There are some films that seem to defy explanation. To try and provide a synopsis is simply impossible because of the wild chaotic nature of the story itself. One does wonder just how the initial pitch for the project went; perhaps it would’ve been just as entertaining as the films they chose to make. Below is a small list of such films I strongly recommend you see at least once just for the sheer experience to be had.
How often do we get a British Sci-Fi? And how often does starman himself David Bowie play the lead? Nicholas Roeg’s 1976 feature is just that film. I hesitate to provide any description of this film since it still completely perplexes my rational mind. But the point is it’s a British Sci-Fi, David Bowie is a shipwrecked alien longing to return to his dying family in outer space. The film also stars Rip Torn and you will definitely furrow your brows at least once whilst watching it.
4. Un Chein Andalou (1929)
This is a film by Spanish director Luis Bunuel and surrealist master Salvador Dali, which is probably reason enough to watch. Perhaps I should give you some form of disclaimer or warning of what to expect from this film. Firstly it’s a short film, roughly 16 minutes in length, it has no plot. I repeat the film has no plot, though I often still go back to it thinking I’ve just discovered the secret to understanding story. It’s a silent film and if you’re watching the original it has a very eerie soundtrack using various sound effects. Dali actually appears in the film briefly as a priest. The film has a sort of haunted quality to it, you feel uncomfortable watching as if you were peering at ghosts. Whilst of course the main actors and filmmakers have long left this life, it’s perhaps interesting to note however unrelated that both lead actors of this film committed suicide. Pierre Batcheff overdosed on Veronal in 1932, Simone Mareuil doused herself with gasoline and set herself on fire in a public square in 1952.
Tod Browning’s movie could well be one of the first horror films. The film is partly inspired by Browning’s experience of being a member in a travelling circus. The film has an interesting take on prejudices and what it means being a social outcast, since in this instance it’s the “normal” girl who the “freaks” must accept into their world. When they discover her betrayal they take justice into their own hands and their retribution is brutal. This culminates in one of the most terrifying scenes in cinematic history. This film is a must see.
2. The Night of The Hunter (1955)
There’s something special about The Night of The Hunter, not least because it is legendary actor Charles Laughton’s first and last directorial debut. It’s a combination of its dark fantasy fairy tale qualities with visceral performances by Robert Mitchum and Shelly Winters. A serial killing sociopath parading himself as a southern preacher, Mitchum said this was his favourite role of all the characters he’s’ ever played. He holds nothing back in his performance. You may not have heard of the film but you most certainly will have seen the famous image of L.O.V.E, and H.A.T.E on the knuckles, well this is where it all began.
1. El Topo (1970)
Alejandro Jodorowsky’s low budget feature is essentially a story in two parts. The first half seems part western part Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby cart To Hades since the protagonist travelling with his son must defeat four great gunslingers. The second half of the story is more about the characters rebirth and redemption from his actions in the first half. Expect everything from lesbians, to midgets living underground, in this surrealist epic.
Legend has it after seeing the film John Lennon and Yoko Ono helped raise funding for its distribution. This should give you an indication of how wild this movie is. If you’re still not convinced, other fans of the film include, David Lynch, Dennis Hopper, Bob Dylan, and Marilyn Manson