I was corrupted by weird cinema at a very young age, thanks to mom & pop video stores within bicycling distance to my house (RIP Video America and Magic Video), their non-carding Randall like clerks, and their 5 movies for $5 deals. Most of the movies on this list I haven’t seen in years, and some are pretty new. Thanks to kind people uploading full length features onto YouTube, a whole new generation of kids can be warped and damaged by these movies. (Not all of the movies on this list are on YouTube but about 80% are on there.) All aboard! The train of my thoughts…
2017 EDIT: At the original writing of this post, these were the weirdest films I had seen as of 2010. A part two will be written soon because since then I’ve seen shit that will turn you white. (in my Ernie Hudson “Winston” from Ghostbusters voice.) Until then, enjoy this list and please allow a moment for it to load if you’re using a tablet or smartphone because there are trailers for every movie listed embedded.
26.5 Runaway (2010) Director Kanye West
This only gets a .5 because it’s a short film. In an earlier blog post I compared Kanye’s efforts to Stanley Kubrick and Lars Von Trier. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Plot: A man falls in love with a bird lady who has fallen to earth.
What it’s really about: Kanye’s ego.
Notable Quote: “Your date is beautiful. Do you know she’s a bird?”
“No. I hadn’t noticed.”
Most WTF Moment: The dinner party scene.
26. Rawhead Rex (1986) Director George Pavlou, Writer Clive Barker
Plot: Ireland will never be the same after Rawhead Rex, a particularly nasty demon, is released from his underground prison by an unwitting farmer.
What it’s really about: How the sins of your past catch up to you.
Notable Quote: “He was here before Christ, before civilisation. He was king here!“
“Rawhead, that’s what they called him! RAWHEAD!”
Most WTF Moment: Tie – Little boy in the car scene and Urine Baptism
25. Jacob’s Ladder (1990) Director Adriane Lyne, Writer Bruce Joel Rubin
Plot: A traumatized Vietnam war veteran finds out that his post-war life isn’t what he believes it to be when he’s attacked by horned creatures in the subway and his dead son comes to visit him.
What it’s really about: Fear of the afterlife.
Notable quote: “According to this, you’re already dead.”
Most WTF Moment: Jezebels dance with a demon to “Lady Marmalade”.
24. Silent Hill (2006) Director: Christophe Gans, Writer: Roger Avary
Plot: A woman goes in search for her daughter, within the confines of a strange, desolate town called Silent Hill.
What it’s really about: Different concepts of hell.
Notable Quote: “What the fuck? What the fuck? You saw that right? That was real? What the fuck is going on?”
Most WTF Moment: The Nurses.
23. The Brother from Another Planet (1986) Written & directed by John Sayles
Plot: A mute alien is chased by outer-space bounty hunters through the streets of Harlem in this thought-provoking cult classic.
What it’s really about: Immigration
Notable Quote: “Funny-lookin’ motherfucker, but he can shoot, can’t he?”
Most WTF Moment: When they reveal his feet.
22. Donnie Darko (2001) Written & Directed by Richard Kelly
Plot: A troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a large bunny rabbit that manipulates him to commit a series of crimes, after narrowly escaping a bizarre accident.
What it’s really about: Premonitions and Judgement Day
Notable Quote: [shouts] “First of all, Papa Smurf didn’t create Smurfette. Gargamel did. She was sent in as Gargamel’s evil spy with the intention of destroying the Smurf village. But the overwhelming goodness of the Smurf way of life transformed her. And as for the whole gang-bang scenario, it just couldn’t happen. Smurfs are asexual. They don’t even have… reproductive organs under those little, white pants. It’s just so illogical, you know, about being a Smurf. You know, what’s the point of living… if you don’t have a dick?”
Most WTF Moment: The end of the movie
21. El laberinto del fauno AKA Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) Written & Directed by Guillermo del Toro
Plot: In the fascist Spain of 1944, the bookish young stepdaughter of a sadistic army officer escapes into an eerie but captivating fantasy world.
What it’s really about: Choosing to do what is right, even when what is wrong seems to bear more rewards.
Notable Quotes: “Me? I’ve had so many names. Old names that only the wind and the trees can pronounce. I am the mountain, the forest and the earth. I am… I am a faun. Your most humble servant, Your Highness.“
Most WTF moment: Vidal sewing his own face up. Yeah I know, there are fantasy creatures and the monster at the feast table, but I was prepared for that from the trailer.
20. Freaks (1932) Director Todd Browning, Writer: Clarence Aaron ‘Tod’ Robbins
Plot: A circus’ beautiful trapeze artist agrees to marry the leader of the side-show performers, but his deformed friends discover she is only marrying him for his inheritance.
What it’s really about: Who is the real freak, the person with the deformed body or the one with the deformed mind?
Quotes: [chant] “Gooble gobble, gooble- gobble. We accept her! One of us!”
[screams] “I’m not one of you! You…You FREAKS!”
Most WTF Moment: The Living Torso lighting and smoking a cigarette.
19. Tommy (1975) Director Ken Russell, Writer Pete Townshend
Plot: A psychosomatically deaf, dumb and blind boy becomes a master pinball player and the object of a religious cult because of that.
What it’s really about: Trauma and it’s effects on the human mind
Notable Quote: “Ever since I was a young boy, I’ve played the silver ball. From SoHo down to Brighton, I must have played them all. But I ain’t seen nothin’ like him In any amusement hall. That deaf, dumb and blind kid Sure plays a mean pinball.”
Most WTF Moment: The whole movie is like a bad acid trip but the bubble bath from the TV set that turns into a beans and chocolate bath is pretty man-what-were-you-smoking-when-you-wrote-this?
18. Basketcase (1982) Written & Directed by Frank Henenlotter
Plot: A young man carrying a big basket that contains his deformed Siamese-twin brother seeks vengeance on the doctors who separated them against their will.
What it’s really about: Separation anxiety
Notable Quote: “What’s in the basket?”
Most WTF moment: When you first meet Bilal.
17. Clockwork Orange (1971) Written & directed by Stanley Kubrick
Plot: In future Britain, charismatic delinquent Alex DeLarge is jailed and volunteers for an experimental aversion therapy developed by the government in an effort to solve society’s crime problem… but not all goes to plan.
What it’s really about: Whether some people are inherently evil and can behavior modification change this?
Notable Quote: “What you got back home, little sister, to play your fuzzy warbles on? I bet you got little save pitiful, portable picnic players. Come with uncle and hear all proper! Hear angel trumpets and devil trombones. You are invited.” Yeah, I dare you to try and make sense of that.”
Most WTF Moment: The “Singing in the Rain” beat down. Right, right, right?
16. Eyes of Fire (1983) Written & Directed by Avery Crounse
Plot: A preacher is accused of adultery and he and his followers are chased out-of-town and become stranded in an isolated forest which is haunted by the spirits of long dead Native Americans.
What it’s really about: The evils of colonialism.
Notable Quote: None that I can think of. Checked IMDb and none there either.
Most WTF Moment: The 1st trees in the forest scene.
15. Breaking the Waves (1996) Written & Directed by Lars Von Trier
[Red Band Trailer, Rated R content]
Plot: Oilman Jan is paralyzed in an accident. His wife, who prayed for his return, feels guilty; even more, when Jan urges her to have sex with another.
What it’s really about: The will of the human spirit being stronger than illness.
Quote: “I want you to find a man to make love to, and then come back here and tell me about it.”
Most WTF Moment: Bess talking to God in the church.
14. Boxing Helena (1993) Director Jennifer Lynch, Writer Philippe Caland
Plot: A surgeon becomes obsessed with the seductive woman he once had an affair with. Refusing to accept that she has moved on, he amputates her limbs and holds her captive in his mansion.
What it’s really about: Stockholm syndrome
Quotes: “You mean everything to me”
“You mean nothing to me.”
Most WTF Moment: I never saw the trailer for this movie. I was invited to go to see it in a movie theater by some colleges friends, so when it was revealed that he purposely amputated her limbs to keep her it was a very WTF moment.
13. The Human Centipede: 1st Sequence (2009) Written & Directed by Tom Six
Plot: A mad scientist kidnaps and mutilates a trio of tourists in order to “reassemble” them into a new “pet”– a human centipede, created by stitching their mouths to each others’ rectums.
What it’s really about: Blind conformity
Notable Quote: “Feed her!” I know it seems tame, but when you actually see the context and Deiter’s delivery, it’s just WOW!
Most WTF Moment: The “Feed her” scene. To tell you anymore would spoil it.
12. La planète sauvage aka Fantastic Planet (1973) Director René Laloux Written by Roland Topor
adapted from the novel written by Stefan Wul
Plot: Slaves and masters dominate the narrative of the faraway world of Ygam. Set around the lifespan of Terr, a minute human shaped Om slave, and pet, of the giant blue alien Draags. Escaping into the wilderness and with a device used for intellectual advancement of the Draags, Terr finds refuge and support from fellow Om’s and using the learning tool…
What it’s really about: Imperialism
Notable Quote: “It doesn’t move. I guess we can’t play with it anymore.”
Most WTF Moment: Did you watch the trailer? There isn’t enough typing in the world!
11. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) Director: Jim Sharman, Writer: Richard O’Brien
Plot: A newly engaged couple have a breakdown in an isolated area and must pay a call to the bizarre residence of Dr. Frank-N-Furter.
What it’s really about: Sexual Repression
Notable Quote: [sung] “I’m just a sweet transvestite, from transexual Transylvania!”
Most WTF Moment: Again refer to the preview.
It gets weirder after this point! (also NSFW: strong language)
10. Old Boy (2003) Director: Chan-wook Park Writer: Garon Tsuchiya
adapted from a comic written by Nobuaki Minegishi
Plot: After being kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years, Oh Dae-Su is released, only to find that he must find his captor in 5 days.
What it’s really about: Throwing stones at glass houses.
Quote:“Your tongue got my sister pregnant! It wasn’t Woo-jin Lee’s dick; it was Dae-su Oh’s tongue!“
Most WTF Moment: Tie between finding out who he was really in love with, and what he does to himself after finding that out.
9. Black Devil Doll from Hell (1984) Written & Directed by Chester Novell Turner
This is the movie that made my mother demand to personally inspect any movie I wanted to rent. There is nothing suitable enough to be in a trailer, so here’s the first 6 minutes of the movie.
Did I forget to mention that the first 6 minutes is all credits? Oops, sorry. Someone did create a trailer, though. Note: Tyler Perry had NOTHING to do with this movie.
Plot: A woman buys a doll at a magic shop. Unbeknownst to her, the doll is possessed by an evil spirit, and it proceeds to take her over.
What it’s really about: Evangelical Christianity and it’s relation to closet freakism.
Quote: “Shut up, bitch!”
Most WTF Moment: Puppet rape scene. I didn’t bother to spoiler tag this, because if you actually plan to watch this on purpose you deserve whatever you get. If you feel particularly masochistic you can check out the Trailer for the 2008 Remake of this “movie”. I still cannot believe someone thought that this needed to be done again.
8. Ichi the Killer (2001) Director Takashi Miike, Writer Hideo Yamamoto adapted from a comic written by Sakichi Sato
Plot: When a Yakuza boss named Anjo disappears with 300 million yen, his chief henchman, a sadomasochistic man named Kakihara, and the rest of his mob goons go looking for him. After capturing and torturing a rival Yakuza member looking for answers, they soon realize they have the wrong man and begin looking for the man named Jijii who tipped them off in the first place. Soon enough Kakihara and his men encounter Ichi, a psychotic, sexually repressed young man with amazing martial arts abilities and blades that come out of his shoes.
What it’s really about: How extreme repression leads to violence and sexual sadism.
Notable Quotes: “There is no love in your violence.”
Most WTF Moment: Tie: How the opening credits “develop”, and the punch in the mouth scene.
7. Videodrome (1983) Written & Directed by David Cronenberg
Plot: A sleazy cable-TV programmer begins to see his life and the future of media spin out of control in a very unusual fashion when he acquires a new kind of programming for his station.
What it’s really about: How the media is used to control people.
Notable Quote: “I want you to stay away from them. Those mondo-weirdo video guys. You know, in some countries, like Argentina, making subversive video is considered a criminal act. They execute people for it. In Pittsburgh… WHO KNOWS?”
Most WTF Moment: Putting the gun away, so to speak.
6. Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead (2006) Director Lloyd Kaufman, Writers Daniel Bova & Gabriel Friedman
[Red Band Trailer: Rated R Content]
Plot: When the American Chicken Bunker, a military-themed fried-chicken chain, builds a restaurant on the site of an ancient Indian burial ground, local protesters aren’t the only ones crying fowl!
What it’s really about: Jingoism and xenophobia
Notable Quotes: “The chicken… the chicken has declared jihad on us all.”
Most WTF Moment: The musical number. Seriously.
5. Naked Lunch (1991) Written & directed by David Cronenberg, adapted from the novel by William S. Burroughs
Plot: Exterminator Bill Lee finds himself following his wife into an addiction to the bug powder he uses. After accidentally killing her, he descends into a hallucinatory existence in which he imagines himself a secret agent answering to a series of bizarre creatures.
What it’s really about: Drug addiction
Notable Quotes: “You know how Americans are, Kiki. They all love to travel, and then they only want to meet other Americans and talk about how hard it is to get a decent hamburger.”
Most WTF Moment: Every conversation Bill Lee had with a reptilian/bug like creature.
4. Society (1989) Director Billy Yuzna, Writers Rick Fry, Woody Keith
Plot: Bill is worried that he is ‘different’ to his sister and parents. They mix with other ‘upper class’ people while Bill is more down to earth. Even his girlfriend seems a bit odd. All is revealed when Bill returns home to find a party in full swing. Not for the weak of stomach.
What it’s really about: The top 2% benefiting from the toils of the bottom 98%
Notable Quote: “Dad, you’re a butthead!” (You have to see what his dad looks like at the time when he says this.)
Most WTF Moment: The last 15 minutes of the movie.
3. Tokyo Gore Police (2008) Director Yoshihiro Nishimura, Writers Kengo Kaji, Maki Mizui
[Red Band Trailer: Rated R Content]
Plot: Set in a future-world vision of Tokyo where the police have been privatized and bitter self-mutilation is so casual that advertising is often specially geared to the “cutter” demographic, this is the story of samurai-sword-wielding Ruka and her mission to avenge her father’s assassination. Ruka is a cop from a squad whose mission is to destroy homicidal mutant humans known as “engineers” possessing the ability to transform any injury to a weapon in and of itself.
What it’s really about: I had to go IMDb to find out that there was actually an intended plot! But, really I thought it was an excuse for the practical effects team to have a who-can-out-gross-who contest.
Notable Quote: “Where do these bastards come from?”
Most WTF Moment: Tie: The vulva chair urinating on an audience and the penile gun.
2. Antichrist (2009) Written and directed by Lars Von Triers
[Red Band Trailer: Rated R Content]
Plot: A grieving couple retreats to their cabin in the woods, hoping to repair their broken hearts and troubled marriage. But nature takes its course and things go from bad to worse.
What it’s really about: Seriously, I didn’t get it. Hell if I know.
Notable Quote: “Chaos Reigns!”
Most WTF Moment: The scissor scene, and that’s all I’ll say.
1. Eraserhead (1976) Written & directed by David Lynch
Plot: Henry Spencer tries to survive his industrial environment, his angry girlfriend, and the unbearable screams of his newly born mutant child.
What it’s really about: Pollution?
Notable Quotes: [sung] “In Heaven, everything is fine.”
Most WTF Moment: The whole movie is 89 minutes of WTF.
Stewart Gordon’s Re-Animator (1985)
Clive Barker’s Nightbreed (1990)
Park Chan Wook’s I’m a Cyborg, but that’s OK (2006)
Alan Parker’s Angel Heart (1987)
Weird Movies People tell me to watch, that I’m getting around to seeing:
Ken Russell’s Altered States (1980)
Ruggero Deodato’s Cannibal Holocaust (1980)
Takashi Miike’s Visitor Q (2001)
Spike Jonze’ Being John Malkovich (1999)
Terry Gillium’s Brazil (1985)
David Lynch’s Blue Velvet (1986)
Darren Lynn Bousman’s Repo! The Genetic Opera (2008)