Some horror movies are scary. Some ride like roller coasters. Others are cheap and fun and perfect for a date. Some are talkative, smart and sad, with loads to say about the world and our place in it. But some are just really, really weird.
With Ari Aster’s definitively weird Beau Is Afraid coming to UK cinemas soon, here are the 10 most disturbing, unusual, downright weird horror films ever made.
Inland Empire (2006)
David Lynch has done the most for the queer horror genre since his debut, Erasure (about a baby lizard and a woman who lives in a radiator…) cameo without a script; There’s a sort of subplot about an unfinished Polish film being remade after a murder, but it’s really about watching Laura Dern walk through her own nightmares. Or maybe it’s a sitcom with giant bunnies in it. Or a cute monkey. Or the scariest smile ever filmed?
It’s easy to forget just how weird Midsummer really is, seeing as the “crying Florence Pugh” meme has been on every channel since the day it hit, but Ari Aster’s follow-up to Hereditary is something far weirder than they were prepared for. multiplexes. How do you follow a movie that ends with a shrine to pagan King Paimon made from a severed head? How about sewing a man into a bear, putting him in a big yellow pyramid and burning him alive while everyone sings and dances?
Another oddity that often gets a free pass at being a classic, David Cronenberg’s forbidden body horror opus is the kind that predicted the perils of social media in the most disturbing way possible. Sure, it’s all about the dangers of new media and our obsession with violence and porn, but it also features footage of James Wood digging his stomach and speedboating Debbie Harry’s lips on a big rubber TV screen.
The closest thing to E. Elias Merhige’s grainy black-and-white experimental debut is probably the video slaying everyone in the Ring. The first thing you see is God tearing himself apart with a straight razor. A woman falls out of his bowels, flies out of his body and blunders, becomes pregnant, later giving birth to a deformed creature who coughs into his own lungs and is tortured by druids. Mirhag’s metaphysical splatter film later inspired a Marilyn Manson video, which made things much worse. Maybe just stick to the Ring kill video…
Not all horrors have to give you nightmares. some just make you want to never change a car tire again. Quentin Dupierre’s surreal monster movie comes with a twist, as the monster is just a tire named Robert. Roaming silently through the California desert blasting people with psychokinetic mind powers, Robert isn’t even the strangest bit of Rubber. Opening on an audience of people told they’re about to watch a movie about nothing, the (real) film ends with Robert being shot off-screen and reincarnated as a killer tricycle, before everyone in the fake audience starts complaining about the anticlimax. .
Tokyo Gori Police (2008)
How much worse would COVID be if it meant everyone was sprouting chainsaws, robot swords and alien heads from their bodies every now and then? This is the reality of infected future world Japan in Yoshihiro Nishimura’s breathtakingly violent splash. the only horror you’re likely to see featuring a man with a mutated penis cannon, a woman with crocodile mouths for feet, and a rocking chair. human flesh? If you’re a fan, be sure to check out Nishimura’s insane sequel, Meatball Machine. Reject Of Death.
At the same time George Lucas was making Star Wars, Nobuhiko Obayashi was making a movie about a group of schoolgirls who get eaten by a killer piano. Not just the killer piano to be fair, as there’s also a floating severed head that bites bums, an evil mattress and a bleeding portrait of a cat that floods an entire room with acid blood. It’s a creative spin on the movie Haunted House, and it’s now a cult classic thanks to Obayashi’s use of animation and collage special effects, but House is probably best enjoyed with an old bag of LSD.
The Tall Man doesn’t get the credit he deserves alongside Freddy and Jason, but he’s a horror character none the less. Essentially an evil alien puppeteer, The Tall Man made his debut in the first Phantasm film as a man who planned to kill the frenzied children having sex in graveyards, reanimate their corpses into evil zombie gnomes, and then force them to work as slaves for his at home: my return to his home planet (which may or may not be Hell). Four sequels followed, including 2016’s Phantasm. Ravager that ends with everyone driving a classic car with automatics.
“The Beyond” (1981)
This list should have been made by Lucio Fulci. The mad Italian genius behind some of Giallo’s most eccentric deep cuts (see also A Lizard In A Woman’s Skin, Don’t Torture A Duckling, and A Cat in The Brain), Fulci’s masterpiece is about a woman driving is in a rural B&B that also takes place. become a gateway to hell. Far more than just a Daily Mail-level horror video (though it’s a lot: someone even gets eaten alive by spiders), The Beyond still stands as a masterwork of weird horror as it goes. like a fever dream. ; Every slightly incongruous twist drips with blood, color and weirdness.
You know you’re in for something good when the special effects supervisor is listed as Screaming Mad George, the man behind the best episodes of Predator, Nightmare On Elm Street 3, and Freaked. However, he did his best work with director Brian Yuzna, designing effects for a film about a kid who discovers his parents are part of an alien death cult in Beverly Hills that preys on poor people. The film’s final grotesque slime orgy still fills one of the most unpleasantly weird 15 minutes in cinema history.