Sometimes, a movie will blow your mind in a way that you may never recover. These are ten of our favorites, the ones where we just wonder how they got made, how people reacted to them and how we can convince people to watch them.
1. Son of Dracula: Combine Harry Nilsson performance scenes with a British horror film directed by Freddie Francis and add in some Ringo Starr as Merlin the Magician. This movie didn’t just fade from theaters, it practically disappeared like a vampire at first dawn. The sheer fact that it was made has made me question reality for years.
2. Bizarre: Drink this cocktail in. Start with an Amicus-style portmanteau film. Add Williams Burroughs style cut-up technique. Sprinkle liberally with Page 3 girls. Now, add a mummy as the narrator. This one will melt whatever you have left of your brain, trust me.
3. The Visitor: I’m still trying to unpack this movie and I’ve watched it more than ten times. Let me try again: a gang of bald children from space try to make an evil little girl turn good while her stepfather tries to ensure that she remains evil, all so his basketball team can win the championship. Also, Shelly Winters shows up. And Franco Nero looks like Jesus. There is also a lot of dancing.
4. Pin: Canadians are crazy. Polite, but crazy. Also, when they die, they leave behind anatomy dummies to raise their children. I can’t even do justice to the sheer level of lunacy that this movie contains.
5. Suicide Cult/The Astrologer: This is probably the only film that you’ll ever see that concerns a government agency tracking the biorhythms of the Antichrist and the new Virgin Mary. It is also both immensely exciting and incredibly boring, all at the same time, a rare feat in filmmaking.
6. Harlequin: This is the film that answers the question, “What if someone remade the story of Rasputin in modern day Australia but instead of looking like a hairy bear, Rasputin looked and dressed like David Bowie?”
7. American Tiger: Olympic gold medalist Mitch Gaylord gets mixed up in a battle between a Chinese sorceress and a faith healing televangelist played by Donald Pleasance who is really a warthog, all directed by Sergio Martino. There’s a shower sex scene where the hero doesn’t take off his jeans. If you aren’t racing to find this movie after that last sentence, you can leave this site right now and never come back.
8. If Footmen Tire You, What Will Horses Do?: Exploitation director Ron Ormond survived two brushes with the afterlife and then decided to stop selling sin and start saving people from its wages, along with the biggest Commie hater of all time, Estus Pirkle. This movie is not for the weak, as it depicts what WILL happen when Communists overrun our country, machine gunning Baptists in the street and chopping off the heads of children with thick Southern accents. Rating: ten billion stars out of five.
9. Things: You know how in HP Lovecraft stories, strange colours out of shape descend from space and cursed books drive anyone that read them insane? Those little fairy tales were just warm ups to what will happen when you watch this movie, perhaps the most nonsensical barrage of nothing that will ever obsess you. You think The Room is fucked up? Take off your skinny jeans and grow your Hitler youth haircut out, hipster. You’re about to get mindfucked by the best there is.
10. Zardoz: How do you follow up being James Bond, one of the most recognizable roles in the world? How do you follow up directing Deliverance? If you’re Sean Connery and John Boorman, you make a post-apocalyptic movie all about…fuck, I have no idea how to explain it. There are allusions to The Wizard of Oz, two races warring ala the future in The Time Machine, a flying head and Sir Connery wearing a red thong that he later exchanges for a wedding dress.
These are the films that almost made the list:
Exorcist II: The Heretic: John Boorman almost got on here twice with this follow-up, which puts Regan in a clinic for children while teaming her up with Richard Burton as they struggle against African demons. Audiences had to have been incensed as they hoped for more of the original and were greeted with this utterly baffling — and yet somehow awesome — film.
Cathy’s Curse: You come into this movie expecting that it’s going to rip off The Exorcist and The Omen. Once you see a man crash a car to avoid a rabbit in the first thirty seconds, you realize that you’re now in the strangest place of all: Canada, where people behave in ways that seem human but are as alien as a Man in Black trying to eat with his ear.
Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals: I pity anyone that rented this in the 1980’s thinking that they were about to watch a Sylvia Kristel sex romp and were greeted with this Joe D’Amoto directed assault on sensibilities and good taste. This movie upset David Cronenberg so badly that it inspired Videodrome. I’ve seen a lot of movies, but this is the only one where the main character has lesbian sex with a cannibal.
Lemora, A Child’s Tale of the Supernatural: If any child ever watched this, they’d be scarred for life. A choirgirl is taken to speak to her dying father before meeting her real mother and an entire town of vampires. Yep. You just read that.
There are so many strange films I’ve sought out that I might just have to make a second list. What are some of the movies that have screwed with your head?