If you’ve read my gushing review, you’ll know that last week I went to see Enter The Void. In the week that’s passed since I’ve been mostly crawling around the floor of my flat at 4am, crying and sweating, screaming, “I miss the way my brain used to be”. It is, without doubt one of the weirdest movies I’ve ever seen.
By weird, I don’t mean bad – you’ll note I gave the movie a perfect ten-out-of-ten score, chiefly because when art is as original and challenging as Gaspar Noé’s new film is I think it deserves lofty praise. Also a little bit because it made me want to fly to Tokyo and take drugs immediately. But mainly it received such a high score because it moved, entertained and enthralled me unlike any movie I’ve seen so far this year.
No, by weird I mean it constantly challenges perception, it takes you to places you’ve never been before, and that it has a litany of moments contained within its running time that stick around in your head long after you’ve left the theatre, prodding your senses with a big stick, going, “think about the bit in the nightclub toilet! Think about it!”
Until you go mental and start eating bees. But hey, everyone needs something to look forward to…
In tribute to this weird, very unique, completely brilliant piece of cinema, I thought I’d do a rundown of the ten other weirdest films I’ve ever seen. It’s not an exhaustive list – I’ve never seen Trash Humpers or Inland Empire, two films that are often cited as none-more-weird.
And there’s only one film in the list from Japan (this entire list could have been Japanese but I thought I’d share the weird a bit). It’s just ten films I’ve seen that have fucked my brain to a billion pieces – films about slICING up EYYYYEballs (that) I want CHOO to knowww (about).
I look forward to reading your weird tips below that, though. Mess my head up (please).
1) Un Chien Andalou
Sixteen-minutes of surreal silence (and chopped up donkey eyeballs) by director Luis Bunuel and the late, great Salvador Dali. The Pixies are fans. “I wish Buñuel was still alive,” says Frank Black. “With my stupid, pseudo-scholar, naive, enthusiast, avant-garde-ish, amateurish way, I thought: ‘Yeah, I’ll make a song about Un Chien Andalou. But ‘andalou’ sounds too French, so I will sing “un chien andalusia”. Sounds good, no?”
2) El Topo
Chilean filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky has made his fair share of odd films – would you expect anything less from a man who practices his own spiritual system (called ‘psychoshamanism’ spirituality fans)? But this bizarre (and it must be said dwarftastic) tale of a gunfighter on the quest for enlightenment is utterly batshit. There’s been a sequel rumoured since the early nineties. Marilyn Manson has expressed interest at being in it. No sign as yet.
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3) The Machine Girl
In a quaint act of traditional cinema going practice, I actually watched the trailer for this Japanese film before I watched the full length – just like the old days! Actually, I watched it about a hundred times. Then I sent it to all of my friends, laughing like a professional Ming The Merciless impersonator. Why? Because it’s about a schoolgirl with a machine gun instead of a hand – and who doesn’t want their first email of the day to be about that?
The pitch: proto-boy band throw off their shackles and dick about on drugs with Jack Nicholson and Frank Zappa. The monetary return: fuck all, surprisingly. It’s still a zinging slice of sixties psychedelia, mind, and much better than any of the movies The Beatles made. In fact, the only Monkees related thing weirder than it is my discovery this morning that woolly hat clad guitarist Mike Nesmith’s mum invented Tipp-Ex in the 1950’s. He’s $25 million better off now she’s died.
5) Mr Vampire
This 1985 Hong Kong comedy-horror-action film is perhaps the least weird movie in this list of ten. The script is pretty simple, the story doesn’t flit about too much, there’s a start, a middle and an end. But I’m including it in the list anyway because of the vampires… who hop about like rabbits! If you’ve grown up thinking vampires lurch, to see them hop is like discovering milk tastes like bacon or seeing a slug for the first time.
6) Jacob’s Ladder
If you’ve ever played the survival horror video game Silent Hill then be grateful this tale of a Vietnam vet (Tim Robbins) going quietly (and really bloody loudly) insane exists – if you could copyright atmospherics, director Arian Lyne would be quids in. My favourite fact about this movie is that Macaulay Culkin is in it – which sorta makes me wish Lyne had got his hands on the Home Alone script…
7) Altered States
Based on the only novel screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky ever wrote – which was in turn based on the sensory deprivation research done by counterculture physician John C. Lilly in the seventies – this science fiction movie from 1980 is basically 102 minutes of lead William Hurt having a nervous breakdown and running away from mutant spider-goat hybrids. Which, by the way, has definitely been requested as a Christmas present by some weird, spoilt rich kid in the years since its creation.
It’s a good job human beings run the world and not cats. If cats ruled it, imagine how much it would smell when it rains, the massive piles of dead mice they’d leave on the corner of each street, the omnipresent sound of Phil Collins (what, your cat doesn’t like Phil Collins? Weird) and the fuss they’d make about weird movie veteran Harmony Korine’s 1997 debut – a film that features around about ten cat deaths per frame!
9) This Night I’ll Possess Your Corpse
A personal favourite. Made by and staring José Mojica Marins, aka Coffin Joe, aka – crudely speaking – Brazils answer to Freddie or Jason, there’s a scene in Joe’s second ever outing where the dagger-fingered undertaker goes to hell for a bit. Hell it transpires looks like Disneyland if someone rebuilt it with green snot. Then melted it. Then added loads of girls with no tops on. Which, I think you’ll agree, is odd.
Another film beloved by The Pixies, you can’t talk about weird films without talking about David Lynch’s 1976 oddity – but what’s new to say? How about that I played this movie to a friend at university once and they cried for hours. When I asked them if they were okay, they got up from the sofa silently, left the house and I never heard from them again. I heard he’d got married recently actually. I hope he’s okay now.