Zardoz (1974)

Streaming on Hulu | imdb | trailer

This is mandatory viewing if you are a fan of cult movies. Sean Connery’s outfit alone should convince you. It’s definitely weird as hell, but be warned, it’s a bit dull. I think John Boorman was hoping to appeal to fans of Jodorowsky’s El Topo, as the audiences at that film’s midnight screenings were always stoned out of their skulls. In that frame of mind I would think Zardoz would not be dull in the least. It might even seem like you just saw the sci-fi equivalent of Citizen Kane. Hmmm… I hear pot is legal in some states.

The domestic Blu-ray is out of print. Import available from Arrow.

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Heaven’s Gate (1980)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

Ok, so this movie was one of the epic flops in cinema history. The nutshell version is that the estimated budget was 44 million and the cumulative gross worldwide revenue was less than 3.5 million. Ouch. However, Heaven’s Gate is a damn good film! It’s also bloated, over-complicated, bizarre, and excruciatingly slow at times. I can imagine seeing it in the theater was quite a trial. Watch this in a few chunks, and you’ll appreciate what Michael Cimino was trying to do. Some of the scenes in this movie are just jaw droppingly insane on multiple levels. It’s honestly a must-see work of Anomalous Cinema. I’m just very happy that the director got to see it appreciated during his lifetime.

Blu-ray available from Criterion.

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13 Assassins (2010)

Streaming on Hulu | imdb | trailer

This is easily the best recent samurai film, and it’s also one of my top choices among Takashi Miike’s output. 13 Assassins is fast-paced, well made, and features awesome performances. No, it doesn’t have many of the transgressive aspects that this director is known for, but I barely noticed. This film kicks major ass from start to finish.

Available on Blu-ray from Magnolia.

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Embrace of the Serpent (2015)

Streaming on Amazon Prime and Hulu | imdb | trailer

Here’s a very well-made, history-based, dark, jungle adventure. Well, two adventures. Part of it involves a search for what they refer to in the movie as Caapi (William S. Burroughs called it Yage). If you’ve seen any of the Italian cannibal exploitation movies, this is their grown-up, arthouse descendant (with a bit of Altered States mixed in).

Available on Blu-ray from Oscilloscope.

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Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

If you’ve never seen anything from Werner Herzog other than his many documentaries, this is mandatory viewing. The two standout components of the film are Klaus Kinski’s amazing performance and the beautiful score by Krautrock legends Popol Vuh. Pay close attention to one of the early scenes of a seemingly endless line of people winding around a narrow mountain path. I have no idea how Herzog managed to pull off this shot. It’s one of the most beautiful moments in the history of cinema. Please note that at first the film may appear cropped, but the nearly-square aspect ratio (1.37 : 1) is how it was originally filmed.

Available on Blu-ray from Shout Factory.

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9 (2009)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

Rag dolls vs. death machines after the fall of man. I don’t normally enjoy movies made with young people in mind but this was damn good. It’s is a very imaginative creation from start to finish. Well, there is one moment of Disney-esque happy fluff but it’s over fast. 9 also features excellent sound design. Try to watch this when connected to a good stereo with a subwoofer or the best headphones you can get your hands on. There are lots of lovingly crafted weird sounds to enjoy.

Available on Blu-ray from Universal.

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Annihilation (2018)

Streaming on Hulu and Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

This is a solid, big budget SF adventure film that borrows heavily from Andrei Tarkovsky and J.G. Ballard. That’s not a bad thing. In fact, that’s just what makes it “Anomalous.”

Available on Blu-ray from Paramount.

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The Nightingale (2018)

Streaming on Hulu | imdb | trailer

This is a pitch black revenge film. I’ve seen a lot of on screen nastiness in my time, but The Nightingale made even me cringe. The only flaw of the movie is that it is too damn long. It’s definitely worth checking out if you’ve got patience and a strong stomach.

The Nightingale is available Blu-ray from Scream Factory.

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