of stepping on a man's foot in the bus, until his obsession reaches violent proportions. And finally, a silly young man finds that his body parts refuse to conform to his political beliefs, so he starts chopping them off one by one. Fun at times, but the acting is way too silly.
Eternal PresentAn unholy child of Godard's cinematic techniques and Aronofsky's Pi. The story involves a man who gets a job handling obituaries, finds out he was a gear in the mechanism of an old woman's accidental death, then causality itself goes to hell as past and future get mixed up and he finds himself manipulated by some mysterious people who are writing him into a script of death. Some surrealism follows, like when he follows a girl down the rabbit hole into a kitchen cupboard. A quote in the film declares art as exploring death at work but I wonder if he wasn't also going for the quote about only needing a girl and a gun to make a movie. What makes this movie special is the editing and metaphysics: Scenes are extremely disjointed, cut up into pieces, spliced together, interweaving past and future, often ending abruptly into long blackouts, all messing with the viewer's mind and his grasp of the sequence of events and continuity, but also giving the impression that the protagonist is caught in a movie with his actions scripted and his life at the hands of a writer who has the power to play with his past, his fate, his flow of time, and his actions. The metaphysics are fascinating and raise questions of causality, choice, fate and accident, but the disjointed editing is very overused and sometimes gets annoying. Unique and interesting but feels more like an experiment rather than anything complete.
Eve of Ivan Kupalo, TheA bizarre fantasy movie by Yuri Ilyenko, the cinematographer for Parajanov. Ilyenko was part of the Ukranian poetic movement and his movies usually involved fragmented scenes taken out of a linear story and presented with visual poetry and symbolism. This one is by far his most bizarre, employing free-form magic, surrealism and slapstick. Elements from various folklore stories are used in this extremely fragmented movie, but the main story involves a man in love with a woman whose father gave her away in marriage to a rich friend. The love-stricken man finds himself tempted by a demonic figure who promises him gold if he will sacrifice a young boy. Greed and madness overtake him. The many scenes include hallucinations of gold and violence in a cave, people that float in slanted or parallel positions to the floor, bizarre games with animals like putting candles on crayfish and throwing pigs down chimneys, an odd scene of cloned villagers with identical trees and huts dancing for a European kid monarch, religious symbolism, some random slapstick, and many other strange elements.
Evil Dead Trap IIThis sequel in name only is vastly different and features a very bizarre blend of gory slashings by disturbed female characters, a creepy child-ghost that may or may not be behind all the strange behaviour, nightmarish surreal sequences, and sleazy perversions. The plot is incomprehensible but seems to involve lots of psychotic guilt over an abortion or two, an obese projectionist with no friends and dark secrets, and a celebrity who seems to be insanely jealous of the projectionist. Very artistically striking and beautifully shot violent scenes, atmospheric music, some disturbing and dense nightmares, but incoherent.
Evil Within, TheThis cult item contains some of the most visually striking and brilliantly surreal flowing nightmares I've seen in a while. It's a pity they are in the service of a standard, empty, even clichéd horror story of a man going mad and hearing voices telling him to kill. The man in this case is a mentally deficient 30 year old who is in the care of his psychologically conflicted brother. The brother's pushy girlfriend doesn't make things easier either. The movie progresses as you would expect, and although the acting is superb, the character work is sloppy and uninsightful. The star is the ubiquitous nightmare world that is a combination of Elm-Street style is-it-real-or-a-dream horror, demonic possession via mirrors and a hellish underworld, the inside of a man's head as he goes psychotic, and best of all, lots of surreal, highly visual dream-logic. What really makes this a cult movie, however, are the alleged production back-stories of an eccentric meth-head millionaire heir to the Getty fortune who supposedly threw millions into this troubled movie for many years, and died before it was released. Add to this a cult-actor cameo, and the kid from Mr. Mom as a psychotic, and you have one must-watch movie that is just short of great.
EvolutionHadzihalilovic's last movie Innocence was 10 years ago and involved a somewhat strange, symbolic, artistic treatment of the training that little girls go through in order to grow up. This one is an enigmatic artsy body-horror movie, which I interpret as dealing with the theme of motherhood, the strange bond between mother and boy, and the domestication of young boys as they grow up only to have to release them to the larger world of industry. This is depicted with another combination of visually intriguing but austere, organic, primal sets and locations. It takes place on an island populated only by women and their young boys, both with close and even physical links to the sea and its starfish. Some act as nurses, and as the boys grow up, they are put through a series of very bizarre physical transformations and ordeals involving pregnancies. One young boy is befriended by a nurse who seems to have other plans for his future...
Excess FleshObviously inspired by Requiem for a Dream, and using similar cinematic elements, this seems to want to do to body-image and eating disorders what that movie did to drugs. It's not quite the same masterpiece or as inspired and original, but it has some good points. Two girls live together and have a strained relationship. One is a model, popular and confident, who can seemingly eat anything or get any guy, and the other is kinda chunky, is going off the rails and has an eating disorder. There's a rough separation from an abusive guy in the past hovering in the background, problems with a guy who seems to be interested in the fat one even though he fools around with the thin one, and a nosy neighbor. Matters deteriorate quickly, madness ensues, lots of disgusting binge eating, and some throwing up, violence and body abuse. Acting is mediocre at first, as the girls seem to be acting 'types' rather than three-dimensional people, but the movie and actresses improve gradually and also increase the intensity. The twist becomes obvious quite soon, but the movie isn't interested in the twist as much as in the theme and the madness, with graphic scenes that skirt the border of exploitation, ending up like a more trashy and much less artsy blend of Repulsion and Requiem of a Dream on the theme of eating disorders.
ExcisionA fitting companion piece to May, with another fascinatingly black and campy look at a disturbed teenager and the twisted troubles she gets herself into. She has a fascination with all things gory and bloody, fancies herself a medical expert, and even approaches her first sexual experience as a medical experiment involving blood (don't ask). AnnaLynne McCord spends the whole movie in acne, mouth sores and bushy eyebrows, freaking out everyone around her. But the trouble with this one is that, the way she is acted, her character obviously knows exactly what she is doing and gleefully and sadistically does it anyway, then pretends nobody understands her and blames her behaviour on biology. In other words, despite its uniqueness, this is just another movie about a disturbed, sadistic psychotic, and could have been much better with the same script but a different, perhaps more confused characterization. The movie is peppered with numerous dream sequences involving disturbed fantasies, necrophilia, a grotesque abortion, and other various gory, depraved and bizarre shenanigans. It also features John Waters as a priest with the job of healing her soul. Enough said.
Experiments in TerrorCompilation of 6 shorts from various periods, all featuring experiments with sight and sound rather than plot. The first four are mostly forgettable, featuring strobe effects, kaleidoscopic images, warped film stock, double images, etc. as well as some typical 60s psychedelic and colorful imagery, all more of an assault on the eyes and the head rather than anything terrorizing. Virgin Suicide features a Satanic montage of images that would go well with a Kenneth Anger short. The last two stand-out however: Tuning the Sleeping Machine is one of the best examples I've seen of nightmare-cinema, capturing the chaotic jumble of colors, lights and images inside an unfiltered brain, creating an intensely hypnotic and dark experience. Dawn of an Evil Millennium is an '18 minute trailer for an 18-hour epic' involving demons, sorcerers, aliens, action, car-chases and whatnot, with a unique approach of combining silly slapstick and sound effects with chaotic demonic splatter, action, fantasy and psychedelic sound and atmosphere.
Eyes of FireCult horror-Western with increasingly disorienting fantasy horror-magic that makes you feel like the director took peyote before filming. The characters and narrative are chaotic and live in a logic of their own, making this nonsensical movie somewhat tedious to watch, but the special effects and atmospheric horror are unique, mind-warping and very memorable in a fuzzy, hallucinative way. A priest who committed adultery is saved from hanging by his entourage of followers and an insane witch, and after they are banished, they wander into a haunted Native American forest with the help of one of the woman's ex-lovers who happens to be some kind of know-it-all wanderer guru. The manifestations and attacks from the ghosts and an ancient evil witch gradually increase, as does the good witch's powers, and it escalates into delirious hallucinations, spiritual battles, bizarre apparitions, as well as confusing bursts of violence and despair.
Extreme Cinema Vol. 1French compilation of 11 shorts, all of which dive head-first into the extremely bizarre. The strongest standouts are: 'Inside', a baffling oddity from the point of view of a supernatural or biological force that lives in water or inside young humans. 'New Order' is an effectively chilling, wordless series of tactile images about a force that overturns life, sex & death. And 'Ossuary', the Svankmajer classic documentary about a flabbergasting historical construct of 50,000 human skeletons. And then there are the mildly interesting ones: 'Oedipe', a wacky bizarre free-association stop-motion animation involving bees, chimps that turn into donkey kong, mother-dolls with projectile flower-sprouting boobs waging war against a wheelchair-bound spaceman, focusing more on referencing pop-culture movie imagery than in making sense. 'Silken' features a fully grown man in a womb experiencing life outside through a kaleidoscope of liquid images. 'Darling Darling' features Cera in a surreal comedy full of odd scenes about him picking up his date in a very unusual home occupied by one bizarre but charming father with a horse's head. 'Duck Children' is a very odd stage dance by kids in home-made duck outfits that suddenly turns violent and surreal when a hunter gets on stage. And the bottom of the barrel: 'Earthquake', a very silly one about puppets shaking during an earthquake. The experimental 'Jinniku no umarekawari' is metaphysical horror of a 'primeval mass' that is shown with a pulsating electronic soundtrack and imagery of morphing meat and organs. 'U' is a colorfully disgusting French 'documentary' about kids, excrement, nutrition and various bodily functions portrayed using cartoonish and juvenile bad taste. And 'Down, Down, Down', a music video with visuals of things, a little person, and people deflating downwards. Altogether very entertaining, without enough impacting shorts to make it a keeper, but definitely a must-see once.
FantastipoThe ultimate poser movie about posing, overacting, public relations, fake happiness and control. This quirky Japanese movie tells the tale of a water tycoon that convinced the world his water makes you young and perky, and his two sons, a spoiled immature man and the younger troublesome impetuous son that doesn't seem to fit in. They talk and interact with ridiculous flourishes, synthetic dialogue and poses, keep a weird wild creature in the basement who hates the older son, they play for hours with train sets and toy animals, making sure they pose in just the right way, the public relations girl keeps a pet budgie on her shoulder, and sometimes they go to a psychedelic disco to dance with large women and fathers. The movie is quirky light stylish fun awash with 60s colors, clothes and hairdos, but the message about being yourself is childish and empty.
FeminaI'm really starting to wonder why only women get surreal coming-of-age movies. That aside, this is a movie by Piotr Szulkin who previously made an interesting and unusual trilogy of dystopian sci-fi movies. Think of this as a kind of erotic Wojciech Has movie, where the surreal effortlessly blends with the real to explore the workings of the sexually frustrated female mind. The female in question is a married woman whose husband just ran off for a month. Her mother dies, forcing her to revisit her home, and she finds herself revisiting her childhood as expressed through frustrations with her marriage. Fantasies go wild, exploring flings with strangers and women, then experimenting as a prostitute for a day for an absurdly insane client, all linked to events in her childhood involving moral and disciplinary lessons, first kisses and fondles, haunted by surreal visions of an ominous masculine figure in uniform hovering over her bed while society, family and friends break into absurd parades, dialogue and dances. This underdeveloped and confused lens of the past combines with her current desperate outbreaks and rebellions to explore her psyche as tries to release her long pent up psychological blocks via sex, even if it may be a romp with an undertaker that merges with surreal visions of death and childhood that enables her to release herself from her mother. Interestingly done, with a welcome light touch.
FinisterraeWhat the...? OK, let's try this description: Imagine a forgotten fantasy screenplay by Tarkovsky, with ponderous, slow-moving, meaningful magic, which was then picked up the Monty Python troupe on a very silly day who then decided to film it for fun but would add something silly to every scene. See, there are these two ghosts roaming the countryside on a quest to re-enter the world of the living, except they are two guys in sheets with holes for their eyes. They ride a horse, but then the horse turns into a pantomime horse with a spinning head, and they then meet an oracle who helps them find the right path, except the oracle seems too much of an annoying hippie and we all know what must be done to hippies right? And so on, with slow-moving beautiful scenery, and two guys in sheets meeting one weird person animal, or object after another in their search for new life, even if it includes peering into a tree and watching a Catalan video art-piece involving vomit and experiments with mice.
Finnegan's WakeThe only attempt at an adaptation of this most difficult of novels by James Joyce. Although there were attempts at extracting a narrative and fleshy characters from the book, the writing is based on playful language and dream-logic, inventing its own words that are remotely English and perhaps Irish, allowing them to be recognized in a mad Lewis Carroll way, but twisting them around to play dense puns, games, and free associations with obscure or playful allusions, all carefully constructed to create a rhythm and patterns that will appeal to a stream of consciousness. The movie creates literal visuals to go with the flowing imagery of the book that rapidly moves and shifts between scenes as in a dream. Finnegan is challenged by having to attend his own wake, and characters interchange, representing various aspects of his life and ideals, as well as his own self. The movie is not about the visuals or story however, and the scenery merely provides more fuel for the language blender and sculptor that is James Joyce. The language is so difficult and dense, it is presented in subtitles. At times playfully interesting, especially to the most literary and academic, but rapidly grows tiresome and is probably best taken in smaller doses.
FirecrackerA real murder in a small town in Kansas is given a melodramatic, surreal and over-the-top gothic treatment probably modeled after David Lynch's Blue Velvet. A very abusive big brother terrorizes his mother and younger brother who wants to do 'sissy' things like play piano. Emotions boil, and the local police-woman starts investigating. In a parallel story reminiscent of Browning's Freaks, a carnival is in town featuring real freaks, a disfigured woman and her very sick and sadistic boss, both acted by the same actors in the roles of the mother and son, giving the grotesque sideshow a surreal, psychological, symbolic and Oedipal edge. The abusive son got her pregnant and enraged the boss, and the young son wants to run away with her and play music, and all the while, a strange mystical woman lives in the plains and appears with cryptic messages. A mixed bag, with some striking and intense moments, but others don't work as well due to the slightly overdone melodramatic treatment and mediocre acting.
Flesh of Your Flesh (AKA Bloody Flesh)Colombian art-house oddity that starts off as a political drama revolving around a rich family and their ancestral ties to the country. During the dictatorship, bombs destroy several ancestral buildings, a grandmother dies, and the various children and grandchildren inherit the family's assets and memories, including one young half-sister who is visiting them. While they are all staying in the country next to the black sheep of the family, a Communist great-uncle, the movie suddenly veers into Raoul Ruiz territory with surreal ghosts, a crazed incestuous lust, baby and animal abuse, random murder and insane behaviour, and vampiric horror, as the family falls apart in this symbolic chaos. Even the music is reminiscent of Ruiz.
Flew, TheI could swear this was a Guy Maddin movie, except this somehow surpasses even Maddin in its inscrutable oddness. I'll do my best to describe this one: Imagine a complicated shooting gallery with miscellaneous bric-a-brac hydraulically moving and floating as shooting targets. Its visual themes include a mish-mash of pharmacy, living quarters, and bee-keeping. Now imagine that inside this shooting gallery, while outsiders keep shooting at the moving objects, a man actually lives his life and somehow all the hallucinative moving objects become part of his daily routine. He stares wistfully across the way at his love, The Wooden Embalmer, a broken down carnival ride that tends to cause gruesome accidents to its riders. Now imagine a whole movie based on this concept, made as a silent movie with intertitles, carnival sounds, organs and hydraulics, the mechanical man constantly harassed or haunted by increasingly strange moving objects, including a floating beehive, his genital props stored in a closet, and an aggressive wig. Individual lengthy scenes may consist simply of animated objects, such as a 'stomach-ache' mechanical man belching out objects at a moving box on rollers covered in leaves. It's that odd and indescribable. The lack of narrative and its endless fascination with odd moving objects can get tedious, but it's definitely one-of-a-kind and very atmospheric.
Forbidden ZoneForget Rocky Horror Picture Show. This incredibly offbeat cult musical is much more bizarre and creative, and even quite amusing at times. Try to imagine very quirky comic-book characters mixed with John Waters trashy acting, costumes that look like someone collected every item in cheap leftover wardrobes and put them together randomly, sets made of cardboard and sketches, some stop motion animation, very unpredictable behaviour and plot development, and campy dialog. The story isn't the star of the movie but it involves a door to a sixth dimension via a large intestine, where a midget king rules while a tuxedo wearing frog waits and a human chandelier swings. Other characters include a machine-gun toting schoolteacher, Satan, chicken boy, and a trio of prostitutes who get humped by passers-by. This one makes you wonder whether someone slipped you a drug in your drink.
FoundA dark, independent movie done quite well that pulls no punches. The unique story line is that of a growing boy who finds out his brother is a serial killer. The movie balances the boy's interest in dark comics and horror movies with the fact that he is, after all, a good young boy and isn't quite prepared to take his interests too far. Constant bullying at school keeps pushing him towards entertaining more dark thoughts, and a unique relationship develops with his brother. Decapitated heads in his brother's closet provide for endless fascination and disgust, and an extreme movie within the movie used for horror entertainment on a dare, provides some eyeball splatter and nasty sexual activity involving severed heads. Tensions with the parents and his brother's increasing obsessions and shocking, surprising, twisted hatred keep raising the stakes for a truly nasty ending. The two brothers are quite good in the acting department, but everyone else tend to come off as amateurishly awkward and the spiraling nastiness at the end is over-the-top. Nevertheless, this one is memorably edgy.
FrontierExperimental, absurd and unique film that invents a foreign country and language called Bulbovia, and then features a group of Bulbovians doing strange Bulbovian things in the forest while speaking Bulbovian. What looks like a team of soldier-scientists are to occupy new territory while conducting bizarre scientific experiments and readings, and reaching absurd objectives. One is in a wheelchair, and his partner is shocked at the social irresponsibility when he decides to leave his wheelchair, his abandoned wife sells the children to join them in the forest but soon falls for a strange meek local who lives in a barn and logs his daily hygiene habits. Other locals include some annoyed cows, and two people in bizarre costumes playing games with an inflatable ball. What's strange is that we can recognize how this alien culture is eroded by local customs and the tensions rise, leading to fights with chickens as boxing gloves, and force-feeding of milk. Did I also mention that the whole movie features four people?
GalaxyAlthough directed by a Japanese director of Pinku who frequently worked with Koji Wakamatsu, this is very far from a Pinku. It's a plotless, surreal, movie-length existential crisis. A man has an identity crisis on the freeway while his car breaks down. He grapples with various symbolic people, including his father in a Buddhist robe with magical powers, his girlfriend who turns into a giant as he finds himself hiding from her, and various people in his life, including his own doppelgänger. His confrontations often end in violence as his mind is pushed further into agitation, his father torments him with magical tricks making objects and people appear and disappear, people appear in various times and places through multiple layers of dream-logic, as he attempts to find his place and his identity after the events of WWII.
Gauloises Bleues, LesAt times a wonderfully surreal and intriguing artistic creation by Michel Cournot. This is a hodgepodge of subtly impressionistic scenes that come together to weave a character study and portrait of life. It explores the love, or lack thereof, of a spouse and a parent, absurdities and tragedies of life, growing-up and death, and humanity under various social and political influences. Ivan's life, and his unhappy relationship with his wife and father, are told through interweaving flashbacks as his wife is attempting to give birth. The title refers to the cigarettes he was buying from her when he met her while down on his luck. They fall in love but constantly fight, while he resorts to crime. The movie's many artsy vignettes vary widely between provocative interviews and dialogue, symbolic scenes of Ivan as a child stomping a gift of bread into the ground, surreal images of death, absurdities of silly bureaucracies and indifference in hospitals, scenes of political upheaval mixed with innocent images of a children's book, and so on.
Gardener, TheObscure but intriguing French surrealism. In a barren landscape, there is a 'water factory' where everything is run with absurdly incomprehensible rules and games. The workers are chosen by how far they can rotate a toy airplane, the work involves strange Sisyphean contraptions for carrying water, and the currency is miserly portions of water handed out in pots and pans, and cut-up newspaper coupons, prepared by the owners themselves. But no sooner do they get paid and carefully put together the pieces, the workers have to spend it on various odds and ends, including a lottery machine that chews up the paper and spits it out, while the bosses play in a luxurious swimming pool playing silly games. So far, an absurd and surreal attack on capitalism and the rat race. But then it gets weird. There's a gardener that plants flowers and plants in secret places, and in coal-trolleys, wasting massive amounts of water. There's a strange woman, and a very strange love blossoms, typified by a scene where he declares his love in a sea of foam and with trolleys full of flowers, during which she has to guess a season. He then goes berserk for no discernable reason, there's a mini-revolution by the workers, and, well... the film loses all coherence. But it's still an intriguing, entertaining and interesting watch.
Genius PartyAnime anthology of seven shorts without no common theme or style. There are two conventional passably entertaining shorts: 'Baby Blue' is a teenage love story, and 'Shanghai Dragon' is some typical anime sci-fi action involving aliens and a retarded kid with special powers. 'Doorbell' is an intriguing semi-surreal fantasy about a young man who keeps finding ghostly doppelgängers of himself taking over his life. 'Genius Party' is a short introduction containing trippy visuals and no story. The terrible 'Limit Cycle' is the most tedious, containing endless aphorisms and snippets of theology and philosophy accompanied by a random montage of trippy imagery involving a virtual world and historical or occult-themed images. 'Deathtic 4' is a horror-comedy themed short with bizarre-cute monsters which takes place in a world of dead creatures that encounter a live frog. And the best of the lot is 'Happy Machine', a very surreal movie about a baby that tries to survive in a very bizarre and cruel world where his bizarre but cute companions constantly find a sticky end, from a mother that morphs into a construct, to a fire-baby, to a urine-drinking bouncy plant-pet, and much more.
Genius Party BeyondA sequel with five animated shorts this time, only two of which are really surreal, except that they go all the way. 'Moondrive' is a wacky and silly cartoon about a group of young and goofy criminals that find a treasure map. It has the logic and violence of a road-runner cartoon, except that it has a female member who is a sex slave. 'Toujin Kit' is a somewhat strange dystopian moody sci-fi about a bored girl who hides from the law and who seems to be have a collection of alien stuffed toys. 'Gala' is a magical green-themed fantasy with strange creatures and distant lands, where a huge rock has landed from the sky causing violent reactions from the locals, as well as provoking a cult of people that play music for it on massive musical instruments. 'Wanwa the Doggy' is another nightmarish surreal adventure involving a baby, but it is crudely drawn and isn't mesmerizing like 'Happy Machine' from the previous installment, opting instead for a hyperkinetic frantic montage of constantly morphing scenery, people, creatures and objects in a continuous dream-logic chase scene. 'Dimension Bomb' lives up to its name, with mind-bogglingly bizarre and surreal imagery and an incredibly gifted animation style and visual sense that you can't take your eyes off even though it never makes a lick of sense.
Glory to the Filmmaker!After the surreal satire of his public persona in Takeshis', Takeshi Kitano follows up with an even wackier comedy, this time on his job and hobby as a film-maker. It starts as an amusing mockumentary on Kitano's supposed writer's block and 'documents' several of his failed ideas and film projects in every genre imaginable, from an Ozu-like drama where Kitano simply doesn't fit in, to romantic dramas, comedies, horror, sci-fi, and nostalgic pieces, all failing due to various incompatible things in his personality. And then it just lets loose the reins of sanity, and starts a series of completely bonkers comic sketches with only the loosest dream-logic connecting strand between them. It's as if Kitano were tired of trying to make a genre movie, and went instead for fun with indescribable chaos instead, letting loose his unique sense of humor. To describe the chaos is impossible since it changes every 10 seconds into something else, but there are many jokes with Kitano constantly changing himself into a doll whenever danger appears, an asteroid apocalypse, a mother-daughter team of con-women that wear animated ducks and giraffes, a serious professor lecturing on women's panties, physically impossible action scenes, various fantasy superpowers, movie spoofs, a huge robot, a karate dojo with very silly teachers and drummers, a random animated Dominatrix in a hallucinogenic bizarre sequence, as well as a strange stage performance with a huge phallus set to heavy metal music, and much more. Reminiscent of the freewheeling slapstick madness in Kitano's 'Getting Any', only this is much more bonkers.
Gold of Love, TheThis follow-up to 'Der Fan' is like a hallucinative riff on that movie. It follows a pretty fan of the electro-punk band D.A.F. through one very strange night, as the girl is awakened by the band's call, causing her to bleed from her eyes, get out of bed and come to their concert, except she has no money. Her dreamy resolve leads her to a wandering nightmarish night through the dream-logic city, a city seemingly populated by very bizarre underworld figures all linked back to the band. When she witnesses a murder, she is marked by the underworld for death, except her purity and simple drives ('I just want to go to the concert' & 'I have no money') save her again and again. Restaurants and bars are populated by vampiric people, suicidal men, other-worldly hair-dryers, stark-naked girls, glowing cars, and drugs. At least half of the running time is taken up by noise, band footage and music. Perhaps an exploration of the purity underlying punk music, or perhaps just a hallucinative and atmospheric riff on electro-punk. This movie doesn't have much meat on its bones, but it's all about the atmosphere.
Grateful Undead, TheA one-of-a-kind drug-zombie movie, as long as you aren't expecting a zombie movie that is. The main protagonists, as well as the movie itself, are non-aging hippies, after 30 years of drugs and philosophizing, that are so braindead, they became zombies, suddenly erupting in random gory violence and feasting on the squares. But this is not about flesh-eating, or even about camp. This movie is about the various freaks of society and various generations. Hippies, alien conspiracy freaks, the sarcastic-know-it-all-slacker generation, a comic-book freak that thinks the hippies are vampires, goth-kids and metal-heads, e-popping party animals, each spouting their nonsensical philosophies and thoughts, sometimes hearing voices, the movie's coherency deteriorating along with your mind, until all of the freaks start to merge despite living in their own hazy islands, some converting and becoming zombies too. Probably the most bizarre zombie movie ever made with a merciless drug-hazy atmosphere. If this wasn't made while on heavy drugs, then nothing was.
Gruesome Death of Tommy Pistol, TheEndlessly surprising, bonkers and extreme movie made by a pornographer that is a mix of anything-goes entertainment, comedy, splatter and gross-outs. Think of a really insane Troma project. Tommy Pistol is the director's own pornography alias, so this may or may not have elements of auto-biography. Tommy is a loser that makes other losers look like Nobel prize winners. When he falls asleep during a masturbation session, his dreams go awry and are shown in three segments. The weaker first is campy torture-porn featuring Tommy with superstar ambitions involved in highly bizarre and gory torture methods while staying at a 'Paki-hotel' with a bi-curious manager. The second is the most insane with must-be-seen-to-be-believed scenarios involving 'Arnold Schwarzenegger', his skin, a talking dog, and chick-kung-fu. The third reminded me of Guinea Pig: Mermaid in a Manhole, featuring absolutely repulsive pus-ridden gore at a porno-shoot that escalates. The humor and acting are quite good, you will never know what is going to happen next, and there is something here for every fan of extreme but trashy cinema.
Gwen, the Book of SandSurreal, art-house, atmospheric animation for adults that leaves you with mystical mysteries in your head. This is a desert world, possibly post-apocalyptic, and materialistic objects haunt the land. The people of the desert walk amongst sand, ruins, and massive objects of worlds past such as clocks and glasses, in awe of various legends, hunting ostriches for their feathers, hiding from unseen passing beings, walking on stilts on the treacherous sands, and telling of the legends behind hovering lights. A girl joins them with strange behaviour that seems to know no fear, and there is a boy who has strange dreams and some kind of link with the gods of the past. She accompanies an old woman on a quest through mountains of objects to a city populated by strange cult worshippers of product catalogs... Poetic and intriguingly strange, but also slow and dry and the characters never come to life. This one is purely about ideas, atmosphere and existential allegory.
HappinessA disturbing study of lust and loneliness by exploring such characters as a depressed woman who coldly repulses her lovers, a writer in search of raw emotion who tries to find it in rape, a wimpy obscene phone caller, and a pedophiliac father. Their lives are explored graphically and sympathetically, with painful scenes such as when the pedophiliac attempts to explain his affliction to his son through tears. Well done, but too unrelentingly repulsive and disturbing. The director seems to be more interested in uncovering filth in a realistic and sympathetic way rather than in offering insights. Who needs a movie just to show what filth and depression look like?
Harms Case, TheAn absurd and lightly surreal biopic about the absurdist Russian poet Daniil Kharms. It deals mostly with some of his short works rather than his life, creating a flowing sequence of absurd vignettes mining the rich absurdities of Soviet Communist society, employing little stories and encounters in the streets as satirical jabs. Humans are put-down like horses, officials appear out of nowhere to criticise machines with no purpose, old women are trained to wear badly manufactured gas masks, and so on. It also deals with the last few days of his life, when suddenly an angel with detachable wings breaks through his window asking him to help look for a 'beam' which takes on a bittersweet irony, only he becomes worried that his dream and writings about being shot may also come true.
Hash Tree, TheBizarre and surreal social satire from Denmark that pushes chaotic absurdity so far at times, it becomes reminiscent of Dada. An uptight, confused man lives with his wife and maid next to a big tree. He suspects people live up in the tree when he keeps finding various items and trash under the tree. The government appointed street cleaner doesn't do much, except occasionally take trashy people off the street and into the garbage. He suspects the maid of stealing food and sexual perversions, and the police precinct is literally a farm with insane cops imprisoning lamps and horses. A guru preaches about taking drugs and literally flying, parades of naked hippies perform bizarre ceremonies at night then fall out of the trees while trying to fly, etc. Other odd bizarre scenes include a man in a flying machine about to dive into a pool crammed full of people instead of water, a tree full of butts, a dangerous moving iron, hairy cleavage, and more. Very entertaining strangeness.
Head - Hands - HeartDirector David Jarab previously made a less bizarre but more absurd film Fatherland, that pokes fun at upper-class traditions in Bunuelian fashion using a strange hunt of human-like creatures. In this impenetrably bizarre movie, he pulls out all the stops of surrealism. The story itself, unfortunately, makes no sense on its own, and can only serve as metaphor. But since we have no clue what the key to the metaphor is, the movie fails to reward us. The setting is WWI in Eastern Europe, and the themes, presumably, involve body parts as a metaphor for different aspects of a whole serving different purposes, and what happens when each part is separated, sought after on its own, and given independent life. Within this theme, we get a nonsensical tale involving a Colonel and his occult obsessions, whose head, hands and heart are removed after his ritualistic death, each body part serving different people and living a life of its own. There are also mysterious gems, an apathetic wife that welcomes her ex-husband's friends into her bed as well as his severed finger to keep her company, an obsession over chickens and beheading them, and so on. The movie gets points for an intriguing atmosphere and cinematography, and someday, someone may figure out what it all means, but in the meantime, it gets stored on a dusty shelf.
Heart of GlassAnother bizarre cinematic allegory by Herzog. A small village in Bavaria that lives on their export of ruby glass has lost the only man who knows how to make this glass. A local mystic continuously prophesies about events both big (the world wars to come) and small (free beer), and poetically describes cataclysms and existential crises. Two men are fated to fight and one to die under another, and they catatonically fulfill this prophecy. Other locals also seem insane or catatonic, a man is tested for signs of life using a barking dog poked by a gardening fork, a strange woman with short hair strips and dances, and there is a twisted relationship between a laughing old man and a young girl. Most of the symbolism is too obscure and impenetrable but the movie as a whole is intriguingly pensive, poetic and pastoral with beautiful scenery.
HellionsHorror movies often get nightmarish when the monsters arrive, but this one is basically one long nightmare that may or may not be a dream, frequently using dream-logic with creatures or places that turn into other things, disembodied voices, surreal imagery, fears that turn instantly real, and a slew of confusing goings-on. It is also another female coming-of-age movie that has been given a surreal treatment, in this case very specifically dealing with a teenager's discovery that she has become pregnant, her scary thoughts of social pressure, abortion, blood, monster babies, creatures taking over her body and her life, sacrifice, etc. all turning into an all-too-real nightmare. The dream-logic approach is a bit too surreal and unreal, unlike McDonald's much better Pontypool, and it doesn't develop its theme or story much, but it's not too bad for a nightmare movie.
Henry: Portrait of a Serial KillerNot a slasher film. This cult classic goes into the mind of a remorseless serial killer who calmly and carefully kills dozens of people at random for entertainment, to vent his twisted drives or merely to pass the time. Along the way he 'befriends' an abused stripper, attracted and intrigued by his murder of his mother, and her incestuous brother who is drawn in to the murdering sprees while filming them with a video camera. No camp, no excess gore, no dishonest heroic portrayals, and no message, just twisted and cold film-making.
Hic Digitur DeiObscure Catalan film made during Franco's regime by Antoni Martí i Gich. Unfortunately, lack of subtitles make it impossible to review properly, so this will only be based on impressions and guesswork: The film is divided into 10 segments, the first of which tells a dramatic tale of doomed love between an ordinary couple that soon find themselves corrupted in a mad society. The rest of the episodes seem to make fun of the various people in power, from the oligarchy, to the church, to the fascist regime, filmed as vignettes low-budget guerrilla-style, dressing up various people in cheap over-the-top costumes as they partake in surreal debauchery, decadence, worship of power, pomp and ceremonies, with strange scenes of angels shot down by a half-naked transsexual, hordes of men in suits clamoring for an autograph, a musical set in a hospital with a flippant crew operating on a man with a hand in his chest, and lots more, many of them set to music.
Hitler: A Film from Germany (AKA Our Hitler)Partially deserved hype accompanies this experimental 7-hour movie about Hitler. The approach is artsy, philosophical, operatic in its passionate, grand portrayal of the period and the coming of Hitler, and surreal in its stagy, bizarre sets and oddly costumed narrators and guides that serve as a strange abstract visual backdrop to the poetic narration and historical footage, quotations and audio. The result is a deep and sweeping understanding of Hitler and what he represented to Germany and the world. A vision that doesn't glamorize him, or attempt another dry documentary with facts, or another historical dramatic recreation, but something new. It is careful with its condemnation, always keeping it personal and close to us the audience, and it emphasizes the fact that Hitler would have been nobody without the masses who needed him, so that understanding will come through personal introspection and indirectly through a poetic and thoughtful narration. His personal life, quotes, attitudes, viewpoints, helpers and friends are also explored through many writings of his associates read by performers on stage. The big flaw is the length, much of it spent on needless flights of art-house fancy, mildly interesting theatrical performances and puppets, and pointless tangents on minutiae, or rants about the artists of the time. A much more powerful 3 hour movie could be extracted from this.
HK: Hentai KamenOnly the Japanese could have come up with something this demented, and only the Japanese could have implemented it in a way that feels even more demented than the concept, and made it somehow entertaining. This is by far the most bizarre superhero movie you will ever see: A high-schooler who is the son of a super-Dominatrix finds himself too meek to handle life and the new cute girl, until he discovers super-powers when he wears panties as a mask. He struts his stuff around town almost-naked defeating baddies in a hilarious spoof of spider-man, coming up with super-moves involving his bulging crotch that would make Stephen Chow proud. But an evil weirdo with pigtails is trying to take over the local gym, and sends one weird assassin after another (one super-power is being 'pleasant') to try to get him. There is no way to describe how demented these fight scenes are until you see the movie. But is he or isn't he a pervert? A question also torturing his high-school crush... until a master-pervert comes into town.
Hole in my Heart, AAn artsy study filmed in a style similar to reality-TV/Dogme about self humiliation, objectification, mutilation and abuse for glamor, commercialism and fame. It also deals with communication and relationship issues between people who are disconnected from themselves, desperate and empty. A man with a traumatic past makes porn movies in his house, aided by his male porn-star friend, a desperate female who will do anything for fame, and his lonely, intensely depressed son who stays in his room while his father engages in depravity. Personalities clash, connect and interact while the porn-making descends into violence, food fights, out-of-control orgies and vomit. A non-linear, experimental film that makes some interesting, scattered findings but wraps it in a disgusting and depressing bundle.
Hole in the MoonSurprisingly experimental and free-wheeling movie from Israel in 1964 that is part Godard, part Fellini stream of consciousness, part silly comedy, part provocative satire. A man lands in the port of Jaffa amidst much confusion and strange people, embarks onto the land to build a life, and soon finds himself selling lemonade in the desert, competing with another confused Israeli, and finding treasures in their own imaginations instead. They dream up a woman, start making movies and building settlements, drawing parallels between fantasy and building a real life throughout the movie. This is all filmed with hyper, jazzy, free-wheeling energy and an improvisational approach as various movie genres and icons appear, mix chaotically, then are reduced to creative slapstick. Fantasies come to life, real people are made into actors and interviewed about their views on acting and Israel, constructions turn into musical numbers, violence turns into slapstick, and slapstick turns into serious acting lessons, all poking light fun at the Zionist collective dream. It's quite hard to describe this one really.
Hour of the WolfBergman's second very abstract and somewhat surreal movie is challenging but feels incomplete and flawed no matter how hard you think about it. A neurotic artist and his wife move to a seemingly deserted island, but the local Baron and his strange friends pop up and upset their lives, using jokes, strange entertainment and knowledge of the artist's past to play games with the increasingly insane man. Events written in a journal, ideas sketched on canvas, people that appear, and stories told in the middle of the night may or may not be real, and his wife, so desperate to connect with her deteriorating husband may get more than she wished for. Bergman seems to touch on themes of subjective reality, schizophrenia, art, deep connections between man and wife, horror elements like a bird man and a woman who pulls off her face, and social drama, but that's all he seems to do with them: touch lightly.
HorseheadA drama told through dreams and gothic nightmares. A woman comes back home to her parents for her grandmother's funeral, but something is mysterious about the way she died, and her unsympathetic mother seems to be hiding something about both her and her grandmother. She uses tricks learned from her psychophysiology studies and her mentor to try to control her dreams and use lucid dreaming to discover the secrets. When she becomes mysteriously ill, she uses this feverish state as well. Most of the movie consists of dreams, heavily symbolic, featuring grotesque and gothic imagery of a dark horsehead death gate-keeper, wolves, keys, violent cults that seem to derive from Christianity, strange bloody rituals, bizarre pregnancies, and some dream-logic involving transforming locations and consolidation. Although the imagery is colorful, artistic and somewhat hallucinative, I found it to be too sharp, studio-lit, slickly edited and staged to feel surreal, and as a result, it felt more like a modern Argento or Hammer horror flick about cults and fevered-followers a la Rosemary's Baby rather than a nightmare. The ending is ambiguous and weak.
Human Centipede III (Final Sequence), TheWhen a director makes three horror movies revolving around coprophilia as a form of torture, obvious questions arise. But Tom Six surprised me once again by taking the right route with this one, and turning it into a parody of itself, as well as everything else. He makes a smug appearance in his own movie, only to throw up at his own ideas, and has his own characters call him a 'toddler infatuated with poop'. Took the words right out of my mouth... Then again, this movie tries too hard to disgust, what with kidney rape (don't ask), dried clitorises from Africa as candy, and of course, a huge human centipede, this time done to control a prison population by an insane warden, and in a way that allows them to be released eventually. Then again, this movie, unlike the previous entries, is just a trashy comedy more in the vein of a Troma movie, and gleefully has its characters chew the scenery and tries to offend every single race and gender or idea it can in its running time. Which is why it doesn't matter that it is unrealistic, that Dieter Laser becomes a cartoon character, or that the characters from his previous movies appear in his one in other guises, nor does it have to explain how a warden can get away with this. In fact, this parody approach is the whole point, and only an audience that expects another horror movie to top the other ones will be disappointed (and evidently they were). I thought it was high time Tom Six made fun of himself and the world that gleefully watches movies like these, while still sticking to his 100% politically incorrect (puerile) guns, so I laughed almost as often as I was disgusted. I could have done without the new forms of infantile fetishes though.
Human HighwayNeil Young and friends on a goofy acid trip that's so messy it feels improvised. There's some kind of a story involving the new grumbling owner of a diner who tries to make all kinds of changes to make money out of the business while assorted weird characters interact, long after each other and dance. Hopper is Cracker who feeds his pet raccoon, Young is a dorky mechanic who plays music on his tools, there's a bizarre creature with a doll's head that talks incoherently, a rich Sheik who goes after the milkman, glowing nuclear plant employees, and suddenly the whole goofy thing dissolves into concert and weird jam footage of Neil Young, and a travelogue mixed with psychedelia. Definitely a "What the hell did I just see?" movie.
Hungarian Fairy Tale, AEccentric Hungarian movie that starts as a romance, veers into a combination of road trip and social/political satire, then ends with a completely confusing sequence of surreal fantasy images. Elements from Mozart's Magic Flute are used for the story as well as other mythological references, and it may or may not make more sense if one knows what it is referring to. The story is about a kid born to a beautiful lady who had a romantic one-night stand after an evening at the opera. She registers a fictitious name for his father at the government office due to some obscure law, but when the kid loses his mother, both the kid and the government bureaucrat rebel against the system and embark on a road trip, one to seek his fictitious father, the other to presumably correct his bureaucratic sins as he burns a mountain of papers. They encounter a strange boot camp for child-soldiers, a grandmother with seemingly magical powers, and a helpful lady who joins their impromptu family, until the climax with an endless surreal chase involving kid-soldiers, angels and flying statues.
Illusionist, TheIntriguing Dutch visual piece with no dialogue, with most of the movie consisting of strange magical tricks, slapstick, visual comedy, gags, pantomime and surrealism as part of the story. Two strange brothers with a penchant for pantomime performance, constantly fiddling with magic props, collecting dead flies, and falling into pools of water are separated by their family. One is afflicted with sudden strange outbursts that disturb the locals and is therefore sent to be treated in an insane asylum. The family continues falling apart as the other brother follows his obsessive desire for a magician's assistant, his fears and a touching loneliness becoming increasingly confusing and surreal. Full of alien visual gags that are played with for their own sake, like when a moving branch gets in his way in the forest while cannonballs drop. Brings to mind a much more bizarre Tati movie.
Image Threads, TheIt's like Jodorowsky surfed the internet, got horny, took some acid, and made this visual meditation on the flickering musings in his head. The hyper-bizarre visual imagery in this one is way out there together with The Holy Mountain, also in terms of its mystical themes, often involving Eastern religious symbolism, the occult, and several holy men performing bizarre rites or re-enactments. There is no story, just a stream-of-consciousness narration consisting of random musings, cryptic philosophical or mystical statements, koans, quotes, and cryptic dialog that he has with an internet persona who may be a virus, a hermaphrodite, an evil being, a cybersex partner, or himself, or all of the above. He also muses on his black-magic grandfather, identity, and dark undercurrents in his psyche. Sample narrative statements include: "Birds sing with their fingers", "The virtual reality of family lineage", "I am the desktop image of my chirping black magpie". I am not a fan of this approach of throwing together a bunch of pseudo-mystical gibberish hoping something sticks, since nothing really sticks in the end, even the random thoughts triggered by the visuals and koans. But there is no denying the hypnotic effect of this uniquely bizarre movie.
Impressions of Upper MongoliaDalí's only movie directed by himself, and a very Dalí'esque homage to the poet Raymond Roussel in the form of a hallucinogenic mockumentary. Dalí describes the background of a special hallucinogenic huge mushroom that grows in Mongolia and the attempts at retrieving it by an expedition set-up by himself. This is done via various colorful and LSD-inspired images that is converted into a fantastical journey by a narrative, which then turn out to be something quite unexpected. Along the way, we get many surprising superimposed and juxtaposed images in the best tradition of Dalí, some meditations on hidden messages in classical paintings, a work of abstract art that turns out to be Hitler's face, and other various back-doors into Dalí's mind and memories.
In A Glass CageNotorious for its twisted subject matter, this dark and cynical movie explores human monstrosities but fails to rise above them. An ex-Nazi with a continuing fetish for torturing young boys finally throws himself off the roof only to find himself dependent on others and kept alive by an iron lung. A mysterious teenager claiming to be a nurse shows up to take care of him, at first seeming to want revenge but soon reveals his true intentions: His traumatized, disturbed mind wants to become a powerful monster like the Nazi. So he plays sick and violent games with his family and brings young boys to the house to slaughter until the final depraved ending. Very well filmed and acted but the writing wallows in sickness instead of giving us something to think about. Villaronga also directed the similarly twisted but less extreme and bizarre 'El Mar'.
InsatiabilityImagine a Polish 'O Lucky Man' as directed by Ken Russell. A young, naive, headstrong but naive man tries to escape from under his father's conservatism and plans for his future, and find his own way in Western culture. He is soon lost amidst decadent, pretentious, self-obsessed, nonsense-spouting, deviant artists, fascist military rulers, under the spell of a cruel and fickle actress, played with by deviant aristocracy, and so on. Everything and everyone is over-the-top and excessive, from the female sexual predators, to the cartoonish fascist megalomaniac who thinks, for some mystical reason, that he is a Chinese ruler. Absurd wars are fought for no good reason and power is handed over to the other side at a whim, people are tortured or killed in graphic ways or take part in a wide variety of fetishes and perversions like something out of Salo, except here it's all absurd and whimsical. Most people are afraid of the impending Chinese invasion wave and each social group spouts their philosophies and politics but their viewpoints are made absurd by sheer excess. The movie makes its satirical points pretty well, but you have to decide whether to endure coprophagia, BDSM, a pedophile hunchback, and decapitation during sex to get there.
Insects Unlisted in the Encyclopedia, TheSatoshi Miki generally makes quirky comedies where anything goes, but this one is off-the-wall and nutty even by his standards. This one involves more of his bizarre and highly eccentric characters, this time in search of Deathfix, an insect-drug that makes you die temporarily. This plot-device is just an excuse to collect a bunch of weird people and to very loosely string together a gag a minute, whether it's wacky, silly, idiotic or bad taste. There's a half-man magician, a job that involves tickling old men, vomit that lights on fire then turns into an omelette, Yakuza that enjoy sadistic knee-wrestling, people invading other people's flashbacks, a nutty drug-addict straight out of Fear and Loathing, an S&M junk sorting yard, a magical severed monkey arm, a censoring dot that flies in the air when a naked man gets hit by a car, tough suicide cuts that serve as a grater, and much much more. Mildly entertaining in a very silly way, but not exactly witty to say the least, and he really should learn from Blier on how to make absurdities with more depth.
Invisible AdversariesAn experimental film so provocatively surreal, that at times it's a throwback to Dada. In a Godardesque freewheeling, disjointed structure, society is portrayed as dissociative, superficially civilized and artistic, all covering up violence, animalistic behaviour, power games, etc. and the acceptance of certain rude behaviours but not others. A woman thinks the world is being taken over by aliens, classical art pieces have their props replaced with commercial products, a man licks the pavements, skating on ice is juxtaposed with slicing a thigh with skates, hair-washing is juxtaposed with urination, activities such as sex and intimacy are reduced to a frantic montage of images, strange fetishes, or backed by mentally-invasive sounds, a marriage row leads a sequence of violence ending with wars, people become cardboard cutouts, live food is sliced, and much more... all interspersed with Godardesque musings and monologues on people, feminism, psychology, relationships, etc. A dense, somewhat interesting, provocative experiment for fans of Godard.
In My SkinA disturbing French artsy study on the topic of the self-body dichotomy portrayed by a woman who, in a desperate attempt to discover the meaning and connection to her body, self-mutilates herself. An accidental gash on her leg which she doesn't feel provokes a neurotic and obsessive breakdown and search for twistedly sensuous discovery. Some of the questions asked are: Who is in control? Why does my body misbehave? What's the meaning of etiquette and body language? How am I connected to my body? What if the body is just meat? Maybe individual body parts have meaning? etc. So this lost woman cuts, bites, stabs, pokes, slashes, eats and tears herself, then tries to keep ripped flesh around as mementos. A blend of Cronenberg's Crash and La Pianiste, this one is guaranteed to make you squirm or even walk out.
In the Light of the King's LoveBased on 'The Sufferings of Prince Sternenhoch' a novella by the Czech philosopher Ladislav Klíma who tried to live a life of subjective idealism, where each individual creates his own world with his Will which he has to subject himself to. A good philosophy, except for the fact that this Will is ambiguous, elusive and slippery for those that don't know where to look for it. This comical-philosophical-grotesque story is about a diminutive and eccentric prince who marries a grotesque cleaning woman with a warped upbringing and hidden tendencies of deranged behaviour, domination and submission, much to the horrors of the King's court. After some De Sade-esque adventures, an infidelity leads to violence, hauntings and madness as the prince deteriorates into hallucinations and debaucheries, leading to some kind of revelation and bliss. This adaptation, by Jan Nemec, takes it to absurd and over-the-top levels, in a modern setting, with a punk in the princely role chewing the scenery and delivering a deranged performance, aided by a not-so-grotesque Helga losing herself in random bouts of kink and madness, all set in either bizarre modern structures or decaying locations with colorful drug-induced props. Includes scenes of a violent birth in a basement, random debauchery and madness, surreal settings and courtly attendants, a scene of S&M lust in a decaying house that must be seen to be believed, necrophilia, and an absurd murder in several stages that starts with throwing a man from a tall building into a lions' den.
In the Realm of the SensesJapanese pornographic exploration of sexual obsession that somehow blurs the line between pornography and art. A master of a household falls for a possessive, prostitute house girl and things slowly change from youthful carefree sex to dangerous possessive and obsessive games (strangulation, rape) to the final fatal and shocking ending.
Killer TongueInsane entertainment involving a thief and his girlfriend, and their two accomplices (one with a urinating disorder) whom they double-cross. The thief goes to prison where the warden is queer, likes to play golf on prisoners backs and play with pigeons, and the girl goes to a gas station convent (huh?) as a nun. A meteor strikes and a piece falls in her soup, making her turn into a creature with a 10-foot talking tongue that likes to messily tear through people's heads and crack jokes, and her poodles are turned into flaming drag queens who redecorate her place and serve her every whim. She soon finds a new use or two for the tongue. What does it all add up to? Who knows, but it's certainly distracting!
KarnabalAn energetic oddity that seems to be targeted at juvenile audiences judging by its wacky and clownish tone, and yet it's too surreal and artistic for that. A man travelling on the road is pressured by a strange man into a balloon which promptly floats him off to a strange adventure. He descends into a fantasy land populated by a theatrical crowd that seems to be in the middle of a colorful carnival with crazy costumes and masks. They promptly crown him king of the carnival and he is swept away into various games, acts and performances, including one involving his death, all watched over by a mysterious woman in shifting masks. The world is reborn via a theatrical performance depicting the birth of the universe by angels and demons, leading to a bizarre frolic on the beach by naked people and chickens, until a man in a truck brings them 20th century civilization starting with clothes and toilets and ending in TV. More acts and shows bleed and turn into reality, and the audience switches roles, with puppets as audiences and people turning into cardboard, and the protagonist finds himself transported between these realities. A mad, energetic celebration and representation of life via comical theatre, clowning and over-acting.
King UbuA Polish satirical play on politics made into an absurd and wacky movie by Piotr Szulkin. The very silly King Ubu takes over the crown, at first with aspirations and speeches of equality and a free people, but his interests in the constantly empty 'treasury' soon lead him to change the way things are run, using fake and absurd democracy to manipulate the people, raising taxes so that he can have beer, and declaring war for personal reasons. Prancing ballerinas constantly accompany the ruler as symbols, he personally leaves his 'castle' (a dilapidated factory) amidst much fanfare in order to invade his neighbour's house and torture them until they pay their triple taxes, they frequently break into silly song and dance, he throws the nobility into a pit so that he can take their money, and he orders everyone to contribute personally to a gas-making national project made up of something that doesn't sound too hygienic. Everything is theatrical, absurd, grotesque, unsubtle and caricature. I find caricature to wear out it's welcome very quickly though.
Kraftverk 3714Strange happenings in a Swedish village causes people and weird animals to appear and disappear, people go insane, see things, or have mysterious knowledge of the events that all seem to revolve around a dam and some fleshy goo. This starts off as a boring drama with empty characters and weak acting, it slowly builds the horror filmed with bad lighting and choppy editing for that gritty Riget atmosphere, for a short time it becomes weird other-worldly half-Lynch half-Kairo horror, then it steers into cheesy sci-fi denouement, and suddenly falls apart in a chaotic free-for-all involving sci-fi priests in robes, mutating body-snatchers, and super-powers installed via instant gory surgery. There is a potential creepy movie in here but a mess was created instead.
Kyusaku Yumeno's Teenage Girl HellThis one starts as a typical Pinku involving a girl's school that trains girls for upper-class marriage, a strict teacher, two neurotic lesbian girls, and a very perverted principal who is both a Christian and a ravenous sex deviant. There are the usual seductions-cum-rapes, humiliations, and even a cruel abortion. But then the movie turns into a surreal revenge film that gradually increases in delirious hallucinative scenes involving possible ghosts, skull-charcoal, and nightmare-logic jumps between locations and events for an endless stream of impossible acts of revenge that pile one on top of another, until the completely bonkers surreal ending.
Johnen: Love of SadaThe notorious true tale of Sada Abe, an ex-prostitute who had a sizzling affair with a married man, then choked him to death and kept his penis as a keepsake allegedly at his request because he was so obsessed with her, was already told several times in movies, the most famous being 'In the Realm of the Senses'. This latest one chooses a meta-approach of exploring the story through its near-mythical status, the morbid obsession of society over the story, as well as the archetypal man who falls for this woman and loses control every time. It does this by repeating the events as experienced by a modern-day provocative photographer who meets a seductive, exhibitionist woman and feels that he has been with her before. This triggers hallucinations and ghostly apparitions of the past, both parallel stories intertwined through an art-house filter. Overlooking the events, is a strange old man who accompanies him through the various scenes of kinks, lusts, and erotically-tinged grotesqueries (ero-guro), that get more and more bizarre as the movie progresses. The couple are tried in a people's court of absurd white-faced juries and silly judges, carried into the room while they are having sex on a pedestal. Kinky games are played, S&M is toyed with, an impish fetish-doll-girl giggles and runs in the background in contrast to the more sophisticated and warped sex that is going on. And things progress somehow to bizarre sex with a severed penis, a surreal birth, and a grotesque transsexual performance of strange genitalia and blood. This one is somewhere in between a kinky pinku, and a surreal art-house piece.
Last Revenge, TheB&W bizarre homage to German expressionism. The 'story' involves a scheming ruler, and his son and daughter who plot against him while a 'connoisseur' is sent to find a replacement for his son, but this setup falls away quickly in seemingly random plot developments, as if the writer is on drugs and making things up as he goes. The visuals are strikingly expressionistic with weird angles and bizarre props such as fish growing out of the ground that serve as a singing Greek chorus. The plot moves from human archetypes, to murder and detectives, to mad scientist, to prison break, to theological symbolism, etc. People occasionally break out in song or philosophize nonsensically. Altogether a nonsensical but visually and oddly entertaining flick.
Lecture 21I can imagine Peter Greenaway admiring this movie. It searches for a new way to teach art and entertain, in this case regarding Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. Several parallel mechanisms are used: There is the modern-day group of students that recall a much-loved lecture by an eccentric professor (John Hurt) who added the Ninth to his list of overrated classics. A Greek chorus of talking heads add factual details and opinions, except they are all bizarre characters, half of them naked and in outlandish period makeup and costumes. There is the extremely oddball story of a music student in the Italian Alps who joins a troupe of seeming lunatics in celebrating and criticizing the Ode to Joy. The troupe includes fireworks twins with asymmetrical missing arms, a man obsessed with ice, a girl who literally plays with fire, and many more, all preparing for an unknown event with puzzling activities like measuring 54 steps, building a ship on snow, and collecting birds, while checking their mice timepieces. And finally, there is the story of Beethoven himself during the period before and after the Ninth, told and analyzed by all of these characters, somehow bringing it to life with surrealism, beauty, drama, cold historical facts, personal opinions, excitement, abstract visuals, and storytelling skills. The Alps scenes are unrewardingly bizarre and often seem weird for its own sake, but everything else is fascinating, as if the director wanted to pry open our brains with strangeness and random entertainment just so he can teach us about Beethoven and make us dig deep into this popular symphony. This is almost like Amadeus with the narrative replaced by an art-house lecture. It's just a pity that most of its running time is spent on the pointlessly strange bits where it seems to have lost its way, making it feel unbalanced.
Legend of Kaspar Hauser, TheManuli follows up on Beket with a similar mix of random faux-surrealism, air-headed existentialism and techno music, except this time the pointless weirdness is made watchable by Silvia Calderoni, a performance artist and rave DJ who looks and behaves and moves like she has techno in her veins instead of blood. Like he did with Godot, Manuli borrows and techno-warps the mythology of Kaspar Hauser, a real-life mystery boy who claims to have been raised in total isolation, and people projected into his strange, simple behaviour all kinds of theories of greatness. Kaspar, here, is a sexually ambiguous techno-head, half-naked with headphones on her head, who always moves to music and talks in simple statements. She literally is washed up on the beach in an island town populated only with archetype/cartoon characters: The Sheriff, The Pusher, The Whore, The Duchess, The Priest, and so on. Manuli has them interact always in strange scenes with strange dialog, acting-out their roles as only archetypes can do, each seeing in Kaspar something that they want to see. Random flying saucers are also thrown in, only because that's the kind of movie this is. Most of the movie is techno music and Silvia, who is often mesmerizing even if you don't like techno. The rest is empty-headed nonsense that looks pretty, and the rave music doesn't exactly help build atmosphere or meaning.
Leo the LastOdd art-house symbolic movie about class struggle by way of Rear Window starring Mastroianni. Leo is a jaded, tired, unfeeling prince, last in his line, who retires to his big house in England with an odd assortment of noble supporters. He spies on birds from his window out of boredom, then starts to spy on his poor neighbours and neighbourhood that has deteriorated into a ghetto with pimps, rapists, and violence. He slowly becomes more involved in their lives and starts to side with their cause, causing his aristocrat friends to think him mad. The characters are so symbolic that they have become cartoonish, the writing is simplistic, bleeding-heart political-correctness, and the style and approach of the movie is bizarre, with surreal scenes of aristocrats gorging themselves on food or taking part in nude water therapy, their chaotic thoughts mumbling aloud in the soundtrack as the prince realizes his entourage is very alien and mad.
Life and Death of a Porno Gang, TheA man trying to make a living making provocative movies, collects a team of acting rejects, desperados, whores, transvestites, an AIDS victim, and other weirdos to join him as a travelling theatre of entertaining pornography. A mysterious man sees in him potential for much more and seduces him into adding snuff to his repertoire. So he deteriorates from making satirical zombie sex movies and a surreal movie about a dead pig's head, to performing in front of country folk acts that include a transvestite who tells a comic-tragedy story about his love for a goat before performing with a horse, and a literal rape of the earth that refuses to produce wheat. The willing snuff victims are suicidal, mad or desperate to make money for their family, and the locals first laugh, then drive them away, then sick their abusive law enforcement on them, then gather to mass-rape the troupe which suddenly becomes a giggle-fest when they realize they are passing on AIDS. In short, this trashy movie explores a deteriorating society of angry traditionalists on one end and amoral criminal capitalists on the other, with the desperate people in between that give up their morals and dignity to make a buck. But this message is just slapped onto what is basically a slightly more thoughtful and dramatic John Waters gratuitous shock-fest.
Liquid SkyLow-budget, cult, artsy flick about invisible aliens invading an androgynous, bisexual fashion model's apartment looking for heroin but quickly going for human pheromones during orgasm instead. Her lovers disappear during orgasm and a German scientist follows these activities obsessively. Effects that are so bad they're good, and a minimalist electronic score make this into a cult, weird and darkly funny movie.
LitanOne-of-a-kind bizarre French sci-fi. It's like some scenes from a variety of thriller, crime and sci-fi movies were stripped of their back-stories and plots, jumbled together, and then transported to this weird town of Litan that looks like something out of The Prisoner. There are several ceremonies and games being performed by many people with strange masks, people suddenly break out into violence, drama, expressions of love, crime, and accidents, or they turn into motionless statues, or get dissolved in the various waterways by wormy laser-like squiggles in the water. Other people are running around covered in blood, a police chief never believes anything that is being reported, masked gangs pop out of nowhere, all of these people chasing the two protagonists throughout the movie into caves, rivers, coffins, various houses and streets, while a scientist performs strange experiments with a comatose boy. Similar to Robbe-Grillet, the feeling and technicalities of various thrillers and dramas are delivered, but nothing ever makes sense. Intriguing at first, but soon becomes tediously repetitive without a payoff or development.
LemmingLost Highway psycho-sexual mind-warp, French style, albeit not as weird. A 'model couple''s relationship is shaken a bit when the boss comes for a visit and his wife creates a scene, then hits on the husband in the office. The husband rejects the offer, but the sexual temptation, and the tension created between new loving couple and an older, cynical and damaged one, causes a fugue in the movie where you never know what is real. Somebody may or may not be having an affair, may or may not be interested in the other's spouse, or even may or may not be planning betrayal, abandonment, violence or murder. A lemming appears in the sink plumbing which poses a mystery of its own, but some mysteries and questions are more easily solvable than others...
Lost RiverGosling's surprising directorial experiment definitely has elements of Refn and Lynch, but doesn't quite have the assured vision of either and ends up not quite satisfying. The gothic atmosphere also reminded me a bit of the much better Jack Be Nimble, except where that one made use of supernatural strangeness, this one goes for surrealism. This takes place in a decaying town, with the previous town rotting underwater, and everything is so stagnant, that houses are burned regularly, one boy has to take apart old factories looking for copper to sell while being hounded by a vicious bully, and his mother has to get a job at a very Lynchian club that caters live shows to gore fans, grand-guignol style. Things start relatively normal, gradually get weirder, until everything becomes so warped and outlandish that your brain sinks into dream-logic. For example, the bully grows in viciousness and appears everywhere until nothing but a superstitious and symbolic act based on an old wives tale may stop him. Unfortunately, it all ends rather abruptly and unsatisfactorily with a pat and meaningless ending.
Love GodThe insane are pouring out of the asylums by order of the government while a huge parasitic worm is roaming the sewers of New York mutating people into monsters. The protagonist is a man with a reading disorder who compulsively reads then destroys words, he falls for his neurotically affectionate neighbour with a fetish for chewing gum and who works with her hygiene-obsessed mother cleaning up crime-scenes. Add to this a sex surrogate in training, a horny doctor with a God-complex, a woman who thinks she's Kali, wife of Shiva, mixing sex and death while hearing voices, and you have one insane movie. The star of the movie is the kinetic cinematography, wacky effects and energetic direction, all resulting in a mind-warp of an experience similar in effect to Tetsuo. Entertaining and unique cult movie.
Lovers of Teruel, TheA classic dance-performance movie with a play-within-the-play structure, and, like several other dance movies, the dancers' lives reflect the play they are performing. It also features a superb 15 minute highly-surreal dream sequence with flowing, bizarre, dream-logic visuals that blend with the dance performance. The story, both within and without, concerns a woman in love with a man who has left her for several years, a woman who is also promised to another man if her lover does not return. In her real life, she works with a travelling troupe of street-theatre performers, with whom she performs this story every night. Her current dance-partner is jealous and concocts a plan to get her to finally marry him...
LowlifeSomewhere in between William S. Burroughs and David Lynch, this movie takes the search for the ultimate high as its starting point, except it portrays the banal life of an addict using its own internal logic and with the help of some hallucinative imagery and a heavy dose of surrealism. This movie simply follows the life of a loser and his reluctant addict girlfriend lost in the underground world of a drug derived from sucking on live starfish. Strange mud-people appear at random, interactions with people and star-fish keepers revolve around this single-minded goal, and being high soon turns into becoming high, in an altered mutated state by way of Zulawski. As with many movies of this type, the movie doesn't have anything to say and this makes it a very empty experience, but it's all about the addiction and the experience.
MacunaimaStrangely cartoonish satire on Brazilian culture and society. Macunaima is a black man birthed as a grown man from his man-in-drag mother. His jungle/country friends and family barely tolerate him and his childish ways, so he treks to the big city with some friends. On the way he bathes in a magical fountain that makes him white, gets romantically entangled with a violent guerrilla woman, clashes with city-folk and people out to trick, pressure or control him, and wages war with a rich Caligula-like tycoon who keeps naked women in a glass cage and entertains himself with a fatal swimming pool full of body-parts. Other adventures include a man selling a duck that defecates money, a cannibal-witch of the lake, and an old man who feeds him flesh from his thigh. Deals with racism, a black inferiority complex, lazy, repressive, corrupt or violent society, and many other things that probably only Brazilians are likely to get. Cartoonishly silly and absurd surrealism.
MaladolescenzaOf all the notoriously banned films, this one by far offers the most justification due to its underage graphic nudity and sex. But we'll get to the moral issues later. The movie is a moderately interesting but clumsy, symbolic coming-of-age movie. 12 year olds playing in the forest become sexually aware and confused and act out adult sexual politics, games and gender stereotypes with ubiquitous Freudian symbols. The boy becomes cruel due to his confused emotions and treats his girl friend with increasing sadism and humiliation. When they become sexually involved in his castle, she tries to play house, but he only becomes more abusive and promptly becomes infatuated with a blonde, bitchy bimbo (also a 12 year old) and they both play cruel games with her. The two females develop and eventually leave the confused boy behind, as he tries to regain something he lost, leading to a shock conclusion. Sexual dangers and psychological symbols appear everywhere in the form of snakes, mountains, castles, caves, tunnels, and birds that are impaled with arrows. In fact the symbolism does such an obvious job, they didn't even need the nudity and sex. And even the nudity on its own had no reason to be that graphic. Whether the girls were really exploited or not to act in a movie this way may be a moot point, but the effect this had on their sexual development is much more worrisome. Not to mention the obvious legal issues with this movie. In my opinion, it is moderately interesting and is filmed artistically, but it is also clumsy, unworthy, gratuitous, the moral issues are a definite obstacle, and the sexual stereotypes and misandry are tiresome.
Malatesta's Carnival of BloodWith movies like these and the ones of Fredric Hobbs, one simply can't tell the difference between a director's earnest attempts at atmosphere and surrealism, and mind-warpingly bad film-making and editing. Is the weirdness intended, or just the result of an editor on acid who got his hands on some bad horror? Various members of a family, whose intentions are never clarified, go to work in a very bizarre carnival populated with an assortment of ghouls, vampires, cannibals, transvestites and dwarfs. Visitors to the run-down carnival disappear in the middle of rides to serve as food and playthings, or are decapitated on the roller-coaster. There is a lot of wandering and chasing through the carnival detritus, decrepit grounds and warehouse props, the girl constantly meeting two boyfriends, the vampire-in-training Dr. Blood, a tarot-card transvestite, and a prophet dwarf, while the ghouls moan and groan in an underground theatre watching old horror films, leading to surreal nights of horror.
MandyCosmatos's belated follow-up movie to 'Beyond the Black Rainbow' is a similarly surreal pastiche-cum-homage to 80s movies, where 80s movie tropes are used and then amplified to delirious heights. Whereas that movie borrowed heavily from 80s sci-fi however, this time it's the grindhouse violent exploitation genre. The extremely simple plot can be summarized (and spoiled) with three simple words: Cult-murder, and revenge. But the movie is more about the experience, where grindhouse themes are blended together in a kind of amplified impressionistic pastiche. Nicolas Cage delivers another one of his intensely off-kilter and ultimately demented performances as man turned savage in revenge. He is a lumberjack who lives in an idyllic, secluded area in a loving, comfortable relationship with his strikingly eccentric and gentle girl-friend. The cult that appears is a combination of Charles Manson gang, weird Jesus-cult, hippies, Satanists, and Hellraiser-esque type supernatural evil. Both the murder and the revenge halves of the movie are deeply atmospheric, haunting and demented, and the second half gradually increases in its freak-show aspects and increasingly bizarre and nonsensical set-pieces until it turns into a surreal nightmare that just happens to talk the language of grindhouse exploitation. Of course, nothing makes any sense. But whether you like this one depends on whether you are just after the pure experience described above.
Masturbating Gunman, The (AKA Masked Avenger Versus Ultra-Villain in the Lair of the Naked Bikini)Completely off-the-wall cult sleaze item from Australia about a hired detective-cum-assassin who solves his cases by sniffing panties. He seems super-human, killing all who gets in his way by pulling out various intestines or organs with gory flair, but his Achilles Heel is that can't stop masturbating every time a seductive, stripping woman appears. When a special nun gets kidnapped by a German elitist looking for a virgin bride and his army of balaclava-wearing slaves, the nun and the gunman must work together using perversions to get out of their predicament. Features over-the-top nunsploitation, a goat-loving assistant, a lot of sermonizing and abuse from the bizarre German actor, campy & gory fight scenes, a moody atmosphere, and acid semen.
MayA fatally flawed masterpiece that starts as a delicately constructed and acted character study of a highly neurotic and lonely girl with a lazy eye, a nonchalance for all things gory and twisted, a fetish for perfect body parts and a glass-enclosed doll for a best friend. Her transition to a psychotic, confident slasher collecting body parts and then back again is unconvincing, but other than that, this is gripping, gory and disturbing.
MécanixFrench-Canadian bizarre movie that blends together the dark and odd stop-motion animation of Brothers Quay, the industrialist, violent surrealism of Tsukamoto, and the mystical existentialist atmosphere of Begotten. The setting is a world where skeletal, clay and mechanical beings are in control of humans that run around following orders covered in strange apparatus. One man seems to be outside the system and he finds an embryo inside a strange bird which is fated to be the start and end of everything, creating panic amongst the mechanics. Like Begotten, this movie is about the visuals, dark mood, and underlying metaphysics and symbolism and doesn't develop beyond that. Real actors are mixed with clay stop-motion and animated drawings, there are various strange semi-mechanical creatures and forests, minimal existential dialogue, and scenes of Quay-like nightmarish imagination, constant scenes of cogs and wheels, and juxtaposed graphic autopsies of a man and a bird. Almost great.
Meet the HollowheadsA movie made by a make-up and set design artist and it shows. The star of this movie is the bizarre sets, gadgets, props and costumes. In an alternative universe, everything revolves around pipes, tunnels, tubes, and tentacles. The kitchen is full of bizarre appliances, tentacle food that is chopped and cooked by a portable pipe oven contraption, bruises are removed by a sucking tube, a creature with an eyeball on a stalk serves as a pet, and so on. The simple plot involves a family who is visited by the father's aggressive boss who promptly tries to seduce the wife while drooling over the teenage daughter. The atmosphere and dialogue is silly, cheesy, 50s-sitcom, cheery simplicity but the entertainment is in watching all the inventive eye-candy and quirks. Cult material.
Men Behind the SunDocudrama about the Japanese atrocities in China during WWII in Camp 731 where they developed biological weapons and experimented on people. The varied and shocking experiments are graphically displayed on screen including stripping flesh off a woman after a severe case of frostbite, decompression chambers where intestines burst out of a body and organ harvesting off a young boy who was lured into the camp with smiles. Young soldiers undergoing training get to draw the line and moralize at times, but the dubbing, lack of fleshed-out characters and failure to portray the victims as real people make this gruesome movie strangely uninvolving.
Messages, MessagesStudent surreal short by Steven Arnold who became a protege of Dali with this film. It is a trip into the subconscious of a man with gender ambiguity issues. Inside, he meets himself recursively, grapples with himself, meets transvestites that attempt to seduce him in a surreal and flighty world of darkness and bizarre costumes, sits with his mirror feminine psyche, as well as with an older aspect of his mind, until he is surrounded and welcomed by a court full of kitschy and outlandishly costumed people.
Metamorphosis (2002)A full-length Russian surreal adaption of the surreal short story by Kafka. The movie sticks to the core of the story for the most part, but also adds some dreams, physical details and lots of atmosphere, and makes some strange adjustments like turning the guest into a trio of Hasidim. Like the 1987 theatrical and comical adaptation with Tim Roth, this one correctly has the actor physically simulate a bug without any special effects, enhancing the idea of an ordinary, meek, meticulous salesman who suddenly realizes he is insignificant, to the horror of his family. Probably the best adaptation of this story.
MindFleshIntriguing and well-made British independent horror. A taxi driver obsessively tracks sightings of a strange woman from another dimension. These soon develop into scarier things, even affecting his friends who start to unravel with disturbing obsessions. There is psycho-sexual horror and repressed traumas, fantasy-horror about inter-dimensional dangerous guardians like something out of a Clive Barker novel, reality-bending horror reminiscent of Jacob's Ladder, psychosomatic mutations like something out of Cronenberg's Rabid, and a very strange alter-ego erotic human with a unique fleshy body that made me think of themes from Possession. But despite all these comparisons, this movie is one of those rare breeds: a unique creation. I didn't find the logic of the dimensional beings well thought out, and the psychological aspects are simplistic, and I felt these flaws were enough to disappoint in an otherwise intriguing psycho-horror movie.
Miracle of Life, TheBelgian low-budget trashy drama oddity (with English dialogue). Although marketed as a campy horror movie and often compared to Troma movies or Basket Case (it has a blob as a living sympathetic creature), and although it features a transsexual ex-soldier body-builder, a blob-baby, a horny umbilical cord, and cannibalism, the screenplay and actors play it straight as a drama. The body-builder is building only one arm into a steroid-monster when he-she gives birth to a red blob. Although some people's first urge is to eat the blob (!), he-she decides to raise it lovingly as a tough Christian. Unfortunately, the 'thingy' is constantly bullied at school, and even girls that he-it dates abuse him. The blob is treated by everyone basically like a normal geek, and it has a sympathetic personality. Matters get worse when his 'mom' deteriorates into steroid abuse and hires a hooker to try to make him happy, leading to a demented ending. I wanted to tag it as pointless trash, but it was strangely somewhat involving.
Miracle of P. Tinto, TheSpanish offbeat comedy that constantly crosses the border between Jeunet-Caro oddball magic and a stupidly crude wild cartoon. P. Tinto comes from a long line of P. Tintos, is confused by how many Gods there are in Christianity, is set to inherit the wafer-factory from his father, and wants a large family of his own. His blind girlfriend who likes frogs and P. Tinto set out to learn about making babies and discover all kinds of tricks except some basics. They set-up house, and decades later are rewarded with hungry, selfish, time-traveling, crash-landed midget aliens as children whom they adopt. Their 'real' child soon joins them as a brooding, angry giant from an insane asylum. Non-stop inventive visuals, gags and jokes, but as mentioned, they range from hilarious, surprising and gentle to downright stupid, mean or bawdy. The comedy can be inventively entertaining one minute, and too idiotic, crude or obvious the next. Definitely entertaining, but a very mixed bag. This needed more sophistication to be included with Jeunet-Caro classics.
Miraculous VirginSurreal Slovakian movie from the new-wave Cold War era that is quite inscrutable, artsy and challenging, but seems to be about art as a clash of imaginative, passionate inspiration vs. more practical and cold concerns. Anabella is a woman who becomes an instant source of obsession amongst the local men and artists. They each expect her to fulfill their fantasies, to approve and inspire their art, and so on, while she just wants her official documents to be put in order. She is maddeningly seductive, flirty, yet also indifferent to their passionate or lustful moves on her. The surrealism flows with the movie with smooth technique and surprisingly fleeting strangeness, making the whole experience a constantly hallucinative experience. A lion appears in her room but she just plays with him, there is a tree-phone, a war hovers in the background as if it belongs to another world, there a chandelier in an underground bunker, a feathered hand, a crow, a magical mirror... A man commercializes his art to make 'death masks' for a price, threatens to put nose hair into a statue, and wants to use his talent to help Anabella. A woman falls in the sewer in absurd symbolism, and an old woman wants to drown her cat out of kindness, leading to a morally provocative meditation. Altogether, a challengingly surreal and poetic movie but but not-quite-satisfying and cohesive in its themes.
Mirror, TheTarkovsky explores his own psyche and memories in another meditative and slow movie. Memories of his childhood and his mother mix with personal discussions with his wife (both acted by the same person), interspersed with poetry readings and historical images of Russia. There is no narrative, only random scenes connected only in Tarkovsky's mind, including images of his mother at work in a printing shop, his mother sitting on a fence flirting with a passerby, military training of children, pastoral scenes, beautiful elemental scenes of wind, fire and water, etc. The memories frequently slide into slightly surreal and aimless daydreams, with bizarre touches altered by memory and mind such as the hypnotic imagery of his mother washing her hair as the house comes crumbling down in a downpour, or a levitating sleeping woman. Sometimes as self-indulgent as a Fellini movie, a bit of Bergman-esque introspection, and the symbolism and poetry border on the pretentious, but there's always a magical Tarkovsky meditative atmosphere.
Mondo CandidoBy the makers of Mondo Cane comes a very fitting fictional project that takes the theme of Voltaire's Candide about a young, happy, optimistic man who roams the world and tries to reconcile the world's various madnesses with his outlook. Like the mondo movies, this is a series of outrageous vignettes, only this time not limited to reality and is full of bizarre imagery, absurdities, exaggerated social customs and provocative satire. Some of the scenes include soldiers who bite through barbed wire and have their armor nailed into their bodies, some Tinto Brass-esque sexual romps, a woman with three breasts, people who strap angel wings onto their young men as they jump off a cliff, 17th century cardboard soldiers wiped out by modern military, a dwarf rapist, a dance sequence set to synchronized inquisition tortures that convert women into cardboard cutouts, and much more. Mid-way, Candido is transported to modern New York, and to some naked, fighting, female, Israeli soldiers, and it starts feeling more like a Mondo. Often brings to mind a funny Holy Mountain or Fellini and perhaps Ken Russell. Rich, wacky, raunchy and entertaining.
Motion SicknessThis one most definitely brings to mind a lost early Aronofsky flick after he watched too many David Lynch movies. This is actually a good thing, and it is quite an interesting combination of bizarre psycho-horror mystery and Jewish mystical-existential metaphor. A summary and probable interpretation is as follows: The basic theme is the duality inside man (especially of Jews), of a studious (Mochin) but ascetic life constantly bombarded with temptations, versus a more down-to-earth life of good mixed with sin (Noga) bombarded with guilt and knowledge. The Mochin character is also hampered by a mysterious leg-thigh ailment (another Biblical reference). This theme can also be expanded as a global mystical view of the world and history, especially as it concerns the Jew in exile, as alluded to by the many Biblical references in the movie. The supporting characters are not all clear in their meaning, some seem to be parts of the the protagonist's psyche or, alternatively, metaphysical/spiritual stand-ins. The protagonist is acted by two actors in this dual role although everyone only sees one person with problems, there's a temptress neighbour, a beautiful girl next door who he really wants and who eventually helps him find peace in a surreal ending, there's a scholar superintendent, a bestial id-character, a murder, a strange club of sin where people talk an alien language, a bit of body horror that is used to depict the ailments of each side of his character, and so on. I found it very interesting, and enjoyed the Jewish references (even though some were used superficially), but beyond the unique experience and the puzzle, I didn't find much depth in its message or much inspiration in its thoughts. Definitely recommended to watch at least once though, if it sounds like your thing.
Mountain of the Cannibal God, TheAmidst the slew of exploitative cannibal movies in the 70s came this attempt at quality. Cannibal movies as a rule offer gory, real animal deaths, nudity, nasty human gore, and a plot involving amoral white people who turn into violent animals in the jungle only to rapidly find out that cannibals can easily outdo them in the nasty department. This one is no exception but it's relatively tamer, the direction and acting is adequate (no dubbing!) and the scenery is gorgeous. That doesn't elevate it above the exploitation genre however and it zooms in on animals getting torn and eaten, bloody deaths and castration, sex with a pig, and Ursula Andress's naked body.
Murder à la ModBrian De Palma's first movie is a very odd, confusing but mostly unrewarding experiment. There's a story about a film-maker who is making an exploitative movie and photo-biographies of girls, a girl who falls in love with him, and both of their friends and acquaintances, many of whom at different times seem to be murdering somebody else on a whim, only to have the movie change the story or pull the rug out from under your feet in different ways. Scenes become scenes in an inner movie, screen tests become real as the girls react to being exploited by both the film-maker in the movie and by De Palma, there are confusing switcheroos between a real and a fake ice pick used as a murder weapon, and a bizarre slapstick silent clown-character who keeps pouncing on people to mock-murder them, or is it really fake? Structurally experimental and purposely confusing with nods to Godard, often feeling like a joke movie, but that's all this has to offer.
My Bloody BanjoA British homage to Troma movies with bits of Henenlotter, which means it has a harder edge than Troma, but it manages to maintain that balance between camp, nastiness, trash, comedy and exploitation just right. It's about an extremely abused young man who has been bullied all his life and who now has to deal with a violent boss from hell, mean co-workers, a bully who is going out with his ex-girlfriend, and worst of all, his current girlfriend is the meanest bitch alive who rapes him while emasculating him. It reaches a peak of demented and sadistic proportions involving ejaculate and blood (don't ask). In desperation, he calls on his childhood imaginary friend who has a sadistic streak to avenge his whimpering ego. Soon, neither he nor we know what is real or not, as matters escalate to splattery levels of violence. Oh and the banjo? It isn't really a banjo you know...
My Twentieth CenturyA near stream-of-consciousness, hodgepodge of impressionist scenes on some emerging elements from the turn of the 20th century such as electricity, the telegraph, and feminism. The main thread is shown in snippets and shows separated identical twins, one leading a life of a flirty prostitute thief, the other a demure, mostly submissive woman who gets caught up in a revolution with fliers and bombs. They meet the same man who is confused by the change of character, this symbolic duality touched on, as well as some archaic chauvinistic lectures and feminist rants, and showy scenes of impractical uses for emerging technologies, a talking cosmos, the inner thoughts of a woman and a chimpanzee, and the adventures of a wired dog. Some moments are artistically interesting, but overall, this is whimsical and empty.
Nécrophile, Le40-minute gothic & perverse retro-horror, as if a pervert decided to re-film Nosferatu except, this time, show us what our Nosfy is really up to, censors be damned. This pale and veiny creature of the night gets all emotional over death, and lives off fat juicy insects which he grabs with his elongated slithery tongue. His footwear is like something out of Edward Scissorhands, he visits the cemetery when feeling lonely and takes home a date in order to satisfy genitalia that happen to match his tongue. When the state forces him to adopt a barely-pubescent female relative with a very unrealistic decision, things take a turn to the unexpected and the extremely perverse as they form a unique relationship. The 'happy' ending features surreal zombies. Minimally graphic, art-house perversity.
Neon Demon, TheRefn pushes the envelope again on his own brand of art-house, coldly violent and hallucinative movies in the vein of Valhalla Rising and Only God Forgives. In 'Only God Forgives' he portrayed and attacked the sex industry in Thailand, pitting a ruthless god-like man out to punish the wrongdoers. Here he attacks the equally exploitative and over-developed modeling industry, except there is no justice in sight. A young pretty thing travels to L.A. with confidence, as she has been the object of adoration and admiration all her life. She meets sleazy motel pedophiles, warped and hungry makeup artists that admire her a bit too much, exploitative and cruel photographers, and most of all, jealous unexceptional models that want what she has. The runway and photo shoots become magical, mythological and surreal visual fantasies, L.A. itself seems awash with lights and wild panthers, and the jealousy and hunger soon deteriorates to necrophilia and cannibalism.
Never HereSo many movies are labelled Lynchian just because they are weird, surreal or contain strange mysteries. This one manages to nail the Lynchian balance between a mystery, a constant atmosphere that something isn't quite right, a subtly unravelling grasp of reality, and some other-worldly characters and visions that transport the seeming reality into the realm of a dream. Where it fails, is subtle, in my opinion. The movie is about an artist who bases most of her art projects on mundane aspects of other people's lives, turning them into art in an obsessive way. For example, making catalogues of the contents of people's bags or their cell-phone in order to understand what it exposes about their inner lives and character. Her problem is in the title of the movie: She doesn't seem to exist without her pseudo-stalking art-hobbies and is always pursuing other people indirectly and making their details her own. Even her lover uses her as a temporary replacement for his wife. Case in point, when her lover witnesses an act of violence but refuses to report it to the police due to the fact that he wasn't supposed to be there, she decides to report it as if she saw it, even practicing his intonation and imagining that she was there. So of course, with movies like these, her reality does break down. Especially when an angry person whose privacy she violated disturbs her sense of peace and she starts experiencing puzzling shifts and alterations in her life, as well as evidence that she herself is being stalked. Is she stalking a suspect, or is he stalking her? Strange characters appear that are not quite there, further adding to the puzzle, and gradually one develops theories about alter-egos, multiple assumed personalities and imagined realities where she is the people she thinks she is stalking or where the events are all in her head, except even these theories fall apart in the end and don't quite stick, the mystery shifting constantly until one realizes that everything in the movie is unreliable. And that's the subtle fatal flaw in this movie and the reason why it leaves one highly unsatisfied: With Lynch, there is a sense that there is a reality and a real mystery behind the fuzzy subjective filters of the protagonist. Or perhaps the story elements are tied together at least in a structural sense. Whereas here, the movie flirts with several independent plot-threads for a while, all of which evaporate into smoke, and then even the smoke is gone.
Nice to Meet You, Please Don't Rape Me!Provocation from Kaganof about the state of South Africa in 1996, raising questions and confronting with brutally honesty. A black man, an Afrikaner and an English man are chained naked together in the rapist mess that they created. They are all rapists, and the movie is a musical, featuring one hilarious scene where they dance in the street, filmed guerrilla style, singing to pedestrians how they are all going to be raped. Rapist statistics are quoted, and used by politicians to further their cause, except that they need the statistics to go up, while at the same time, to build an equal society for political correctness, thus allowing everyone to be raped. Feminists are raped in order to get them out of politics, or they identify men at a line-up by their penis and test men at school on rape etiquette, and there's also a black man who forces a white man at gunpoint to turn the black man into his rape victim even though they are all rapists in any case, and so on. Note that this film currently exists at half its length after editing by Kaganof himself.
Night of the Virgin, TheWe all know those dozens of teenage sex comedies where the geeky virgin guy decides tonight's the night he gets laid, which kicks off a series of misadventures and several not-quite-successful attempts at awkward sex that end in tears or in offensive gags. This movie is like the extreme horror version of that genre (by way of a black comedy), if the director set out to offend and gross-out as many people per minute as he can in the most over-the-top vile ways imaginable as inspired by Peter Jackson (a nasty version). At a New Years party commented on by two very awkward hosts, a very unappealing and clumsy teenage boy tries to find the one drunk girl that will provide him with relief. What he actually finds exceeds all imagination and nightmares. It starts with the most filthy apartment you never saw with hundreds of 'holy' cockroaches and one insane older woman into cult magic, proceeds through over-the-top grimy and unappealing attempts at pseudo-sex, splashes every minute of screen time with more body fluids and other oozing materials than you'd care to see, and builds to extreme fluid-gore, warped body mutations and explosive slime. Then the movie keeps on going just in case any of its audience is still around. It's not without creativity and warped entertainment value, albeit at least of the extreme car-crash variety.
Night on the Galactic RailroadJapanese surreal animation that looks at first like a fantasy version of Polar Express, where a kid takes a train ride to the stars, but soon turns heavy with Christian symbolism, surreal images, dream-logic, and themes of death. Trouble is, the surrealism and trip on the train is fragmented, simplistic, preachy and dull, where every image seems heavily laden with Meaning, but doesn't really add up to much except nostalgic imagery, random art references, Christian quotes and imagery, and fragments of human drama meant to evoke emotions about the hard life. The story is about a kitten with some hardships in his life who becomes mesmerized by the stars, and on the eve of a festival, finds himself on a galactic train with a mysterious destination where various passengers appear and disappear and tell their little stories. Elements from his life weave via dream-logic into the parade of strange worlds and imagery that they pass on the train, but something seems to be bothering his kitten friend who somehow got on the train as well.
NorthforkA unique art-house movie that is part slow, atmospheric fantasy, part surreal fable, part pretentious art straining to find meaning, part delicate and bizarre comedy. Northfork is a dying town scheduled for evacuation before the impending man-made flood caused by a dam. It is now only populated by some hardcore citizens too attached to their land, including a religious man who built himself a Noah's Ark and collected two wives, as well as a priest who is taking care of a very sick young boy. You are never quite sure how much is in the boy's mind, the cinematography and writing drawing parallels and puns between its various themes and plot-lines, which include death, angels, the slow, delicate death of a dream, faith, the evacuation of a town by a troupe of black-clad hired men compared to the evacuation of a young boy's soul by a group of lost and quirky angels. Other details include angel wings that the men give away to people they 'save', Hannah as an androgynous parent-angel, a dog-creature on stilts, missing walls, and a bizarre serious game of guessing today's leftover food at a diner straight out of a Lynch movie. Unfortunately, it all strains for meaning but never finds any, and all we are left with is an enigmatic, atmospheric, painfully slow but magical piece of work with its heart and mind just out of reach.
Nude for SatanA male doctor and a woman find themselves in a strange castle after a car accident where reality and time have no meaning and a strange man presides. This is as far as the story goes and we are then treated to random scenes of sex, colors, camera-shaking, living paintings, multiple characters with the same face, alternate personas, a horribly fake toy spider that tries to eat a woman, pseudo-philosophy nonsense, day and night lose their meaning, and yes, we have nudity and Satan. Trippy horror-sleaze that's so bad it's entertaining.
Of Gods and the UndeadNot really understandable without subtitles and it isn't fair to review it without them, but here goes anyways: This is a Brazilian surreal movie about the land-wars in the 1930s. There's a terribly disfigured and scarred hero with a plan who gets involved in the battles, there is sudden violence, confrontations and bloody knife fights, a strange group of people in the forest that either act dead or perform strange rituals with a psychedelic soundtrack, there's what seems to be a forest nymph, both rich people with opulent masses of food, and poor people in squalid houses who get caught in the fight, and random white-faced people or soldiers. The camera work is very dynamic and carefully framed. For more on the meaning and plot, you will need subtitles or knowledge of Portuguese.
Om-Dar-Ba-DarCult, one-of-a-kind, Indian movie that is either a confusing mess of non-sequiturs, or an avant-garde portrait of Indian culture with a nonlinear plot, depending on how you look at it. The story involves Om, a youngster interested in science and mysticism who is being exploited by commercial mystics for his talent to hold his breath while underwater. His father is an astrologer who named him Om due to a fatal prediction in the charts regarding his 18th birthday. His sister is a feminist that sits alongside men in the cinema, with a weakness for a certain young man. There's a businessman who is paranoid about his diamonds, a mishap with his diamonds involving frogs, a curse, mystic advice on retrieving the diamonds, a frog-hunt, melodrama, bizarre singing sequences, confusing suicides, and so on. The actual movie is a hodge-podge of non-sequitur dialog and scenes, trippy montages, political symbolism, genre-splicing, nonlinear storytelling, magical realism, social satire, society seen through pop-commercialism, art-house mysticism, and general confusion.
OpiumFrench homage to Cocteau, filmed as a quirky art-house musical biopic, depicting a stage in Cocteau's life where he became obsessed with a 20-year-old. capricious, ill-fated young man. The drama and biographical aspects are dreary and pretentiously dull without insight or points of interest, focusing mostly on the young man's antics and Cocteau's infatuation. But this story is liberally interspersed with both quirky musical numbers and campy surreal flights of fancy, as if a French Ken Russell where at the helm of this biopic. Dadaistic stage performances swerve into fantastically impossible feats of animation or acrobatics with surreal props, and Cocteau's addiction to Opium and his notes during a detoxification process inspire dream-like sets and quirky fantasies. In other words, the only reason to see this is for its visual creativity.
Orchid, TheA notable 30-minute highly surreal short from 1971, simply because it was made by Samuel R. Delany, the science-fiction author. There's an older man, a hidden child that causes mischief, weird alien masks and cutouts, lots of hippies (often very naked), and a lot of bizarre physical antics and turmoil. It's up for anyone's interpretation, but I think it's simply a portrayal of the generation gap. A tense older man is confounded when an invisible boy plays havoc with his geometry and accounting tools. In the street, he first confronts hippies and there is much hiding behind alien masks, then he lets go and joins them in happiness and nudity, then some guy with a microphone talks a lot of nonsense and drives him away again. Simple.
Oregonian, TheA take-no-prisoners bizarre horror experiment often compared to Lynch. Except that whereas Lynch starts with a mystery and a vision and explores it using dream-logic and mastery of his medium, this feels more like a director grabbed a few friends for a week and told them to do or wear anything bizarre that comes to mind as long as it is unexpected. In other words, this one does not engage the brain, and only pummels the senses. Now I often enjoy pure inexplicable dream-logic as long as the experience is consistent, so I tried to find a way to enjoy this one, except that the sound design often uses mind-blasting, ear-piercing noise that jars you out of any immersive state and makes you run to turn the volume down, killing that approach. Also, there are some scenes that seem shoehorned in just for their shock value, like the necrophilia-rape scene with an omelette. As for symbolism, I tried a few theories, but nothing fit with this kind of pure randomness. The movie follows a girl who had a car accident which may have involved alcohol, who wakes up in some kind of purgatory on earth full of bizarre characters. These include an 'omelette man' who drinks gasoline, fries eggs in motel rooms, and urinates multicolored liquids. There's also a group of women that can only grin ominously, shriek at ear-piercing levels and leak jam out of their mouths, there's a man in a furry frog-suit who masturbates inside his costume, some jumbled memories about an abusive paranoid husband, and a man who talks in impenetrable riddles. Some scenes worked, but the movie as a whole was too loosely put together to have any lasting effect.
Other Cristóbal, TheAm inexplicably obscure, surreal French-Cuban production on the Cuban revolution that predates Jodorowsky with its delirious and bizarre visuals. Filmed by Armand Gatti, a playwright with ties to Monaco and France who worked with Chris Marker and was imprisoned in a camp during WWII for anti-fascist activities. This is a satire with free-form surrealism, symbolism and absurdities. The dictator Anastasio rules with an iron fist backed by business-men making deals and speeches about building canals, completely disconnected from the chaos amongst the population. Anastasio is rumored to have died after an incident with a mirror and a violent confrontation after literally crowing as a cock amongst his chicken followers. The afterlife is shown as a casino where Anastasio strong-arms his way into heaven. Divination is used to find the next dictator, and a sailor and his black, peasant sidekick find themselves attempting to start a revolution with an organ, dragging it through the countryside, as the movie explores the country, culture and music. They attempt to trade with a flattened poster of a traditional family woman as well as a younger shrew, and encounter innocence in the form of a virgin. The war escalates into mythical proportions between heaven and hell in astonishing surreal sets involving dinosaur bones, stagy cages, huge pinball games and a bullfighting show, as well as rich countryside shots of a peasant uprising. Bombs fall from heaven and storms are brought about by a dictator in a bull costume using a fire-hose. Forget Soy Cuba, this is deliriously entertaining and provocative.
Oxen Split Torturing (AKA Shogun's Sadism)A sequel to the Teruo Ishii Tokugawa torture series. An endless barrage of disturbing tales of imaginative torture, sadism and cruelty in Japan in the 17th century. The first half tells the tale of a samurai who falls in love with a local Christian girl until his cruel shogun finds out. Intercut with gentle love and sex scenes are a wide variety of brutal torture and rape scenes including foot smashing, burning the eyes of a little girl, cooking of live humans, and splitting a woman into three pieces by oxen. The second half inappropriately mixes comedy with its tale of forced prostitution and slave labor with plenty more cruel scenes of forced abortion, amputation with blunt knives, etc, etc. The high production values, good story-telling and great acting mixed with this endless brutality will make your jaw drop.
PaprikaAn anime about dreams by Satoshi Kon. A company has invented a dream machine as a psychological tool that allows people to view, record and enter other people's dreams. A thief steals the machine and uses it for evil. Not an original concept, and the writing is typically undisciplined as with most anime, neither explaining nor delineating the machine's capabilities and its rules, thus allowing the animator to just play with dreams in whatever way he sees fit. People enter and exit dreams on a whim, dreams merge, morph, are dominated by one character and then another without logic or reason, the effects of a dream on a person are never clear, there is a woman who becomes a kind of dream superhero, and there is even collective dreaming. The bizarre visuals and dream-logic are the stars of this one, with constantly inventive warping of reality in a world where anything can happen, but don't expect a satisfying or coherent movie.
PasázA dark but fun surreal horror film by Juraj Herz, and his most challenging movie in this genre. A man stuck in traffic during horrible weather where everything seems to be getting worse, runs out of his car into the nearest shopping mall and follows a mysterious little girl into a labyrinth of social hell. He meets a variety of eccentric, pretentious, materialistic people, and their behaviour becomes increasingly strange, deceitful and disturbing. One of them is an old man who keeps a young woman, who likes to walk around naked, as a pet, and he meets an old dead friend. He also bumps into death in the form of a sexy prostitute who kills her clients with the wildest bathroom sex you are likely to see. She has an alternate identity as a flower seller, and tries to seduce our wary protagonist. He soon gets caught up in the web of lies, strange games and apathetic murder, he trades his ID for a master-key to all the doors in this purgatory, and reality starts getting more and more confusing as his previous life and actions are seen as a movie and he is strangely unable to leave the mall, leading to a twist ending.
Penetration AngstA deliciously wicked, hilarious sleaze-fest of a horror movie about a teenager with a very extreme female version of vagina dentata. A psychological fear causes her insatiable vagina to devour men who have sex with her so that only their clothes and condom remain. Matters aren't made easier by the fact that she is very attractive and almost every single man she meets wants to molest or deviously trick her into sexual intercourse. She soon learns how to live a jaded life with her evil genitals however. Add to the mix a virginal moron with a crush on her, and female siamese twins, one slutty and the other a virgin, and you have one entertainingly twisted release.
Perfect BlueSatoshi Kon's anime on pop-idol celebrity, by way of the woman-loses-her-grip-on-reality genre, gradually and increasingly plays with your mind and psychological-mystery cliches. A pop-idol decides to quit and switch to acting, but her pop-idol persona seems to take on a life of its own. A web site has intimate knowledge about her and features posts that seem to come from her, she hallucinates her public persona, and when murders are committed, the mystery becomes more urgent. The anime just keeps switching from one reality to another for maximum confusion: Is it her acting role? Or a role within a role? Her repressed memories? Supernatural causes? A stalker? A crazed fan? Her close friends? Just when it seems to resolve the mystery, it sweeps the rug out from under your feet again, but it doesn't even try to explain how all of these solutions could emerge from anything except her madness, so it loses its grip on the audience.
Performance For..., TheObscure Russian surreal piece by Yuri Kiyashko and art direction by Sokurov. A man finds himself walking in a desert landscape with bugles in the sand, carrying a pig and following other well-dressed people on a desperate trek to... somewhere. Other nightmarish and symbolic images pop-up in surreal fashion as he tries to make sense of where he is and how things work, including a little girl with a deadly tricycle, a ball of cord in a bird cage, bizarre hallucinative images in the skies, strange men with machinery and an eccentric seductive woman. People dress him up and prepare him for a melodramatic theatrical production, but who is it for? Metaphorical, atmospheric and somewhat intriguing.
Phoenix (AKA Ashes and Flames)A unique combination of art-house, theatrical, abstruse horror and over-the-top sexually deviant campy surrealism. There's an introverted morgue attendant who feels much more of a connection with the dead than with the living; And there's a waitress who once made a pact with her dead sister. Both are haunted by their parents who may or may not be dead: One set of parents messed him up with over-protective behaviour and some kind of warped sexual education, the others were sado-masochists. There is a fetish for a phallic doll that stands in for the man's penis and whose chief advantage is that it is dead (insert any Freudian analysis of your choosing). And there's sexual abuse by an aggressive macho pervert hanging over the woman. They make a connection, heavily weighed by the baggage of their dead, so much so that the dead take over. All this might sound like a straightforward exploitation plot, but the film makes things very difficult and surreal, and all these events are portrayed in confusing flashbacks heavily weighed by surreal fears, symbols and exaggerations, as well as extended atmospheric, and non-linear scenes of ghostly encounters with their own fears and guilt, peppered with transgressive or ridiculously trashy scenes of sexual abuse. Somewhat interesting for the first half, but wears out its welcome for most of the second half.
Plan 10 from Outer SpaceVery off-the-wall comedy about Mormonism and an alien invasion that is somewhat endearing in its low-budget earnest silliness, like Utah's version of Liquid Sky. One never knows what is about to happen next with this quirky film: A sexually repressed young woman uncovers secrets about a hidden book written by her neighbour's great grandfather about the link between Mormons and an alien plot. Mormon founder Brigham Young's 28th wife seems to have been a feminist alien from a planet Colob (you know, the planet where God lives), and the plot also includes bees, some Masonic hand signals, and a plaque. Trouble is, she keeps getting distracted by her neighbour who dances in his shorts, and her brother is getting alien signals after being locked up and treated with electricity for panty-sniffing and pedophiliac urges. There are many satirical Mormon references, Karen Black has a musical number as a singing alien, there's a Rocky Horror type dance in a costume club, erotic dreams about angels on flying motorcycles, and more.
Plastic UtopiaSome movies live in their own world with their own logic, and this is definitely one of them. James is a failing mime in a world where being a mime is a religion and a way of life run by a grand master. He looks for other careers, such as being a bad guy, seeking the help of his popular bad-guy room-mate Frank who recites howlingly bad poetry to an adoring crowd. He also seeks the guidance of a nun who joined the convent for its fringe benefits. Ruth is Frank's insane convict sister with scary eyebrows who has the hots for James. There's also a masked Corduroy Boy who is considered to be the Messiah, and a retarded Golden White Boy on skates who leads a surprising secret life. Will James find his place in this world? Definitely an entertaining oddity with colorful characters and dialogue, and a must-see once.
PorcileOne of Pasolini's most abstract and difficult movies that mixes his earthy, violent style with artsy, intellectual obscurity. A son of a German industrialist represents the confusion and non-conformism of individualism, and neither agrees nor disagrees with his parents and a girl with ideologies. He has flings with pigs (a symbol for something or another) while trying to avoid being devoured by conformism and relationships. A violent, intercut story of a cannibal in medieval times seems to intertwine symbolically with the intellectual exploration of individualism and is contrasted with modern, dehumanized ideas of a Nazi, etc. Mediocre intellectualism.
PostelCzech surrealism about man's complex relationship with modern woman, employing classic surrealism and humor, thus placing this nicely alongside movies like 'City of Women' and 'Calmos'. A man grows up surrounded by women: Mother, grandmother, kids, girlfriend, teacher, and a group of feminists in a workshop trying to find themselves. Other men are almost nowhere to be seen except on occasional eccentric visits, as ghosts, or acquaintances of the women in his life, or a stranger that advises him how to hit his woman. The movie is a free-form sequence of surreal scenes that explore his changing attitudes, confusions and experiments at different ages. These include his fascination with a nurse's magical pubic hair, surreal prism-like containers that contain something or another to do with people's essences and which he can never quite figure out how to use, a strange store containing food leftovers and ghosts, his attempts at understanding women leading to a hilarious stage where his wife gets angry at him for understanding women too much and giving them obscure feminine advice, his transformation into a male pet on a leash, occasional bursts of exasperation, or flings, one leading to an accident involving sex that gets him in serious trouble with the worldwide feminist order of justice. And much more. It's a fun movie, but it doesn't quite employ a consistent tone, and the lack of structure and development doesn't leave one satisfied, especially thanks to the ambiguous ending and the protagonist's lack of a backbone. Still definitely worth watching though.
Povero CristoRare, surreal, often criticised Christ-allegory by Pier Carpi. A poor man from the provinces aspires to become a detective in the big city, He is challenged by a rich man to track down proof for the existence of God. His life starts mirroring the life of Christ, preaching to or rebuking church-goers or other groups of people, embracing the downtrodden (orphans or prostitutes), walking around in torn rags, hounded by the law and people in power, searching for the truth, collecting followers until his final suffering, all transformed to fit into this alternative pseudo-modern world with very heavy-handed symbolism and recreations of Christian imagery like the Last Supper, his Virgin Mary-like mother, etc. The production design is an imaginative and curious mix of medieval, artsy, surreal and futuristic, sometimes reminiscent of Fellini when it gets a tad delirious.
Prata PalomaresDelirious Brazilian Surrealism and an allegory for everything and the kitchen sink. Two revolutionary socialists on their way to some utopian destination try to find their way with a radio and a map, but lose their way in a church. They encounter a woman who first appears in a surreal dream as a Mary-like apparition amidst a chaotic civilization taking an airplane ride while lying in nature. She changes frequently to different archetypes, from a sex symbol, to the mother of their children, to a guide, to a feminist voodoo priestess, etc. They try to escape the world of fascists that managed to install torture and death devices even inside the church, a corrupt, a violent church drinking the blood of Mary, the depraved powers-that-be, and caricatures of brainless, spoiled bourgeoisie racists. One of them tries to take over the church and lead the people by becoming a Christ-like leader, clashing with everyone, including his symbolically diseased friend that wants to continue in the ways of revolution. But they all turn increasingly insane, building to an insane final half hour of Salo-esque dismemberment, dystopia, and chaos.
Railway, TheA crazy Russian art-house road-trip movie with heavy use of magical realism and symbolism. If that summary is hard to digest, wait until you hear the description: A father, his little boy, a friend and an old train engineer hijack a train and a mountain of coal by manipulation and child labor, and go on a trip to the southern Russian steppes to try and make something of the coal. They encounter a variety of strange, absurd and downright bizarre adventures, many of them symbolic, while the father tells horrific tales to the son about his mother and the various deaths she encountered. The boy imagines himself saving her in delightful sequences of surreal childish imagination, and their various discussions and encounters are paralleled with bizarre, symbolic performances by circus folk, like the sexual teasing of a lion, fish-juggling and a dog-sex act. Like all road-movies, they are haunted by their pasts, failures, relationship issues and so on, and all of their encounters are there to develop the characters and random ruminations, even if they include cannibalistic school children, strange bartering rules for coal, a man who finds happiness in limb-chopping, a sexpot redhead, a giant thief and some circus performers that perform bizarre acts before victimizing their audience. Richly absurd.
Rambler, TheCalvin Reeder follows up on his jarring Oregonian with a slightly more entertaining slice of weirdness in the form of a bizarre road trip. A man leaves prison and decides to drift on the highway of life after he finds that he doesn't fit in with his trashy girlfriend and friends, nor with his cowboy brother and his family. He meets a variety of people, including an eccentric professor and a machine that can capture dreams on VHS with decidedly unwanted side-effects, a taxi driver ex-paramedic with a fetish for treating wounded women, a freaky and very insane hillbilly, and a very untrustworthy bar-room businessman. A pretty girl pops up everywhere he goes who always seems to disappear or encounter a bloody end, he has nightmares and random visions that become more and more bizarre, including ones of a slithering creature and mutated, vomiting old women. The sky flashes with beeps and lights as if he were in a manufactured reality and he may be dead or dreaming, but it doesn't really matter. Although it has more strangely entertaining scenes than Oregonian, this film also has similar flaws: Namely that it never adds up to anything or come together even as a dream. So it is another frustrating watch with snippets of fascinating surrealism and a hodgepodge of ideas, but all seemingly random and incohesive in tone and theme. Hopefully next time he will add some character development, themes or mystery delivered via this potentially interesting style of dream-logic instead of just peppering the screen with random bizarre visuals.
Rampo NoirFour artsy and grotesque movies based on Edogawa Rampo's macabre and bizarre mystery stories. First is a nightmarish but pointless short about a man on an alien landscape envisioning a violent fight between himself and a female as their genders merge. Second is the most conventional, telling a murder mystery involving lots of mirrors, dead women with melted faces, and a strange, obsessive mirror-maker with a love for S&M sex. The third by Hisayasu Sato is the most depraved, involving a war veteran with no arms or legs, who can't talk, is deformed, and who is tended to by his insane, dominatrix, sadistic wife who may or may not have done all this to him. He becomes her Caterpillar, a sex slave for her sadistic impulses, a work of art according to a strange insane art collector living with her who soon performs his own twisted fantasies on them both. The fourth is a surreal, confusing trip into the insane mind of an obsessive man with an extreme fear of germs and a nasty rash on his neck from scratching himself all the time. He is infatuated with a celebrity whom he works for as a chauffeur, but is driven insane by wanting to touch her and his repulsions. He soon finds a solution but things get complicated when she starts to rot...
Real Young Girl, AA female exploration of the sexual coming of age of a 15 year old girl. Explored are the girl's disgust and fascination with her sexuality and her strange fantasies, dreams and experimental sexual games. Interactions with parents and local men serve as vignettes for the roller-coaster of confusing lusts. A hunk ignores her so she dreams of him putting worms on her crotch, she flirts with men but quickly gets disappointed or shocked by perverts, and she plays with her body and underwear in very twisted yet innocent ways.
Red Kingdom RisingAlice in Wonderland by way of a psychological horror-mystery via Hellraiser and Del Toro. A young woman with psychological issues is trying to move on, but when she goes to visit her disturbed mother, memories and horrors are awakened. There's a sadistic Red King that tears people apart, nightmarish imagery, dreams within dreams that may be dreams by other people, dream-logic surrealism, psychological horrors turned into fleshy nightmares, with characters and elements from the Alice story that keep popping up, until the ending that ties it all together. It's good to see that new directors can still make solid horror that doesn't try to twist itself into a corner, become obsessed with nastiness, or try to put one over on the audience. Interesting horror, but one step away from greatness. A director to watch out for.
Reincarnation of Isabel, TheExploitation horror on LSD and possibly the most confusing movie ever made. The plot involves a woman burned as a witch with a hole in her chest, a cult trying to bring her back to life with hearts of virgins, a vampire, a staring, giggling hunchback, a castle party with eccentric guests, and many other incoherent pieces put together with choppy editing, lots of nudity, histrionic acting, trippy colors, costumes and low-budget set designs, and a plot that jumps from one strangely out-of-place scene to another without a care for continuity issues such as night and day and consistent clothing. Terrible, but has to be seen to be believed.
Rhinoceros EyesA studiedly quirky and strange world of an idiot-savant who lives and works at a Prop House, a big warehouse full of props. His only contact with the world outside is in the cinema where he watches cheesy romance movies, and occasionally he catches glimpses of a 'movie' through the neighbour's windows. When a pretty production designer with bizarre requests for props comes to the warehouse, he becomes infatuated with her and is willing to do anything to fulfill her requests, and slowly his reality starts collapsing. Features striking visuals involving props and masks, Svankmajer-like animations as pieces of props come to life, some black humor, and a strange old couple that likes to dance, and beat each other up with a prosthetic or baseball bat. Slightly undeveloped writing and it seems to be holding back most of the time, but the good acting, idea and atmosphere makes this a must-see at least once.
Rocks in My PocketsLatvian animation with a rich surreal visual sense strongly reminiscent of Plympton. It uses a blend of various animation styles, including stop-motion, superimposed textures, and roughly hand-drawn characters. Scenes often involve a surreal or whimsical representation of what is being said in the narration, with Plympton-esque morphing, mutating body parts, and surreal symbolic props. The topic is the director's own extended family starting with her grandmother and many aunts and uncles, and the many mental problems that run in the family, all told with brutal honesty. There are two huge flaws however. One is the fact that this is not a screenplay and a flowing story, but a sequence of little stories, events and personal musings. It reads more like a condensed collection of articles from a personal diary rather than a movie. The other bigger problem is the constant narration by a grating narrator that becomes too obnoxious after 15 minutes, and I would have watched this without the sound, except that all the content is in the narration. Basically, this is an illustrated personal diary by someone who would be better off sticking to animation.
Rosebery 7470Experimental and grim Australian movie about a semi-functional autistic girl with a hellish life made worse by nightmares. Except that everyone in this movie is over-the-top damaged, annoying, insane, or practically psychotic, especially the men, who all seem to be cartoonishly crude and aggressive perverts. There is incest, a randomly abusive and insane father, a man-hating, manipulative, and emotionally abusive mother, an animal of a boyfriend/husband, and a slew of malignant strangers. And that is the main flaw of this movie: Constant nastiness for its own sake. But the cinematography and atmosphere may still make this worth a watch, with gritty, patchy nightmares involving zombies, a gory, surreal abortion, and other random violence meshing with her damaged memories and confused thoughts, with her life shown using confused parallelism and emotional highlights warped by her damaged mind.
Rose, c'est ParisMore a live rendition of a photographer's monograph than a movie. The 'live photographs' and tableaux include striking nude model shots as well kinky erotica, all tasteful with bizarre props and striking settings. It also blends this with an artistic exploration of Paris, as well as a mystery of a disappearing twin sister, except that the mystery promptly forks into a dozen theories and artsy, surreal fantasies on her disappearance, some involving a sleazy Paris underbelly with kinks or violence, others exploring exotica or supernatural fantasies just for fun, displaying a stream of striking photo shoots to accompany the free-form whimsy. At some level, this is erotica for pervert connoisseurs in beautiful B&W with sensuous women, offering both old and new fetishes. But it is also a delirious photographer's eye of glamorous Paris blended with sleazy and dilapidated Paris made glamorous by models and an artistic eye. A half-naked model screams and poses on a rooftop with a statue of Lenin, a naked girl plays chess with her feet with one of the many older men in this movie, another dances with a skeleton, there's backstage footage of Naomi Campbell, Michelle Yeoh poses with a skull and sword, Charlotte Rampling offers a mysterious service on a train, boxers practice in a train station, an old man out for novelty conducts a seance with a floating table, slums accentuate the models, some learn how to pose with strippers for naughty fun, there's a naked mermaid in a delicatessen, a Mona Lisa on the metro, and so on.
Russian SymphonyAnother metaphysical Tarkovsky-esque apocalyptic parable by Lopushansky, this one mostly dreary, heavy and murky. The world is ending or has ended, but everyone has time for one last burst of humanity, or act of madness as it may seem. The protagonist suddenly gets the idea that he has to save some children from the flood as his last act of humanity, but everyone ignores him, or thinks he is just performing, praising him for his passionate oratory. The military and leadership has been reduced to absurd improvised rules, the people are massing around the church or in the streets, some inexplicably turning into a medieval mob or army, until it turns out to be another performance, and Gorbachev appears as a janitor. I didn't get much out of this movie and the symbolism seems heavy-handed, but the atmosphere and existential angst is palpable.
Saint Martyrs of the DamnedA sloppy script that can't decide what it wants to be. A reporter for a tabloid/newspaper of the bizarre takes time off photographing three-legged drag queens to investigate strange occurrences and disappearances in a village. The mysteries keep getting more convoluted as he starts to uncover secrets amidst the strange and unwelcoming habitants. The movie starts as a ghost horror movie with twilight-zone pretensions, shifts to Lynchian odd characters, dark sleazy mysteries and bizarre dream-sequences with a Down's syndrome man and his all-knowing stuffed toy, then it decides to be a mad scientist movie with sprinklings of Yuzna-esque gore, then a love story and an existential art movie, with almost none of these elements being developed satisfactorily.
SanguivorousIf watched in the right state of mind and with patience, this highly surreal and atmospheric vampire movie can make you feel like you dreamt it. The plot is simple, is told mostly with visual imagery and performances rather than dialogue, and is about a girl that finds out she is a vampire, her wayward lusts awakening to the horror of her boyfriend, while her master wants her to himself. After the setup, the dialogue is replaced with intertitles and an ambient soundtrack (the movie originally toured with musical accompaniment), and the imagery grows more and more slow and hallucinatory. The master vampire is a Butoh performer, and his grotesque skills are used to their utmost in hypnotic sequences of vampire angst. Some scenes work better than others, but the movie as a whole will only work if you allow yourself to be drawn in to its pace and dream-state. I enjoyed it for what it is, but there wasn't enough story and meat to leave one satisfied and desiring a re-watch.
Satin Spider, TheArt-house erotica that wants to titillate as well as puzzle and provoke with strands of murder-mysteries and the supernatural. It presents a fragmented series of interactions in a girl's boarding school, where everyone always partakes in various physical activities and indulgences rather than studying, where sensual pleasures, fetishes, neuroticism, intellectual eccentricities, personal obsessions, murders, death and religion are all woven together to create a portrait of mysterious feminine sensuality. There's a pale blonde woman recently released from the asylum who has a fetish for satin, there's morphine addiction, strange seductive dances and games, a rape involving silk gloves, lesbian indulgences, obedience, an inspector investigating an ambiguous death, a priest who is always hovering around the girls extracting confessions, communions, rites, and naked exorcisms. It never adds up or creates a story, but weaves a web of dream-logic erotic snippets with some dark and perverse undercurrents.
Science of Sleep, TheA challenging and much more surreal creation by Michel Gondry than his previous efforts. Whereas Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind used touches of surrealism and a non-linear screenplay to slowly uncover a story and insights about memory, this movie dives into the surreal as a study of a schizophrenic's mind. It's about a young man who frequently escapes into his dream and fantasy worlds and who likes being creative with various arts and crafts, as well as a new female neighbour, who also enjoys little games of the imagination. The trouble is, he is not only schizophrenic and can't tell the difference between his dreams and reality, he is also quite immature and behaves like a petulant horny child who frequently says inappropriate things, whereas she is much more grounded and sometimes seems to enjoy his company only as a sympathetic gesture or a temporary escape. This rocky relationship has several ups and downs, except his behaviour grows increasingly distasteful and their connection always feels like an immature fantasy rather than anything romantic. His job is also a disappointment in real life, lacking creativity and populated by more immature people and a bully. Except it's not always clear how much of what we see and understand about them is only in his childish mind, and he frequently escapes into juvenile fantasies about them as well. As mentioned, this movie is visually very surreal and rich, flights of fantasy populated by a stunning mix of childish handcrafted arts and crafts and real life, and the inside of his mind is a room populated by memories, visitors, a camera made of carton boxes, eye-windows and egg-carton walls, which he uses to re-evaluate everything he sees through defense mechanisms and fantasy. Overall, once this movie is approached as the study of an imaginative schizophrenic, it can be quite magical. Except that the movie also seems to want to be a whimsical romantic comedy, and his behaviour, as well as their stunted relationship, are far from healthy or romantic, unbalancing the movie. These are not people you'd like to see together, and his fantasies become a sad thing.
Secret Formula, TheProvocative and surreal Mexican 45 minute movie. Animals are slaughtered graphically or lassoed, only for the animals to turn into humans, while apathetic lovers make out in the background. An endless string of fast-food sausages slides through the city over all industrial and city life, budding child priests fake the crucifixion then bash older priests off their climbing frame, a dead man is carried on bags of flour, some poetic existential whining serves as narration, etc. I'm not sure what it all means but it delivers somewhat interesting provocations nevertheless.
Secret FriendsDennis Potter wrote and directed this slightly underrated flop. Whereas his Singing Detective series used some mental fugues and fantasies as part of interweaving narratives, this movie is pure stream of consciousness madness that doesn't provide any answers until the end. A man on a train is lost in a mental fugue and doesn't seem to know who he is, he thinks of his troubled relationship with his wife, whom he may have killed, or who may be a prostitute, or who may be having an affair, or who may be going mad herself. These variations flow from one to another with elements and characters from one layer appearing in different forms in another. There is more of Potter's dark deep psychological drama and misanthropy, exploring a dark character with sexual problems on the verge of madness. An interesting experiment.
Sect, TheSoavi, a talented horror director slowly finding his way, rips off Rosemary's Baby and creates a creepy world where a world-wide Satanic sect is building momentum, sacrificing children and waiting for the birth of ... something or another. Along the way, evil bugs are inserted in people's nostrils where they lay their young to feed on the brain, one woman's face is literally ripped off in a ritual and used for resurrection, a stork mounts a lady and eats worms out of her neck, rabbits turn out to be quite adept at switching TV channels with a remote and other inexplicable events occur. Cult material, if not for the stupid ending.
Sentimental Engine Slayer, TheWith so many surreal female coming-of-age films, I suppose it was about time a male version appeared. But why did it have to be so sleazy and violent? Barlam is a nervous virgin with various sexual or violent fears and fantasies. He plays with model cars, yearns to get laid, has a drug-addict sister and strange relationship with her boyfriend and his long-haired boss, hangs out with a goth-pimp and his whores to get his sister's drugs, and stalks a doppelgänger who hangs out in his neighbourhood. The movie shows all this in non-linear sliced up scenes, a structure that has no point other than to further confuse and disorient us in addition to the fact that half of the scenes only take place in his head in the first place. A story of a first-time sexual encounter that turned out to be with a transsexual becomes a personal encounter with a clown-faced cross-dresser that may or may not be real, bursts of violence and murder constantly fade into the background of his reality, and narrated tone poems add to the color. Mostly tiresome, confusing and grimy, but with an overall, minimally interesting, dream-logic effect.
Seven ServantsDefinitely a one-of-a-kind odd movie that is intriguing throughout, except that it constantly threatens to spill over into sheer artsy and new-age ridiculous nonsense, and the ending, unfortunately, pushes it over the edge. The great Anthony Quinn, in his last role, acts as a highly eccentric man close to his death who is conducting an experiment with human energy, senses and unity. He hires one servant after another to insert their fingers into his body openings and keep them there for ten days. For most of the movie, four men from various ethnicities spend their time shirtless and connected to his nose and ears, doing everything together (yes, everything), dancing, sleeping, going to the bathroom, etc. while fruits and vegetables constantly appear or levitate in some esoteric symbolism, and death appears in the form of a female operatic singer that overwhelms his senses. The men become connected in various magical ways, until the ending which involves the rest of the servants in a stunt that illogically negates everything that came before then.
SheitanDemented French backwoods-horror black comedy. A group of annoyingly idiotic, over-sexed, partying teenagers accept an invitation from a sexy girl to come visit her country home and get more than they bargained for with the local inbred lunatics, one of which has some kind of pact with Satan and is after more than just their company. Very well-done, chaotic but trashy Euro-entertainment, with superb performances (especially a demented one by Cassel). Must-see at least once but fatally flawed by the fact that two thirds of the movie deals with the antics of the horny teenagers.
Short Films of Robert MorganA collection of five shorts from an unusual and eclectic UK film-maker. 'Paranoid' is an early, rough stop-motion piece that builds on dread, involving a grotesque humanoid figure in a room who is afraid of clocks and worms. 'The Man in the Lower-Left Hand Corner of the Photograph' is the best and most striking piece in the set: A grotesque and diseased-looking stop-motion piece on loneliness with an old man, his photograph and a pet worm, who spies on his suicidal neighbour with unexpectedly grotesque results. 'The Cat with Hands' is a four minute unusual and creepy horror piece about a cat that steals body parts. 'The Separation' (also on Small Gauge Trauma) uses that mainstay of creepy horror: Conjoined twins, separated, and now lonely and yearning for each other, their experiments warped into something disturbing. The final short film 'Monsters', is a live-action piece on sibling violence taken too far, paralleled with gory nightmares about a madman on the loose from the local insane asylum triggered by a decapitated goose head. All in all, a must-see for fans of dark, grotesque horror, although not all are compelling and it could use a couple more additions.
Sinmute50-minute Peruvian surrealism with no dialog, on the topic of alienation and human existence. A lot of the movie is just a man walking aimlessly through the mostly empty streets, or doing banal things at home. But everything else is alien, bizarre or nightmarish. Activities at home include throwing random things in a blender or covering a globe in sauce/chocolate, a social visit sees a crowd of guests as people with weird masks, and his family have smiles plastered on the faces. There's a head of a pig that serves as food, or for abuse by a clown in the street, and the night brings on even worse nightmares, bizarre Lynchian imagery of strange creatures and puzzling symbols, and even a love interest is a mixture of sexually-suggestive but strange behaviour. Unlike Lynch, this isn't interested in telling a story or mystery, despite it's imagery. Slow-moving, with some sequences that work, and others that don't.
Sir Henry at Rawlinson EndA raunchy Wodehouse-esque British comedy mixed with Monty Python and some drugs. This unique oddity was based on a radio show which revolved around colorful use of language, wordplay, wit and very British absurdities. There isn't much of a narrative that one can follow, the chaotic comedy revolving around many eccentric characters who say things like: 'If filthy fingers were trumps, what a splendid hand you'd have', rant to their maid that 'I don't know what I want but I want it now!', have monologues that include 'The trouble with Italian airplanes is that their wings are too hairy' and makes jokes like: 'How dare you belch before my wife!' 'I'm sorry, I didn't know it was her turn'. The wit often includes subtle bad taste ('Generally speaking when I eat something I don't want to see it again'), and the characters occupy themselves with random activities like riding a unicycle wearing a tutu and black-face, cutting up Reader's Digests with a stuffed animal's antlers, playing billiards on a horse, and practice shooting at fake parachutists. The movie also involves a ghost that speaks to a dead mother and takes a stuffed dog out for a walk to urinate, a man who entertains by pretending to be a chicken and eating maggots, and a climax with seance, swords and body parts. Incoherent, but entertaining.
Skinned DeepThis would be the mutant result if you crossed Texas Chainsaw Massacre with Troma. A family is stranded in the backwoods and are soon chopped up or kidnapped by a genetically mutated family from hell. There's a slashing monster with metal jaws, a midget that throws plates, a silly man with a huge brain, a headless muscle-man, a deceptively nice grandmother (of course), and a group of Hell's Angels type senior citizens. It's all played for silly and weird laughs, the over-the-top gore is too brief to get top billing, and included are some very strange scenes like when a man's brain is torn open and letter-blocks crawl out of his head to form the word "Love". And where else can you see an 80 year old man have a gory fight with a plate-throwing midget?
SlipstreamAnthony Hopkins wrote, directed and starred in this experimental movie. It is a deceptively quiet, light-humored, and chaotic experiment. If you participate in the movie, there is much to extract from the experience. The movie is basically a slipstream of memories of an actor and writer that uses only pure dream-logic to tie the pieces together. Thus, characters from a movie he may or may not be writing interchange with people from his real life, memories and scenes drift, jump-cut, images pop-up in free association, people from different times and movie-realities drift between scenes that take part in a movie, a movie within a movie, or in his memories and mind. Subtle hints are dropped but never explored, the mind theorizing on how to tie all of this jumble together but never logically thinking it through, just like in a dream: Perhaps someone is channeling past lives and memories, perhaps its insanity, a dream, death, etc. Life and death seem absurd, violence pops up for no good reason, is it all a movie? Killers rant about losing the script, continuity people are killed off by the script and life loses coherency, an actor literally overacts himself to death, Hopkins seems to be the writer, but he is too passive to be the controlling factor and events in the movie he is writing spiral out of even his control in a Kaufman-esque mind-pretzel. Is life scripted? Or is it as absurd as the aggressive producer who lives in his world and wrecks his own movies? Like I said, there is much to actively experience here, but unfortunately it all feels rather whimsical, and more like an old man on a light, experimental mood that felt like exploring memories while poking fun at all of this endlessly serious movie-making stuff. This movie is the equivalent of a mental fugue attached to the funny bone, but not to a heart and soul. It's an interesting watch, but for a warmer, deeper instance of this sort of thing, I recommend Providence.
Songs from the Second FloorA dark, slow, surreal, and depressing look at humanity and where it's heading. This Swedish movie offers an ultimately bleak collection of characters and events that depict an extremely alienated, lonely and soulless state of modern society; People that are dead before they are dead. It is filmed with a blend of visually rich, Gilliamesque art direction and Bunuel surreal mockery and black humor, and uses a constantly stationary camera to portray the stuck state people are in. Scenes include endless and pointless traffic jams, a young girl being pushed over a cliff to symbolize the sacrifice of youth, a magician making a mistake and actually sawing into a man, and other unforgettable visuals like the sea of people overloaded with suitcases at a huge terminal. Visually rich, but pointless.
Sore Losers, TheColorful punk-rocker sci-fi oddity featuring aliens sent to Earth to kill a set number of beatniks and country folk, but updating that to hippies. Pizza-delivery aliens are stuck on Earth for breaking the rules and get a blood bond with a psychotic repulsive girl who goes on a killing spree while stripping, making out with other girls and lifting motorcycles. A naked angel with a snake appears every once in a while, as does Guitar Wolf from Wild Zero complete with laser beam eyes, a zombie grandmother and some incoherent bizarre sequences that make no sense.
Spike and Mike's Sick and Twisted Festival of AnimationExactly what it sounds like. An ongoing festival produced by travelling producers featuring sick and twisted short animations and who also release video compilations. The animations are mostly humorous and very short, from seconds to minutes, and focus on gross-outs, gore, depravities, offensive content, plain weird, toilet humor, sick jokes, twisted fantasies, politically incorrect rants, etc. There are some reoccurring characters and artists such as Joe No Neck and his life's little misadventures with no neck, Brian's Brain - a kid missing the top of his head, and Lloyd who constantly mutilates himself in gory ways with his clumsiness. The shorts range from stupid, dull and pointlessly gross, to funny and entertaining, but the fun of these things is in the short gross-outs and the reactions by crowds. The stand-out artist included often in this festival is of course Bill Plympton.
SplitA cult, low-budget, sci-fi, cyberpunk movie about big brother vs. individualism. There's the powers that be that are all-seeing with the help of technology, led by a strange decaying leader hooked up to machines, who seems to be slowly turning into one. They discover an individual who is not in the system, and who has strange powers to evade them. He changes his personality, voice and outward appearance at a flick of a switch and disappears. He preaches pseudo-philosophy that seems more mystical than logical, and connects with people in strange ways. The movie unravels towards the middle as he develops a relationship with an oddly pushy waitress. He shows people strange surreal visions that overwhelm various senses, while his own paranoid and bizarre nightmares seem to be taking over his personality. In the meantime, big brother develops more dependency on complex machinery, including the ability to transfer a personality via a computer. Who will win the battle for humanity and reality? The movie does a lot with its budget and one can only guess what it could have done with more. This is strictly for people that enjoy weird low-budget movies like Liquid Sky with an approach, language and personality of their own.
Spray of the DaysFrench adaptation of a popular, surrealistically romantic novel by Boris Vian, later remade by Gondry. The surrealism is somewhat subdued relative to the novel, but is still very much there, employing a constant jazzy and playful tone. The story is about two couples in love, one gets married instantly as soon as they meet but she becomes sick with a waterlily growing in her chest, and he spends all of his money on a bizarre cure involving lilies. The other couple is plagued by his obsession over the writer Jean-Sol Partre, spending all of his money and efforts into buying anything and everything connected with him. Thus, the world of delicate and light-hearted fantastical love gives way to strange tragedy, both depicted through fantastical and absurd viewpoints and little surreal vignettes. In this world, people play tennis with live grenades, there's a 'pianocktail' that creates drinks based on music, weapons grow like plants, death is a barely annoying absurdity until it happens to your loved one, people get jobs guarding strange obelisks, and so on. But although it is playful and interesting, this adaptation seems to have lost something in translation and isn't quite rewarding or cohesive.
Stink of Flesh, TheA zombie sex movie that may become a cult item. Matool is a zombie killer who prefers to kill the undead with nine-inch nails. He's also a horny bastard who tries to get into the pants of girls he rescues. When he runs across a couple who live an 'alternative lifestyle' despite the post-apocalyptic world around them, things get complicated. This lifestyle includes having sex with anyone that crosses their path, including a laughably mutated sister in their orgies, and keeping a naked sexy zombie around in case of hormonal emergencies. When more people join them and tensions rise, things get out of control. An inventive, offbeat, kinky, funny cult movie with the expected gore but for some reason leaves you unsatisfied due to some flat elements and acting.
Stop the Bitch CampaignJapanese schoolgirls are prostituting themselves for money and gifts in a kind of epidemic. One group of psychotic sleaze-bags working at a porn shop decide to teach them a lesson by having sex with them, abusing them and not paying. Another couple decide to entice men who go for these schoolgirls and torture them for being such perverts. When these groups clash, the blood flies. The clash of twisted ideals and sick characters is entertainingly violent and warped, the rest is extreme sleaze and filth.
Stop the Bitch Campaign 2Disgusting sleaze once again, but so bizarre and over-the-top insane that it's entertaining. The abused schoolgirl from part one is back working as a pimp with a team of schoolgirl whores, all on the look out for her assailant. The psychotic comes back for more abusive fun to teach schoolgirls a lesson, only this time he's practically super-human and has an obsession with vegetables and his grandpa. Features vegetable rape, over-the-top camp with sleaze, various perversions including a diaper fetish and one man who likes to be abused while yelling 'Michael' repeatedly, harassment by a stuffed toy down a man's pants, and random crazy scenes such as a basement that turns into a disco while the lunatic dances with his dead grandpa. Many vegetables were harmed in the making of this film.
Stop the World... I Want to Get OffThis one-of-a-kind bonkers Italian comedy seems to consist only of a stream of throwaway visual gags. It throws reality and plot out the window for an anything-goes approach to satire, and has fun with random props in the meantime. A group of flat-mates try to defy a world overcome with commercialism and celebrity-worship, even though one of their own has become an overnight TV-superhero commodity thanks to his ventriloquism and a silly robot toy. One girl constantly attempts suicide and her friends see these antics 'between life and death' as annoyances. Another girl becomes enraged throughout the whole movie because her friend sees her as being a copy of her father after reading a psychology book, and she wants to be seen as a sex object. There's a delirious LSD sequence where a sex-act turns into hallucinative madness while a TV camera and public become obsessed over a mole seen during the act. Fears of pregnancies bring upon surreal hordes of pregnant girls and menacing cars, furniture moves unexpectedly, supermarket-goods talk, a wall turns into a magnet for no particular reason, men and women fight endlessly, in surreal logic, a woman finds herself unable to seduce her man in a car while every car around them seems to contain hidden couples in sex acts, and every act seems to be one of raving madness or frenzy, leading to a delirious final half-hour that comes off like a frenzied dream gone chaotic and completely nonsensical. The movie is difficult to describe, but is lots of fun.
Story of Mr. Sorry, TheDelightful little Korean animation with a purposely crude and ugly drawing style that creates its own warped and surreal atmosphere. It starts like a quirky children's fantasy about a timid man who works as an ear cleaner for an ear cleaner company, failing with his customers, and always in search of his sister who once used to clean his ears. The CEO conspires to make him shrink in order to make him a more efficient ear cleaner by actually climbing into ears. This works, but he discovers that he can go further into people's heads and witness or help their subconscious fears and secrets, all visualized in pure surreal fashion using strange creatures and psychedelic sets.
Strange Case of Doctor Faust, TheBy far the most experimental and bizarre of Gonzalo Suárez's movies. This take on Faust has a narrator telling us the tale as if it's a bedtime story, backed by a Greek chorus consisting of squeaky voices, against a backdrop of lights as if on an alien spaceship. Faust is after a deep secret, investigating life itself in books and scientific experiments. Then it rapidly veers into nonsensical sci-fi and mystical strangeness that mixes several classic stories together: The secret involves a child's drawings, and "beings from an unspecified place in the universe", appearing in oceans wearing gas masks or in a plastic bubble, are behind everything with complex plots and machinations. There's Margarita, a seductive, very sensuous distraction, who is possessed by the spirit of Helen of Troy, Faust's ex-wife with whom he had a child who wanted to fly. Mephistopheles is another powerful creation of the beings, sent on a mission to confuse and deal with Faust, who then gets distracted by Margarita. When characters are introduced, we usually get a delirious scene of strange dancing and rituals accompanied by avant-garde sounds. For example, Faust's son is shown as a baby bouncing rhythmically in his crib along with a howling dog, then he grows up and performs acrobatic stunts in a bizarre montage. The experimental cinematography and sound makes an already strange movie even stranger, making ordinary objects bizarre, zooming in on things like a dissolving tablet in a glass, a giraffes tongue, or squirmy tadpoles in unknown liquids. One-of-a-kind bizarreness.
Strange Colour of Your Body's Tears, TheBy the same team behind Amer comes another tactile, experimental movie, this time mostly on the theme of murder and secrets. It's a thriller, but only in the Robbe-Grillet sense. Whereas Robbe-Grillet took apart thrillers and explored their mechanisms, cogs and wheels, deconstructing them and presenting them with several variations, Forzani/Cattet here focus primarily on the sense-impressions of a thriller, but otherwise present a similar palette of variations. In other words, you can forget about the actual mystery and its solution, this movie is only interested in exploring the colors, taste, feel, visual and tactile impressions of a conglomeration of thrillers and their common elements. A man is trying to track down his wife who disappeared. His strange neighbours whisper to him about strange secrets and stories, and he finds more and more puzzling clues, leading to much paranoia and fears. Secrets, murders and stalkers literally come out of the ceilings and walls. In one scene his fears turn inwards and he finds himself stalking or even murdering himself in a loop, and in a gruesome and very striking surreal sequence, his alternate stabbing persona takes over himself from the inside. Even his wife blurs into multiple women, and people encounter many deaths within the walls of the building. The cinematography, sound, editing and colors are constantly shifting in experimental ways to evoke different senses and to create connections and striking patterns, making each scene interesting in different ways. It's a surreal nightmarish thriller that you experience rather than analyze. Unfortunately, it wears out its welcome halfway through, with repetitive themes, often feeling like a few shorts were spliced together, and it constantly sensualizes and sexualizes repetitive stabbings, turning them into a fetish.
SugarIn terms of comparisons, think of this as a much more surreal Repulsion, reminiscent of Eraserhead with Svankmajer's gritty textures and objects. A girl moves into a truly miserable slum-hole of a decrepit, tiny, filthy one-room apartment that looks like a store with windows covered in graffiti and dirt. It still has mountains of bric-a-brac left-over from the previous tenant, and it may actually contain the previous tenant himself somewhere in its walls. To make matters worse, the girl's mind is falling apart in claustrophobic and disturbing nightmares, and her doppelgänger is born out of her fridge to take over her life and take care of her corpse while she's out cold. There's a lot of attempts at cleaning, things falling apart to surreal, nightmarish proportions, including bulbs that explode inside flames, shaking walls and dangerous mixes of electric sockets and leaking water. This is more intriguing Jolley/Reynolds surrealism after their initial shorts, but it feels like a stretched out short and doesn't develop or satisfy like, say, Eraserhead. They should have released this as a 30 minute short along with Burn. Recommended only as a rental for people that think they can handle a more impenetrable Eraserhead by way of Repulsion.
Synecdoche, New YorkLike Being John Malkovich, I really wanted to like this movie and was impressed by the uniqueness and brilliant mind-altering meta-writing by Charlie Kaufman, but was let down by the self-loathing, and depressing, despicable characters. It's like watching a brilliant but depressed writer contemplating suicide while writing a screenplay. I.e. talent wasted on melancholy and obsessive self-exploration rather than on living. Except that this is exactly the theme and meta-theme of this movie. It would take at least ten pages to adequately describe this movie and my thoughts on it, a lot of it would make the movie sound great, but the experience itself of watching this movie was so relentlessly bleak, and the miseries piled on this character were so absurd that they may make you burst out in laughter. Which may have been the intention, except that this sad-sack, pretentious, lifeless man sucks all the laughter out of you for two long hours. Caden Cotard is a director of theatre, whose creativity consists of casting a young man in the miserable role of an old man in Death of the Salesman. Girls offer themselves to him but all he can do is weep and complain about his latest physical ailment or depressing thought. He suffers from two dozen physical symptoms and diseases, most of which he probably brought upon himself psychosomatically, his wife left him with his daughter to Germany to live with a lesbian who has an unhealthy thing for his daughter, and while he witnesses his daughter turned into a tattooed stripper, he can only enjoy the role of a maid cleaning the toilet of his ex-wife. And then there are his relatives and friends that all die one by one, and when his father dies, he learns that he gave the longest deathbed speech ever and there was so little left of him they had to pad his tiny coffin with cotton. All of which is so over-the-top it should be funny except that it's like Kaufman is releasing his sadistic side on his protagonists rather than loving them. So all he does is brood and uses award money to set up a ridiculously ambitious 'play' that is supposed to reflect life, using thousands of actors in a massive set that slowly reproduces the city of New York over a 30 year production project. He relives every detail of his life through actors, casts replacements for actors in his life that were acting as replacements, and finds that his replacement who has been following him for 20 years is stealing his real girlfriend while he falls for the replacement, then casts someone to direct his own life which has been replaced by a play that has become his real life. Thus, deep themes are explored of people living projections and self-made drama rather than real lives, and how our own neuroses and self-obsessions take over our lives until they become actors with a voice in our ears telling us what to do. A woman moves into a burning house thus symbolically choosing and resigning herself to her own death, in a blatant, and once again, miserable, surreal touch, but the surrealism in the rest of the movie is more subtle. Like I said, it would take pages, but next time please take some medication before writing, Charlie. Misery this over-the-top is neither real, insightful, nor funny, and it overwhelms this brilliant movie like the black plague.
Taevalaul (Sky Song)45 minute Estonian surreal animation. This is a bizarre world where postmen have to go through a rigorous and long training programme which includes many physical challenges and transcendental meditation, until one is chosen to carry a message to the moon. Creature-objects fill the scenery, from a flying pipe-creature, to an eyeball pet, some kind of sea-creature-pet that keeps announcing stuff, a dog that turns into a naked woman, a matador playing with an animated razor-blade, and so on. The letter consists of bar-codes and must be transferred via telegraph in the most painful way imaginable through a strange world where Hitchcock is scaring teenagers with his moon-like head. Magically surreal and fascinating, full of symbolism, Freudianisms and the plain bizarre, as long as you don't insist on deriving concrete meaning from your imagery.
Takeshis'Takeshi Kitano's films always had a touch of whimsy. In between violent Yakuza scenes and drama, Kitano would insert artistic images, paintings, dancing, sound, or make the characters detour into fun and games for almost no reason. In Takeshis', this whimsy is given free reign and is the star of the movie which seems to be exploring Kitano's world with self-references, merging his cinematic roles and real life in numerous ways. Kitano acts as both a Yakuza-film star and a regular loser in the street, going to auditions, hounded by fans and strange characters, Yakuzas, bizarre dreams, and elements from his life being used in his acting roles and vice versa, until you have no idea what is real. The climax of the movie features one absurd gun battle after another, as if saying that this is what the audience expects of his public persona which he both despises and has fun with at the same time, throwing disparaging remarks at himself and converting gunshot flashes into star formations. Repetitive, obscure, whimsical, but interesting for Kitano fans.
Taking Tiger MountainAn obscure movie with great potential for cult following. For starters, the writing makes use of some material from William S. Burroughs with his approval for the film, and it is co-written and directed by Tom Huckabee, who allegedly bought the film (70s) without audio and who then reconstructed the dialogue and added his own material (80s). There were at least a couple of versions of this rare movie out there in the past, some with audio quality or sync problems, until it was 'Revisited' and re-released in 2018 with massively improved picture, sound and editing. The setting is a dystopian future featuring various chaotic deteriorations of society after a nuclear war, as well as an extreme ongoing gender war, with most of society ruled by a patriarchal government, fought by SCUM-like feminist terrorists and scientists that are trying to both radically alter or kill its enemies. The protagonist is Bill Paxton in his first role who has been extensively experimented on and brainwashed by this group of feminists, and then sent on a mission to kill the leader of a Welsh village which happens to be a government sponsored community that offers sexual services based on its long history of prostitution. This is the setup, but once it gets going in the village, the movie ignores the plot and becomes an increasingly hallucinative experience as Bill's past brainwashing and many gender-switching experiments cause havoc with his sense of reality. There are several graphic sexual encounters (brief pornography), oneiric statues or visions of vultures eating at people, and several psychotropic encounters backed by an odd soundtrack, including surreal repetitive encounters with a gender-ambiguous boy (perhaps his gender-confused alter-ego) that always end in some kind of violence or with a strange lip-cutting game. There are also many audio snippets of his past mind-control experiments by the feminists that play in his mind, and an endless stream of radio announcements about the various anarchical events around the world, including the invasion of the USA, a Christian Democratic State, assassinations, mutant rats, plagues and various political crises. It doesn't really go anywhere, but it touches on themes of the gender-war dropping hints of a scary 'tiger'' that doesn't exist, and the experience itself is quite an effective surreal mental-fugue best handled while under the influence.
Temptation of St. Tony, TheEstonian meditative art-film that uses allegory and surrealism to explore the idea of goodness in this life. A man feels alienated when he performs basic good deeds in a world run by greed, selfishness, violence and ulterior motives. His world becomes increasingly bizarre and unreal, blended with dreams and literary allusions. He finds dismembered hands in a dark forest, tries to convince a disquietingly perverse and aggressive policeman of what he saw. He is made to fire people due to a 0.7% profit loss, his wife seems almost alien in her cruelty and infidelity, he dreams of floating female apparitions, has a conversation with a strangely foreboding and omniscient priest against a backdrop of a fallen crucifix, and when some thugs kidnap his girl and seem to run things by incomprehensibly reprehensible rules, he starts to lose his moral clarity.
TestamentA symbolic-surreal experimental movie without dialogue on the themes of death, fear of old age, memories, collected possessions and trinkets, and observing life versus living it. The camera follows a middle-aged man as random hidden people take potshots at him, he runs with a constant fear of unknown death and dangers, ruminates over his collected trinkets, hand-me-downs and artwork, observes his neighbours gather as a family or make love, studies old women with a morbid fear, dies and comes back to life, etc, all peppered with symbolic imagery like a book bursting into flames, or pictures of war. The movie is an experimental existential expression, perhaps of what it is like to live in Serbia, or perhaps just a personal meditation of a man having a mid-life crisis. Very slow moving, with some points of interest.
Theatre Bizarre, TheAnother very uneven horror anthology, this one containing six shorts and a wrapper involving Udo Kier as the host in a bizarre mime performance on stage while a horrified girl looks on. By far the most bizarre of the lot is the last: 'Sweets', where social interactions are expressed via colors and food fetishes. A guy is being dumped with all the cliches in the book while he eats disgusting leftovers, and she, a cold ice-cream, remembering all the increasingly fetishized and warped food sessions they shared, leading to a party where the socially weak get their just desserts in a gory climax. 'Vision Stains' is another sick one by Karim Hussain, involving memories passed on via injected eyeball fluid, leading to extreme eyeball trauma, except it's all illogical and pointlessly gruesome. 'Wet Dreams' by Savini is a reality-bending gory one about a man who has Freudian dreams involving his penis-chopping wife, who keeps waking up to multiple levels of reality, each more gruesome and emasculating than the next. 'The Accident' is a good one, but seems like it doesn't belong here, about a woman explaining death to her little girl who witnessed a fatal car crash. 'I Love You' is the worst one about a pathetic man and a bitchy woman in a fatal love triangle, and 'Mother of Toads' is an ordinary Lovecraftian horror short involving toad monsters and sex. In short, mostly mediocre or weak, with some highlights.
ThemrocArtistic nihilism and absurd, surreal comedy on the rat-race and banal lives with useless habits and jobs. Dialog is thrown out in favor of grunts, gibberish and other animalistic sounds. Themroc gets fired from his job painting half of fences black, so he goes home, throws out all his possessions and turns his house into a cave, smashing the outside walls and climbing in through a rope. He has incest with his sister, declares war on confused policemen, and gets his neighbours to join him in this much more satisfactory, bestial life.
They Have EscapedFinnish art-house road-movie about teenage rebellion and love, from the point of view of the teenagers. Most of the movie resides in realism, as a young man who deserted the army finds himself in a halfway house, and into trouble in record time thanks for a free-spirited blonde girl. They escape into the wide world based on a story of a treasure that she found, living on whims and with each other, escaping the world of authority, police and adults that make them more dependent on each other. There is a superbly atmospheric dream sequences with psychological symbolism galore, and a fun surreal trip as they discover some drugs. And then there's the ending: They come across something so outrageously warped and violent that it can only be taken as a surreal final push towards isolation, once again driving them together against such a cruel and insane world. Except that the surrealism conflicts with the realism that came before, leaving one highly unsatisfied, and the message is simplistic at best, or muddled at worst. However, the surreal sequences, by themselves, are superb.
IIIRussian artsy and atmospheric horror movie that is one big part Silent Hill with its emphasis on random, strange, gothic and horror imagery without an actual plot, and one part The Cell involving entering the subconscious of another. A strange disease kills a woman, and of her two surviving and very close-knit daughters, one becomes sick as well and her sister will do anything to save her even though the town washes its hands of her. When she finds a priest who has some ancient esoteric magic up his sleeve, she pressures him into helping her sister. Strange symbolic nightmares are followed by an exploration of her traumatic past as seen through her subconscious, which is a dark world full of fears, violent symbolism, dark strange monsters, shifting environments and symbolic actions. Unfortunately, the plot never even begins to tie up its threads and just keeps shifting its focus to new discoveries and plot developments, and then just leaves you stranded in a highly unsatisfying way. 100% style over substance.
Thou Gild'st the EvenMagical Turkish movie that frustrates audiences by not providing a key to its surreal and absurdist view of the world. The seemingly only way to inject some sense into this movie is by viewing its protagonist as a schizophrenic, thus seeing the world through his eyes. His behaviour, and the movie's detachment from its flights of fantasy, impossibilities, and violence, thus all make sense. And yet, from within this confusing, detached world of violence, there's a heart of romance. It's about a strange man who works as a barber as well as a football referee. He sometimes indulges in outbursts of violence against others or himself, and the strange behaviour of other people is pictured in his mind as magical abilities, such as a doctor who frequently wipes tears off his face except they are made of blood, or a woman who can make things move with a wave of her hand, a giant man, an invisible woman, a man who cannot die since he came back to life after he fantasy-killed him, and a desire to see through walls suddenly becomes real in his imagination. There are many ordinary human interactions spiced with his imagination that cannot tell fact from fantasy, as well as romances with women he meets, even though he cannot make sense of his own violent whims, leading to an ending that is somehow both strong and confusing. The character study never really came together for me however, and the movie seemed to prioritize whims and moments rather than a cohesive whole. But it has its magic.
TimeA simple story of a man going with his family on an annoying vacation serves as a backdrop for surreal absurdities and nonsense, presumably to explore the life of a Hungarian in the 80s. After some family tension and sexual problems, the wife develops a strange hair on her face and things fall apart while he visits relatives and grapples with the various eccentricities of city life. Some examples of scenes and visuals: Neglected dead men in a cinema, a meeting with his uncle who doesn't recognize him who starts barking bureaucracy which turns into a Western shootout, doors open into bizarre fantasy scenery, a hotel clerk drills them to fill in a feedback form as soon as they enter the room, brand names pop on screen like capitalist balloons, a tiny dancing woman in a matchbox, and many more odd tangents, musical pieces and freewheeling scenes. Mostly chaotic, confusingly entertaining at times, but you probably have to be Hungarian to get anything out of this.
Tokyo ElegyA full-length from Ian Kerkhof/Aryan Kaganof, a South-African/Dutch film-maker who usually makes transgressive shorts. An aggressive Dutch man on the run from the Yakuza is at a wild and desperate end of his rope when he meets a neurotically submissive, real-life porn-star in a bar. They get together through desperate lust and needs, their psychology explored through flashbacks, horribly pretentious monologues, perversion and censored hardcore sex. The cinematography is all over the place, using filters, superimpositions, wild movements and colors, but in a raw, gritty way like a Richard Kern movie. A blend of art and hardcore porn that both studies and revels in perversions and neurotic relationships, and which doesn't really work, but is, nevertheless, somewhat interesting.
Towers Open FireCult ten-minute short by Burroughs, Gysin and Balch. There's a nonsensical narration (more like a stream-of-consciousness rant) by Burroughs, a random montage of Bela Lugosi, cut-up and randomized text, images and movie scenes, some footage of Gysin's gadgets like the Dreamachine, and just when your brain gives up making any sense of it all and goes into a dream state, it shifts into a dream-like sci-fi involving attacking radio-waves, Burroughs with a ping-pong gun and other mind-warping oddities.
TracksDennis Hopper is a Vietnam soldier on a train with a lot on his mind. He is accompanying his friend's body back home to his funeral. His interactions with the train passengers at first are awkward, with various people talking in confusing new-age jargon, making him feel like an outsider. He hits on a beautiful girl who is drawn to him, but that turns sour as well due to awkward inner tension and anger, acted by Hopper with incredible realism. Soon, his mind goes off into fugues and his imagination and disturbed thoughts blend with his reality. He imagines a rape, a run through a crowd naked, and the chase of a dangerous revolutionary that may or may not have taken place. Even banal events and conversations start to become tenuous in his memory. Matters escalate until his breakdown at the funeral. A surreal mood piece on Vietnam that doesn't try to make sense, carried by Hopper and the cinematography.
Treasure IslandI could almost swear this was Guy Maddin making a movie under a pseudonym. This odd indie movie derives pleasure from twisting around the postcard-perfect, romanticized images and propaganda of the USA during WWII into almost Lynchian deviant, racist and odd behaviour. To that end, it recreates the look of a 1940s noir complete with amusing news reels, then has its characters deadpan their cursing, obsessions, threesomes with married couples, bigamy, rape, and lots of repressed (and therefore surreal) gay urges. In fact, it could be argued that most of the subtexts and behaviour in this movie emerges from repressed homosexuality, giving Enola Gay a new meaning. The story involves two intelligence officers trying to create useful misinformation by building a fake life, letters and back-story around a dead body, then dropping the body near the Japanese as a kind of information bomb. In the meantime, they partake in their sexual escapades with many women, always in lifeless and awkward moods, as if in a frustrated search for something else, until the naked dead man appears to come back to life to shake up their psyches. Even the endless nonsensical encrypted messages and random letters that seem to be everywhere take on a new meaning in a surreal fashion.
Tsuburo no GaraArtsy Japanese piece with gritty, grimy textures and strange industrial objects, drawing comparisons to Tsukamoto, but the approach is more atmospheric. A nurse, and a man with a bizarre contraption attached to his back, wake up in a closed room full of pipes. Parallels are drawn to snails, the man carrying metaphorical issues on his back as he drifts into hallucinations, while the woman desperately tries to escape through the walls, leading to an artsy, wet and snail-slimy sex scene. Visually rich and moody art piece.
Uncle's ParadiseCrazy Japanese Pinku about an uncle who is afraid to sleep and his life turns gradually more outlandish and absurd, descending into a sexual hell. His sleeplessness is combined with wild sexual lust, and the women are only too happy to acquiesce to his demands for some reason, even his nephew's girlfriend. But his life turns to an absurd hell, plagued by giant poisonous spiders, a sperm-battle with a snake, squids and tentacles, and an orgy with a blood-covered succubus. His nephew and girlfriend try to save him by negotiating rock/paper/scissors style with the devil and fishing for giant squid. Don't ask me what it all means.
Uncle From Brooklyn, TheThis movie lets you know what you are in for right from the start with a scene of a Sicilian man having sex with a donkey after paying its pimp owner. This is a surreal Italian satire on Sicily and its citizens as portrayed in a hodgepodge of surreal visual scenes, vignettes and subplots. The city itself is wallowing in squalor, death, grotesque near-naked men, and a bizarrely dysfunctional mafia. The only signs of life in the streets are funerals, each with its quirky parade of followers seemingly walking the streets endlessly. One set of brothers get an 'uncle from Brooklyn' forced on them by a duet of midget mafiosos. But the uncle does not eat or speak and no one seems to want to claim him. One mafioso can only burp, many fat men stand in their underwear naked in the street, endless eating involves lots of flatulence, people break out in random impromptu operatic singing or useless rants, zombie-like men wander the streets, there's a mafioso subplot involving a revenge for a brother, and there are no women. Some lengthy wide-angled scenes of the lifeless city are reminiscent of Songs from the Second Floor, and the movie ends with a surreal symbolic resurrection.
Under the Silver LakeThis one is strictly for fans of movies of Wes Anderson with a heavy dose of Lynch. In other words, it uses quirk and many odd, colorful characters and events with touches of noir-mystery, and out-there strangeness, but it's all quite flat and uninvolving, using quirk for its own sake, and it goes nowhere. In fact, the ending doesn't even bother tying any of its plot elements together or solving most of its mysteries, and leaves its audience very very empty. Still, while its on, it is quite entertaining, albeit when it's done it will feel like a waste of time for most people as most plot elements are dropped and left dangling. It's about a young slacker living in the weird part of L.A. who falls for his neighbor, who promptly disappears, triggering a movie-wide search for her through various odd parties, cults, and eccentrics. There's a dog-serial-killer, a supernatural evil owl-girl, lots of hidden codes and messages everywhere, a homeless king, the same group of people that appear in every strange party, a godly song-writer who rules the entertainment world, naked hippy neighbors with an inscrutable parrot, kooky cults, a music band called 'Jesus and his Brides' that takes its name seriously, celebrity call-girls, and lots more. There are scores of homages and references to noir movies and retro movies and music, and the soundtrack wants to be a classic noir movie. Pity that the writing doesn't know how to make all of this color and quirk remotely interesting.
Underwater LoveIf you ever doubted that the Japanese are just plain weird, try this one. It's a musical pinku with Kappas (Japanese folklore creatures that live in swamps). A woman's childhood friend who died comes back as a Kappa and befriends her. Problem is, she is about to marry her boss at the fish factory. The Kappa in this movie, by the way, has a fish mouth mask, a bald scalp that needs constant watering, and a large spiral rubber penis. In addition, the God of Death (a hippy-esque drunk male in a colorful dress), has his eye on her. Will the Kappa save her and get her to fall in love with him? Features interspecies Kappa-sex with a friendly prostitute, magical necrophilia, a magical (and huge) 'anal pearl', wedgie-sumo-wrestling with the god of death, and other oddities, all delivered somehow in a very light, innocent and happy tone. Oh, and they frequently break out in dance to some odd chirpy pop-electronic tunes with lyrics involving gluttony and old women. Culture-clash city.
Untamed, TheMexican relationship drama cum surreal-sci-fi-horror with a blatant nod to Zulawski's Possession. Although this movie also uses a tentacle monster as a sexual symbol, it lacks all the subtleties and complexities of Zulawski, replacing surrealism with simplistic sci-fi creature mechanics, thus disallowing subconscious effect and layered interpretation. It also uses the tentacle creature very differently, as a simple symbol for its protagonist's repressed primal lusts and desires, rather than for the more needy relationship fantasies of Zulawski's characters. The movie is about a troubled marriage with a husband who much prefers meaningless gay sex over his pretty wife, a neglected wife, a rebellious lonely girl, and a gay brother. The creature can both fulfill primal desires as well as bring fatal danger to its pursuers. A simple movie, with a highly empty and unsatisfying ending.
Valerie and Her Week of WondersA gentle, tasteful but very surreal and dreamy exploration of the confusing and overwhelming sensual awakening of a young girl who gets her first period. Sensual curiosity is projected onto friends, relatives and even parents, identities change often, fantasies reach fairy-tale proportions and confusing fears rear their heads which involve marriage, old age, sex, parental arguments, love, and oedipal conflicts, all beautifully filmed using confusing allegories of vampires, monsters, witch-burning, mysterious characters, and magical earrings. A magical experience for a while, but then wears out its welcome with too many confusing or meaningless cinematic wanderings.
Venus DrowningOld-school Cronenberg horror mixed with a touch of Eraserhead. The luminescent Jody Jameson acts as a girl trying to recover from a trauma after losing her baby and boyfriend. She travels to her childhood home at a beach-side village while recuperating. A local gentle man and her horny girl friend from the city provide visits and support. She finds a creature on the beach that takes over her life. She feeds it, and it feeds her like a drug in increasingly bizarre scenes of fleshy horror. The creature's symbolism is obvious and serves as physical manifestations of her sorrow, loss, guilt, sexual hangups and fears. Interesting and well done, and very beautifully acted, if somewhat obvious and unsurprising.
VeraA head-trip of a movie that deserves to have a cult status on par with Jodorowsky's movies. An older man, a worker of the earth, finds himself trapped in a cave-in, this starting a sequence of mystical transformations and rituals as he passes through various stages and onto death. The majority of the movie consists of a hodge-podge of hallucinatory sequences, esoteric rituals and religious mysticism mixing together a variety of sources. He battles through a storm of ashes, encounters a pulsating egg which births a creature, interacts with a bizarre android guide acted by a skeletal Japanese butoh dancer, performs rituals, one involving the contribution of blood from his penis, watches a skeleton dance, prays to Mary, is led through water and roots of trees, etc. these scenes interspersed with memory snippets of his life on earth. On the one hand, I am probably not knowledgeable enough in esoterica to understand what all this means. On the other hand, I can't help but feel that this is just some personal drug-induced hallucinations and a meaningless salad of mysticism. There is no denying the utterly unique experience of this movie however.
Vermilion SoulsBizarre art-piece by Butoh performer Masaki Iwana. Butoh is a strange Japanese dance-cum-performance that is difficult to describe, but it involves very slow movements in difficult or grotesque positions, some taboo and shocking elements, an encapsulating philosophy, and references to WWII and its after-effects in Japan, wherefrom it originated. In this movie, a young boy follows a leaflet from an airplane into some decrepit grounds containing a castle populated by a troupe of strange people afflicted by an incurable disease and some mutations. They are guarded, and anxiously await gassing by a 'chief' who visits them once a year to make sure they pass some absurd criteria before approving the gassing. The castle's inhabitants include a failed kamikaze pilot, a calligrapher with glued fingers who uses his mouth instead, a suicidal prostitute, a strange woman with psychic powers, and a corpse. They perform Butoh, images of the war are glimpsed, there is graphic fellatio and the insertion of a fist, and they discuss their longings for death. This is the kind of bizarre movie that is neither good nor bad, simply because you don't know how to digest it.
Virgin Sacrifice, TheAllegedly a full length movie that got burnt up, and only 10 minutes were saved. Must have been Satan... It starts as 70s exploitation cheese about a mute girl that moves in with a couple of Satanic room-mates (who do it because it's trendy). But then, for seven minutes, we get a psychedelic & bizarre occult montage that would make Kenneth Anger's head spin, with occult symbols, hallucinogenic imagery, psychedelic animations, and a sacrifice.
Visitor of a MuseumLopushansky is no stranger to sci-fi, using it often like Tarkovsky as metaphor, backdrop or metaphysical introspection, but in this case he just goes for a surreal, fantasy world. Like Stalker, this is mostly a strange, religious, existential meditation. In this world, a man is on a quest to visit a mythical underwater museum in between the tides. To get there he must pass through a town that is basically a big garbage dump, which the materialists there see as the produce of humankind. While this handful of snobbish atheists party, the rest of the masses, which consists of the mentally challenged, the ugly, and the midgets, pray at their monastery to 'let them out of here'. The masses are prone to religious hysteria and irrational fears, while the rational handful try to train them as servants for their materialistic needs and social rules. The religious symbolism involving redemption, Jesus, etc is heavy-handed and the allegory is a touch too simplistic, but the imagery is strong and the atmosphere is unique.
Wakey WakeyA one-of-a kind surreal, experimental oddity that is mostly about the experience than the plot. This is in no small part thanks to its avant-garde and very eclectic atmospheric soundtrack ranging from remixed drone-doom-metal, to cacophonous goth-rock, to ambient guitar sounds. The experience that this movie wants to deliver is of a narcoleptic girl who permanently wears a helmet because she keeps falling asleep in any situation and hurting herself. Since her dreams blend seamlessly into her waking life, she has a hard time telling apart what is real. The big problem is, she lives with her goth half-sister who has a serious streak of sadism in her, and who exploits her and experiments with her every time she passes out, not caring if she hurts herself seriously in the process, and further adding to her confusion with blatant lies and manipulation. This isn't made any easier given the fact that she admires her and they both are harboring a twisted sexual attraction for each other. There's no plot or conclusion, just one developing, confusing and surreal situation after another as she starts to catch on to her half-sister's tricks, but struggles with her confusion and dreams.
Water Spider, TheThis French fantasy movie is much more than just a fairy-tale or atmospheric fantasy in the vein of Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast. It has maddeningly surreal elements and scenes, symbolically heavy with familiar meaning, yet not quite within grasp. An older man stuck in his ways and drifting apart from his wife, becomes enchanted with a singing water spider. He takes it home, watches it grow, then metamorphose into a young female beauty. The conservative villagers disapprove, as does his wife who grows hysterical when she finds out, going through several stages in trying to come to terms with her husband's new obsession. Symbolic cats constantly threaten their peace, or are used as weapons against the villagers, and dead butterflies are magically let loose, while the spider's grasp tightens.
Weininger's Last NightIf I hadn't seen the director's name in the credits, I would have sworn this was a Ken Russell biopic. The man in this crude portrait is Otto Weininger, a self-hating Jew that converted to Christianity and wrote an intelligent but wrong-headed philosophical book about gender and Jews, then killed himself at the age of 23 when his book was poorly received. His past life haunts him in surreal vignettes on the night of his suicide, from an Aryan whore literally chomping on his circumcised wiener, to Freudian-heavy scenes with his overbearing mother, an anti-semitic puppet show, his female doppelgänger in a moustache who constantly teases him, his parents dragging him in his baptist-bath while he spouts his philosophy, to his critics that make surprise appearances to torment him. All of which, as with most Russell films, come together to create an entertaining but populist, crude and not-so-insightful portrayal with pop-psychology. But at least the movie is peppered with some provocative and intelligent, albeit neurotic, commentary taken from his writings.
Where Evil DwellsAlthough a 30-minute short now, this was originally a full length movie called Satan Teens that was burned, and only these fragments remained. It is also an extreme movie even by the standards of Cinema of Transgression, the circle from which this film emerged. The topic is the real-life murder of a teen in Long Island by his drug & Satan-fuelled friend and his friends. This movie starts with a narrator in the form of an evil ventriloquist dummy who is being 'handled' by someone who seems to be brutally mutilated and dead. There are scenes of a gang performing general mayhem, violence and vandalism, a devil walking along train tracks, a gruesome ritual involving a skeleton dug up from a grave, and the brutal murder involving endless eye-gouging and stabbing with pretty realistic-looking special effects. Then there's heaven and hell, Jesus gorging himself like a pig in a cheap restaurant while a bouncer sends the killer away, and hell: A chaotic warehouse that looks like a wild party for violent youth, full of gang-rape, suffering men, babies and lots of smoke. All this is in gritty B&W backed by a pounding metal and industrial soundtrack.
Wild Boys, TheThis is like a blend of Guy Maddin and Walerian Borowczyk, as directed by a transsexual desperate to blur all the lines between the genders, and unintentionally ending up emphasizing the same lines. A group of young men (acted by tomboy women), rape their flirty female literature teacher, get sent away onto a ship with a strict captain for purposes of disciplining and softening, and end up on a fantastic island of pleasures that converts men into women. There is a streaming injection of semi-surreal fantastic elements such as a nightmare hybrid creature, phallic plant fountains, penises falling off, and ethereal disembodied faces, as well as absurd not-quite-reality games and activities straight from a Maddin flick. The cinematography is very nice to look at, but the shift between B&W to color and back is a constant distraction that serves no purpose. As mentioned, descriptions for this movie all seem to be about blurring the gender borders, except it is obnoxiously obsessed with genitalia and gender stereotypes to the point of making the movie a tiresome one-note experience since there's not much story or character. Come to think of it, the actual agenda of this movie is feminist-misandrist in that it portrays women as superior and all men as being rapists or harsh people that, ideally, require training in order to be 'converted' to women. Some visual points of interest, but mostly tiresome.
Who is Beta?Brazilian, surreal, post-apocalyptic, metaphorical, hippie-esque oddity. In this world, the world is populated by uncontaminated and contaminated people. The 'contaminated' are basically just poor, simple-minded, religious people that are constantly asking for food, but the uncontaminated shoot them down like deer, or zombies, if you will, except these zombies are completely harmless. The uncontaminated always walk around with guns for just this purpose, except they enjoy shooting so much, they do it for fun anywhere, and even shoot each other as a form of foreplay. No one except the contaminated gets hurt by this happy-go-lucky shooting spree, except one time, and then a convenient double appears to take the place of the uncontaminated shot person, and henceforth she appears interchangeably with her double. There is seemingly an endless supply of bullets, there's a hippy commune, some new-age spirituality nonsense, they move around between various menage-a-trois arrangements, and they also sit around watching or recording memories of themselves in other lives via smoke and old technology. Beta is a woman who comes and goes as she pleases, even though everyone seems to like her. But who is Beta?
Winter SilenceDialogue-free, symbolic, visual and lyrical art-house mood-piece that feels more like images from personal dreams rather than a narrative or concrete ideas. In other words, if you are not into slow, ambiguous but pretty imagery that can be interpreted in any of various ways, skip this one. It portrays a Catholic family of mother and four daughters living in the snowy mountains. After the father has an accident, there is a period of mourning, and lots of harmonious, synchronized daily activities at home, and devout praying and ritual. There is also a symbolic innocent girl and a wise owl that coughs up hairballs. But outside elements threaten this peaceful, if closed and limiting existence, including a fool, and some mysterious deer-men that seduce the daughters, and there's a suggestion of pregnancy and abortion. Blood stains the careful embroidery, eggs are toyed with under their feet, and a marriage and spring bring back harmony.
Wool 100%Reclusive, eccentric, twin sisters have been collecting trash for decades, their house literally covered in bric-a-brac both inside and out. When they find a big pile of red wool, their lives are invaded by a strange girl who obsessively re-knits her red dress over and over, while yelling in multiple other-worldly voices. Various inanimate articles around the house declare war on the girl and a mess ensues. Doll-houses and wool bring up childhood memories of mother and first love as the movie and flashbacks weave together. Lots of wool is knitted, knitting is seen a method of getting pregnant, dolls act out the flashbacks, there's a river of wool, random musical pieces and chaotic animations, and more wool. Gentle, unusual, weird and interesting but whimsical.
WoundIf I were to name-drop for this one, I suppose the closest thing I can think of is Repulsion as directed by Lynch collaborating with Ryan Nicholson. This is a surreal, mind-warping, emotionally intense and nasty movie that succeeds in creating a mental portrait of a deeply disturbed woman with a nasty psychological wound, but is also gratuitously nasty as well as bizarre. You will never know how much is real in this movie, and exactly how much of it is in her mind. A past trauma of rape-incest coupled with a pregnancy at 14, which may or may not have been stillborn, plagues this woman, causing anything from images of her castrating her father in gory detail, to desperate S&M role-playing with a dominant male, to emotional psychotic breakdowns, to the haunting of her goth daughter who may or may not be real and needs her help with a rape-wound of her own. Amidst this neurotic mess, other surreal images insert themselves involving a warped birth of full-grown twins, licking of menstrual blood, and an obsessive collection of excrement that gets psychologically tied in with her trauma. Not a complete waste of time as with other movies of this type, but you have to know what you are getting into.
XtroBizarre alien horror movie about an abductee who returns three years later in alien form in order to abduct his son. He goes through several transformations, one of them by impregnating a woman through her mouth and gorily emerging a short while later as a full grown male. He transforms his son by sucking on his shoulder, who then joins him in bizarre activities like melting phones, creating a killer midget clown and stuffing the babysitter into a cocoon so that she can lay eggs. No, this movie does not make any sense.
Yaji and Kita: The Midnight PilgrimsBonkers Japanese comedy that feels like one of those energetic Japanese comedy duos that feed off each other's silly and wacky non-sequiturs. The whole movie is basically one wildly, impulsive, inventive gag after another which are much more silly than witty. Yaji and the drug-addict Kita are a gay couple on a road trip from medieval Edo complete with period costumes with flamboyantly gay colors. Hallucinations, dream-sequences and gags include: Bodies on a river turning into a Tetris game, elastic testicles, deadly stand-up comedy trials, a 'face-tumor' which grows as a clone of your partner's head on your arm, a samurai procession turning into a parade of half-naked samba dancers and toy tanks, numerous technological anachronisms in a medieval setting, sudden bursts of gay dance and music, a drag-queen sex-change surgeon, an old lady that serves as a radio, a King Arthur that squeezes yam out of his fists, a bartender's wife who grows mushrooms on her body, a giant, farting human source of the river Styx, and much more. Fun, but too random to be truly entertaining.
Adventure of Faustus Bidgood, TheOdd, fragmented Canadian indie movie exploring the mind of Faustus, a weak-willed bureaucrat in the Education Ministry slowly going insane. He has violent fantasies about his annoying co-workers, an imaginary friend/devil/angel who constantly hovers around him with advice, various fantasies about getting power, becoming president and a popular hero, and many trips down memory lane remembering mother's advice and dad's strange behaviour. His coworkers are planning a staged play in costumes, his boss worships an almighty Grid that runs everyone's lives, the cheesy-poem-spouting Premier keeps disappearing, prompting a TV show to give rewards to finders of the Premiere, and a chicken-actor has a nervous breakdown and runs around killing girls. A confusing movie that meanders between these various real, odd and imaginary worlds, but doesn't really do anything with them until the ending which sort-of ties the threads together.
Alice Through the Looking GlassOf course, any adaptation of Lewis Carroll's works is bound to be surreal and bizarre. But this one unintentionally adds its own layer due to a lack of vision. Of course, there is no sense in reviewing the plot because there is nonsense in the plot. Alice finds she can go through the mirror into a world where she must find her way through a chessboard landscape full of strange characters with their own nonsense logic, in order to ultimately become a queen. The biggest problem with this adaptation is that they senselessly cast a 25 year old, bored-looking Kate Beckinsale in the role of what is supposed to be a confused, pedantic, surprised and demanding child. But there is no sense of wonder, no sense of a confused child in the world of adults, and no sense that she cares about what is happening except to recite her lines and crinkle her brow occasionally. The various name actors in the various roles are a mixed bag, with White Queen and Ian Holm as the White Knight bringing their characters to life, but most of the rest seem awkward or setup in inappropriate costumes, failing to bring their roles to life. And what sense is there in the Wasps nonsensical lines if he doesn't have a face like a Wasp? There is a difference between no sense and nonsense you know... besides the letter n that is.
Annunciation, TheHungarian theatrical art film that is based on a literary book about the Tragedy of Man. After Adam and Eve fall from Eden due to their conceits and Lucifer's seduction, they continue with their sins and are guided through the world's history during monumental events when humanity takes a few steps forward. In ancient Athens, Byzantium, Prague (as Kepler), Paris during the revolution and London during industrialization, Adam is constantly faced with a new ideal which gives him new confidence in his conceit, only to have it fail in his face as humanity twists it around, using it for violence and more depravity. All the while he yearns for Eve and finds her in each historical setting as well as Lucifer who appears in different guises to show him the failure of mankind. This is all filmed in a confusing hodgepodge of dense historical references, poetic, pretentious soliloquies, and surrealistic snippets, and for some reason, the actors are all children who perform like a bizarre avant-garde theatrical group complete with nudity and posing theatrics. A messy art film that gets lost in its overly avant-garde pretensions.
Assault! Jack the RipperOne of the nastier Pinkus and by far the nastiest movie by Hasebe. An annoying woman and her weak boyfriend who decorates cakes get a taste for blood when they accidentally kill a deranged woman. When they find out what an aphrodisiac killing is, they go on a killing spree. Things get out of control and the man develops an obsession for carving up women's genitals. Not visually graphic but relentlessly nasty, like an extreme Cat III entry.
Atmo HorroXThis is one of those modern movies whose approach to the bizarre is to simply conjure up random costumes, sounds and props and deliver a sequence of bizarre visuals without any actual content. In other words, this is strictly for fans of Calvin Reeder. There's a creature (a fat man covered in pantyhose and random props) with balloons for genitalia, working for another fat-pantyhose-man decorated with remote-controls, who is stalking and capturing humans with the help of a whirling-dancing creature in the forest and some randomly appearing and disappearing objects. Humans are captured using balloon genitals that turn into burnt hot-dogs, as well with as inter-dimensional teleporting high-heeled shoes. There's an agent of some sort spying, a doctor who takes ages to write gibberish prescriptions, lots of ordinary folk doing ordinary things serving as victims and who talk in garbled-electronic sounds, repetitive scenes of a man battling it out with a monster that usually end with some kind of squishy head-goo serving as gore, and a couple of other aliens or strange people doing unexplainable things. There are hints of a theme on pharmaceuticals and doctors, but that never even starts to develop into anything. It's obvious that no brain-matter was used in this movie, it's not nightmarish or surreal, it has no point or plot or comedy. A useless waste of visual wankery.
AvidaA seemingly random series of strange and absurd vignettes joined together by some kind of anarchistic, big, deaf-mute man. A midget bullfighter fights a rhinoceros, man attacks golfer and removes his shoes, a rich man uses the man as a chew-toy for his dogs, animals are eaten and stuffed at a taxidermist while being decorated with syringes, a fat woman is kidnapped and dragged up a mountain, two men shoot each other with darts as some kind of game, a Dali painting is reproduced in real-life and some new-age philosophy on death is discussed. I couldn't decipher any meaning or goal out of this unfunny mess. Maybe it was just an exercise in wordplay and strange humor.
Baby BloodMessy, bizarre film involving a lion-taming assistant who gets raped by a snake-like monster that ripped its way out of a leopard who then talks to his mother while in the womb and forces her to kill people and drink their blood so that he can be born and return to the sea and replace mankind (don't ask). At times a silly satire on the sacrifice of pregnancy and female harassment by idiotic men, and at other times just a very gory, bloody and incoherent horror movie with elements of black humor. Cult French horror, followed by a dull and cheaply made sequel 18 years later (Lady Blood) with similarly borderline-nasty gore.
Back WoodsA terrible home-made comedic romp on the backwoods horror genre that knows how bad it is but makes us suffer anyways. It's a celebration of trash: After a trashy sex scene, an androgynous fat person of unknown gender carries a baby for 30 years while living in the woods. A full-grown man emerges from a posterior birth with a superior intellect, but is unfortunately dropped on his head thus making him retarded. That's one of two laughs to be had from this movie. When a group of campers kill his mom, he receives messages from a genitalia-challenged Mangina creature to cross-dress and go on a killing rampage. The rest of the movie consists of endlessly padded out limp scenes of teenage hormones, chasing in the forest, tedious attempts at comedy and acting retarded, and weak gore. There's a splattery breast-eating scene, one cute girl does the director a favor and exposes her breasts so he extends the scene as much as he can by playing it on repeat several times, and then this camcorder movie with terrible sound came out short, so he extended it with several pointless post-credit titles and played the whole movie in reverse.
Bad BrainsBad horror movie by Zuccon that tries to be mysterious and sophisticated by adding psychological layers of reality, only confusing us in the process and adding up to nothing. A strange serial-killer couple kidnap various people before killing them in the hopes of finding something in their bodies. Then they kidnap an unusual man who seems to have a psychic connection with them. Flashbacks regarding a murder in the family, a strange relationship with a mother, and constant shifting of reality (i.e. bad editing) complicate matters as they occupy themselves with sex and try to achieve their goal. What this goal is, is never explained, their attitude towards their victims is extremely inconsistent, one second they are strangely compassionate, then they are eating eyeballs, and the multiple twist endings are both cliched and nonsensical. A confusing mess.
Baise Moi (Rape Me)This is what you get if a group of pornographers tried to make a film about misandry a la Thelma & Louise. A low-budget, gritty look at a violent neighbourhood and a couple of extremely angry drug-addicted whores, one of whom gets raped, sending them off on an anarchical crime and sex spree. This X-rated movie alternates between pornographic sex and pointless bloody violence, following the very unsympathetic women on their path to doom. The film-makers' previous movie was a vile pornographic half-length 'comedy' about S&M, scat and snuff called 'I Love Snuff'. Figures.
BastardThe state of underground cinema must be pretty bad when even cheap exploitation grindhouse movies don't make an effort. The approach of this movie is to take a bunch of normal youngsters, give them some messed up personalities and have them do nasty things to each other, except they still behave like normal young folk. In short, this one is never believable for a second; It desperately wants to be shocking except they didn't bother working on the story and characters. A killer couple that kill everyone in sight for fun, pick up an innocent couple and stay at an inn where people are getting viciously butchered. Throw in random incest, a suicidal and messed-up gay police-man, girls that like to rape their boyfriends, and forced abortions, all just because you can and not because it adds anything to the story, and you get this waste of time. The gore is at a slasher level but is unrealistic.
Beast in Heat, The (AKA Horrifying Experiments of the S.S. Last Days)Another in the long line of Ilsa-style Nazisploitation clones with a lesbian German officer in charge of torturing, experimenting and humiliating women. Mixed with this one is a dull action and drama movie of guerrilla activities and warfare. The occasional nasty bits come out of nowhere, including ridiculously sleazy scenes of a bestial dwarf raping women and ripping off their pubic hair.
Beautiful Girl HunterOnly the Japanese can mix art and exploitative violent sex this way. An early shocker supposedly dealing with the topic of nature versus nurture as an insane rapist begets a son through his victim who is a wife of a professor. This anti-social son grows up wanting to be like his father and more, despising the weak idiotic masses, kidnapping popular girls and methodically humiliating them until their psychology breaks down and becomes something else. For every weak statement the movie makes however, there are 10 exploitative scenes of rape, torture and wicked humiliation.
BeketWaiting for Godot was a play that was so neutral, everyone saw something different in it (or nothing at all). Beckett, himself, at first, objected to people injecting their interpretations into the play, as well as to seemingly minor changes, then accepted that this was what made it popular. But how much change can one make and still claim to be an interpretation? This movie tries to recreate the spirit of the play in an absurd, quirky and surreal landscape. But the characters are not even waiting for Godot, they are searching and walking towards Godot, and the dialogue is more often than not so nonsensical, that it doesn't really evoke daily life like the original did. Which is why I found this completely unrewarding. The plot: Two men wander a desolate landscape on their way to 'Godot', some being beyond the mountains that plays electronic Rave music for the whole world. Along the way they encounter a strange singing oracle, a strange cowboy called 06, Adam the DJ and his nagging Eve, other mythological creatures, a distracting search for Mother Earth, or sexy woman who wants them to swim in her waters, as well as various people discussing life, religion, jokes, stories or random nonsense, and everything seems to be repeating itself, everything repeats itself. What does it all mean? Up to you. I remained neutral and found that it evoked nothing at all.
Berlin Alexanderplatz EpilogueThis concerns only the last episode of the 15 hour TV series by Fassbinder. Whereas the series was based on a book and develops an existential character study of a weak-willed, violent, naive man, the epilogue is Fassbinder's surreal interpretation of this story as a mad Ken Russell biopic. Characters, events and dialogue are reshuffled as in a dream, traumatic highlights of the man's life re-appear in different ways, there are strange characters in shiny costumes, anachronisms, random nudity, characters re-interpreted as gay, the Nazi subtexts are exposed, Franz has several nightmares in an insane asylum involving violence, strange doctors, torture and revelations about his friends and girlfriends, and all kinds of artistic, symbolic scenes are included such as Jesus crucified against a backdrop of a nuclear bomb. A mess, and a complete clash with what came before.
Black CandlesA bad rip-off of Rosemary's baby complete with a married couple, a traitorous husband, Satanic neighbours, rituals and Satanic brides, only this one is soft-core porn and happens to include rape, sex with a goat and sodomy with a sword.
Blue MovieArt-house sleaze supposedly making statements about consumerism and violence vs. sex, but this is just a strange, disgusting mess of a movie. A woman with rape fantasies is taken to a photographer's home who treats his models as merchandise and has dominant, perverse relationships with them. The rest of the movie consists of weird sex and fantasies, submissive women degraded and used, and models being locked up, fed junk food and made to urinate and defecate into coke cans and cigarette boxes
Body MeltThis Australian gore movie gets a prize for the most bizarre deaths ever. The movie is all over the place and so messy that plot lines are left hanging, characters are left in the middle of a predicament, and neither the dialog nor the deaths make much sense. A chemical company making super-health vitamins and treatments is illegally experimenting on the locals. But their chemicals rapidly get a life of their own, causing people to hallucinate about deformed lovers who massage ribs out of chests, drink detergent, crack up and break out with wormy tentacles, explode, melt, deliver a living killer placenta, get hard-ons that explode, develop grotesquely swollen tongues, drown in their own snot, etc.
Bride of Frank, TheAnd I thought nobody made movies like this anymore since John Waters mellowed out. Frank is a real-life old and nasty bum who doesn't only recite his lines like a robot, but needs subtitles to understand what he's saying. He was taught by his mom to warn people before he kills them so he tells various people that annoy him how he will bite their penis off, decapitate them and defecate down their neck, do nasty things to their skull and rip off their face, and then actually does it literally and graphically. But Frank is a lonely man in search of tits, so his friends at work who bought him a blow-up sheep put an ad in the paper and get women to come visit him with disastrous results. Extreme trash with a very low-budget that offers a few slimy chuckles.
Bunuel and King Solomon's TableA strange, pointless fantasy that imagines Bunuel, Dali and the poet Lorca together on a nonsensical, part Dan Brown, part Indiana Jones adventure. Bunuel imagines the whole thing as a flashback for no good reason other than that Solomon's Table has something to do with time travel, we get pointless numerous references to the works of all three, some fanboyish glowing over Bunuel's movies, and then the nonsensical hunt for the Table that finds the trio going through some surreal tests that don't seem to be testing anything (one of them sleeps with a naked girl then wakes up threatened with circumcision only to cut to another scene with no outcome), and then they travel through the bowels of the earth seeing all kinds of strange images from Dali's head, but nothing ever happens, as if someone built the sets then lost the script. But the worst aspect is that the protagonists have no spine, character or humor, and with such colorful celebrities, one would expect a surplus of these. A tedious mess.
Bunker, TheGerman weird black comedy about a very bizarre family and their temporary resident student. The house is a bunker under the snow, the father is obsessive, the mother rewards everyone with sexual favors and breastfeeding, there's a split-personality in the form of a wound (yes you read that right), and the son is 30-year-old who behaves like a 5-year-old. When the family insist that their new resident educate their son, he is forced to adapt to their strange ways to the breaking point. It seems entertaining, but the bizarre comic tone is juvenile, and the movie doesn't really have anything interesting to say, leaving its audience unrewarded.
CaligulaA 12 million dollar pornography and gore film about the depraved Roman emperor. Explicit hardcore porn, imaginative gory violence, a rich production and Shakespearean actors like Gielgud. 2 1/2 hours of every kind of excess trying to hide under the excuse that it is historically accurate. Unbelievable.
Champagne Club, TheBasically a remake of Grande Bouffe, except instead of four men systematically eating themselves to death, we get two high-class neurotic couples going mad for some obscure supernatural reason at a massive villa with never-ending food, and indulging themselves in every whim and pleasure. They gradually become more and more insane and uninhibited except for the artist who becomes depressed. Wild eating habits become orgies of pleasures and mountains or baths full of food, then cannibalism and coprophilia straight out of a Salo flick, and this blends with random sexual pleasures, depravities and violence, while the artist broods, makes speeches, and hallucinates. If the movie is an allegory about a life of hedonism without art, then it is an uninsightful one. Otherwise, it's just pointless filth.
Charisma (Karisuma)A pretentious study on individualism vs conformist groups by the usually interesting Kiyoshi Kurosawa. A cop tries to save both a lunatic criminal who demands to "restore the rules of the world", and his hostage, but ends up losing both. This sends him on a quest for discovery on the issues of individualism and intolerance, the philosophical exploration depicted using a metaphor of one special tree poisoning the forest and the various factions that try to fight for one or the other. Obscure, a plodding lack of pacing, and inscrutable.
CharleyTheo van Gogh's pointless provocation in the form of a movie about a cannibal lesbian serial killer. Although the subject matter would have become trash, cheap horror or exploitation in anybody else's hands, this strange one is delivered as part art, part tongue-in-cheek trash, as if the director did it as a joke to provoke audiences but couldn't help giving it a serious treatment. The lesbian couple has an arrangement where one seduces men and sleeps with them, then poisons them, and the other chops them up, and keeps their chopped-off penises in their fridge for consumption as popsicles. As if that weren't psychotic enough, the blonde is mostly silent, obsesses over a baby doll as if it were a live child, and has nightmares of her father raping her a child in the shower, sometimes including her current lover in a fit of dream-logic. One of their victims is a demented man they pick up in a bar who spouts scatological poetry and 'seduces' them with his disgusting fetish. As I said, pointless in-your-face trash.
Cheerleader AutopsyLame bad taste coroner and autopsy humor, a touch of nudity and slapstick, toilet humor, and the occasional gore effects that consist of very obvious hard rubber dolls and body parts. The non-witty banter involves things like necrophilia, selling bodies as dog food, penis transplants, silly autopsy jokes, etc. Despite the title, this doesn't deliver neither sex nor splatter.
Chidos, LosA fitting companion piece to Visitor Q, this Mexican piece of insane 'comic' filth is a similar collection of transgressive extremism posing as absurdist symbolic social commentary. Only the commentary doesn't have anything to say except to portray some Mexican social issues of misogyny, violence, incest, crazy religion and racism in the most extreme and transgressive ways possible for absurd and shocking effect. It's about a Mexican extended family of various perverts and lunatics who run a highway tire-shop but are too lazy to deal with customers. Instead they play with each other, and this includes various incestuous kinks as well as a religious mother who tries to cure her son of homosexuality with highly inappropriate ways. There's a Waters-esque parade of one transgressive act after another including coprophagia, and a neighbor who abuses his new, masochistic, adoring bride in increasingly violent and disgusting ways. Along comes a rich, naive American with lots of money who ingratiates himself with his cash and charm, serving as the butt for their teases and games, and is soon adopted by the family, several members of which develop a crush on him. But matters deteriorate for a deliriously violent clash.
ChimeraBeyond tedious avant-gardism. This is the kind of movie that will make you vow never to touch anything by the film director again. The synopsis says: "Thousands of years into the future, through the eyes of an alien life form, we see the fossilized beings of Ronald Reagan and William Casey enact their relationship as if in a crude ancient play. Through an array of text, sculptures, drawings, animations and monologues, alternate interpretations of the character's histories and myths unfold." What the movie actually says: Two monotonous amateur actors on an artificial 'sci-fi' stage wear clay masks of Reagan and Casey and throw snippets of their biographies and quotes at each other for 90 minutes, as if they were conversing in a (bad and tedious) Greek play. In between, we get to see weird drawings of strange anatomy while a woman reads from Job, and random quotes from the Quran and Herman Melville.
Cosplay Fetish Battle Drones (AKA Struggled Reagans)There are dumb movies, there are insultingly idiotic movies, there are brainless movies, and then there's this. Just trying to imagine what the state of mind was when they made this one gives me a headache. It's a silly low-budget spoof on Power Rangers by way of pornography, and a bunch of other movies, some of them Japanese. The 'plot' involves six youths experiencing a weird trauma like being related to the internet-celebrity that makes her eyes bulge out, or being raped by a cucumber, or dropping half a dozen aborted fetuses, which caused them to gain super-powers relating to their trauma (aborted fetus power!) and causing a tumor in the 'collective unconscious'. They have to fight various bizarre villains, get instruction from their Dad who is a lamp, deal with their mother who is having her stomach stapled, and hundreds of other random events like these. Except the movie can't even collect enough thought or momentum for 5 whole seconds to make a single coherent scene. It's as if someone binge-watched a hundred movies and pornos without sleeping, then made a movie that consists of random mutilated quotes and cliches from all the movies with some extra random words and twists that the director found amusing at the time, while his mind is floating on sleep deprivation and a severe lack of ADD medication. Dialogue is built exclusively using non-sequiturs, as is the plot. Here's one sample quote: "You don't know the depths I've crawled or swam past the ascetic organs I've amputated." And no, it doesn't make more sense if you watch the movie. Forget the complete waste of time; this movie will make you hate the fact that they found yet another level of idiocy and thought it was worthy enough to film.
Crazy MurderSomewhere in between Leolex and this movie, the directors seemed to have lost all their subtlety and realism. This movie is basically 100 minutes of a crazy homeless man eating his own feces and vomit, with a couple dozen brutal murders in between. 100 minutes of crazy monologue, feces, vomit, murder, feces, penis self-mutilation, murder, monologue, feces, murder, feces, graphic penis self-mutilation, murder, feces, etc. The murders and violence themselves are realistic, with special effects that will make you wonder how they pulled it off, and the fact that they are performed not by a psychotic hillbilly or a cold-blooded sadist, but by a lunatic that kills anyone and everyone at random due to the chaos in his brain, is uniquely disturbing. But, there are two huge problems with this one (besides the fact that it is vile): One is that the movie is only for coprophiliacs and it constantly and tiresomely tries to shock its audience, the other is that it is impossible to believe that someone like this who eats feces in public and kills dozens of people in the street could stay alive and stay on the streets for a whole year. There are also some semi-surreal nightmares (flashbacks?) involving violence that was committed against him, but this doesn't make him interesting or believable. The least they could have done is added a bit of a character-study.
Cruel History of the Female Inquisition (AKA History of Women's Torture)Also known officially as Cruel History of Prisoners. Similar to Teruo Ishii's Tokugawa torture series but without the style or interesting stories. This is simply a collection of period scenes and stories where women are tied, whipped, raped and tortured to death. Men come home to find their wives or daughters doing something they shouldn't, and that's enough of a 'story' to portray yet another stream of sadistic tortures, which is obviously the focus of this movie. One woman is beaten to death, another has her genitalia tortured with some kind of acid then sliced off, there's a female bisexual masochist into extreme biting, a quick scene of torturing and raping ninjas, and yet another nasty punishment by sharp dildo. So, basically, an artistic snuff movie. Followed by the less extreme and more story-oriented Horrific Torture of Japanese Women which assigns the brutality and misogyny to the dominating Japanese military and its culture.
Daft Punk's ElectromaAbout three minutes of material padded out to one hour. Two robots in a robotic world attempt to become human by putting on a human face that melts in the sun. But society shuns them, making them go on a bleak, lonely and hopeless trek in the desert, where one dune looks like a woman's body. The end. Annoying soft art music, no dialogue, repetitive visuals, sub-Tarkovsky-esque pacing on every scene and landscape, and too little material for thought.
Dandy DustThis one's practically impossible to review. For starters, there's no detectable plot, and the plots and descriptions released with the movie don't seem to match the movie which is basically a chaotic LSD trip. This is a sci-fi movie made by trans-genders featuring a small budget that seems to have been spent on gaudy, outrageous costumes and a wide range of colorful cinematography effects and filters. The feel of this psychedelia is cheap but uniquely bizarre and chaotic, making Liquid Sky look like a mainstream movie. There's a heavy focus on genitalia and simulated pornographic sex, as if the film-makers were too obsessed with their own personal issues to make a real movie. There's splatter, colorful body fluids, random geeky sci-fi narration, silly comedic voice-overs, and demented action like a gay HK fantasy action flick on acid. And there are the endless bizarre scenes which have nothing to do with each other including: A person urinates on some cheap plastic alien plants which suddenly grow and attack his/her body, artists paint on breasts and are gorily interrupted by a person with exposed genitalia and ridiculously huge shoes, a fight with plastic chainsaws, flower darts and a sparkler, a man with a flame for a head, a spider-vagina creature that comes out of a book, a gory penis-drill, and much more. Ultimately bizarre but annoyingly senseless.
Dark PlacesDrugs, filth, sleaze and violence wrapped in a bad trip of a movie that explores the mind of a drug-addict whore that is having a bad day, except she can't seem to figure out what really happened to her. A bad encounter with a client seems to have ended in violence and possibly a murder, but every time she revisits it, the events seem to change. In the meantime she tries to stay at some fat guy's place who throws strange parties for drug addicts, and who, together with his Dominatrix wife, abuses or rapes his guests in various nasty ways. It isn't creative like a Lynch movie, you don't really care about any of the losers and freaks in the movie or what is going to happen to them, and the trippy camera work and editing tricks just become tiresome fast.
Dead Man 2: Return of the Dead Man, TheBonkers and transgressive in an extreme way, this debut short by Ian Kerkhof/Aryan Kaganof certainly makes an effort to kick its audience in the groin and leave them feeling empty. Just for openers it starts with some explicit gay sex involving vomit, for no particular reason. Then there's an old man in random scenes involving a young girl, and a bar populated by several odd people covered in filth, an odd band, and women urinating all over the place. The extreme noise soundtrack is by Merzbow. This is obviously a homage to Bataille and a kind of 'sequel' to Bataille's equally pointless story 'Le Mort'. Of course, you can take any movie about filth and claim that it is a statement about humanity or something similar, but that's just desperate nonsense posing as intellectualism. All-in-all, meaningless filthy noise for one's ears as well as one's eyes, with nothing to say.
Debbie Does DamnationIf you ever tried to imagine what a fantasy horror movie with a 00 budget made by a pornographer as a one-time hobby would look like, then here it is. And no, it's not pornography, but the nudity leaves nothing to the imagination. Naked girls find themselves transported somehow to a hellish world full of warriors, human-eating monsters, flying angels, a decapitated supreme-being and talking spider-skulls. Some are given quests to grab a sword and retrieve the lost devil's horns, but they get eaten at random by a claymation monster, which is promptly ignored by everyone else. Interchangeable naked girls keep 'fighting' with various men in cheap horror make-up using home-made props in a confusing stream of scenes and locations. Will one of the heroines reach her goal or will she get so confused that she'll fall into some clothes by mistake and take a taxi home? Filmed in super-8 black & white with dubbed sound, and the dialogue is so silly, it often feels like they MST3K'd their own movie. Strictly for fans of silly bad movies that don't take themselves seriously.
DetentionA movie for ADD-inflicted, pseudo-hip, trend-of-the-second Facebook-teeny-boppers that only live for the next cool vid-share or pop-reference of the next five seconds. Directed by the same guy who brought you the equally brainless Torque and some music videos, this tries to be Scream and Scary Movie mixed with Donnie Darko, except it is worse than bad, it is torture to watch. The pacing consists of two hip-jargon-laden statements or pop-references a second, and you may as well forget about a plot or watching real people having an actual conversation. When anything resembling a conversation intrudes, the editing quickly cuts to some unfunny unrelated, cartoonish, Family-Guy-esque scene just to make sure it doesn't lose your attention. The random elements that make up this movie include: Teenagers being killed by someone copying Cinderhella (a slasher movie with elements of torture-porn), a bully with a TV attached to his hand fly-blood and acid-vomit, a magnetic bear-mascot that seems to be a time-travelling pivot for all the random events in the movie, the end of the world due to about five different causes, a mother that switches bodies with her daughter and goes back in time, and about 87,349,345 pop-references. There are two funny scenes, one involving a suicidal girl trying to fend of a killer while trying to kill herself, and another where people in a cliched horror slasher scene are watching a movie within a movie within a movie within a movie. The rest is pure mental pain. It's like Chris Seaver drank a lot of coffee and got a bigger budget.
Devil StoryWhat on earth was that? This utterly perplexing French z-grade horror movie never even begins to make sense. There's a freakish man wearing a Nazi-uniform and an old-man mask killing people, a black cat that causes hallucinations, a very frisky and aggressive black horse, some old guy that spends the entire movie, night & day, trying to shoot this crazy horse without any results, a mummy that can raise the dead, some weird old woman that likes to bury people alive, a couple that stay at a castle during a rainy night, some girl that seems to come and go here and there for no reason whatsoever, a ship swallowed by a cliff which is then belched out again, confusing fight scenes, and so on. This is a movie where you give up on it making any sense right from the start, except there isn't much to entertain here besides the constant confusion and surprise. Oh, and there are a couple of lingering cheap splatter scenes that would make Nathan Schiff proud.
Divided Into ZeroA surreal trip into the mind of a sick man who got cut by the doctor at birth, lost his parents, became addicted to self-mutilation by razor, has whores urinate on him, and develops an unhealthy attraction to little girls, one of which he nails to a wall. This sick and disturbing but very well filmed short offers no insights or plot, only a nightmarish, non-linear experience. Also features a gripping dark soundtrack.
Doom Generation, TheA stylistic movie in the vein of Natural Born Killers, unsuccessfully attempting to copy Jon Moritsugu, about teen angst and a group of teens on a violent crime and sex spree. The crucial difference though is that this movie respects and even idolizes these repulsive creatures who murder, lie, cheat, and indulge heavily in their sexual depravity, intensely filthy mouths and despicably self-absorbed, psychotic characters. This is also a homosexual movie posing as heterosexual and features non-stop gore, violence, sex and very colorful language. To top it all off, the climax features even more repulsive characters in the form of homophobic Nazis that chop off a guy's genitals and this was supposed to be a comedy yet lacks even one laugh.
Driller KillerAn artist slowly loses his mind as he fights with his girls, is stressed by his agent, and an annoying punk band plays their obnoxious noise next to his apartment day and night, until he starts rampaging in streets drilling holes into random people. Gritty and repulsively dark.
Even Dwarves Started SmallAn artsy, dull, allegorical study by Herzog on antiestablishmentarianism and the free human spirit portrayed by some undefined establishment and its rebelling members/students/patients. The whole cast consists of dwarves, perhaps to point out a system that is too big, impractical and inappropriate for an enjoyable and free life. The manager of the place tries to keep things under control as the troop goes on a rampage, destructing property and nature, throwing live chickens through windows, bullying blind dwarves, laughing and having a wild time in general while the chickens resort to cannibalism. A typical scene is when a dwarf stares and laughs at a camel for 5 whole minutes until he starts coughing and the camel defecates.
Ex DrummerAn angry hateful movie by an angry writer who seems to think his misanthropic bile is interesting. The protagonist is a middle-class ex-drummer with a varied sex life who is willingly drafted by three trashy punk musicians to join their band. One is a violent woman-beater, another is deaf and lives with a junkie wife and child, and the third is homosexual, his arm is numb from masturbation, his mother is bald and is having an affair with the violent one, and his father is psychotic and bed-ridden. Add to the mix another band singer with a huge penis and a penchant for raping people of both sexes. The ex-drummer enters this world with arrogant anti-social motivations of manipulation and twisted amusement, philosophizing occasionally while revving up the violence, obscenities and hate. Non-stop indulgence in pointless trash, hate and violence that is out to offend every race, gender and sensibility, backed by creative, talented and bizarre cinematography including people who walk on ceilings, a movie moving backwards and a woman who's vagina becomes a room.
Exterminator CityA few movies edited together that never really meet: A cheesily dubbed sci-fi flick about a world run by robots (cops, psychiatrists, priests, etc) who are after a robot serial killer, a psychotic robot that goes around killing women and carving them up into gory quivering flesh while seeing confusingly edited hallucinations of mutated creatures, devils and talking books and stuffed animals, literally dozens of porn actresses showing off their huge fake boobs while screaming, and lots of huge bugs getting squashed. The kills consist of the aforementioned screaming boobs edited together with scenes of bloody weapons. An extremely repetitive, silly mess.
Ferozz: The Wild Red Riding HoodDidn't they already trash-up Red Riding Hood in Freeway? In any case, this Cuban version raises the trash and sleaze quota, and places its story in a Cuban backwoods countryside, but, although there is a girl with a red hood, a woodsman, and grandmother, that's as far as the original story goes in this version. One of the first scenes involves a very ugly man dressed up as a grandmother with multi-colored teeth, convincing her son to sodomize his wife at the dinner table in order to teach her a lesson while the retarded son of the union between the grandmother and her son watches on. And it doesn't get any better after that, with puppy-bestiality, an uncle that practices Satanism, violent sex and more. Pointless shock-trash for its own sake.
Final FleshThe background of this video is that a warped writer named Vernon Chatman send some screenplays to sites offering custom-made porn, containing the most absurd, inane, retarded, bizarre, warped and strange fetish scenes he can think of, all containing nudity but no real sex. And they actually delivered, in four short movies with a level of quality that makes porn-production-quality sound good. There is simply no describing how... speechless this one will make you. And it's not just one retarded idea, it's a never-ending stream of insanity and prank fetishes that could only have come from a heavily medicated mind. A woman washes herself in water from a jar labelled "tears of neglected children" then reads from the Koran. Another woman holds a knife to her throat while claiming she is turning British. And so on. Imagine 70 minutes of the following type of scenes, each only lasting a few seconds before switching to the next absurdity and non-sequitur: A man, his wife and daughter (in panties) are sitting on the floor. The man says "I was born and raised by lesbians. Wanna meet my daddy?". After which he pulls out a large dropper out of his pants. The daughter takes it, says: "Hi grandpa. Get yourself some gramps." Rubbing herself with the dropper and then: "I'm going to kill your dinner with karate...hiyaa!". And this is a moderately insane example amongst over a hundred. Enough said.
Firm Man, TheAn incomprehensible, highly eccentric and unrewarding absurdist Australian film. A man is promoted to work for the all-mysterious and revered firm, which turns out to be populated by madmen. His boss talks about vegetables in incomprehensible ways and acts like a cat, he is given the day off on his first day, then given assignments which consists of interacting with two odd men dressed in black, and yellow hats, that keep popping up chasing him in airplanes or tractors to play bizarre games and make him deliver meaningless messages and fulfill pointless missions. More odd things happen, like walking on the beach and seeing a vision of a hippy in a cave who promptly disappears. In the meantime, his wife is having an affair. Most people talk in non-sequiturs, three girls from another section are sent to give him an exorcism when he goes temporarily mad, there is a completely surreal board meeting involving a hodge-podge of costumes, nonsensical speeches, after which they act like cats and make a pumpkin explode, and so on. Tedious eccentricity.
Flaming EarsEarlier work by the transsexual-lesbian maker of Dandy Dust. A lesbian sci-fi movie involving a female pyromaniac revolutionary wearing Groucho Marx eyebrows and pyramid horns, a comic book artist whose print-shop was burned down by her lover, and a weird woman in a red latex suit who likes eating snails and blow-torching mini alligators. This trio interact and take revenge on each other randomly and boringly for most of the movie with pretentious, poetic, nonsensical dialog, or non-sequiturs. The scenery consists of cheap toys and miniatures, a car is made futuristic by covering it with a sheet, there are some parties and art shows, sex with furniture, a bizarre sex performance, and a climactic fight scene where people are turned into a cardboard cutout in latex. Nothing makes sense and there seems to be some kind of fetish for liquids. Boringly murky, chaotic and self-indulgent.
Flaming NipplesTrash doesn't get more obnoxious, slimy and juvenile than this. These guys got some dead rabbits, tied their limbs up with puppet strings, including genitalia, and filmed them in a 'sex drama' with some stuffed animals. So, basically, this is a porno with dead animals. But wait, there's a plot: The rabbit is a pizza delivery dud...I mean animal, who has sleazy and rough sex with various animals including some violent sodomy, until he meets a drug-addict rabbit entangled in some criminals, leading to violent fights and action. In between, there are endless depraved orgies. Now imagine all that with dead animals and toys on strings filmed in some dude's living room against paper backdrops.
FLCLIndescribable 6-part Japanese anime. I have a theory about this one: Someone wrote a home-made computer algorithm for generating an anime script based on random snippets from other anime shows, and he animated whatever came out of the printer. Japanese shows are notorious for being confusing and nonsensical, but this one takes the cake. There's random dialogue between an adolescent, his sister and family, an alien on a moped, and an agent without eyebrows. There's a fire, some random violent action, a drama over a baseball bat, sexual innuendo, cutesy cartoonish drama, and lots of random stuff that teenagers get obsessed over except it's just jumbled together, and then there are the robots that keep growing out of huge bumps in his head after the alien hits him with a bass guitar and a moped. And that's the only description you'll get for this one. This show redefines the word brainless. You brain will be screaming 'what's going on?' over and over until it'll overload and shut down. An unpleasant experience.
Flexing With MontyMonty is a narcissistic bodybuilder that is a bundle of impulses, bigoted views, idiocies and self-worship, and he would represent a raw Id except for the fact that he is too disciplined a muscle-man. His brother Bertin is the 'brainy' one, but he only looks brainy standing next to Monty. Bertin keeps a pet man in a cage who masturbates and eats bananas, there are repressed homosexual urges, weird Freudian dreams and fantasies involving their mother and incestuous grandmother, silly macho bashing, a home-made gym with a man-sized hamster cage, lots of silly phallic symbolism, a weird nun that talks poetic nonsense and who seems fascinated by Monty, fart humor, sex with a blow-up doll and stuffed bear, dialogue that is both pretentious and sophomoric, and a mish-mash of Lilith mythology. What does it all add up to? Nothing. To think that people persevered to get this bizarre movie made and released for 14 years is depressing.
Flowers of Vice, The (AKA Bloodbath)Another Dennis Hopper rough head-scratcher from the 70s and a fitting accompanying piece to The Last Movie. A group of pathetic, has-been Anglo-Saxon white people are living their days in a Spanish village. A junkie poet (Hopper) keeps hallucinating his mother and abuses a local girl with some eggs in classic eye-poppingly intense Hopper style, an ex-Hollywood-starlet keeps boasting on and on about her heydey, a war veteran is lost in his old glory days while his alcoholic wife suffers, and an aging queen isn't getting any. A group of beautiful people appear to torment this human detritus with nothing except their own desires, all of their hallucinations getting worse, until they each meet an ironically cruel end. While this is happening, the locals suffer or die accidents and no one pays attention, and there's a strange girl who is always involved with some kind of animal death or suffering. An attack on Anglo-Saxon corruption and vice? Perhaps. But it's too stoned to make its point.
Freddy Got FingeredOne of the worst movies ever made about a retarded character that thinks things like huge animal penises, spraying elephant semen on his dad, and swinging newborn babies by their umbilical cord are funny. The movie spares nothing in its ultimately juvenile and annoying 'humor' on things like crippled girls that like their legs caned, child molestation, gore, etc. There is a plot about a loser cartoonist with a dysfunctional relationship with his dad who is trying to become successful and get his TV show picked up. But the retarded humor doesn't even make it to the starting line.
Freeway 2: Confessions of a TrickbabyWithout Oliver Stone's hand, this sequel is pure trash and exploitation entertainment without style. This time around, the story is loosely based around Hansel and Gretel with characters such as a female, murderess necrophiliac (Hansel) who receives visions from a transvestite cannibalistic nun (the witch), and a whole slew of female prisoners with various disorders and crimes, all young nubile females of course. Brings to mind a slicker John Waters flick.
Gary's TouchOnly a 25-minute short, but this one is as bizarre, transgressive, surreal and perverse as it gets, and it allegedly, and understandably, caused quite a ruckus during its screening. It is about a man who seems to be gay, a pedophile, a gerontophile, impotent, and obsessed with his own sperm and reproducing, all at once. He hangs around schools and kid's clothes stores, sleeps in a dirty basement which is more like a stony hole in the ground, and stores his sperm in a fridge. When he picks up an insane old horny woman in a library bathroom, he tries to find some way to make it all work. Features graphic umm... 'sexual acts' (for lack of a better description), and a very surreal and transgressive ending. I have no idea what this movie was trying to say.
Garden Without Birds, A20 minute Japanese nasty that has more nasty scenes than half a dozen other movies of its ilk. 6 friends gather for a party and take some heavy drugs. Before you know it, euphoric happiness mixes with nihilistic joy of gruesome stories involving violence and gore, and they start playing with each other in the same way as well. Giggling, they corkscrew their friend's head, drive a pencil through an eye, and stab themselves several dozen times, while imagining a gory execution or the roasting of a newborn baby while one guy draws birds on the wall with a mutated hand-brush. Filmed with classical music and artsy use of color and black & white, but pointlessly shocking.
Gestapo's Last OrgyWhile Nazisploitation movies are bad enough for using concentration camps as cheap titillation, this one commits the additional crime of pretending to be a real movie. Yet again, beautiful women are used, raped, tortured and killed in a camp with sadistic Nazis and a dominatrix. Worse than any of the torture or rampant nudity however is the Nazi propaganda, the attempt at drama amidst all the exploitation, and the really sick 'love' affairs between the soldiers and the female victims.
Giant of America, TheOne of Bressane's more surreal efforts is also one of his most exploitative, messy and campy. A native from Brazil finds himself in some kind of purgatory chasing a blonde and the meaning of life. Various historical figures appear and make for silly comedy and dialogue in b-movie costumes, hellish scenes involve 50s-style torture of women and papier-mâché tunnels, girls get the zoom treatment as they dance in skimpy outfits and serve the bored, horny men in purgatory, syringes and hospitals add to the disorientation at random, and huge penises and feet make their appearance to terrorize the blonde woman of his dreams and stomp on her. They wander, party and sing songs, all the while Bressane populates the movie with ripped-off soundtracks from famous movies including Psycho seemingly at random.
Glamorous Life of Sachiko Hanai, TheDeranged Pinku satire that mixes lots of sex and nudity with a silly plot about Bush's secret finger as sought after by spies. I can promise you that after my description, you will still not understand any better. Let me start at the beginning: A prostitute who role-plays teachers finds herself in the wrong place and is shot by a spy who is after Bush's finger. Still don't get it? See, the finger controls a super-weapon that can destroy the world. It can also give a Japanese girl orgasms by remote control. Problem is, the bullet in her head didn't kill her, instead it makes her psychic and able to learn and understand everything in books within seconds. It also makes her feel sweet and spicy foods long after she ate, and makes her break out in another attack of horniness just in time for the Pinku sex quota. So she uses her newfound powers to educate young men by rewarding their understanding with nudity and sex, except spies with guns keep interrupting. Obviously a statement about US as a super-power but not a very insightful one. All I am left with is the knowledge that I just saw a movie that uses the words 'Noam Chomsky' as an aphrodisiac. Woe is me.
Goodbye, 20th CenturyBizarre and dark chaotic movie with a seemingly misanthropic message. It starts like a Mad Max post-apocalyptic movie by way of Jodorowsky as a man with a curse is being executed ritualistically, but he cannot die. Then it goes on to angels and prophets with a comical edge, incest, a battle with a joker-like man with green hair, a scene of an incestuous marriage in 1900 ending in violence, then even more madness involving Santa Clause at a wake full of of weird people that turns more and more chaotic, nonsensical, violent and gory with every minute. The message? The future will be as screwed up as the past. Bah.
Gore From Outer SpaceA sequel to Crazy Lips. Actually it's more of a revisitation of the insanity and some of the characters, this time involving an even more nonsensical plot. A mother is accused of murdering her daughter but when she tells her tale, things don't seem to make sense. Her husband says they have no daughter, there's a psychic that can trace phone calls, a blonde who sings the US anthem, a house with no bathroom, some Lynchian dream sequences, aliens, breeding experiments, very quirky FBI agents, and some other random events. Oh and the main actress breaks out into song again. I've had enough of this after the first outing.
Gore in VeniceMore like 'Misogyny in Venice'. This is part giallo, part soft-porn featuring a parade of acts of violence and humiliations to women, some of the women actually liking it. The mystery case involves the usual murders and beautiful women, as well as a man who forces his girl into perverse humiliating sexcapades. A couple of gruesome murders include rape with a knife and sawing off a woman's thigh.
Grand Departure, TheSome heavy drugs were most probably taken and worshipped for this movie. Once a lost film, made by French painter Martial Raysse, this one could be a more hippie-esque accompanying piece to Begotten. Some ordinary people sitting in their kitchen are criticizing some banalities while watching TV, when all of a sudden a cat-mask wearing weirdo cycles by. The movie suddenly swerves into an improvised, pretentious, fantasy trip, all of it filmed in negative colors and gritty film stock. We meet 'Innocence' (a naked little girl), 'Mr Nature', a mad leader of a cult who speaks of the Grand Departure where his flock will depart from this corrupt Earth and be liberated, a bunch of people wearing animal masks, a girl named Mona Lisa who is getting married in a strange ritual, and so on. 'Heaven' is a country house, the Cat Man is associated with death, and indeed he does seem to be involved with some questionable odd people with strange ideas and guns, not to mention that he randomly rapes a girl in the woods, and the cult finally embarks on a 'raft of life' for the hallucinogenic 20-minute climax involving a cacophony of sounds and imagery while the people on the floating raft do odd things and play with the Earth which is by now a toy ball. Tedious, and strictly for people looking for the cinematographic equivalent of a trip.
Grande Bouffe, La (Blow-Out)Four men decide to try to commit suicide by overeating. It starts out with style as the various men find new ways to indulge their hedonism to excess, but it then becomes debauchery with whores, lots of sex, extreme endless flatulence, exploding toilets, and of course enough food to make you sick just by watching it. A schoolteacher joins them to add to the allegory I suppose. Allegedly a parable on the fall of modern society, but there is no satire, no tragedy or insight, and no message. Just shocking brainless art posing as an allegory.
GravyA bunch of sociopathic cannibals with a twisted sense of humor invade a restaurant and hold its employees hostage for a night of cannibalistic game-playing and wise-cracks. I can see how this would be a love-it-or-hate it flick, except that I really hated it. It's a horror-comedy that takes its quirkiness so over-the-top, the effect is jarring and never works for even a single second. It's like watching a Looney Tunes version of a cannibalistic torture-porn movie, except the cartoon characters have been replaced with a bunch of wannabe clowns on their first day of training, and are given lines that are such awkward head-scratchers, one is constantly trying to figure out what exactly was meant to be funny. As you can imagine, the characters never even begin to come alive, nor do they resemble anything in reality, and the developments and violence never really make sense either. They're all just there as props for the writer/director who acts more like a drunk puppeteer who watched one too many ultra-violent movies, jerking his actors around the screenplay, which is too much in love with its own obscure movie references, unnatural dialog and quirky similes to notice that it isn't actually funny. The ultra-violence is very creative though.
Greasy Strangler, TheIt's like John Waters suddenly became a hipster with a twisted 10 year old boy's sense of humor. This is warped beyond belief. I spent the whole movie agape at the constant unexpected turns and at its unrelenting need to drop its toilet-humor gags on its audience, and yet I never laughed once. This is definitely a cult movie and would only appeal to the kind of people you wouldn't want to have anything to do with. An aggressive grandfather with a huge fake dong (who likes to display it as often as possible) eats food that is literally swimming in grease, until he becomes a grease-monster and runs around strangling and popping people's eyeballs out. His son is a meek balding man with a tiny fake dong, who falls in love, but his father can't take that non-greasy nonsense. They both run a business dressing up in pink outfits showing tourists run-down houses where disco legends once stayed. Matters escalate as tempers flare, farts speak louder than words, fat, loose flesh and dongs dangle, as more of their friends find themselves at the greasy end of the stick, up until the completely bonkers surreal ending. You're on your own with this one.
Gross OutSomebody must have been watching too much John Waters and decided he can outdo him. Except that the mentality here is that of a kid obsessed with bodily fluids (and solids), who thinks that the pinnacle of entertainment is to gross-out people, hence the subtle title. A disgusting fat woman decides to withhold inheritance and blackmail her three idiotic adult children to prepare a video that will make her puke. If they fail, they get nothing and their dirty secrets will be revealed. Problem is, she is too disgusting to disgust, but perhaps her abused black slave (a man in blackface) has an idea. Which is all just an excuse to film 80 minutes of people touching, drinking, eating, licking, throwing, abusing, and be covered in every bodily fluid, solid, semi-solid, things that should not be fluid but are, and other things that should not be solid, all in endless scenes and long takes to make sure you had time to digest every ounce of it. Enough said. Actually, the tiresome, juvenile and lame factors outweigh the gross and camp factors of this movie considerably.
Guinea Pig: The Devil's ExperimentThe first in a long series of Japanese movies that deal with the topics of snuff and gore with attempted shocking realism. One of the releases actually fooled Charlie Sheen to report the release as a real filmed death. This first entry is quite dull however, mainly due to the boring and unrealistic acting by the female victim. A group of men kidnap a girl and torture her in various ways for days, using beatings, loud noise, pliers, maggots, knives, etc. The effects range from lame to sickening but the unconvincing way this is handled makes this worthless even for gorehounds except as a pioneer movie. The lack of a plot makes this 'movie' worthless for everyone else.
Hallucinations of a Deranged MindA cut-and-paste job of Coffin Joe movies consisting of the most odd and horrific scenes from previous Coffin Joe movies, and some deleted scenes usually involving more nudity, strangeness or evil, all wrapped together inside a weak movie about a man who is deliriously obsessed with Coffin Joe, thus providing the excuse to splice together all of these scenes as dream sequences. An interesting touch that predates New Nightmare is to bring in Jose Mojica Marins himself to try to cure the man, but, as you can imagine from this description, this isn't a real movie.
Hands Up!Experimental film from Skolimowski consisting of an avant-garde introduction, and footage from a censored movie he made during his surreal Barrier period. The intro is a kind of surreal film-diary depicting images of Skolimowski's film career, war-torn Beirut, some bizarre sci-fi scenes of carnage, a ping-pong game with blackness and other miscellaneous symbolic imagery. The film itself consists of a group of anti-communist students participating in strange rituals, death re-enactments and games in a boxcar full of dusty plaster and candles, taking speed, discussing various topics with increasingly impenetrable dialog, and being interrogated by an unseen party about a poster of Stalin with four eyes. Strange, haphazard and mostly impenetrable self-indulgence; for fans of experimental films only.
HardgoreNormally, twisted porn movies wouldn't be listed here, but this one happens to be insane. A nymphomaniac is locked up in a special treatment center where a cult has orgies and uses neurotic patients for their severely demented ideas of eroticism. These ideas include chopping off a penis or the girl's head while having sex, torture, and some kind of gory necrophilia. Also includes hallucinations with flying, sparkling and squirting dildos and other bizarre, gory or over-the-top scenes of sexual depravity gone mad.
Herb of the RatPretentiously poetic, experimental and artsy movie that takes its symbolism so far and takes it so seriously, it becomes laughable. A man meets a frail, convict woman in a cemetery and vows to take care of her. The begin a bizarre relationship where he dictates to her literally volumes of books on various subjects while she writes, or reads poetry, and then it develops into an 'erotic' relationship where he obsessively takes pictures of her snatch. But this 'paradise' falls apart as she becomes restless, does very strange things while she sleepwalks, and a literal rat enters their lives to pleasure her sexually and eat up his erotic photographs. The herb of the rat is the symbolic poison which contains its own antidote. In addition to all of this obvious symbolism, the movie also features scenes of him taking pictures of a skeleton in provocative poses, which is when I couldn't stop laughing.
Hey, Happy!It doesn't get much more worthless than this. Forget about giving gay cinema a bad name, this makes you rethink you opinions on state control of movie makers. At times a John Waters-esque piece of campy trash, but mostly a boring, self-indulgent mess. Some braindead, boring guy that runs an open-field porn-store is trying to complete his goal of sleeping with 2000 men, with number 2000 being some dysfunctional bizarre man called Happy who talks to his squeaking radio box. A manic, over-acting, flamingly gay dude who is angry at the world in general terrorizes them while some transsexual prances about like an elephant showing off his fake boobs riveted to his chest. They dance at endlessly boring rave parties, there's a nasty disemboweling and rape scene that is promptly forgotten for some reason, some pointless witch-doctoring, talk of a flood that never arrives, an acid-trip of an ending, and other stupid randomness that never adds up to anything.
Highway of HeartacheColorful campy trash that brings to mind Forbidden Zone, or a country-musical as directed by John Waters, except this is a Canadian movie! Wynona-Sue Turnpike is having a hell of a life, bouncing from one soapy over-the-top misfortune to another, when all she wants to do is chain-smoke and play guitar. Her response to anyone that pushes her too far is to shoot them in the head. She goes from a philandering abusive husband, to a guy that gives her a VD, forces her into porn and keeps a pet gender-bending freaky girl with a beard and a massive attached dildo. She is inspected by an Elvis-impersonator gynecologist, given the death sentence, molested by her dad, cheated on by a pathetic lover, and hated by her mother and huge black slut daughter. Racist epithets fly in this movie where big ugly drag-queens are ever-present as a kind of Greek chorus. The sets and costumes are day-glo cartoons with only the most garish colors, and the ton of makeup and hairdo on everyone is so over-the-top that it would make drag queens blush. The honky-tonk country music is painful, but nothing beats the protagonist who whines, screeches, cries and wails throughout the movie in an ear-grating high-pitched voice, and, as if that weren't enough, we get her constant narration and singing as well. This movie should be referenced in the dictionary under obnoxious.
Hitler Third WorldBonkers guerrilla-style Brazilian dadaism and absurdism. Not only does it not seem to have a plot, but the scenes are so incohesively put together, any random order would have resulted in the same movie. The soundtrack adds to the confusion by including random musical snippets from random genres as well as random dialogue, most of which seems to have been lifted from other movies and spliced into this one. This movie visits the moral and social chaos of Brazil using several very odd characters that interact with the locals using guerrilla-film-making. There's a robot fascist who performs a coup, the rise of Hitler as a conservative democrat who brings moral order by torturing and castrating enemies using a troupe of hairy cavemen, a very fat man in a kabuki-samurai outfit, wig and makeup who wanders the streets or among the poor hovel-dwellers and repeatedly dies, kills Hitler, or commits suicide, and there is a wild radical in a 'Thing' rock-costume who adds to the chaos. A couple of consumers are treated as objects in a tire factory when their bouncing Volkswagen fails with a flat tire, a Jesus-figure rises from a boat and miraculously walks on land, there's a midget celebrity, a naked woman is executed, Hitler finds a gay companion, and so on. Random nonsense that never adds up to anything.
HotelVarious loosely-filmed stories are spliced together using a slew of cinematography tricks with a Dogma feel and improvised acting. A film-crew with a pretentious director is filming a fast-food version of The Duchess of Malfi while his producer conspires, an annoying documentary team is following him to film the 'making-of', various other characters weave in and out of the movie to abuse their wives or rant about Venice, and the mysterious hotel they are staying in practices violence and cannibalism. Features a dozen celebrities in strange, short, improvisational roles, gratuitous and explicit fetishistic or perverse sex scenes, and endless boredom. I really tried to like this movie given its brave experimentation and handful of bizarre, fascinating scenes but it just never coheres or develops.
House of Yes, TheA twisted black comedy about a dysfunctional family. Jackie-O is obsessed over Jackie Kennedy and the JFK assassination, and has an incestuous relationship with her twin brother ever since she was born holding his private parts. The mother is obsessive-compulsive and makes jarring remarks like 'how did you fit in my womb?'. The father disappeared mysteriously and the older brother has his own disturbing quirks. When the male twin brings home his new, very normal and innocent fiancee, matters get out of hand.
How Far, How NearPolish surrealism similar to Hour-Glass Sanatorium, in that it weaves non-linear snippets of a person's life through the prisms of a dream and overlapping, freely-associated memories and thoughts. Unlike the superb Hour-Glass Sanatorium however, it fails. He meets people from his past (many of them women who all strip and perform a sex scene as if there was some kind of quota for the actor), and we are told what happened to them, but not who they are, barely anything about what they meant to him, and nothing about their story. He informs us that he killed a person, and we have to wait until the end for the killing which, once again, tells us nothing. His main purpose for this reminiscence is to figure out why his friend Max killed himself, and this goes nowhere. He asks personal questions without answers, he shares thoughts, most of which have no meaning except to him, and the symbolism falls flat. In short, a self-indulgent art-house waste of time.
H2SSilly and naive dystopian sci-fi movie from Italy. Conventional human activities and behaviour are all made childish and weird against nonsensical 'sci-fi' sets and props, close to the point of unintelligibility. A childish young man travels to a kind of scientific school where students are brainwashed regarding the evils of liberty and sex, and strange experiments are performed on people. Men are washed in silly 'futuristic' washing machines and car washes, a robotic little girl is made to do things like kill a fish, and they perform strange rituals. When a student breaks out in the spirit of liberty, chaos and nudity erupts, but they are too naive and immature to understand what to do and the consequences of what they do, even when given a gun in their hands. The boy and girl take a break, living in a hut in a snowy wilderness where they experiment with relationships, then the boy returns to school and oppressive masters with some violent thoughts.
Human Centipede II (Full Sequence), TheThe first movie was as vile and disturbing as it gets, but it knew when to hold back, constructing a horror movie with riveting performances, pushing audiences systematically way beyond their limits without resorting to boring gornography for its own sake. To repeat this in a sequel seemed not only impossible, but pointless, yet the director seems to have risen to the challenge and met it head-on with surprising creativity and effectiveness. This sequel takes places in a world where the first movie exists only as a movie. A pathetic and very disturbed short fat man obsessed with centipedes has adopted the movie Human Centipede as his new love and hobby. His background includes an over-the-top, controlling, suicidal mother, a surreal, pervert shrink, and possible molestation as a child. The first 60 minutes of this 90 minute movie tells only his story, his efforts to collect his own human centipede, and his psychological and violent breakdown. It is very disturbing, features yet another riveting performance of a completely different kind, and once again, draws you in. If the movie had left it at that, with incomplete centipede attempts, but a complete exploration of a twisted psyche that finds this kind of thing fascinating, then this could have been watchable and maybe even interesting horror. But then, finally, there is the building of the Human Centipede, this time with a dozen human beings, and this time, by an insane amateur who has no clue what he is doing, using a hammer as anaesthesia, pliers and kitchen knives as surgery tools, a stapler for connecting everyone, and laxative for the ultimate goal. Since this movie is "100% medically inaccurate" but 100% realistic and graphic, this results in an ultimately repulsive, grotesque, retch-inducing half-hour merciless sequence which I don't think I need to describe beyond this. Whatever you imagined for the last two sentences, multiply it by ten, and throw in some gratuitous sleaze and filth, and pregnancy gore. Unfortunately, these 30 minutes seem to be the ultimate goal of this movie, which is why I cannot say anything positive this time. Some of us may wonder what is wrong with the director, but what about the actors?
I AmRussian drug-movie and semi-autobiography about a young man who gets himself locked up in an insane asylum in order to dodge the army. It's not so much a story as a free-form series of vignettes of his life as a kid and in the asylum, glamorized by surrealism and colorful style. His friends all worshipped a whacked-out drug-addict living in the asylum while they were growing up, there is a scene of the police beating him up, and various abuse and interactions with the insane while in the asylum, all portrayed in glamorous color, magical-realism, hallucinatory visions, and over-the-top energy. But, like a mind on drugs, it finds nonsensical dialogue cool, and worships whimsy as well as themselves, tediously portraying themselves as crucified Christ figures that walk on water, or as dismembered bodies to be put back together, while they fantasize of wreaking violent wrath on the orderlies and police. The cinematography and some unusual scenes make an impact like where he demonstrates magical mimicking powers and disappears, rides cars driven by horses, or gets dragged on a cross through the street by a dog, but overall, it lacks a story and is too high on itself to be interesting.
Ice-cream BalletA 'film' released by the short-lived Hungarian, art-punk band 'A. E. Bizottság' (Albert Einstein Committee). The name art-punk suits this film very well, for if art is unusual, provocative and obscure, and if punk is in-your-face, purposely sloppy, whatever-goes attitude, then this film is complete random nonsense with an attitude. The first half is Dadaistic randomness presented as a sequence of scenes with no rhyme or reason, the second half is mostly live music mixed with random footage and visuals. There's a little sketch involving Einstein lookalikes in a band stealing a letter from the committee trying to smuggle it to China, there's a liberal sprinkling of pornographic, cheap attention-grabbing images, a bunch of people having a really messy ice-cream party, people in random costumes spouting random lines, other people having 'conversations' involving completely random words and sentences, as if the dialogue was created by a computer random generator, lots of animals, many people walking on ice skates instead of shoes, a man shooting his head clean off, and other such random things. It's like sketches written by braindead mongrels that forgot all the punchlines. And the music is as eclectic as the visuals. Challenging and unusual is one thing, but this is just obnoxious, braindead randomness.
Ilsa, She Wolf of the SSThe absolute, unsurpassed apex of exploitation sleaze. In a Nazi camp, men and women are experimented on in a wide variety of horrifying ways by Ilsa, an Aryan dominatrix who's pet project involves proving that women can withstand more pain and torture than men, and also tends to punish men that don't perform to her satisfaction in bed until an American comes to tame the shrew with his sexual prowess. The real tragedy is that this story is based on real experiments and accounts of SS camps, only in this movie the girls are all sexy, and the nudity, S&M and gore is gratuitous and rampant.
ImpolexTedious student film with pretensions of being an amusing and surreal piece of existentialism. Except that it is too dull to be amusing, too full of tedious nonsensical dialogue to feel like a dream, and too empty-headed to be existential. Not all dreams are interesting, and this is one of the dull ones. A soldier walks through the forest throughout the movie, looking for two elusive missiles labeled 00 and 01. He meets various people and has nonsensical exchanges with them, including a nonsense-spouting intellectual that throws out theories as to the possible outcomes of his search, various acquaintances from the army, some girls, and a talking octopus buddy. Yes, you read that right. He also has an interminably boring ten minute session with a girl as they reminisce about banalities. It's like Alice in Wonderland as dreamed by the most boring guy on earth that speaks in a droning mumble. The definition of 'waste of time'.
Inner Scar, TheArtsy, symbolic, poetic (read: pretentious) piece with an overacting, annoyingly whiny Nico from Velvet Underground performing abstract scenes with various men, spouting monologues, rants, poetry, and singing terrible new-age music. The symbolism covers a rocky relationship between man and woman in a barren landscape (e.g. woman cries while man walks in circles), children, monologues about mercy and justice, the soul, and various existential ambiguities, with surreal scenes of fire, deserts, ice, waterfalls, shepherds, naked man on horseback, etc. Emotions, symbols and cinematic experimentation that is obviously up for various interpretations by film-school buffs, but for me this is pretentious artsy indulgence at its worst.
Island of DeathExtreme Euro-trash featuring an incestuous brother and sister who visit a Greek island to violently kill all perverts while inflicting them with their own over-the-top sickness and brutality. Goat-sex, urine, rape, homosexuals and various very brutal deaths decorate this boring pseudo shock-fest that isn't even interesting enough to be called bad taste.
It Couldn't Happen HerePet Shop Boys, the movie. Not much of a movie actually, but more like a sequence of strange music videos wrapped around a supposed road trip or tour of England. In this road trip we get a blind serial killer priest spouting non-sequiturs, various odd ranting characters, a practical joker in a restaurant, an existentialist ventriloquist dummy pontificating about our perception of time, a man on fire going to work, and various other odds and ends, all backed by the music obviously and the usual boringly deadpan Neil Tennant. If you want to see what pop-music looks like when it gets pretentious, look no further.
It Takes from WithinIf you've ever watched a tortuously slow and pretentious art-house movie and thought things can't get any worse, then think again. This is a pretentious Millennial art-house movie, or at least that's what I'm calling it without knowing anything about the director. It is ponderous, self-obsessed, emo-art-house that uses surreal performance-art to express its passing emo-whims without even attempting to shape it into something externally meaningful or palatable for its audience. Yes, it's that bad. There's a couple having problems on their way to a funeral. Except we don't even know what their problems are since all they can do is drown in their own gloom and make fatalistic statements about how it's all over. They have no personality either. And that's the whole 'plot' of the movie. The rest of the movie involves this couple wandering about the town or country-side where they are staying doing nothing except brood, occasionally encountering symbolic older or younger alter-egos for another performance-art scene of strangeness to express their inner feelings. Old people groan in bed ad reach out, young ones crawl over grass to grasp at the other couple, they spout some emo-poetry, there's an artsy suicide scene with blood on white sheets, a masturbation fantasy, an old man bowing and drinking at a dirty fountain, and so on. Insufferably terrible.
Killbillies, TheA whole movie based on trashy redneck/hillbilly 'humor' featuring deranged backwoods families who wear cheap, repulsive masks, cross-dress, talk about idiotic or random filthy subjects, tell tales, go on a feud and out-gross each other with a general lack of hygiene. One man tracks by licking filthy underwear, another blind old man asks God for some company and gets the cross-dresser whom he mistakes for a young girl, etc. Spliced with this John Waters-like trash are random scenes involving cheap aliens and anal probes, zombie impregnation sex and a nasty anal birth, and sprinklings of gore and bargain-basement surrealism. Tedious, unfunny trash.
Killing Machine (AKA Teenage Hooker Became Killing Machine)Bizarre mess from Korea that starts as surreal exploitation with a hooker who gives specials in back alleys and meets up with her angry mutant teacher after waking up his grandmother. They perform a strange dance, then she is killed by some giggling loons, is turned into a killing robot, goes through some scenes ripped out of Nikita, then comes back for revenge with a mechanical penis. Boasts distorting and colorful cinematography, but it isn't as fun as it sounds.
KindergartenBanned in Argentina for 20 years due to nude content involving minors, and thought to be lost. This impenetrably metaphoric and surreal movie by Jorge Polaco portrays a family in trouble. The father has a lover who physically worships him and walks around with pubic hair in different colors, the step-mom is depressed, breaks out in manic emotions and causes her husband to panic and order her repeatedly to open her eyes or to stop her outbursts. She also has a mentally handicapped big brother and an unhealthy physical and emotionally tense relationship with her step-son, a young boy who also walks around naked in some scenes. There are recurring themes of difficult relationships with dead or disabled ancestors, including a mummified grandfather whom they keep and abuse in the basement, an alluded car accident that haunts them, and a dotty grandmother who seems preoccupied with objects, as well as many busts and paintings of relatives. Other themes include a nursery of children or animals playing, and games between the father and his lover, and in-between, a strange symbolic character appears to give popcorn or chickens to the children. The film is mostly a series of emotional or playful interactions and raw outbursts between the characters, sometimes reminiscent of Zulawski, except that it is very static and doesn't develop. This, together with the fact that the movie is not enjoyable on its own terms without its hidden meaning, did not allow me to derive any pleasure from it.
KissedNecrophilia filmed as if it were a mystical and romantic experience. A girl grows up feeling a twisted affinity with dead things and becomes a full-fledged necrophiliac as an adult. An idiotic student falls for her but she prefers the dead so he figures out a way to make her love him... Idiotic, emotionally warped and unforgivable movie with filth posing as something beautiful.
Knee DancingThere's a fine line between non-linear storytelling and scatter-brained writing, and this movie crosses it. This is also a clichéd feminist movie about a woman with a long line of bad relationships and abuse with a severe loss of identity. Of course, all men in the movie are rapists. It is surreal though, with a repeating symbolic theme of a loudspeaker announcing a phone call for her that never materializes, bloody dolls, and three cartoonish older women that keep appearing to sing about abortions, marvel over her breasts, or gleefully gossip about violence. The movie explores the mess of her mind, her various husbands and lovers all intertwined, until the final clichéd and predictable revelation. Bad sound and lighting make it difficult to understand, and the effort wasn't worthwhile.
KusoThis isn't a real movie. It's just a series of incoherent images and scenes by a man-child on heavy drugs that never progressed beyond the anal stage as a baby. The description for this one goes like this: Idiotic musical number about zombies, everyone has an infectious disease, pustules, blisters and pus, a weird diseased man-child interacts fecally with a creature in the forest with an anus-like orifice and a head, sex scene with sperm and pus and asphyxiation, squishy creamy bug-eating, furry TV-wearing aliens with a retarded sense of humor that like to fling feces, maggot-ridden food, more feces, more gross-out 'sex' talk, man that lives in a toilet, vomit, random grotesque gross-out 'art' animations, random weird repulsive creatures and mutations, tentacle porn, instant conjoined people, a 'humoristic' sketch involving discharge and a blow-up doll, a doctor's treatment that involves an anal lobster and feces, and so on and on and on. It's not surreal or entertaining or provocative, it's not even interesting enough to hate. You will need a long shower afterwards though.
Lady Returns, TheMy second Polaco movie and I am just as confused and bored. Visually, this movie is even busier than Kindergarten, looking like John Waters had filmed it on a Corkidi set, or as if someone had taken everything in the props warehouse and thrown it all over every set, then gone to the thrift shop for costumes and bought anything with bright colors. Like Kindergarten, the plot is paper-thin and the movie consists mostly of scenes of people interacting, over-acting, throwing emotional outbursts, dancing, playing and having kinky sex, with various pets roaming all over, but unlike Kindergarten, this one is all about kitsch, trash and Waters-style comedy. Polaco uses an Argentinian ex-sex-symbol, bringing her out of retirement, giving her the role of a woman who comes back to her hometown rich, teaming up to save the city with her ex-lover the kinky mayor, who has a manic, hysterical wife, and a fat masturbating mommy-boy son. There is some revenge against some wacko inhabitants of the city who used and abused her when she was a helpless homeless young woman, all straight out of a soap opera, and lots of dancing, festivals, gaudy costumes, random horny, kitschy and trashy antics, a post-mortem wedding, strange acrobatic performers, a hairy butt at the gym, random pigs, molestation by bodybuilders, raunchy performances by insane transvestites, and heaps of scenes with actors chewing up the scenery (and there is a lot to chew up!). Colorful & insane trash.
Last Bath, TheAvant-garde cinematography mixed with hardcore porn, art-house surrealism and psychedelia for a very, very stoned but dull art-porn flick. There's this guy who dreams of being chased and 'raped' by women, and his real life isn't too far from his dreams as he is taken to a weekend getaway by two nurses who lust after him. There's a suicide that may or may not be real, tarot cards, a bath and a river that get ambiguous surreal meanings, and lots of sex scenes filmed in eye-melting psychedelia, superimpositions and various color filters. This is one of those movies where you are sure that everyone involved was taking lots of drugs while filming.
Last Dining Table, TheThis shouldn't even qualify as a movie by some standards. It's as if someone went to a movie archive, chose 150 movies at random, sliced out random scenes from each, and then spliced all of these pieces together. Except that, occasionally we do see the same character interact with another here, and there is some grouping of scenes together according to theme. The scores of scenes range from completely banal (someone eating or walking, a business interview), to surreal (man is choked to death and dragged in front of a break-dancer, or weird dirty naked men appear in a subway while everyone is asleep), to dramatic (man screams in the street about his ruined life, woman tries to divorce her dead husband), to absurd superstitions and various religious rites, to sleazy (encounters with both male and female prostitutes). Nothing emerges from all this even after the movie ends, and defining this as an artistic portrayal of human existence is really pushing it.
Last House on Dead End Street, The (AKA The Fun House)Gritty movie about a psychotic who is released from jail. Angry and cynical, he decides to repay society's lust for daring porn movies and sadism by making snuff movies. His acquaintances assume it isn't real at first, but soon learn just how mad he and his psychotic friends are. Features an effective, disturbing atmosphere but is undone by bad dubbing, shallow characters and lack of plot. The gore and nastiness is mostly off-screen except for one notorious scene where a girl is cut up and taken apart in a kind of prototypical Guinea Pig. Supposedly cut from 170 minutes down to 77.
Last House on the LeftA modern adaptation of Virgin Spring by Wes Craven and a very early 'landmark' in the twisted gore and horror genres. This tells the tale of two over-confident girls that get raped, humiliated, mutilated and killed by a gang of disturbed criminals and the girl's parents who take their bloody revenge on them. Much tamer by today's standards but caused fainting and walk-outs when it first came out, this has the feel of a gritty, trashy Herschel Lewis film featuring silly music, slapstick cops, unflinching humiliation, and death by chainsaw and oral sex.
Last Movie, TheA cult movie by Dennis Hopper which is actually more incoherent than anything brilliant. While in Peru, a man called Kansas is hired as an actor in a violent Western. When the Americans leave, the locals use the sets for their own film but don't realize the action has to be faked. In the meantime, Kansas's life becomes like a movie, hanging out with a Peruvian whore who wants American comforts, searching for gold, going to parties and shows at the local whorehouse. Slowly his life becomes a movie as the cameras become fake, and his life shows its seams with gaps of 'Missing Scenes', disorientation and surreal cuts. None of these themes and plot-lines are developed however, and the extremely choppy editing make this a chore to sit through.
Little Gay BoyA triptych of three very gay short movies that take the gay obsession with Jesus to a more extreme conclusion. Each short starts with some poetry, then dives into trash. The first tells the boring 'tale' of a very obnoxious and empty-headed fat prostitute who is foretold she will give birth to a gay boy via a 'virgin birth'. The second follows him as a very gay-looking teenager stupidly putting himself in harm's way so that he can be constantly sexually exploited and abused, with intercut scenes of extreme sado-masochism, while a white-painted dancer writhes in blood. Ooh, symbolic. As if this has nothing to do with the director's fantasies and something to do with a gay teenager's Christ-like suffering. The third has him wander in the woods occupied by various trashy-looking random 'surreal' beings like a blue Buddha, then meets his father for some incest and betrayal. It's all too crude to be artistic, too brainless and random to be interesting, and too obviously trashy to be blasphemy.
Live Freaky Die FreakyJuvenile smutty stop-motion animation telling the tale, yet again, of Charlie Manson, bookended by a completely useless live-action sci-fi wrapper. In 3069, Earth is a barren wasteland, and a nomad desperately searching for food finds the book about Manson, Helter Skelter, which opens his eyes on how to save the planet (yeah right). Most of the movie is the stop-motion Manson story that has nothing new to tell except to make everyone involved behave like a 15 year old frat-boy who has been watching nothing but bisexual porn for the past 5 years. The humor on selfish materialistic celebrities (that only think of sex even after death) and the weird brainwashed hippy Mansonites, is too brainless to be deemed 'satire', there's gory stop-motion massacre, and the rest is just stop-motion pornography to titillate fellow frat-boys. Sorry but this is too immature and silly to even be shocking.
Living a Zombie DreamA confusing, zero-budget, surreal mess where various repetitive scenes are weaved together into a nightmare. A guy's wife has slutty sex with his brother, his brother is sliced and gutted by a strange man with a zombie philosophy, his wife keeps telling him the same phrases like "you're home early", he has cravings for biting into flesh and dreams involving blood feasts, zombies, guts, his beckoning wife, etc. as he keeps waking up from dream after dream. With plot development and more than 0 for a budget, this could have become something Lynchian.
Love Song for RapperA more comic Japanese Gummo with an over-the-top ending. Fragmented vignettes of a loser family involving two loser brothers, one wanting to be a baseball star and the other, a manga artist. Scatter-shot scenes filmed on grainy home video, many ending in dumb slapstick, failure or trashy humor. The brothers seek sage advise from a Visitor-Q-esque neighbour who instructs them on how to play baseball or have anal sex, they attempt to fulfill their dreams, collect rent from an aggressive tenant who threatens to poison the water, and seduce girls by pretending to be disabled. The ending features a bizarre spoof on a climactic battle featuring magic, brutal fights with pens and cameras, and over-the-top splatstick involving disemboweling and decapitation. A terrible mess.
Lucker (AKA Necrophagous)Boring sick movie about a lunatic who escapes the insane asylum and goes on a rampage killing people and raping the female corpses after they're dead. In one scene he waits for the corpse to decompose and rot before he deems it ripe for fun.
Luminous ProcuressBasically a series of dreamy, mostly homo-erotic visions put on film as imagined by some guy (Steven Arnold) with a love for outrageous costumes and sets. Two men enter a house where they can peer through the looking glass into various rooms full of oddities: Wind-up mostly-naked human toys jittering on stage, strangely costumed and colorful drag-queens or transsexuals, some bizarre sci-fi settings and props, nuns and bishops getting it on, a mass of naked male flesh through a fish-eye lens, various silly costumes and people playing games, an Egyptian pharaoh, some hetero hardcore porn, etc. all accompanied by strange sounds and soundtrack. In other words, this is like Jack Smith on acid. Arnold became Dali's protégé, emerging also as an artist and photographer, and made several other shorts containing a similar preoccupation with bizarre or Eastern costumes on transvestites.
MacabreA slutty, married woman has sex with the decapitated head of her former lover while teasing a blind man. And she is actually the healthier of the two sickos in this silly and pointlessly gruesome horror movie that has no plot to speak of.
Machines of Love and HateThis one is so bad, it's something like Ed Wood's attempt to make a bizarre head-trip of a movie. There is no originality here, only a jumbled bunch of copy-pasting from other movies into something incoherent. The dialogue is cliched and cheesy, most of it stolen from other movies, with even a sampling from Star Wars. The acting by the two parents hams it up to truly silly and campy proportions, but the rest of the cast seems to think they're in a serious movie. The story involves a Christ-like figure in a gas mask on a quest with a treasure map that depicts a treasure chest with the word 'truth' on it (I kid you not). He is led to a home of a very broken family consisting of disabled bitter father and lustful haughty mother, with a teenage daughter stuck in between. Scenes repeat, morph into nightmares, stuck in a loop, break off into strange & bloody outcomes, there's sex in a gas mask, some twisted lusting by the mom, a lot of yelling and silly dialogue, a symbolic sub-plot about another warrior-quest dude that meets a little girl with a bloody doll that goes nowhere, and then the surprise twist nonsensical ending that can't seem to decide whether it has to do with a horror cult or a religious second coming of Christ. Terrible.
Mad FoxesEuro-sleaze with such unbelievable levels of stupidity that you'll split your sides laughing. A biker gang gets entangled in a cycle of revenge and violence with a philanderer in a hot-rod, leading to rape, gore, karate, penis-chopping, family massacres and lots of gratuitous nudity and sex. Features extremely dumb dialog and possibly the worst dubbing job ever recorded.
MagoImagine a Korean Jodorowsky doing a new-age movie about the environment and spiritualism vs. destruction. This beautifully filmed, symbolic and surreal project is new-age claptrap at its worst. Pure spirits are naked women swimming in clear waters, but business, medicine, science, internet, industrialism and men are all corrupt, destructive, greedy and filthy, destroying the environment and all that is pure, and even eating meat (gasp). All this is wrapped in a creation myth about Mago and 12 female (naked) spirits and how the earth became corrupt and the spirits went into exile. Pretentious, dumb, preachy, misandrist, new-age excrement.
Making OffFrench found-footage-style 'documentary' about a film-maker filming himself trying to make the most shocking movie of all time. Towards this goal, he hires friends and family and works himself to obsession, even avoiding sleep, but gets increasingly frustrated at the amateurish and weak result. One day he does off the rails with his girlfriend, which leads to brutal violence, murder and necrophiliac rape on camera. And this takes him in a new direction: To kill everyone for real ... and rape them afterwards. This idea about a director gone mad has been done several times, but this movie has a dark streak of black humor, except it becomes so vile there is nothing to get amused about. Comparisons to Serbian Film are only as far as the sickening necrophilia scenes are concerned, as his victims progress to animals, men, mutilated bodies and body parts. The content, however is nowhere close to that movie. The level of gore is medium, the special effects range from adequate to disturbingly good, and the brutality and sadistic torture level is pretty high. But it's all just pointless sickness.
Maléfices PornoWarped, censored, unusually twisted, cult French pornography. It starts tediously with an impotent husband and his wife who seeks her sexual pleasures with guests, and his pathetic behaviour in bed, until he falls asleep and loses himself in surreal sexual and twisted dreams inspired by a book he was reading. The dreams involve S&M in a cave, strange costumes involving a top hat, guignol torture and sexual murders by buzz-saw, sulphuric acid baths, and lengthy sexual teasing and torture of a pet black man, including gruesome penis torture, until he turns into a raving beast for a surprise ending.
ManôusheBizarre Brazilian mish-mash of genres. It starts as a somber movie about gypsies attending a funeral, accompanied by beautiful Flamenco by Paco de Lucia. An old woman reminisces about her dead lover, except her memories are full of magic, over-the-top romanticism and fantasy. They both transform into young people, the music turns cheesy as she meets her love, a travelling gypsy, clown, performer and bona-fide magician, their imagination creating magic. Then they elope into the forest and the movie switches from magical realism to silly fantasy with a dozen forest-fairies, gnomes and whatnot in fake sets with endless silly antics. And finally, there's Felliniesque grotesqueries as they see visions of the people chasing them. It never really works, but it's kinda entertaining.
Ma MèreArtsy French perversion using the Oedipus Complex and other base Freudian instincts to contemplate on ...something or another. A young man comes back home with idealistic worship of his mom only to learn she is a perverted bisexual slut and a lush. She tries to educate him in the ways of life by pulling him into perversions with her wildly kinky and bisexual lover, only to find him diving into her life lessons with wild abandon and nihilistic passion, soon to go out of control. She tries to re-adjust him with another neurotic girl who has a masochistic slave, etc. Psychology, incest, philosophical musings, coprophilia, artsy pretensions and necrophilia. It would be disturbing if it made any sense or added up to anything. Based on a novel by Georges Bataille.
Man, The Woman, And The Beast, TheA hatefully twisted precursor to Blue Movie by Alberto Cavallone. Society in all its forms is attacked. While festivities are going on in the streets, various depraved people interact and have sex. There's a nymphomaniac, psychotic woman, a hypocritical policeman who uses whores, a priest that seems to like the boys a tad too much, a man with a fetish for pictures of nude women and internal organs, a butcher that humps his frozen meat, some surreal imagery involving female genitalia, billiard balls and an eyeball, and an unbelievable grand finale involving snuff coprophilia.
MeatStrange Dutch sex-art-film which doesn't seem to fit in any category. There's a butcher shop, a lustful butcher that has sex in the meat locker and harasses his young female co-worker, there's a lust triangle, a murder, a detective and his unhappy marriage. Except the butcher and the detective are the same person, the pretty young co-worker seems to welcome his sleazy advances and has wild kinks of her own, and at some point, the movie turns in on itself, making less sense after its done. Most of the movie feels like some older fat guy's fantasies of treating women like meat, the movie making many visual parallels to this effect, except the women welcome it and are only to happy to comply in order to supply the next unrealistic sex scene. There are surprises, including a water-sports scene and a 'rape' scene that appear out of nowhere. The pseudo-Lynchian dream-logic doesn't do anything interesting either. Unrewarding and lurid.
Men Behind the Sun 2: Laboratory of the DevilA pointless sequel that has the Japanese butchers from camp 731 gather together for a reunion of sorts and rehash the original story, this time with more gore and a cheesy love story. We see some of the same experiments again, freezing a woman's arms then striping off her flesh, some splatter autopsy scenes, experimenting on Chinese prisoners with nasty diseases and chemicals, and testing guns on lines of live humans. Nasty exploitation but not disturbing like the first, and flawed by cheesy drama.
Metal MessiahRare, low-budget rock opera, with some passing thematic resemblances to Tommy, about a messianic figure made into a rock star. At first, the low budget makes this feel like Alphaville in the sense that the pretentious, nonsensical narration tries to make up for what the visuals lack. But then it gradually becomes weirder. A man resigned to his fate and puppet-strings is sent on a mission to kill the Messiah, who is an anonymous silver-faced force of nature with some kind of prophetic, moralizing message, but seems to cause social excesses wherever he goes. The encounters include a depraved discotheque-cum-orgy, junkyard mutants, a bizarre group of stock merchants who sell air and water, a robotic marine-headmaster, a drug addict priestess Violet who gets the messiah hooked on drugs, and a despicable rock-concert promoter, all acted over-the-top with campy costumes and makeup. The point of the movie seems to be about the power of rock stars, but portraying the messiah as a victim of his own popularity and ideas seems to conflict with the passive, ego-maniacal, self-indulgent rock-star that he actually is.
Mock Up on MuCult director of found-footage, sci-fi conspiracy films, Craig Baldwin, presents another one of his unique creations here, except this time, the subject matter is occultist celebrities like Ron Hubbard, Marjorie Cameron, Jack Parsons and Aleister Crowley, their real-life relationships and views on life are warped into another one of his sci-fi re-imaginings of history through wacko-conspiracy goggles. Combine this with decades of creating movies like this with a style all his own, and you have one demented, hard-to-follow, harder-to-describe, nonsensical movie. The plot involves Hubbard's Mu moon colony powered by 'Mu poo pile' nuclear waste, and his 60s spy-style machinations to create a shuttle from Las Vegas and manipulate brain proteins with the help of said occultists (who have their own big plans involving new technologies and moonchildren), Lockheed Martin, and Crowley (who lives under A-bomb testing grounds). There is a lot more, but like I said, this is nonsensical mumbo-jumbo told via a barrage of home-made footage, voice-overs & narrative, and several tons of found (AKA stolen) footage from many old movies, documentaries and soundtracks. You may enjoy this if you are one of those people that find thematic mix-tapes entertaining, but I was extremely bored by all the nonsense.
Mondo WeirdoNo, not a Mondo movie but a German low-budget stab at Richard Kern and transgressive surreal pornographic cinema. Backed by a pounding soundtrack, we dive into the mind of a shocked virgin girl who sees lesbians going at it at a rock concert. Everything she sees afterwards brings on sexual and bloody, violent, perverse fantasies and images.
Monkeys in the AtticHere's how I imagine this experiment came together: The director collected four avant-garde theatre actors that tend to chew the scenery, gave them some drugs, gave each of them a basic character but no plot, locked them in a house for a few days, and told them to improvise anything they wanted as long as it was surprising and had emotional content. There's an angry, neglected, probably cuckolded husband, a depressed wife, a wacky, horny artist who likes to role-play, and a completely insane but needy actress/dancer. But it's really just about acting out random scenes of mental instability and extreme emotion, including one scene in a clown outfit, a whimsical rape, and random scenes from theatre. Throw into a mix a straight pizza-delivery-dude who is abused, sexually exploited and toyed with by all four characters, and you have...well I don't what you have but it wasn't enjoyable.
MonoblocThere is no attempt to explain this strange world, which is occupied by about 5 women and a couple of faceless men. One girl walks around in a red bathing suit all day with a special shoe to compensate for one shorter leg and works as a prostitute for a few gold coins (that aren't what they appear to be). Her mom is depressed after she got fired from her job as Minnie Mouse at a fairground, and she regularly receives a strange medicinal procedure involving her blood going through a machine in a big white room. Then there's a big 'Godmother' who tries to mother them both, and who likes to play in a makeshift small pool even though water is scarce. Emotions flare, but the plot or the characters don't really develop after that. An empty oddity.
Mosquito the RapistAn old shocker about an insane deaf-mute who was abused as a child and has an unhealthy obsession over dolls and violence. He has a crush on a local pretty girl who dances all day and has trouble with mean co-workers at the office. When he discovers the joy in mutilating and toying with corpses, there's no turning back, and soon he is darting into funeral homes to cut up the dead dolls, pull out eyeballs, and suck blood through a straw, thinking himself untouchable. The symbolism is crude however and I found nothing of interest here.
MotherObscure movie by Michael DiPaolo. The banality of a necrophiliac and serial killer in a grimy, oppressive, B&W film shot almost entirely without dialogue. The intro rushes through his birth and upbringing displaying only the highlights of sicknesses and deaths in the family, as well as a constant presence of Mother. Then there's a sudden interest in anatomy for no particular reason, which leads to a series of randomly depraved activities that start with robbing graves for body parts, and continue through various acts of necrophilia and murder, often involving women that look similar to Mother. It's not a very graphic film, but the atmosphere, thanks mainly to the avant-garde music, maintains an uneasy and off-putting mood. The biggest flaw, however, is that it provides no character insight or interesting narrative, and is therefore boring.
Mother's Meat & Freud's FleshMeandering underground movie in the vein of Warhol that simply observes trashy and campy behaviour. Except that it is so whimsical, pointless, loose and tediously self-indulgent, it seems to last forever. There is a man who acts in 'artsy' gay porn movies, whose mother hounds him every second of the day with endless ramblings, inappropriate near-incestuous games, and suffocating attention. His friend, the psychologist/dentist, has a gay crush on him, but chooses to experiment on him and his psyche instead with things like hypnotising the mother into believing she was born male. But the movie doesn't have a real story and focus, and, instead, gets lost in an endless date that his mother has with some guy, endless ramblings about nothing in particular, and random strange scenes including a new movie that he finds himself in involving 'artistic' disemboweling and castration. The end.
My Lovely Burnt Brother and His Squashed BrainAfter a silly intro involving a man beating up a Schwarzenegger poster and the producer telling us that this film sucks, we get a short tale about a dentist assistant and her burnt brother who is insane from pain and wears a KKK outfit after he was hit by a black car. She gets harassed by sleazy patients and a door-to-door saleswoman but she soon discovers that by injecting her insane brother with her urine, she can command him to do whatever she wants. So she makes him eat his own vomit and then kill her enemies in gory ways, including slicing up a face in a meat slicer. Purposely goofy and bad in ways that almost goes beyond terrible into the realm of the cult. Almost.
My Son, My Son, What Have Ye DoneA collaboration between Herzog and Lynch shouldn't work, and it doesn't. Herzog films down-to-earth eccentricities and oddities that sometimes feel like they were captured on camera by mistake, whereas Lynch invents worlds and explores mysteries through dream-logic. Herzog previously went off the deep end with Even Dwarves Started Small, but that was a surreal metaphor, and this is just a nonsensical film about a nut who goes crazy and kills his mother, except that everyone around him seems to be insane as well. The movie is basically a series of flashbacks involving Michael Shannon doing or saying nonsensical things, while the police surround his house after he killed his mother. His uncle (Dourif) is a farmer of spectacle-stealing ostriches, who tells tales of huge chickens. There are two pet pelicans, a theatrical Greek play directed by Udo Kier involving matricide, Sevigny is his passive and dumb girlfriend, and a box of oatmeal is god. There is no point, and no Lynchian mystery, since its obvious from the start that he's insane and never says anything remotely interesting.
Nature of Nicholas, TheCanadian weirdness that is like Zulawski's Possession by way of David Lynch, except it's not as intriguing, provocative or surprising. This is obvious, heavy-handed symbolism telling the tale of a gay young boy with a secret attraction to his male friend. He resents his friend's attraction to girls and when, one day, he kisses him, his friend splits into two identities, one of which is a sensitive, dying zombie-boy that he cares for and hides. His dead father always hovers disapprovingly, turning various people into puppets (using scissors) in order to manipulate and disapprove of the boy's secret behaviour. Unrewarding and obvious surrealism.
Necrophile PassionA German film obviously inspired by Nekromantik, except that the focus is on the trashy and extreme sex and a superficial, hastily put-together back-story. There's a guy with mother issues who finds a dead body in the woods, and a cold girlfriend with a fetish for putrefactive corpses and boyfriends that play dead. As if that weren't enough, and instead of developing any of these, the movie keeps throwing more shock content at the audience in the hope that something sticks: Self-mutilation, undead corpses, schizophrenic voices, and pretentious inner monologues that all add up to nothing except a desperate, contrived attempt to portray a very disturbed man. In the end, the twisted and rotten 'sex' scenes get the much longer running times, making this merely a very unappetizing porn movie with failed pretensions.
Never Belongs to MeMore insanity from the Korean maker of Killing Machine. The nonsensical plot and random scenes mostly revolve around a man who angers some criminals because of two eggs in a noodle pot, they smash his fingers and he goes looking for revenge by changing his penis into a gadget that shoots bullets when he ejaculates. He soon finds that ballerinas are the equivalent of instant orgasms, that the penis is not all its cracked up to be, and becomes a perverse serial killer. Other elements include a lustful mom, a histrionic brother who is half lion and gives carcasses as gifts, a cyber prostitute, splatter, sex, a gimp suit, some bizarre fighting scenes with weird powers, and other random nonsense.
No Mercy No FutureA portrayal of a schizophrenics life and mind based on a schizophrenics writings. Although it claims to be from inside her mind, this offers no insight or in-depth exploration, and is content merely with a series of events, hallucinations and encounters that are as disconnected as she is. Veronika tries various forms of suicide, wanders in and out of the psychiatric hospital and her parents' house, but mostly just wanders the world looking for Jesus in every straggler and sad, forsaken male of society, getting nothing but exploitation and sex in return. One nasty scene involves pressured sex soon after an abortion. The beginning and end of the movie wanders into hallucinations of things like strange painted men in the subway, and gardening with dismembered hands. Bleak, gritty and raw, but pointless and unrewarding.
No Rest for the BraveAlain Guiraudie has a knack for creating stories and fantasy worlds out of mere dialogue, a simple location (usually outdoors), the mundane and the quirky. After some light half-length experiments, his first full-length movie is a free-form movie about a superficial teenage slacker who is afraid to sleep in case it's his last, and who spends the entire movie running through a confusing barrage of locations, identities and some absurd adventures. A whole village is killed, he falls for an old man, he rides an airplane to a bar in the middle of a field without taking off, a big wave takes his friend away, he is hunted by various eccentrics and thugs, people seem to die, but then they don't, etc. But there's no depth of character, ideas or story, only annoying whimsies, endless banal dialogue, and faux-creativity. Pointless.
NowhereSo what if Beverly Hills 90210 featured a kaleidoscope of bisexual, sex-starved, extremely neurotic, nihilistic, foul-mouthed, angst-ridden teens with various personality disorders? And to top it all off some of them run around killing and raping or getting abducted by aliens? You get this movie of course, a pointless, repulsive but stylish piece of garbage with non stop depraved sex, violence, teen-chatter and drug-induced weirdness. Just a bunch of pretty teens pretending to be angry, violent and cool.
On the Old Roman RoadFrustratingly disjointed and self-indulgent art-house movie that wears its influences on its sleeve. Based on an auto-biographical book by an Armenian writer and poet called Totovents who was yet another victim of Stalinism, this movies tries to weave together history, a series of political murders and antagonisms between Turks and Armenians, folk-oriented surrealism, poetry, sexual encounters and personal musings. There are terrorists, political murders, an agent in Rotterdam hunting them down, a kidnapped boy, ritualistic killings and grave-abuse back in Armenia, and several oneiric scenes in the desert. In between these disjointed scenes, a mumbling and difficult-to-understand narrator inserts random snippets of personal memoirs, historical facts and poetry, while we try to piece together any kind of story from the snippets and surreal vignettes. The first half sometimes feels inspired by Parajanov, but these surreal moments are few and far between, and the last part unwinds into endless dull scenes of driving through Rotterdam inspired by Tarkovsky, except that instead of having something to think about, we only have confusion. Watching this is the equivalent of spending hours trying to piece together pieces of a puzzle, only to find out they make up only very small parts of several puzzles.
OrgIt doesn't get much more experimental and annoying than this. There's a narrative in here somewhere about a white man called Zohommm!!!, a black man called Grrr???, a woman called Shuick..., and their love triangle. There's seduction, friendly plotting, then suspicion and suicide (by self-decapitation), then they somehow get their heads put back in place but on the wrong bodies with the help of some electronic being, and the love triangle continues with even more confusion. But the narrative is deliberately deconstructed and consciously sabotaged over and over until it becomes incomprehensible. The goal seems to be some kind of Dadaism of cinema, without the politics and philosophy. In addition, whim reigns supreme like a kind of stream-of-consciousness mix-tape put together over the course of 10 years, the director splicing together bits and pieces of random scenes, weird images, cartoons, documentary footage of film-makers and revolutions, mystical symbolism, and other odds and ends, then re-cut up again in an attempt to achieve ultimate confusion, surprise and lack of cohesion. The images rarely add new dimensions to the images, but mostly just attack in a barrage. This isn't the manifesto it wants to be, it's cinematic masturbation. This would go well with Venom and Eternity.
Out (AKA Deadly Drifter)'Avant-garde', absurd movie about... nothing in particular. A man wanders from scene to scene in different roles and with different people who say things that only a deeply drugged person would find meaningful while they act out absurdities. He is a secret agent with many sticks of dynamite, he keeps encountering a girl in different roles but he always seems to want to ball her, he joins a revolutionary gang that get their mission instructions by forming words made of alphabet soup (and then eat it to understand the message), he blackmails the girl into sex by acting a cop, he marries the girl because a stick of dynamite didn't blow up his head, there's a cryptic but good-natured Native American that teaches him the joys of esoteric mumbo-jumbo, peyote, the story of Jonah and the whale, and more non-sequiturs, he develops a sixth sense and has the ability to win jackpots every time, and so on. If the movie has a point, I have no clue what it is, and neither, I suspect, does the film-maker. Perhaps someone took LSD, scribbled some thoughts while under the influence, then collected all the scribblings and made a screenplay out of it.
PandemoniumAustralian oddity by actors that look like something between 80s punks and village people, attempting to make a camp cult movie a la Rocky Horror Picture Show. The story revolves around a mysterious Dingo woman (a playmate) who spends most of the movie dressing and undressing while most of the cast try to bed her for different reasons. There are the parents who tried to kill her as a baby, a punk-master of the occult who thinks she's the center of a spiritual event, a short blonde Hitler-clone with a Pinocchio nose, lesbian Nazis who want to inseminate her for the Third Reich, horny Dingo incestuous pagans, a Tarzan, a mad scientist, and other assorted strange characters and plot-lines involving the Christian Trinity, sacrifices, actors, and spiritual powers. Tries too hard to be off-the-wall and funny.
Partner.Bertolucci's most experimental feature by far, modelled after Godard. It's a freewheeling piece about everything and nothing that lacks coherency. The movie consists of an insane young man and his antics with his doppelgänger, aided by Bertolucci's rich visual sense. Themes such as our alter egos and their capabilities that extend beyond our own, ideas that take on a life of their own, masochism and suffering caused by our own hands, theatre and film used to manifest ourselves and our ideas, all linked to politics and revolution, are all touched, but never developed. Instead, the movie is as schizophrenic and random as its protagonist. He kills or abuses on a whim, makes statements about theatre from behind a tower of books, fights with his own huge shadow, turns his landlord into a slave, who drives him to a date by rolling the car downhill because he can't drive, then makes driving sounds while the wacko verbally abuses his masochistic date and gets her to smell his armpits. He teaches unorthodox acting as well as how to make a molotov cocktail to a class, sets up a guillotine for his double, while a girl makes speeches about the destructive qualities of commercial detergents and frolics in soap suds. Empty and unrewarding. Someone should have told Bertolucci that the French New Wave was about being an auteur, not about making glossy photocopies.
Phantom LoveNina Menkes's movies are usually insufferably dull and pretentious endurance tests with light touches of near-surrealism, but here she improves slightly and also develops more surrealist techniques. It's still a punishingly slow, plotless and humorless exploration of a lifeless, navel-gazing female character though. Lulu is a braindead and disaffected Russian beauty who seems to be as bored by her boyfriend's endlessly mechanical lovemaking as he is of her. She deals cards mechanically at a casino to lifeless people, her mother is an overbearing nightmare, and her sister is a self-mutilating medicated mess. Surrealistically, she steps over snakes on her way home, has floating experiences where she disappears into thin air, or dreams of being swept away by a river and strangled by her mother who is swarming with bees and talks to her mirror. The rest is just some endlessly long scenes where nothing happens and nothing meaningful is conveyed.
PigAn underground, darkly atmospheric B&W short by Nico B. and Rozz Williams containing an act of ritualistic torture and murder combined with incomprehensible imagery. Rozz notoriously killed himself right after this movie was made. A man uses a bizarrely illustrated book called 'Why God Permits Evil' to inflict elaborate sadistic tortures on another man involving a syringe, head bandages, forced blood swallowing, what looks like real cutting and marking his body with the word 'Pig', and so on. Intercut with this is some incomprehensible symbolism and surreal imagery. Followed 14 years later by '1334', another short movie made by Nico B. about the effect of Rozz's suicide on his friends, recreating the suicide, and depicting a ghostly presence, emotional outbursts, tarot cards and after-death symbolism
Planet MansonObscure, absolutely worthless nonsense from Jacques Boyreau (worked with Moritsugu but with none of the fun of his movies). It's a completely random and probably improvised stream-of-consciousness riffing on exploitation movies and a poke at various 'trendoids' that want to make these films. Strictly speaking, it can't be called an actual movie. There's lots of dancing in a club, random braindead people spouting pretentious random twaddle at each other going on and on about nonsense, some of them throwing their ideas about exploitation or sci-fi b-movies. Throw in some random sci-fi weirdness, people in cheap costumes, scenes of an evil producer getting a blowjob by an 'android' called Cupcake, blaxpoitation 'fight scenes' with someone with a huge fake afro, as well cheap sci-fi/fantasy sword fights, and so on. It's like a retarded guy with no ability to hold a single coherent thought for more than 2 seconds took some LSD watched a dozen exploitation movies, and decided to film... whatever came to mind.
P.O.E. Project of EvilPoe must be turning in his grave where he was buried alive. This is a sequel to the slightly better 'P.O.E. Poetry of Eerie', which featured 15 short movies based on Poe's stories and focused on the horror/atmospheric aspect of his stories. This one, however, tries to re-imagine seven stories as modern transgressive/nasty shorts with gratuitous brutality, gore and sex. 'Pit And The Pendulum' is transported into an ineffectual 'THX 1138'-esque sci-fi setting with a weakly imagined threat and no pendulum, 'Alone' is somehow converted into a torture-porn short, 'Loss Of Breath' is set amidst pornographers with a very graphic castration scene for no reason whatsoever, 'Morgue Street' is supposed to be a dark murder-mystery with a surprise murderer, but the mystery is completely ignored and is replaced with a graphic bestial rape and murder scene involving two drug-addict hookers, 'Tell-Tale Heart' about a murderer's guilt is a disjointed sequence of scenes in Thailand with transsexual thrown in (albeit artsy and unusual scenes), 'The System of Dr. Tarr' manages to invoke an insane atmosphere in an asylum and injects it with naked men tarring and feathering each other, masturbating and eating a face, and 'Premature Burial' finds a neat little twist for the buried-alive story. In summary, the last two find something only moderately interesting to do with the stories, but the rest are a waste of time and feature heavy, sometimes indecipherable accents. Those of you looking for Poe adaptations will be disappointed since these are suggested by (not inspired by) Poe's stories, at best.
PoisonArtsy nonsensical movie with three intercut stories whose only common theme seems to be crime & punishment or sex. The three stories are: A documentary about a kid that shoots his father for attacking his cheating wife and then literally flies out the window, a horror movie about a scientist that isolates the sex drive in liquid form then drinks it and becomes a leper, and a prison story of obsessive homosexual lust and abuse. The movie is full of strange events, dark moods, repulsive scenes, and artsy nonsensical quotes and dialog that add up to nothing at all.
Pony TroubleWhat the...? A live-action role-playing (LARP) movie where the players go bad and insane. It's like a group of drugged geeky students with ADD and no budget decided to film a Dungeons & Dragons version of Videodrome/Existenz. Plot threads don't even get a chance to unravel, as the characters just say whatever nonsense is in their head and switch to another 'movie' on a whim. This movie starts with a girl beating the crap out of a teddy bear in bondage, then proceeds to some kind of girly TV show about 'pony games' and some of its obsessed girly fans. Except that the boys in the troupe keep undermining the childish games with their hormones, and one Dominatrix seems a little too depraved and evil for their unicorn fairy tale roles. Before you know it, there is some blair-witch prancing in the dark woods, forced cross-dressing and humiliation, then gritty and gory violence involving dismemberment, disemboweling and head-crushing, then some kind of robot gang war with cyborgs and terminators. Don't ask how it all fits together because it doesn't. Excruciatingly bad - one of those movies that makes you feel that you lost IQ points.
Pop SkullExperimental movie about a pill-popping depressed young dude, his friend and friend's girlfriend, and his pining for his ex-girlfriend. His mind breaks down from the pills, endless longing and an empty life of inactivity, and starts hallucinating ghosts, violence, trips and interchangeable people. The hallucinations and sounds are guaranteed to give anyone with even slight tendencies of epilepsy a fit, and they are quite effective in reproducing the disorienting effects of a head trip, it's just a pity that they are used to depict such a boring, empty mind. It's like the whole movie is only there to share the experiences of a depressed, self-indulgent, empty-headed, whiny emo-boy. It's also very clear what is real and what isn't, and there is no mystery or plot, besides the deterioration of his mind into violence.
Population: 1A curiosity led by the colorful Tomata Du Plenty who splices together a hodge-podge of strange performances, musical-videos, beatnik-like poetry and monologues, video-art and various footage while telling the history and future of America as it revolves around him meeting Sheela. Old footage is mixed with 80s-punk renditions of old songs, Tomata performs in his bunker while various bathroom appliances fly in the air and work on him, then he tells of an apocalyptic future of which he is supposedly the only survivor, during which doctors performed experiments on people until they mutated and girls got breasts for eyes. Odd but mostly uninteresting.
Prayer for Hetman Mazepa, AYuri Ilyenko continues his cinematic style of fragmented snippets of a story presented poetically, only this time, he emphasizes obtuse and pretentious theatrics. This is based on the history of Hetman Mazepa, a controversial 18th century figure who was involved in the independence and joining of Ukraine, and the great war with Russia and Sweden, although many see him as a traitor. But the events are dramatized in fragmented scenes involving artificial sets, theatrical props in natural settings, colored strips over the film that make it look like a dreamy painting, melodramatic acting, symbolism, and some bizarre behaviour, especially in the surreal ending that reminded me of a Ken Russell film. Symbolism includes fake heads and straw men being executed, a collection of decapitated heads of previous failed rulers, naked abused women as a symbol of the country, a box placed over the ruler's head as the next head magically appears, etc. Not only incomprehensible, but also leaves one clueless as to what the goal was, even if you manage to piece together the actual history and fill the huge narrative gaps on your own. An art-house flop, if such a thing exists, and the definition of theatrics, to the detriment of everything else.
Puss BucketRetarded and insane musical filmed in grainy black & white with voice-over dubbing. Two hillbilly religious retards that constantly watch a demented and foul-mouthed preacher on the television are visited by aliens that pose as the Virgin Mary in order to get what they want from the humans. They are sent on a mission to kill demons in human form and collect puss from their heads and collect it in a bucket. In the meantime, a scientist, who expresses his love to his wife via descriptive biological functions, is on the trail of the aliens, followed by the evil military. But you won't see much brain-draining unless your brain counts while you're watching this. Instead we follow the retards and the scientist on various random, chaotic and boring outings. The extremely silly voice-overs with many cartoonish voices and accents basically MST3K their own movie, there is a lot of random heavy music that drowns out the voice-overs, and they sometimes dress up in outrageous random drag outfits and break out into horrible song, like some stoned rednecks attempting to duplicate the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Some highlights include a scene where one retard painfully brushes the knotted hair of the other retard while they spout random nonsense, they visit a bar full of freaks and a gay KKK man, followed by an insane and depraved orgy where they carve out a nipple in graphic but very low-budget gore. In short, this is a headache-inducing, terrible, terrible movie from all points of view, and it is a torture to watch.
Race War: The RemakeBlaxploitation strictly from the Chris Seaver school of film-making. In other words, moronic toilet and gross-out humor from the mind of a man-child whose testicles did all the growing after the age of five, featuring actors in random masks and wigs. Two black drug-dealers and an alien with the head of a fish, come up against a plot not only to take over their turf, but also to create zombie slaves thanks to a bad drug. Will they show those alien crackers who's boss, and hold back on killing everyone long enough to extract information from them? Features much more home-made splatter than a typical Seaver movie with a dozen fake heads crushed and torn apart, a moose-puppet as a devious Arab store-keeper, various people in silly stereotypical Jew, Chinese and Mexican costumes, a drug addict whose vocal cords seem to have been replaced with an auto-tune box, more random vomit, feces, sperm and other body fluids that you can shake a prosthetic penis at, and many cartoon sound-effects. It's a wonder how they could invest all this wackiness into a movie without coming up with anything witty.
Rebellion of Red Maria, TheI wasn't aware that they were letting insane asylum inmates direct films nowadays (and then interpreting the film as a political statement). A young man acting like a retarded spastic ferret that constantly spits, grunts and plays with himself, is befriended by a seriously ugly and old transvestite that likes to dance, perform and talk nonsense. After saving the boy from an attack by two punks, they lust after each other, dance to unappreciative audiences and preach about some kind of rebellion that died, and about right-wing souls, God, confused metaphors about feeding frogs and the merging of planets. The bizarre interaction and behaviour between them would make a lunatic scratch his head and lock himself up in a padded room. Along the way they get caught up in violence and brutally murder two people for no particular reason. Anyone that tries to derive political and social meaning from this ugly movie is merely doing what the masturbating ferret did on the bathroom seat.
Red CockroachesVastly overrated award-winning micro-cinema dares to make a sci-fi film for 00. A repulsive man meets a repulsive girl (both inside and out), alternatively fight and get the hots for each other, then find out they are long lost siblings. This is pointlessly set against a sci-fi backdrop of a futuristic New York occupied by acid rain, genetic engineering, strange cockroaches, and flying vehicles. It also starts off with a darkly bizarre Lynchian atmosphere, including things like a mysterious human tooth, a genetically engineered bug, dark lust, and walking on eggs in the park, but this soon peters out and along with the sci-fi, disappears in favor of an ugly drama involving incest. Bad accents are used and then discarded, and the acting is weak. Supposedly part of a trilogy, and this may develop into something interesting in the future, but as a stand-alone it's a horrible mess.
Revenge of Billy the KidIf Bad Taste consisted of mostly fart humor, this would be the result. An ugly, foul, trashy family with a farm live their lives with filthy habits full of farts, burps, other bodily functions, horrible living conditions and idiotic humor. To get more milk out of the goat, the farmer has sex with it and the result is a half-man half-goat monster which grows to become an angry monster that wreaks its gory revenge on the family.
Robber GirlsSwiss-German trash-camp-exploitation in the vein of John Waters. This supposedly takes place in the Middle-Ages with bandits, corrupt nobility, slaves, and forced marriages, but much of the costumes are modern, the gadgets like TVs, cars, sunglasses and so on appear and disappear on a whim, and the attitudes are all modern. The nobility are fat perverse naked childish trash, the woman are trailer-trash feminists, and the world is full of gay bandits, dominatrices and whores. In short, it's just a bunch of ugly trashy porn-rejects role-playing in campy 'period' roles. Teeth are used for circumcisions, girl-bandits gang-rape pacifist men, penises are stomped on, the noble prince sucks on pacifiers, and whorehouses host orgies that turn violent.
Rocky Horror Picture ShowThe ultimate cult movie made popular by the village people and a worldwide horde of cross-dressers. A repulsive campy horror spoof about a couple stranded and caught in the clutches of a transvestite from the planet Transsexual accompanied by a circus of mad, colorful characters and a Frankenstein monster with golden underwear. A mad night follows complete with immensely popular musical numbers, kinky sexual adventures and lots of cross dressing. Dumb lunacy for the rest of us who are comfortable with our daily apparel.
Rohtenburg (AKA Grimm Love)It's telling something about society when a lonely, disturbed faggot eats another disturbed faggot, and people makes four movies about it, a documentary and a few songs, and no one has anything interesting to say about it. This movie tells the real story of Armin Meiwes who advertised on the internet for a man to eat, and how both of them actually went through with it, as researched by a boring fictitious girl who is fascinated by the story for unknown reasons. As opposed to Dora's Cannibal, this is not a disturbing graphic gorefest, but only a disturbing and very uninteresting movie about two boring sickos, without any insights or thoughts to share.
Runaway NightmareIn some ways, this is like a surreal, mentally-challenged, pot-smoking version of Fellini's City of Women with a pocket-change budget and a dozen willing women. The movie is so inept, it makes one wonder whether the surrealism was even intended. Two worm farmers are kidnapped by a cult of desert feminists and become entangled in a nonsensical plot involving the mob, and a suitcase of platinum that gets confused with plutonium. They are repetitively threatened by an angry feminist who hates men, tested with some off-screen undefined tests, adopted, and randomly offered sex by a group of very confusing women with some very confusing rules and rituals, one of who bursts into random short outbursts of giggles, while others shoot spiders with a gun or ride motorcycles through the living room. Scenes are constantly cut short before their payoff, and some of the dialogue and wisecracks seem to be spouted by a randomizer program on pot. The movie then takes its thriller plot seriously for the ending, which features such low-budget action scenes, that most of them are not even shown.
SaloNazi-controlled Italy rounds up some youths and takes them to a castle for extreme sexual and sadistic experimentation and entertainment. Probably the most extreme and sickening movie ever made. Based on De Sade's writings, this one features unwatchable explicit scenes of true nihilism and depravity that start with bisexual sodomy and go on to humiliation, nauseating coprophilia, torture and snuff. Explores fascism, themes of sex, body and politics, and De Sade's sadistic philosophies, but despite these artistic aspirations, the focus is firmly on Sadean depravity with Sadean philosophy, which, like his books, is more interested in indulging in sadism and graphic shock tactics rather than making coherent statements. You can practically smell this one through the screen.
Salome & The ForbiddenTwo shorts by Clive Barker in his early years. Both are in grainy black and white with no dialog, and make use of various tricks such as dark sound effects, negative exposure, grain and extreme lighting to achieve a dark dream-like effect (this predates Begotten). The interpretation of Salome is too fast and obscurely hops from one dark scene to another, lingering only on the 'erotic' and death scenes. The Forbidden is a precursor to Hellraiser, featuring a man who discovers a puzzle that opens various worlds of pleasure and pain. The climax is a sickening, endless 10-minute long scene where a man's body is skinned slowly in layers. This is true underground cinema but there isn't much of interest here.
Scars of YouthTerrible, snail-paced, pretentious, post-apocalyptic sci-fi. In the first ten minutes we learn that there is a scarring disease, that people don't age, and that there are pockets of isolated survivors and powers-that-be that try to control and fence-off the rest of them. For the next 70 minutes, we learn nothing new except that the moody protagonist has a very warped Freudian relationship with his non-aging diseased mother which involves lust and murder. The rest of the time is filled with slow scenes of nature, dreams, uninteresting conversations with a terrible actor, memories of his mother and father, pretentious poetry and pseudo-philosophy, and scenes about nothing in particular. In other words, this is a very dreary mood-piece with pretensions of Tarkovsky but is so full of itself it doesn't realize how empty it is.
Season In Hell: Evil Farmhouse TortureI suppose one way to try to make a zero-grade terrible backwoods-horror movie more interesting is to convert it into a psychedelic experience and a 'homage' to 70s movies. The plot is simple: Two travellers stop at a remote farmhouse occupied by a weird redneck with a horribly fake accent, and find that the house is a gateway to hell and that the basement contains a psycho killer, a demon, and a harem of crazy women who can't decide whether they are victims, murderers, or lusty devil-worshippers, or all three. The acting is atrocious, but you aren't going to see much of it, seeing as the director decided to throw everything and the kitchen sink at the movie: Color filters, speed changes, random psychedelic effects, kaleidoscopic colors, sound distortion, a barrage of noise, industrial sounds, synth ambients, and jamming garage-rock. Whether this makes a horrible movie worse or great, I suppose, depends on whether you are on drugs while watching it. It works for about five minutes while your brain recoils from the disjointed punishment of sound and images, and experiences it like some kind of nightmare, but then it starts to revolt and stare at the paint drying on your wall instead since nothing interesting is happening.
Serbian Film, AAnd here I thought the Japanese had the market cornered in extreme perversion. This movie is a catalogue of the most extreme, sick and twisted sexual perversions not known to man, all of them given an extra boost into darkness, and all backed by some great effects and acting to make this movie not only vile, but disturbing. An aging porn-star is drafted by a mysterious porn-producer who thinks porn can be extreme art and a statement on life. The ex-star soon finds himself in over his head and unable to quit as the producer and his henchmen devise one sick scene after another. Of course, some braindead people will interpret this movie as an artistic statement on the atrocities in Serbia just because it features atrocities, brutal control and power-games, and it comes from Serbia, but it really has nothing to express except its own depravity. I'll provide some short descriptions of scenes, and it's safe to say that you should assume the worst: A penis used as a killing weapon, gory death during sex, surprise incestuous sodomy, pedophilia, extreme S&M and humiliation, 'newborn porn', and more. This is one of those movies almost all sane people will wish they hadn't seen. I realize this will be seen as a recommendation to some, but I mean it.
Serpent's Tale, TheTurkish art-house sounds like a contradiction to some, but this movie is a bizarre horror movie weaving poetic non-linear threads and strange other-worldly logic with near-Lynchian moments. It's difficult to piece together the elements and story from this confusing movie, and I am pretty sure most of it comes from bad movie-making and storytelling rather than from the deliberately circular and poetic structure. There is an 800 year old Byzantine child-vampire-princess, some secret scrolls promising ultimate power of knowledge but killing everyone that even translates two words in it, a confusing conspiracy involving a woman and her son who may or may not be dead or a vampire, a cult that is after the scrolls, and competing vampiric emissaries. Crumbling historical buildings, old languages and strange night-life also add to the atmosphere, complete with Lynchian sound effects, but in the end, not much of the confusion is lifted.
Sexual Parasite: Killer PussyWell what can you expect with a name like that? Japanese campy gore-horror-sleaze about a dumb group of back-packers in the woods that encounter a parasite that lives in... female genitalia. The infected then seduce and tear apart their victims. This is similar to Cronenberg's Shivers but with campy gore and exploitative sex and nudity. Theoretically this would deliver to fans of the genre but the nudity isn't a pretty sight and the whole affair is silly and too low-budget.
Shakespeare's Plan 12 from Outer SpaceOne of the most obnoxiously and tortuously self-indulgent movies ever made. It's Shakespeare's 'Twelfth Night', as imagined by a bunch of childish trailer-trash people with pretensions of art, unlimited access to a complete theatre wardrobe, and a very extreme affliction of ADD. The Bard's play is butchered every other second in new ways in the name of being different and 'creative'. Some scenes are filmed as a trashy sitcom, others as a really stiff artsy theatrical play with synth music, others as a bargain basement sci-fi b-movie. The cinematography switches from scratchy B&W to bawdy colors, VHS, psychedelic colors, always with an even more schizophrenic editing job that adds color filters, super-impositions, random effects and other multimedia in completely random ways every other second. This is definitely no Greenaway editing job. Naked girls in strange masks appear often to distract you from the horror that is on the screen. The costumes and sets are just as random, and people appear in whatever costume the film-maker happened to brush against that day. For many of the characters, every word is acted out or re-interpreted in the most childishly bawdy or trashy way as if John Waters had taken over for the day, for other characters, this production is pretentious melodramatic high-art. Some chew the stomach-churning cheap scenery, others act as stiff as a board, and the rest can't act. One thing is for sure, you won't get the story from this movie if you don't know it ahead of time. Beyond terrible.
Shaye & KikiA collection of about 50 mind-warpingly useless web-shorts on DVD, each ranging in length from 1 to 4 minutes, from a mentally deficient and damaged, transsexual camera-whore. Shaye Saint John in a mask and mannequin body parts, and his half burnt doll Kiki, prance and babble on in front of the camera in a very annoying high-pitched distorted voice. Each short covers some banal or bizarre topic, repeating the same lines and images ad nauseam in a frenzy of editing techniques, warped cinematography, psychedelic colors and sounds. Feeding the cat is one such fascinating topic, others include getting a new dress or putting on makeup, pretending to be a phone operator or acting out some other role, or bizarre things like 'wire therapy' and the 'horrifying' telekinetic powers of Kiki (soda bottles floating on a string). In summary, this is like some self-obsessed retarded Jack Smith/Warhol flick on acid, or something comparable to Dandy Dust without the sci-fi and gore. A waste of molecules.
Shirley Pimple in the John Wayne Temple of DoomOne of those insane underground movies that is more a chaotic splicing of scenes with a backdrop narrative rather than a real movie. As such, it reminded me of Dandy Dust/Flaming Ears, except that, instead of the obsession with sex and genitals, this one seems to be obsessed with Shirley Temple, establishmentarianism and John Wayne. In this movie, 'Shirley Pimple' is a celebrity brat used by the industry and 'The John Wayne Institute for the Preservation of American Ideals', to perform, push products, conservative ideas and weapons. But when she reaches puberty, she becomes foul-mouthed and kills people at random, and even hooking her on heroin doesn't help, so she joins 'The Psychotic Weaklings', a group of sado-maso child-molesters, to fight John Wayne. The first part of the movie is like a mockumentary full of random odd performances by a Shirley-look-alike, then it goes berserk, and the last half is one long chaotic battle with random splatter and changing of scenery, where you never have any idea what is going on. Indescribable props include some kind of vehicle made from a lamp-post, a shoe that shoots every projectile known to man, insane costumes that seem to have been put together from everything found at a theatre trash bin, and a miniature doll that breathes and spurts blood. The endlessly weird scenes include an old man injecting himself with Shirley's blood while his skin falls to tatters, military training of children, a masochistic Pimplette that wants her to kill him, John Wayne as a walking dessicated corpse on a tricycle, random babies walking on the sets even during battle, experiments on Shirley in a bubble, and lots more. Despite the dense visuals and wild description, this is a very tedious watch thanks to the complete lack of cohesion, development and point.
Sick-O-PathicsAn underground Italian tribute to Fulci and D'Amato consisting of an anthology of short and disgusting comedy-splatter vignettes. A monster carnivorous purse, a mutant, slimy blow-up doll from hell, a cannibalistic virus, a transvestite doctor and a coprophagic psychotic all strut their stuff in this extremely silly and ploddingly repulsive hodge-podge.
Sinful Dwarf, TheUnrealistic, sleazy piece of trash about a dwarf and his mother who kidnap women by enticing them with toys, lock them up, then inject them with drugs and make money off them as unwilling whores. A poor, married couple move into the same building and cross paths with this nasty duo with dire consequences.
SitcomFrançois Ozon frequently injects depravity and violence into his movie characters (especially women) for no good reason, so it comes as no surprise to me to find that he directed this absurd farce that blames a white rat for the deterioration and reinvention of a conventional and happy 'sitcom' family. A father brings home a lab rat who immediately starts to transform the family members. One child becomes a gay artist, the other a suicidal sadomasochist. Orgies take place, incest, kinky dreams and near-surreal sexual shenanigans that include the maid and various guests. The father is the only person who remains unaffected, in discord with the family that finds happiness in kink and group therapy, so of course, the ending is only to be expected. Except it has a bizarre twist. Does Ozon really think his movies are sexually subversive? Empty, stupid and pointless.
Sixteen TonguesIt's the future. An insane brutal cop with 16 tongues grafted onto his body after a near-fatal accident stays in a hotel where you have to pay to switch off the porn, and interrogates suspects by forcing them to perform fellatio. A lesbian duo of internet hacker and criminal robot killer cross paths with this man and the sparks fly. The ideas are ludicrous and don't make sense, the nudity is not sexy, and the pace and cinematography is slow and amateurish.
Small White HouseYeah...I'm not falling for this one. The alleged artistic backdrop is that this is some kind of essay on the triangle of JFK, Jackie Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe, but I think it's just a practical joke to see if the audience injects meaning into this random montage of scenes, dialogue and sexual fetishes. There's random non-sequitur dialogue, like when John rants about some guy who doesn't hold his penis while urinating then says "I didn't come here to shed light on you, but to take my refrigerator". There are random injections of Greek mythological names in intertitles, such as Plato and Orpheus as transparent and useless attempts to give the movie depth of meaning. A re-enactment of the cavalcade shooting is spliced randomly throughout the movie, and, in one scene, there is the sound of a space shuttle taking off. There are endless meaningless interactions and scenes, most of them revolving around various sexual kinks and fetishes, with a particular obsession over urination in pornographic scenes. What exactly are we supposed to understand from scenes like the viewing of genitalia through a goldfish bowl, all three of them getting married in front of a mannequin with pencils in its mouth acting as a priest, or when she offers to help him with constipation while some guy pours milk over both of them? Or how about when one of the characters bicycles topless and has an accident, JFK rubs mud all over her, lights a match next to her nipple, then shakes a Snow Globe over her face? Like I said, it's a stupid practical joke. A very long and boring one.
Someone's Knocking at the DoorChad Ferrin continues to make muscular and edgy trash. His movies feel like old-school grindhouse in the way they balance shock, camp, depravity and entertainment, except they're without that trendy and artificial retro-look. This one is more like his first Unspeakable in terms of shock value, but with more sophisticated cinematography. Some students discover an experimental drug used disastrously in the past and which resulted in mysterious sexual violence. Drugs and hallucinations mix with guaranteed-to-offend rape scenes involving monster genitalia always used fatally and on the same sex. Ferrin uses sound, editing and cinematography tricks to disorient while the movie keeps you on your toes with both unbelievably tasteless violence and confusing reality-twists and hallucinations. If all you are expecting is unique and shocking trash, then I suppose this delivers, but it never does anything but wallow in the gutter. His previous film Easter Bunny, Kill! Kill! was similarly trashy but less extreme. Surprisingly, it's his least mentioned film, The Ghouls, that I liked.
Soul Odyssey, TheMostly baffling and impenetrable Japanese art movie by the art director that worked with Shuji Terayama. The best explanation I could come up with is that a young man is on an inner journey as he searches for meaning in love, eroticism and marriage. He boards a train, and all the clocks are mirrored from then on, as if looking at them from the inside. He travels to a homey village, meets a potential fiancée, then a more sensuous and mysterious stripper. Some enigmatic statements are made, there's a naked child that keeps appearing, lengthy stripper shows are shown, one maturely sensuous, the other more energetic, crude and young. There's a bizarre impromptu game with masks and a dwarf that's not quite Kabuki, some interaction with elders, odd encounters with a woman selling cigarettes, and other random artsy, often visually rich symbols and incoherent artsiness. There is some homage paid to Terayama, but I couldn't get much out of this one. Perhaps I am missing something because I am not Japanese.
Splatter FarmIf John Waters were a retarded 15 year old, this may have been the movie he would make. The budget almost makes Schiff's movies look like blockbusters. Twin brothers visit their necrophiliac grandmother who drugs and molests them, while her homosexual farm-hand chops up passers-by, has sex with their decapitated heads and organs, and rapes one of the twins. This would be vile or disturbing if the movie had even an ounce of talent but if ever you need a benchmark to know how bad movies can get, this is it.
StagefrightJon Jost's most experimental film-essay by far. Allegedly a visual essay on communication, language, roles and theatre and supposedly portrays a woman who is unleashed when she assumes a stage character. But what we actually get is a bunch of actors against a black background improvising various nonsense for almost the complete running time of the movie, involving miming, making faces or uttering gibberish, except for one scene where a woman is harassed by men in various roles talking nonsense, some endless 'magic' tricks, a super-slow-motion scene of a man getting a pie in the face that takes several minutes, and another scene where a man reads from the bible in Hebrew while red liquid is dropped on the Hebrew text. I would guess they were told to express themselves on stage at the most primal level to see what emerges, and the result is embarrassingly annoying and endless. It is movies like these that make me hate the intellectual art-house genre.
Story of the EyeI read the Georges Bataille transgressive story this is based on, found it largely uninteresting smut and overrated, but this movie (which has nothing to do with the story and only shares filth in common), is a total failure on all fronts. It's a disjointed collage of in-your-face imagery, most of it involving ugly pornographic scenes of sex, gay fetish sex, S&M, urination and other fetish scenes, as well as a graphic birth scene, two painted naked dancing girls in huge top hats, 15 minutes of a woman climbing stairs, and ten minutes of a buzzing sound accompanied by black screen. People are debating whether this is just porn or transgressive experimental art. It is pretty obvious that the movie's primary occupation is sex and to get in your face in any way possible, and it has nothing interesting to say or show, thereby classifying itself as porn, except that the in-your-face elements in this movie as well as the filth means that it is not even enjoyable porn. Which doesn't make it art either. It's just... nothing.
Strong MedicineAvant-garde theatrics at their most obscure, pretentious and unrewarding. There is no discernable plot, and it's all about the mood, acting and symbolism. In this case, the mood is anxiety. A woman is subjected to scene after scene of discomfort, tension, awkwardness and confusion. The actual content isn't important, and the nonsensical dialogue usually feels improvised, as long as it evokes the appropriate reaction and mood. She has a birthday party where the guests perform unhappy and tense songs and games, and her husband makes her dance with her stiff doctor. There is a trip on a train that goes nowhere for days and the passengers are all eccentric and unpleasant. A troupe of older women keep appearing yelling 'Jesus Christ, my feet hurt!'. Other nonsensical exchanges involve signing a newspaper, or being forced to dance and sing while climbing up a wall, or images of her performance on stage as a chicken juxtaposed with her wedding. This nightmare builds to a sort of frenzy and depression, but it's all painfully and unwatchably repetitive, since the effect was achieved in the first five minutes and then never develops further, besides throwing around more symbolism that only makes sense to the director.
Subconscious CrueltyAs the director put it, this is an attempt to catch the darkest subconscious side of people with brutal honesty. First, the left-right brain dichotomy is explained, the left side said to be in need of exploration as a woman's womb is cut open and an eyeball pulled out (what this means is beyond me). Then a man ruminates on the ultimate evil against creation (killing a baby as it is born) and concocts a plan to commit said evil on his sister for whom he has incestuous fantasies. He also is both fascinated and scared by her menstrual cycle. After this nasty bloody sequence, some nature worshippers have an orgy with nature which bleeds on them. And finally, the hypocrisy of religious people is portrayed as a masturbator loses himself in twisted guilty fantasies where his penis is shredded and Jesus is cannibalized and urinated on by naked frenzied women. What does all this add up to? Not much. The points are shallow and could have been made without the series of extremely shocking and gross-out images. Jodorowsky at least had fascinating or wild imagery, this is just a collection of shallow gross-outs.
Squalor MotelUnusually bizarre and kitschy pornography sometimes reminiscent of Cafe Flesh with its outlandish, random weird costumes and performances mixed with hardcore sex. A bride checks into a very seedy motel run by a horny madame and her perverted husband, both of whom encourage weirdos to stay and have sex then peek in on them while wearing a pig mask and a tutu. Random bizarre and unsexy scenes include a mad scientist who recharges women's 'batteries' as if they were cars, a Greek chorus gaggle of transsexuals, flying blow-up dolls that turn into real women, and other assorted weirdos that occupy the hotel rooms, some of which take their turn in abusing the bride.
Sweet MovieTwo intercut stories of bizarre repulsive satire that never make sense. One features a virginal beauty queen that goes from a hygiene-obsessed tycoon (capitalism) who urinates on her with a golden penis, through various adventures, ultimately reaching a commune (led by the sicko Vienna Actionists) that regularly participate in a banquet of vomit, feces and urine, and pretend they are babies as part of their retrogression physical philosophy. The other story features a madwoman who lures people onto her boat to discuss obsolete communist politics and to participate in sex, murder and child molestation. Supposedly a political satire thats shows the social abuse of both Capitalism and Communism, but everything is disgustingly explicit and bizarre, and the insights are lacking even after you dig under the filth and childish shock tactics. Feels more like a catalogue of depraved fetishes hung conveniently onto political hooks, rather than a satire.
Swiss Army ManI guess this is what a movie would look like if a 10-year-old decided to make a 'surreal movie'. It purports to be a character-study and voyage of self-discovery by way of an extremely absurd surreal-comedy about a very useful farting corpse. Go head and read that last sentence again. A loser castaway on a deserted island decides to kill himself when he finds a corpse on the beach that turns out to be quite useful and friendly. As the movie progresses, the corpse becomes more animated, in a way, and he develops a 'friendship' with the corpse, as he keeps discovering new useful super-powers that the corpse can do to get him out of his many predicaments. In the role of the corpse is Radcliffe, who seems to be hell bent on distancing himself from Potter with the most extremely different role he can find. For some people this may be enough to make them run to see the movie. But the movie keeps shooting itself in the foot by being more interested in telling its juvenile jokes and playing with its audience than in writing anything coherent or interesting. The character developments are idiotic and completely chaotic and unfocused, and the screenplay wants to have its cake and eat it too by insistently hanging on to its silly jokes and ideas even when it's way past time for the character and plot to develop, all the way to the silly ending. Will merely leave you with the feeling that you were just told a very long joke by an obnoxious kid obsessed with bodily functions whose primary goal is only to get attention.
Tamala 2010: A Punk Cat in SpaceUnusually bizarre Anime with over-the-top cutesy animation and kittens, mixed with adult themes of violence and a chaotic sci-fi setting. On CatEarth, a planet run by a super-corporation Catty and Co., Tamala is a strange, whimsical kitten who goes on a voyage and befriends Michelangelo while being pursued by a hungry police-dog. The rest is an incoherent mess suffering from ADD: There are many short scenes that lead nowhere, characters like a Dark God of Death pop-up then disappear, some of Earth's history is re-invented (brand-names and the Loch Ness monster), a dog has some S&M with a mouse, some typically over-convoluted armageddon anime-mythology is established but nothing is done with it, a cat grows old, develops maggots and starts falling apart for no reason, etc. This would go well with We Are The Strange.
TaxidermiaLust, fire-shooting penis, gory evisceration of a pig, pedophilia, sex with fat lady and with pig remains, speed-eating contests, gorging, vomiting techniques, more fat sex, taxidermia, lots of dead things, gore, extreme fat, death, artistic self-mutilation. Although this barrage of shocking and disgusting scenes is filmed wonderfully, artistically and creatively, and there are claims of all this being some kind of allegory, this doesn't change the fact that this is still merely a collection of gross-outs. The narrative involves three generations of twisted people (sex-maniac with a fetish for fire, speed-eating olympic champion, and taxidermist) but there is no thread that ties things together into some kind of plot.
Ten Nights of DreamTen, wildly varied short dreams from Japan that aren't very dream-like. They range from artsy, confusing meditations about the cycles of time and health, to infantile madness involving a strange man who sculptures religious statues by dancing techno, to the tale of an overly handsome man who is fed human-flesh with spit and attacked by a farting female human who turns into a pig, to dark nightmares about haunting bad pregnancies and the killing of a kid, to a Final-Fantasy-like manga. Mostly pointless or dull weirdness with nice cinematography. Just because you can write down a chaotic dream you had that does not make it interesting. Kurosawa did this much, much better with his Dreams.
TeoremaA somewhat enigmatic and ambiguously symbolic film by Pasolini. A stranger visits an upper class family and proceeds to fulfill each of their psychological needs, all represented by sexual acts. When he leaves, they all fall apart (the mother turns into a desperate slut, the son grasps at art but ends up urinating on his painting, etc), except for the maid who leaves the house and turns into a country saint, levitating and performing miracles. The meaning seems obvious, the stranger representing a seductive religion/god providing something crucial to each of the family members by connecting with them, and the film then portrays how they handle a life without their god, with only the lower-class maid with her simple values emerging strong. But the seduction tactics seem more devilish than god-like and the intellectual insights are shallow.
ThanatomorphoseThink Jörg Buttgereit directs Repulsion. This simple movie takes the concept of inner decay manifesting itself in the flesh in Cronenbergian fashion, and just pads it into a full length movie. A young girl is dead inside, her boyfriend uses her like a piece of meat, and she feels nothing. It starts with bruising and various uncontrollable body fluids, and progresses to decay, rot, worms, and limbs falling apart, slowly, step-by-step, displayed in full graphic horror in between long takes of banal and deadly dull activities at home like washing up. Sex becomes a desperate act of unfeeling flesh, and masturbation becomes a disgusting act of fumbling with rot, and in a grotesque surreal scene, her flesh is literally cut up and given to her male acquaintances. After 50 minutes, you just want to torch the whole movie set with everyone in it in a cleansing furnace, but there are still 40 minutes left of increasing decay as she literally tries to keep her body from falling apart and lashes out at her visitors. So, basically, we have a single concept stretched out into an endlessly gruesome movie without any development or reward, just so that the special effects guys can go nuts with goo, fluids, vomit, rot and worms. A metaphor for the film writer's creativity?
ThanksKilling 3Whereas the first ThanksKilling was just an attempt at making a bad but fun horror movie with one or two splatter scenes, this one is the director taking a few deep puffs from his bong and letting loose with anything-goes puppetry. It feels like a bunch of braindead, foul-mouthed frat-boys with way too much time on their hands making a fantasy puppet movie in the vein of Labyrinth, except that it's like a juvenile version of Charles E. Cullen and is endlessly dull instead of entertaining. There's a quest to find the last copy of ThanksKilling 2 AKA 'the worst movie ever made', a human salesman Uncle Donny and his brother who wear wigs and who invented the PluckMaster 3000, a self-aware turkey cooker. The evil turkey has a kid who is promptly squashed and turned into a spirit of some kind, there's a Wise Turkey, a bisexual worm, a disgustingly foul-mouthed grandmother puppet, Yomi who lost her mind and is trying to find it, a robot called Muff with a vortex-butt, and more. And yet, despite all the unpredictable craziness, the braindead script, endless unfunny dialog and silly voices make this a torturous watch. It wears out its welcome after 5 minutes and then you have 95 more minutes to suffer through.
That Little MonsterBoth goofy and bizarre, this B&W oddity tries too hard to pay homage to cheesy old horror or Twilight Zone episodes as well as to be a cult item a la Eraserhead. The story simply involves a babysitter who has to deal with a monstrous baby, but the focus is on the interesting cinematography and quirky characters and sets. Odd sculptures decorate the house, machines seem like they're from the 50s and the future, and strange scenes involving fluids or odd people in masks are spliced into the movie. It simply doesn't go together though: The unsubtle acting, the cheesy horror, the miles of boring dialog all undo the bizarre atmosphere.
Three Trials, TheA free-form, schizophrenic hodge-podge of sexual fantasy revolving around a submissive woman who may or may not be a nun with narcolepsy. The movie wanders from silly attempts at blasphemous kink, to nunsploitation, laughable domination and humiliation scenes with weak Story of O ambitions, a dreamy lesbian encounter in a castle, a fling with a Yeti a la Borowczyk, to a colorful theater of extreme and ugly kink, masochism and perversions. In between scenes we get random kaleidoscopic montages to make it look artsy, and various cinematography filters and effects are used at random. The acting is bad and unconvincing. In short, a bad movie that isn't as avant-garde, erotic or surreal as it thinks it is up until the last few minutes when it veers into Lynch territory.
Toto Who Lived TwiceCiprì/Maresco's followup to 'Uncle From Brooklyn' is more of the same, except this time it feels more like crude, cheap and silly filth masquerading as provocation rather than satire on a decaying Italian society. It's a triptych of short tales, except that even these short tales basically consist of surreal vignettes of filthy surrealism. There's a poor abused loser living in a city full of degenerates (that gather in the local porn cinema's bathroom for a surreal group-wank), who doesn't even have money to pay for the extremely popular visiting prostitute (a fat man in drag). Until he eyes a locket left on a statue of Jesus belonging to a local mafioso... The second is the dumbest one, telling the tale of a local old homosexual toothless couple and the craving of one of them for the other's ring. The third goes all out in a filthy attack on Christianity and the locals' attitude towards it. A foul-mouthed Jesus appears to raise Lazarus after he has been dissolved in an acid-bath by a local mafioso (who gets everyone to scratch his balls). There's sodomy by a gang of fat men, a defecating angel, and other similarly-crude surreal stabs at humor that fall flat. There's only so much that can be passed as a satire.
Toy Box, TheSwingers get together in a mansion belonging to a strange old 'Uncle' who hosts all-night orgies and asks couples to act-out bizarre sexual fantasies for which he gives them a reward from a toy box. These fantasies include sex with a possessed bed (huh?), a butcher who hangs dead girls corpses like meat then has sex with them, murder during oral sex, etc. But why are corpses and decapitated heads appearing out of nowhere? Why does the uncle lack eyes and seem deceased? What's up with the 50 foot naked woman? Is it all a cruel alien conspiracy? A totally off-the-wall & bizarre softcore porn flick that isn't as interesting as it sounds due to the low budget.
Tristan and IseultHighly experimental and operatic treatment of this tale of royal adultery that seemed to have made its way into many cultures and legends, including Celtics, Persians and the Arthurian legend. The film is basically a series of symbolic tableaux vivants to the sound of a screeching and noisy prog-rock-opera soundtrack. Knights dressed in colorful, 70s, hippy-esque robes and equipped with battle-ready antlers, repetitively fight it out in stagy sword-fights, all representing his violent male world, while Isolde tends to his wounds, cleans the floor and encapsulates sex with masturbation scenes. They love, their worlds clash, he dies often, she mourns, and they repeat the cycle. Scenes become increasingly more surreal and symbolic as battle scenes turns into a slaughterhouse with dead animals' heads, then they wander inside a real slaughterhouse. They appear in churches and fjords, and in another surreal scene, he gobbles a raw fish she was fawning over. I found it too repetitive and noisy to derive any kind of enjoyment from it.
Tropical MaladyThis is the kind of film that gives art-house cinema a bad reputation. An endlessly boring gay love story that delves into symbolic folklore and mysticism to explore desire and love. For the first half, we get a slow Ming-liang Tsai-esque depiction of a soldier who falls for a country boy, with slow scenes that observe their daily mundane lives, until it's time to crawl into a scary metaphysical tunnel with looming dangers. Then suddenly we are transported into the jungle where the soldier and his love, who is now part shaman, part tiger, part ghost, take turns hunting each other, having to deal with various fears, talking monkeys, cow ghosts and jungle dangers before finally accepting personally scary passions. Tedious and pretentious.
TuskI have a feeling that Kevin Smith watched The Human Centipede, found something funny in it and decided to make his own movie inspired by whatever it is that inspired him. Except that this is a misguided failure of epic proportions. It is a comedy about a horrifyingly disturbed thing that someone does to somebody out of his disturbingly demented ideas that emerged from his traumatic survivalist encounter with an animal. If this doesn't sound like a comedy, then you would be right, except the movie plays it for laughs. The people involved have typical Smith-esque amusing conversations and relationships, there are lots of jokes at Canada's expense, and Depp chews the scenery with one of his extremely mannered and completely artificial comic roles as an eccentric French-Canadian detective, which clashes with the other more realistic roles. So you watch this movie and don't know whether to laugh or be horrified, and end up doing neither.
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past LivesApichatpong Weerasethakul's follow-up to Tropical Malady has a similar empty-headed, tedious and unrewarding approach to symbolic magical-realism. Of course, since it deals with Buddhism, past lives, reincarnation as animal spirits, death, and the spiritual world, and it has a meditational (translation: painfully slow) pace, many are praising this movie because, as we know, anything that deals with Buddhism is cool. But the Emperor has no clothes. Uncle Boonmee is dying, various creatures and spirits visit him, either as representations of past lives, or people he knew, both living and dead, and then he goes into a cave as a metaphor for his death and rebirth. The movie blends the mundane, the modern and the magical in a gentle world that isn't afraid of death, and this is the movie's only good point. Other than that, it's as simple as the above description, and it has nothing to say. Of course, if you want to watch a movie where people have mundane conversations with men in a 'monkey spirit' suit, where princesses have sex with a fish spirit, and monks take a shower then project themselves astrally to a pop-music diner, be my guest.
Unquenchable Thirst for Beau Nerjoose, TheA movie so insultingly idiotic, moronic and juvenile, it makes 'Freddy Got Fingered' look mature and I imagine even Beavis and Butthead would deride it without so much as a 'huh huh you said Beau Nerjoose'. It's 90 minutes of fart, boner and poo 'jokes', where every plot element and line of dialogue has to do with boners, excrement, boobs or dildos. And it's a painfully terrible musical to boot. There's a loser drug-addict, his insane whore mother, an evil Beau Nerjoose, a threatening apocalypse involving a heavenly fleshlight, butt worms, breast maggots, magic mushrooms, lots of excrement, cross-dressing space nuns, and whole lot more that isn't worth mentioning. Don't be fooled by the above description and think it must be entertaining though. As someone once said, there is seemingly no limit to human stupidity.
Vienna ActionistsA group of radical Austrians (including Otto Mühl and Kurt Kren) who claimed 'art is flesh and blood' and made a series of vile short films consisting of men and women at their most animalistic and disgusting, their naked bodies wallowing in various liquids and substances, exploring various perversions and fetishes, coprophilia, eating their own vomit, having sex in front of babies, etc. Some of these creatures established communes for like-minded people and one got arrested for pedophilia. A charming artistic movement, their shorts now compiled on DVD.
VisageMing-liang Tsai delivers another glacially-paced work of cinematic torture, with even less narrative than usual, and that's saying a lot. There's a plot element about a Taiwanese director in Paris filming an art-house version of Salome (what is it with homosexuals and Salome? is it the idea of a seductive woman being fatally dangerous?), but this doesn't develop or go anywhere. Instead we get random, often 10-15-minute long static scenes of: A woman blacking-out a window, a gratuitous gay sexual encounter in the woods with Amalric, a woman cleaning out a freezer, games in the dark, people playing with a pet bird, random interactions between the Asian and French actors, random homages to Truffaut, highly surreal and campy musical scenes featuring a model lip-syncing in snow a sewer or a meat-locker, actors struggling with their costumes, and so on. There is an amusing scene of the director fighting with a leaking faucet that keeps getting worse and worse, and striking visuals of mirrors and a stag in a snowy forest, but these don't even come close to making up for the two and a half hours of self-indulgence.
Voulez-Vous Coucher avec God?According to this trashy movie, God is a stoned slob and braindead, foul-mouthed, Jewish New Yorker with a black wife whom he has to convince to have sex with (hence the title). He lives either in some tent-harem named Hashish Seventh Heaven, or in a bathtub, and makes lots of telephone calls just to hear himself speak. Much ado is made over Abraham (a masturbating ugly wacko) and Isaac's sacrifice, and the angel Gabriel (a toothless braindead bum who also serves as the President), who failed to stop Abraham from killing Isaac. All of which may make this cheap trash sound coherent, blasphemous and satirical, whereas you'd be hard-pressed to believe that this had a single writer, nevermind three. It's random tiresome nonsense by a bunch of narcissistic braindead drug-addicts that falls apart right at the beginning. There's random stop-motion animation featuring the most puzzlingly unfunny comedy sketches and puns you've ever heard, a TV evangelist in horrifying clown-paint called Daddy Bishop, random snippets of stolen footage from Disney et al, improvised scenes that look like two drunk braindead bums trying to be witty, a random Asian acting as 'Buddha' spouting nonsense, random black-faced characters, and references to Vietnam, and a climactic punishment by mouse-omelette and enema. Too dumb to be blasphemous. It's not a good sign when by far the most intelligent thing in a movie is a pig.
Waking LifeA plotless, experimental film from Richard Linklater that raises a bewildering range of philosophical, existential, social and new-age questions. At least that's what the movie wants you to think. The actual product annoyed me in much the same way as his follow-up 'Before Sunset' did initially, which featured a romantic couple that had a real encounter ten years ago, except now they are just self-obsessed and pretentious, talking in half-baked, seemingly thoughtful monologues but never actually communicating until the last part of the movie when they clicked again. Except here, it's surreal and lasts the whole movie. For starters, the real actors are rotoscoped in a way that makes them hazily unreal, their animated details constantly shimmering, distorting, and vibrating. The protagonist wanders in a constant dream-state, waking up into another dream, interacting with various people that provide sound-bites, thoughts, absurd situations, random aphorisms, and Zen-like advice, while trying to stop himself from floating into the sky. This is like a pothead, freshman attempt at a latter-day Godard movie. The various ideas range from basic and familiar freshman stuff, to brainless new-age twaddle, to vaguely humorous, to moderately interesting except the movie doesn't give us time to digest and develop and these rare moments are few and far between. This will appeal to pothead philosophers with ADD, but that's an easy crowd to please.
Watch OutExtreme narcissism played over-the-top by way of American Psycho for some kind of satirical effect, but the result is banal disgust rather than anything insightful or witty. Jonathan Barrows is an arrogant narcissist acted by an obviously gay man, who is repulsed by both men and women, because he is in love with himself, to the point that he masturbates to videos of himself masturbating, and has sex with a blow-up doll with a picture of his face on it, all graphically depicted in this trashy movie. The movie plays along with his fantasy that everyone wants him, and features endlessly pathetic scenes of one annoying lamer hick piece of trash after another try to seduce him while Jonathan arrogantly rejects them with long words and twisted insults. This is backed by cartoonishly trashy scenes of his parents and babysitters trying to get him laid in some demented John Waters-esque filth. I waited a whole hour for some kind of payoff, but then it only veers into serial killer territory featuring forced feeding of sliced penises and toes.
Wax, or the Discovery of Television Among the BeesSci-fi surrealism filmed as a documentary. Actually, this feels like some guy sharing his dream/stoned vision with heavy narrative accompanied with a barrage of short filmed scenes, found footage and cheap computer graphics all spliced together with a meticulous editing job. We learn about James Maker, his inherited beekeeping job, his associations with the 'supernormal society', as well as his real job working with flight simulations for NASA and missiles. Along the way we learn in detail about all of his ancestors and past lives. A strange experience with his bees gives him a second sight via an internalized 'bee television'. The rest of the movie is a hodgepodge of mysticism, occultism, personal visions, new-age baloney and pretentious pseudo-philosophy dealing with messages from the bees, ghosts (including the victims of missiles come back to haunt the simulated worlds), his projection as a bomb sent to kill someone (it takes over 45 minutes of visions just to learn who he is meant to kill), Mesopotamian bees, something to do with the moon, karma, time-travel and spiritual journeys through deserts and caves, becoming an X, a poem, a lump of wax, etc etc. Imagine someone describing his personal symbolic dream which he thinks is terribly important, in a monotone and in excruciating detail. Let's say it is interesting enough for five minutes, and add another five because it is accompanied by a visual presentation, but then you realize you have 75 more minutes to bear. Excruciatingly boring.
Wayward Cloud, TheMing-liang Tsai directs an artsy study on, presumably, longing and perversion, love and connection replaced with imitation and fetish. Taiwan is plagued by a water shortage but a surplus of watermelons. One girl obsessively gathers water bottles, while she longs for her neighbour who is a porn star. Both try to open a locked suitcase in a heavy-handed metaphor. Watermelons become replacements for water, erotica, romance, simulated pregnancy and in one pornographic scene, a girl's vagina. Characters break into song dressed in gay dance extravaganzas to express their longings and problems, while the porn and madness continues on mechanically. The theme would be interesting except that there's no focus or consistency. Notorious for its shocking and confusing pornographic ending.
We are the FleshMexican slice of depraved madness with pretensions of an artistic/political statement. In a dead world, a madman lives in a cave getting his food through a mysterious/magical source. Along come a young brother and sister full of innocent mischief, but he soon makes a deal with them, making them plaster up the walls and eat while he prepares and warps their mind to submit to rampant fleshy desires and insane fleshy mysticism. It starts with incest, then proceeds to various bodily fluids, necrophilia, sacrificial murder and cannibalism ('eat my flesh'), throwing in feral behaviour and pseudo-philosophical gobbledygook insanity, as well as a rebirth and a seemingly immortal man, with a twist ending that links everything right back to modern civilization. Now, you can interpret this in any of the following ways: A piece of juvenile blasphemy portraying the garden of Eden (in which case you only need one guess on who the insane man is supposed to be, hence his magical creation of food and giving of his flesh), perhaps via Satanism, or alternatively, a symbolic piece on humanity being at its core just depraved flesh, or a representation of any reprehensible act in recent human history. No matter which interpretation you pick, however, there is absolutely no insight or anything of interest here to reward your pained sensibilities.
Wedding TroughA farmer is followed with a camera while he handles his daily chores, bathes, feeds the animals, eats, plays games, places doll heads on birds, plays bizarre games with his animals, chases his pig around, has sex with the pig, takes care of the resulting piglets, kills some animals, prepares tea and food out of his own feces, collects dead things in jars, eats various repulsive things and vomits. There is no dialog, only a bizarre soundtrack. This probably has some artistic symbolism or message, but frankly, I don't care what it is.
What? (AKA Diary Of Forbidden Dreams)You'll be calling this movie's name several times while watching this baffling oddity by Polanski. Even his movie The Tenant was mostly grounded in reality, but this one is just bonkers for its own sake. Allegedly a sex-comedy homage to Alice in Wonderland, but it is not funny and has nothing in common with that story except for the fact that it is full of nonsense and strange characters. Nancy, acted by the doll-like Sydne Rome, is travelling in Italy when she finds herself in an absurd adventure in a strange villa where people make less and less sense. However, she is just in the movie to be treated with one humiliation after another with a passive and dumb demeanor. It starts with an attempted gang rape by a group of very strange people, her clothes are then systematically stolen so that she is never fully dressed throughout the movie, and the various characters can then poke, prod, stare, comment, slap, fondle, paint her left leg blue, and treat her to S&M, or oral sex while she is sleeping. Polanski even has her crawl out of a dog kennel with the camera placed behind her. Mastroianni acts as a bizarre pervert that enjoys kinky role-plays and squashing ping-pong balls while covered in mosquito bites which may be syphilis, Polanski is his eccentric enemy called Mosquito, Hugh Griffith is a dying old man in a wheelchair but that doesn't stop him from chasing her either, and there is a whole lot of other tenants that add to the mind-warp, including a maid that sprays the air with shaving cream. The only reason to watch this movie is for its unique form of mind-warping absurdity, but I can't say that it was interesting, rewarding or funny.
What Is It?What if I told you that this was a bizarre movie of Jodorowsky proportions, as acted by a cast of people with Down's syndrome, and directed by none other than Crispin Glover? What if you also knew that this contained a scene of a monkey-mask wearing woman with large breasts stroking the penis of a man with Down's syndrome who is lying in a big seashell while clouds of love-making actors drift by and while Glover plays the most extremely racist song you ever heard? I have an interpretation for this movie and I don't mean it as a joke: It represents the psyche of Crispin Glover, his many sides, inner voices and personas. The black-faced minstrel who is trying to transform into an invertebrate using snail injections is obviously his public entertainer persona, whom he seems to mostly hate, which would explain the racist/Nazi aspects of this movie, and he sees his various other inner voices (or perhaps the people in his life) as retards that commit various acts of violence or lust against each other while Glover sits on top as the annoyed super-ego. There is also lots of snail abuse with salt, or attacks on snails by force or praying mantis (despite the fact that the 'young man' loves snails), and the praying mantis even surprise-attacks a Down's Syndrome person. I would guess that snails represent his crushed dreams. Then there's the repetitive Nazification of Shirley Temple, another attack on his entertainer figure who was whisked away by the industry. Glover keeps talking about how he wanted to provoke people in this movie to take them out of the comfort zone and start asking questions about content and censorship, and how it's all about breaking taboos, but I know better. If you thought Crispin Glover was eccentric and weird, then you were wrong. Judging by his many personalities in this movie, he is insane.
When Black Birds FlyAnother laughably juvenile faux-blasphemous 'extreme' animated production from Jimmy 'ScreamerClauz'. The story involves a warped version of heaven, a god, and evil 'do-gooders' led by an opportunistic self-deifying Caine, versus the other side of the wall offering faux-Satanic eye-opening freedom from even one's own body, led by a female embodiment of lust who wants to do good for her creations. It all develops rather predictably as one would expect from this kind of a budding, immature, wannabe-evil mind. It's not as extreme and desperate as 'Where the Dead Go to Die', but there's plenty of messed-up creatures, gory violence also against children, and warped sex. The animation is cheap computer-graphics like some game from a decade or two ago, and everyone not only looks crudely drawn they don't behave or talk like anything resembling people either. The approach to animation here is most definitely in the 'more-is-more' category, with every frame filled with a kaleidoscope of tripping patterns and as many colors as he could add, as well as heaps of floating weird random objects, and the soundtrack is just as pointlessly busy as well. It's the kind of movie that gives one a headache within the first 10 minutes, and then goes on and on for another 100.
Where the Dead Go to DieThree animated shorts that desperately want to be as shocking and extreme as they can be, but the actual result is just silly. This effect isn't helped by the name of the person behind these creations: 'Jimmy ScreamerClauz'. The attitude of the animations is exemplified by a scene where a man hiding in a church kills a prostitute who just got eye-gouged by a psychotic war-veteran with no legs, in order to extract a liquid from her body and revel in her memories, only to find himself in a grotesque hell where he is told that the prostitute knows his 'testicles are filled with God's tears'. At that point I just couldn't stop laughing at the movie. Until 20 minutes later, that is, when it got really tiresome. It's the equivalent of Satan's little puppy trying to make a movie to please his master: It desperately wants to be disturbing and is so over-the-top, immature and relentless, that it's silly and tiresome. There's a kid who kills his parents with the help of a Satanic dog after ripping out an unborn baby, there's a kid having sex with a dog to sacrifice his virginity, a father who uses his little daughter for child-porn and torture while the next-door siamese-mutant-kid who is made to feel guilty for killing his mutant brother attached to his face, is convinced that he must take part in the porn film, there are endless hellish surreal sequences with one grotesquerie after another, and so on and on. And, and top of it all, the animations are cheap 3D computer graphics, and half of the vocal performances are laughably poor.
Whispering of the Gods, TheTransgressive, repulsive and depressed art-house Japanese movie with nothing to say except how depraved and warped life and religion could be. A young man who may or may not be a criminal is used sexually by priests that adopted him in a bizarre commune seemingly populated by perverts, and he in turn pours out his bile on other people by beating up dogs, raping nuns, smashing the teeth of a friend, and coming up with evil ways to torment a priest by faking confessions. There are moments of friendship and tenderness but these are very quickly smashed or warped by a misanthropic, hateful mind, and he in turn is beat up by a very strange scoutmaster who likes spit and vomit, while they all toil every day shoveling excrement from the farm animals, and castrate pigs while the pigs are trying to have sex. There you have it.
Won Ton Baby!Wannabe Basket Case-type of warped campy horror. A brothel madam, in love with an Elvis Impersonator that likes to mix the wrong pills with alcohol, gives birth to a mutated girl who grows up with her twin embedded inside her, thinking that she is the daughter of a Chinaman. When this creature is finally let out, it turns out to be a mutated, perverted, over-endowed, short pseudo-human with a prehensile umbilical cord and a taste for coprophilia and body parts. It's all played for trashy laughs and campy horror, but the pacing is dreadfully slow and the movie is full of long scenes that do nothing, and lots of juvenile warped humor that falls flat. There is some fun to be had with the sheer trashy strangeness of it all, and the movie does have a bit of fun with Asian stereotypes, but it's too little and mostly overwhelmed by the rest.
Worm Eaters, TheA near-cult flick about a club-footed weirdo who owns land with a lake which business men and the town want to take over. He lovingly keeps worms as pets, naming each one, singing to them and building them homes, he plays music to his foot, and is visited and harassed by various strange city folk, students and dead fishermen. He starts feeding them worms and turning them into beeping worm-humans that excrete whipped cream and crawl after women. Several throwaway weird scenes, schlocky acting and weird characters would make this entertaining if it weren't so terrible in general. Features close-up worm chewing.
ZeroDull and overlong experimental movie that dives into the mind of a very pathetic, lonely and schizophrenic man who talks to pornographic mags, indulges in racist rants, wanders around the woods, maintains a biology hobby, collects dead animals and parts in jars, and develops a sexual relationship with the upper part of a mannequin. Sounds and images are cut together to make the experience, using images of animals parts, the female body, lactating breasts, etc, all of which slowly get more deformed and bizarre as mutating flesh, a head that is part chicken, a growing mutation connected to a woman through an umbilical cord, bleeding breasts etc. A particularly dark scene mixes colors, disturbing visions and sound as the man tries to cut into a nasty cyst on his arm. A repetitive, long and slow movie studying a character that only deserves 3 minutes tops.
Zombie ToxinA truly abysmal home-made splatter movie about (let's see if I can get this right): A guy who chops up a horse belonging to a shoe repairman who tortures people for a living. The horse infects him with a toxin that makes him defecate and vomit nastily, and then infects a field of yeast (what?) which catches the attention of a Nazi who plans to kill the world by selling the toxin in wine bottles. The wine bottles then come alive and attack the locals while random characters sing and blow each other's heads off, eat each other's flesh to the bone, slash, cut, rip and blow off each other's body parts until Mary Poppins comes to save the day. If this sounds like insane fun, think again. The horrible acting, production values and annoying voice-overs balance out the fun.
Zoo ZéroAvant-garde movie that explores the relationship, or equivalence between humans and animals. There is no narrative, only a series of artistic performances, provocative statements and bizarre dialogue, all touching on the theme. A cabaret singer performs in Noah's Ark to an audience in animal costumes, and then goes on the prowl through the city and zoo. People's roles and titles are interchangeable, and human relationships with each other and society are compared to animals through their basic impulses. People crawl like cats, respond mechanically to situations, driven by simple motives, they lust, they sing, discuss nudity, seduction and murder as meaningless options chosen indifferently by impulses, and they talk through dehumanized mechanical voice-boxes, all leading to an encounter with the 'zoo manager'. The movie asks whether human behaviour is just training, what law and order truly means, and whether even Mozart was an animal. Unfortunately, it only touches these topics and doesn't explore them. For art-house purists that prefer their movies highly experimental, intellectually unrewarding, and without narrative.