While this list of weird animated movies could just as well have been called “Weird Japanese Movies,” I did make a point to include a few bizarre non-Asian gems. From pot-smoking felines to pre-teen pimps, this article should keep you stocked up on animated weirdness for weeks or months to come. Some are especially out there, so those who like to get baked and watch anime should consider yourselves warned.
- Hammerboy (2004) – When a princess gets herself in trouble, she finds help in the unlikely form of a small boy with a really big hammer. When he’s not bashing the hell out of henchmen, Hammerboy makes sure to expose his penis on several occasions. Yes, it’s from Japan.
- Akira (1988) – In a dark future, Neo-Tokyo is filled with biker gangs and all sorts of moral corruption. When a biker named Tetsuo begins to develop psychic powers, a fearful Japanese military steps in and proceeds to make the situation far worse. Soon, it triggers an all-hell-breaks-loose scenario of epic proportions, with orbital laser cannons, teen angst, and Kaneda’s totally sweet red motorcycle. A mind-bending film that was truly a landmark moment in the field of animation.
- The Plague Dogs (1982) – Here’s a happy story for the kids. A pair of dogs used for lab experiments escape and try to avoid being recaptured. One dog has had his brain fiddled with, while the other’s been drowned numerous times and resuscitated. They team up with a crafty fox, but even a fox can’t dodge a bullet. If you want to scar your children for life, pop this weird animated movie (from the creator of Watership Down) into the DVD player.
- Live Freaky! Die Freaky! (2006) – A stop-motion animated musical based around the Manson murders, this bizarre little number features voice performances from Tre Cool, Billi Joe Armstrong, Asia Argento, Kelly Osbourne, and many more. As a futuristic nomad discovers Helter Skelter and mistakes it for the Bible, you’ll thrill to songs such as “Light Fires in Your Cities,” “No Sense Makes Sense,” and “Strangle a Tree.”
- Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem (2003) – With a title that’s just as weird as the movie itself, this animated tale from Japan features no dialogue, the music of Daft Punk, and tells the story of the kidnapping and subsequent rescue of a pop band from outer space. Thrill to the disco, synthpop, and post-disco sounds of “Aerodynamic,” “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger,” “Face to Face,” and every other song odd Daft Punk’s Discovery album. When French musicians team up with Japanese animators, could the result be anything besides one of the greatest examples of weird animated movies?
- The Incredible Mr. Limpet (1964) – Combining live-action and animation, this movie stars Don Knotts as a fish lover who tries unsuccessfully to enlist in the military following the attack on Pearl Harbor. But when he falls off a pier, this bespectacled nerd finds himself changed into a fish. Using his newfound fish powers, he helps the Navy hunt down and destroy Nazi U-boats. Does it get any weirder than Barney Fife as a Nazi-killing fish? I don’t think so.
- Fritz the Cat (1972) – Ralph Bakshi wrote and directed this X-rated romp featuring an animated cat engaging in group sex and marijuana use, as well as inciting riots and becoming involved in terrorist plots. Creator Robert Crumb wasn’t thrilled with the final product, but audiences looking to expand their minds ate it up to the tune of over $100 million in revenue.
- Vampires in Havana (1985) – A trumpet player named Pepito in 1930s Havana is actually Joseph Emmanuel von Dracula, a descendent of the original bloodsucking Count. But Pepito isn’t like other vampires: he’s immune to sunlight and hates the taste of blood. A Chicago crime syndicate and a group of European vampires want to know why, and so begins a madcap chase through the streets and alleys of Cuba set to the cool trumpet sounds of Arturo Sandoval.
- Mutant Aliens (2001) – Animator Bill Plympton wrote, directed, and produced this off-the-wall spoof of B-grade monster films, throwing in a liberal dash of sex and violence. When an American astronaut is intentionally stranded in space by his superiors, he bides his time on a planet filled with aliens who look like gigantic human body parts, and eventually returns to Earth to gain his revenge. If this one floats your boat, be sure to also check out Plympton’s I Married a Strange Person!.
- Lil’ Pimp (2005) – This tale of a nine-year-old kid who befriends a prostitute and later gets transformed into a pimp was not popular with test audiences. Originally scheduled for a theatrical release and featuring the voice talents of Bernie Mac, William Shatner, Lil Kim, and Ludacris, it ended up being dumped unceremoniously onto DVD. If you enjoy an endless succession of stereotypes, be sure to catch this one.
That concludes our look at some of the weird animated movies currently available. The field is expanding all the time, so be sure to check back with Odd Films regularly for even more on the subject. In the meantime, check out these other fine articles: