100 Of The Weirdest Movies Of All Time
Is the titillation of Hollywood production beyond you? No longer interested in just some basic European cinema? Looking for something new, unexplored, and uncharted? Well, then you are exactly in the right place, for we’ve rounded up the weirdest movies of all time that will check each of the boxes of good old kooky surrealist cinema.
We’ve already made a list dedicated to freaky movies, but weird movies fall into an entirely different category. If the freaky ones are often gory or violent, then these kooky gems will most definitely mess with your head, your eyes, or your perception of reality. These unique movies often rely on visual metaphors or hidden meanings, so they are also quite a heavy watch in their own right. No, they most likely will not make you cringe or cover your eyes, but they will nonetheless shake you to your core. And how could they not when you have such grand movies as The Holy Mountain and Inland Empire right at the top with less-known glorious black humor absurdities like Conspirators Of Pleasure or Sweet Movie a bit further down? I think we can agree that this selection will cater to the needs of even the most accomplished cinephile, and if it doesn’t - then add in the unique movies we’ve missed, would you?
So, the weirdest movies of all time are just a smidgen down below, as always. Vote for the surrealist films that tickled your fancy, and share this article with all the cinema connoisseurs that you know!
The Holy Mountain
1973 | 1 hour 54 minutes | Directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky
Starring Alejandro Jodorowsky, Horacio Salinas, Zamira Saunders
The Holy Mountain is a surreal fantasy film that doesn’t follow any conventional rules, fits into no description, and shows us such visuals no ordinary person could come up with. It really isn’t easy to explain what The Holy Mountain is about, but the basis of the story is the search for enlightenment in a greed-fueled, corrupt world. The search starts with a character looking eerily like Jesus, who we know as the thief, meeting a powerful alchemist who later guides our protagonist and seven other people in his entourage on a journey to the Holy Mountain. Each frame in this movie is saturated with symbolism telling the same story in its own right, and you really do have to watch The Holy Mountain several times to understand it all fully. Wait, a correction - hopefully understand at least half of it.
2006 | 3 hours | Directed by David Lynch
Starring Karolina Gruszka, Grace Zabriskie, Laura Dern
Inland Empire is an experimental film by none other than the master of surreal - David Lynch. Inland Empire tells the story of a fading Hollywood star that gets a chance for a career renewal. However, once she starts getting into the character of her new movie, her world turns into a surreal and terrifying mess. And while it does sound a bit like a description of a thriller or a drama, knowing Lynch’s other works, Inland Empire fits right in with all of them. Also, having watched the 6-hour explanatory video on what Twin Peaks is really about, Inland Empire is also most definitely isn’t about what you think it is about. Just like the owls. Nevertheless, Inland Empire is a brilliant movie, but be prepared to use your head while watching it!
1975 | 1 hour 40 minutes | Directed by Louis Malle
Starring Cathryn Harrison, Therese Giehse, Alexandra Stewart
Black Moon is a fantasy horror movie exploring the topic of the battle between the sexes. Somewhat. Okay, so it goes like this - a girl successfully escapes a war where men systematically kill women and vice versa and stumbles upon a weird extended family living in the woods. There’s also an odd black unicorn living with them. And a bed-ridden old woman. And that’s basically it as far as the plot goes because the rest of the story is told through visuals and allegories, and you just cannot explain it! However, this movie isn’t your regular grim kind of cinema surrealism as it also manages to be quite funny at times.
1982 | 1 hour 26 minutes | Directed by Godfrey Reggio
Starring Edward Asner, Pat Benatar, Jerry Brown, all in archive footage
Koyaanisqatsi (life out of balance from Hopi) is an experimental non-narrative film with an original score composed by one of the most influential composers of the 20th century, Philip Glass. The film itself consists primarily of slow-motion and time-lapse images of various natural sites in the United States. Thus, Koyaanisqatsi focuses on nature, humanity, and how the two interact. This experience of a cinema piece was later followed by two more Qatsi series movies - Powaqqatsi and Naqoyqatsi, both of which enjoyed great success among the critics and the viewers.
1930 | 1 hour 3 minutes | Directed by Luis Bunuel
Starring Gaston Modot, Lya Lys, Caridad de Laberdesque
L’age D’or (The Golden Age) is a surrealist satirical comedy talking about the insanities of the modern world (that is, the modern world of the 1930s), the hypocrisy of social norms, and the value system of the Catholic Church. L’age D’or is predominantly a silent movie with only title cards telling you what you are about to see, so don’t expect long explanatory dialogues here. And although this movie has a certain plot, the fact the very same plot was partly written by Salvador Dali might give you a good notion of its surreal qualities. Besides the fact that this film is widely regarded as one of the key pieces of surreal cinema, it is ultimately a movie about love and the human condition.
1967 | 1 hour 45 minutes | Directed by Jean Luc-Godard
Starring Mireille Darc, Jean Yanne, Jean-Pierre Kalfon
Weekend is a black comedy film, and it goes like this - a married couple is going on an idyllic road trip to visit the wife’s parents. However, here’s a plot twist - their trip soon turns into a voyage from hell with terrible traffic jams along the way, a budding revolution, and some cannibalism thrown in just for good measure. Oh, and the objective of this happy little outing is also a nice twist in itself, as the couple intends to kill the parents for their inheritance. Fun, am I right? So yeah, a wonderfully weird movie that you just must watch.
The City Of Lost Children
1995 | 1 hour 52 minutes | Directed by Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Starring Ron Perlman, Daniel Emilfork, Judith Vittet
The City Of Lost Children is a science fantasy film with an original score composed by Angelo Badalamenti (constant collaborator in David Lynch’s works) and costumes designed by Jean-Paul Gaultier (need we say anything about him?). The events here are set in a surrealist society with one mad scientist still standing out of the freaky bunch. He’s determined to slow down his aging by kidnapping children and stealing their dreams. However, he’s soon one kid too far into his quest, which triggers the absolute right guy to stop him in his tracks. Although The City Of Lost Children dons a very complex plot, it is still a mesmerizing and profound watch, even if you don’t understand a good half of it.
1974 | 1 hour 38 minutes | Directed by Dušan Makavejev
Starring Carole Laure, Pierre Clementi, Anna Prucnal
Sweet Movie is an avant-garde surrealist comedy-drama film written and directed by Yugoslavian director Dušan Makavejev. And while you can simply describe it being a movie about two women finding their way to bodily and mental liberation, there’s nothing simple about the actual things it shows. So, we first meet Miss Canada after winning the “most virgin” title and marrying a milk tycoon as her prize. Then we meet Anna Planeta, piloting a boat full of candy and Karl Marx’s papier-mache bust on its prow through Amsterdam canals. It all seems quite innocent until you realize that this movie is, to this day, banned in many countries for explicit views of various fetishes and taboo sexual practices. If you do decide to watch it, don’t do so while you’re eating.
Conspirators Of Pleasure
1996 | 1 hour 25 minutes | Directed by Jan Švankmajer
Starring Petr Meissel, Gabriela Wilhelmova, Barbora Hrzanova
Conspirators Of Pleasure is a black comedy by the Czech cinema visionary Jan Švankmajer. Although all of his movies and performances are breathtakingly odd in a very unique way, Conspirators Of Pleasure might just take the cake. And eat it too. So, here we get to follow six boringly ordinary people with far-from-boring fetishes who unknowingly form a circle bonding them all together in the quest for pleasure. And while reading the words ‘fetish’ might lead you to think that this movie is going to be gross, it is, in fact, nothing of the sort. It’s full of precious weirdness, that very subtle Czech black humor, and it will leave you wanting more of mister Švankmajer’s genius.
Enter The Void
2009 | 2 hours 41 minutes | Directed by Gaspar Noe
Starring Nathaniel Brown, Paz de la Huerta, Cyril Roy
Enter The Void is an experimental art film that is, in fact, a dense psychological drama. The events here are set in neon-dripping Tokyo streets where an American drug dealer is killed after a deal gone awry. Then, his soul observes the aftermath of his death, seeking a resurrection. A large chunk of the movie’s already screaming colors are amplified by it being a hallucination, so it is truly a glorious yet thoroughly disturbing visual experience. However, besides praises for its masterful craft and visuals, Enter The Void also got some criticism for acting and being soapily profound. Nevertheless, it is a movie you won’t forget after watching!
1997 | 1 hour 29 minutes | Directed by Harmony Korine
Starring Nick Sutton, Jacob Sewell, Lara Tosh
Gummo is an experimental drama film set (but not filmed) in Xenia, Ohio, which had been previously struck by a tornado. The loose narrative of the movie follows several of this barren town’s inhabitants as they find destructive ways to pass their time and fill their grimy, nihilistic lives. And while Gummo follows a few characters that take center stage in the events, the plot is also interrupted by vignettes showing us the lives of other inhabitants of Xenia. The film explores plenty of disturbing issues nobody wants to talk about, like drug abuse, violence, homicide, vandalism, mental illness, and poverty, just to name a few. And the realistic way in which Gummo shows all these issues, of course, gained some controversy upon its release.
On The Silver Globe
1988 | 2 hours 46 minutes | Directed by Andrzej Zulawski
Starring Andrzej Seweryn, Jerzy Trela, Grazyna Dylag
On The Silver Globe is an unfinished epic science fiction film adapted from The Lunar Trilogy by Jerzy Żuławski. It goes like this - a group of cosmic explorers crash land on an inhabitable planet after leaving the dystopian Earth. There, they form a society whose religion is based on the mythical tales of an expedition from Earth. Years later, a space bureaucrat from Earth visits the society where he is seen as the long-awaited Messiah. And although On The Silver Globe was premiered in 1988 in its unfinished form with voice-over narration covering the missing scenes, you can still see this movie’s epic qualities that would’ve made it into a science fiction classic.
1983 | 1 hour 27 minutes | Directed by David Cronenberg
Starring James Woods, Debbie Harry, Sonja Smits
Videodrome is a science fiction body horror movie set in Toronto in the early 1980s. Here, a small television channel CEO stumbles upon a snuff film broadcaster. This material, however controversial, helps in sustaining the channel’s life. But, once the CEO discovers the source of the broadcast, layers of deception and mind-control are revealed, which in turn propels him into the world of bizarre hallucination, making him lose touch with reality. Videodrome was an utter box office bust upon its release but has nevertheless gained David Cronenburg plenty of accolades, with critics even naming this movie as his absolute best work. And that’s exactly why, in later years, Videodrome gained a cult-like following.
2015 | 1 hour 59 minutes | Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos
Starring Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Jessica Barden
The Lobster is a surreal black comedy dystopian film with a completely unique plot. It goes like this - in this dystopian present, every single person is transported to a hotel full of other singles. Each of them is given 45 days to find a match, and if they do not succeed, they are turned into an animal of their choice. The leading duo tries quite hard to form a relationship but ultimately ends up in a guerilla platoon hiding in the woods and resisting this institution. Also, you should expect a massive plot twist right at the end. And while this description of The Lobster’s plot might give you an idea of a ridiculous movie, it is, in fact, a deep exploration of the ridiculous social norms in turn. And you know, it is a Yorgos Lanthimos movie so expect no less than perfection.
1998 | 1 hour 24 minutes | Directed by Darren Aronofsky
Starring Sean Gullette, Mark Margolis, Ben Shenkman
Pi is a neo-noir psychological thriller filmed on high-contrast black-and-white film. So, an instantly gloomy feel, you can be sure about it. In Pi, we follow a crazed mathematician in a search for a universal number that will supposedly unlock all the patterns found in nature. In his search, he also explores the themes of religion, mysticism, and the universe, which all make for some heavy material to digest. It’s a terrific Lynchian thriller made on a shoestring budget that will never lose its relevance or brilliance.
2006 | 1 hour 31 minutes | Directed by Gyorgy Palfi
Starring Csaba Czene, Gergely Trocsanyi, Marc Bischoff
Taxidermia is a surrealist comedy-drama film that retells Hungary’s history from the Second World War to this day, employing a very metaphorical way of storytelling. It’s told through stories of three men - a pervert, an aspiring speed-eater, and a passionate taxidermist. Though at times verging on the gory side, Taxidermia still manages to touch serious subjects with wit and unique imagination. So, try it if you have the stomach for it!
WR: Mysteries Of The Organism
1971 | 1 hour 24 minutes | Directed by Dušan Makavejev
Starring Milena Dravic, Ivica Vidovic, Jagoda Kaloper
WR: Mysteries Of The Organism is a fantasy comedy-drama film employing an interesting storytelling device by intermixing fictional and documentary elements. Besides telling the story of the very controversial psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich, it also shows the viewer a story about a Yugoslavian girl’s affair with a Russian skater. Right after the movie’s debut, Dušan Makavejev was indicted with criminal charges of ‘derision’ towards ‘the state, its agencies, and representatives,' costing him a sixteen-year exile, up until the collapse of the Soviet Union, from his home country. So, you can be sure that WR: Mysteries Of Organism is full of strong material and controversial thoughts that are absolutely relevant to this day.
2012 | 1 hour 55 minutes | Directed by Leos Carax
Starring Denis Lavant, Edith Scob, Eva Mendes
Holy Motors is a fantasy drama film that follows Mr. Oscar on one day in his life. The viewer is led to think that Mister Oscar is an actor - he’s transported all around Paris in a limousine, and before disembarking in each new location, he changes his costume. There are nine appointments waiting for Mr. Oscar - from playing the part of a family man to an assassin to a beggar and a monster. However, no audiences or camera crews are anywhere to be seen. Holy Motors received universally positive reviews, with the critics praising its mesmerizing strangeness and spellbinding visuals.
1989 | 1 hour 7 minutes | Directed by Shin’ya Tsukamoto
Starring Tomoro Taguchi, Kei Fujiwara, Nobu Kanaoka
Tetsuo is a cyberpunk body horror film shot in a low-budget, underground production style. The story here is this - a businessman accidentally hits The Metal Fetishist, an extreme sado-sexual, with his car. The Fetishist, of course, sets out to get his revenge by turning the businessman into a monstrous hybrid of human flesh and rusty metal. You can think of Tetsuo as a gory horror movie, but you will also definitely see the dark humor in it, too - a prophecy of what’s to come, maybe?
2005 | 2 hours 30 minutes | Directed by Katsuhito Ishii, Hajime Ishimine, and Shunichiro Miki
Starring Andrew Alfieri, Hideaki Anno, Moyoco Anno
Funky Forest is a surreal anthology comedy film composed of several storylines, some of which coincide, most of them thoroughly comical. These non-sequiturs largely revolve around a character known as Guitar Brother, his older brother, and their portly Caucasian sibling. At first, Funky Forest makes no sense at all; however, with each minute, you grow to like, and later to fully enjoy, the sensation of the unbelievable, comprised of various skits, gags, commercials, and all the crazy stuff you could think of.