Classic Bizarro Movies


Bizarre Black and White Movies from the Past

Okay, I guess not all of the movies I recommend on this page are in black and white, but they ARE all classics of the "bizarre movie" genre. (If such a genre can even be said to exist.)

5000 Fingers of Dr. T

Roy Rowland directed 5000 Fingers of Dr. T, 1953 Dr Seuss film. 5000 Fingers of Dr. T is still available on VHS, and many people in the 60's enjoyed it while taking drugs, but that's illegal now.

El Topo

El Topo is unquestionably a classic of weird cinema. El Topo must be 2 1/2 hours long, and it's a non stop hallucination caught on film. It's great.

Freaks

If you are reading this, there's a 90% chance you've already seen Freaks, the granddaddy of le cinema bizarre. This Tod Browning extravaganza is in a class by itself. Filmed with a troupe of circus freaks, Freaks was a little too strong for modern sensibilities, and it lay buried for a few decades. Freaks is the tale of a high flying hussy trapeze artist who seduces little Hans away from his diminutive fiancee. She marries him for his money, and then she drugs him into submission. The freaks come to Hans' rescue and chickenize the trapeze artist. Zip and Pip are in this. Good stuff. FullMoon pictures has made an awful remake called Sideshow with fake freaks. 1932. One hour. Unrated.

Le Chien Andalou

Bizarre Movies: FreaksSalvador Dali had a hand in Le Chien Andalou, an off the charts strange film that is the cinematic portrayal of something only he understood.

M

Peter Lorrie is a whistling child molester/murder in M, a Fritz Lang talkie. Similar to Freaks, the street urchins in M band together in the cause of justice. Truly scary. When I first saw this, I waited around at the end because I thought the film had broken. Skip the remake from the fifties. 1931. 100 minutes.

Eraserhead

Eraserhead may be the only movie other than The English Patient that I walked out of. Not technically a classic, Eraserhead is in black and white, and it may well have inspired the sets for Pee Wee's Playhouse. David Lynch made this, but he got better. 1978. 90 minutes. Unrated.

Last Year at Marienbad

Last Year at Marienbad is recommended by Jenny, who has impeccable taste. She wrote, "Last Year at Marienbad is a black and white French film from the 60's. A bunch of upper-classers gather for a retreat at a foreboding gothic castle, massive POV shifting, constant voice overs, it's almost like reality stands still, turns in another direction, and then starts again. One of the strangest movies I have ever seen."

Coming from Jenny, that's quite a statement. Now on DVD.

Meshes of the Afternoon

Recommended by Emile Husson, who tells us, "Avant-garde filmmaker Maya Deren crafts a rip-roaring montage set in her own mind and accompanied by a free-form soundtrack of drumbeats, voices and instruments most likely created for the film and destroyed immediately afterwards. Laced with psycho-sexual imagery, Meshes of the Afternoon invites the audience to interpret the images for themselves as Deren wends her way through a series of impossible circumstances that fold into one another in multiple loops and an occasional philosophical figure-eight. This should fill your minimum daily symbolic requirement for mirrors, flowers and hooded figures."

Thanks, Emile! She may have made it all up, but it sounds enticing.

Plan 9 from Outer Space

An Ed Wood extravaganza voted the cheesiest film ever made. Plan 9 from Outer Space was Bela Lugosi's last movie. In fact, Lugosi died during production, and Ed Wood used his dentist as a stand in to finish the film.

Bajrangbali

If you think Americans invented Superman, you've never seen a Hanuman film. This monkey god star of the epic Indian poem Ramayana , has all the super hero moves without having to moonlight at the Daily Planet. Bajranbali is in color and the extra-special effects will compensate for the hard to assimilate myth. Do not watch Bajranbali  under the influence of mind altering drugs. That could prove fatal. Starring the incomparable Dara Singh. 175 minutes. Unrated. Hindi w/subtitles. On DVD/VHS.

4000 Maniacs

Very bloody if I recall correctly.

 

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