A sequel to this post.
So, I've been scouring the internet while bored at work, trying to find some unusual movies to watch and came to the realization that I've probably seen all of them. Yup. I can only find a handful of challenging, strange-sounding films I haven't seen, and this is disappointing. I mean, granted, some of my favorite films are pretty 'normal,' like 'Wonder Boys,' 'Chinatown' and 'Evil Dead,' but the majority of movies I really like are kind of out there, and that's what you come here for anyhow.
So, here's a brief list of some totally fucked up movies that are worth checking out:
'House' (aka 'Hausu') - 1977
Basically, it's about a girl who is pissed at her dad for wanting to bring his new girlfriend (her mother has been dead a while) on their summer vacation, so she goes to visit her mom's sister with her friends instead. Turns out her mom's sister is actually dead, and needs to eat all the unmarried girls in order to set her own soul free. Or something like that. Or it's her cat who's evil/dead. Yeah, it's nothing like 'Jaws.'
'What Is It?' and 'It Is Fine! Everything Is Fine.' - 2005 and 2007 respectively
Crispin Glover is fucking insane. I mean, he's also probably one of the best character actors in the world, and a brilliant filmmaker, but that's beside the point. These films don't appear on too many 'weirdest films' lists, probably because Glover refuses to release them on DVD, preferring instead to travel the country's small arthouse cinemas doing question-and-answer sessions. I managed to catch these in a double feature in Grand Rapids, and found Mr. Glover to be a really nice and intelligent fellow, if incredibly awkward. The films, on the other hand...
'What Is It?' is pretty mean...it's got lots of Nazi imagery, and the entire cast has Down's Syndrome except for Glover. It's also the only film I've ever seen to feature music from both racist country singer Johnny Rebel and cult leader Charles Manson. Yeah, it's completely offensive on every level, and bizarre to the point of alienating almost everyone. I loved it, though. I guess it helps if you've seen Glover in 'River's Edge' or heard his album from the late 80's...to me, what really made the film work was the contrast of a really nice, quiet guy casually putting unbelievable offensive shit out there.
'It Is Fine! Everything Is Fine.' is mayyyyybe a little more 'tame.' It's pretty much the film-equivalent of a Wesley Willis album or something. Glover somehow got hold of a script written by a creepy amateur guy with cerebral palsy. The script was all about a guy with cerebral palsy who the women can't get enough of, even though he gets really pissed off when his dick doesn't work and kills them. I think he intended it to be an afterschool-special type drama, but Glover turned it into something else entirely. Oh yeah, and he put the author of the script in the starring role. They actually just barely finished the film before the dude died.
The film does have elements of 70's television, but it's more like a sitcom. Well, the sets and the delivery of the actors anyhow. The film itself is more horror than anything. I dunno, I can't really even convey how fucking gone this one is. You'll just have to look it up on Netflix, er.....nevermind. Seriously though, see it if you can, and talk to Crispin afterwards. He's super cool.
'Easy Wheels' - 1989
Yeah, it's silly, slapstick, and kinda low-budget, but it's also incredibly weird. I don't think I've laughed this hard at a movie in a long time. And the laughs are intentional, which is even better.
'Hair High' - 2004
This one is like 'Grease' in hell. Popular girl falls for shy, nerdy guy...her football player boyfriend runs them off the road killing them right before prom, then tries to steal the prom-king crown. Girl and nerd dude come back to live and scare the shit out of everyone. It's kind of like 'Superjail,' 'South Park,' the work of Ralph Bakshi and 'Happy Days' all thrown in a blender together. If you're a fan of 'adult' animation like the previously mentioned stuff, you need to start watching Bill Plympton's films now. Matt Groening even does a character's voice in this one.
'Street Trash' - 1987
Oh yeah, the story...basically, a cheap Jew of a convenience store clerk (hey, THEY said it, not me) starts selling some gut-rot liquor he finds in his basement. Hobos love it because it's cheap, but turns out it melts them. While this is happening, a crazed Vietnam vet has declared himself king of the homeless, and is fucking shit up left and right. The two stories eventually come together violently. Lots of other offensive garbage happens along the way, and it's all great. An hour and a half of the sleaziest stuff you'll ever see on film.
'TerrorVision' - 1986
Okay, I'm trying to do a diverse list of films here, but I couldn't resist putting one more cheesy 80's horror-comedy. Granted, a lot of films that fall within this category are just shitty, but Full Moon Pictures has been known to put out some gems. Check out 'Trancers' or 'Puppet Master' if you want to see zero-budget done right. This one doesn't seem to have a much larger budget, but it's more colorful and humorous than either of those films. So, then. We've got a gun-crazed granddad who eats lizard tails because 'it's a self-regenerating food source,' an obnovious 80's girl and her punker boyfriend named O.D., an alien television signal terrorizing a yuppie-swinger family, and a goofy soundrack by Cali art-rockers The Fibonaccis.
If that doesn't do it for you, how about the fact that, while rated R (I think,) the movie goes WAY out of its way to not use any curse words. This makes for some downright ridiculous dialog, which doesn't even make sense because there's nudity and tons of violence. Charles Band is a fucker, for sure. The plot is just as silly--yuppies get a fancy satellite TV which accidentally pulls in a signal from outer space. I guess it's where some extraterrestrials trapped a criminal alien, because he shows up and starts killing the family one by one. Hilarity ensues.
'Forbidden Zone' - 1982
Like I said, it's a lot like 'Eraserhead'....AND 'Rocky Horror Picture Show.' Somehow. I'm sure these folks were all into the works of Luis Bunuel and David Lynch, but it's not just some surreal black-and-white knockoff. There is nothing else like this movie. Rapid-fire jokes, totally fucked characters, and obviously great musical numbers make this probably the coolest thing Danny Elfman ever did.
The plot, while not really important, involves a family disappearing into the 8th dimension, which is actually in their basement. They meet the king and queen of said dimension, piss them off, get incarcerated, and get involved in a number of scandals. Like I said, not really important. The plot is mostly an excuse to have all sorts of fucked up stuff going on. Trust me, if you are a fan of the surreal and can track down this film, you will not regret it.
'Kill the Moonlight' - 1994
I dunno...it's kinda slow, and reminds me of Linklater's 'Slacker' film, but it's got a vibe all its own. As an added bonus, Beck composed the majority of the soundtrack, along with Hanft's own band Loser. It's got a couple laugh-out-loud moments, but is mostly just a subdued piece of 90's weirdness. If you dig 'Slacker,' or Beck's early musical output, you'll get into this one for sure.
Alright...I think that's it for now...I'll probably post some more movies soon because I've got nothing to do at work and that seems to be the norm.