Support Aeon Donate now As I was growing up in England in the latter half of the 20th century, the concept of intelligence loomed large. It was aspired to, debated and — most important of all — measured. At the age of 11, tens of thousands of us all around the country were ushered into desk-lined halls to take an IQ test known as the Plus. The results of those few short hours would determine who would go to grammar school, to be prepared for university and the professions; who was destined for technical school and thence skilled work; and who would head to secondary modern school, to be drilled in the basics then sent out to a life of low-status manual labour.
Recommended Angel Heart A PI is hired by a mysterious character to track down someone who disappeared. This person, he's told, is needed to 'settle a debt'.
Strange murderous events seem to follow every lead and things get darker and more violent with each development until everything dives into the supernatural world and stays there.
Voodoo craft and devilish work is at hand, leading man to murder, incest and other violent deeds. Very gritty, stylish and dark with a dark sweaty texture that you can feel, and bizarre atmospheric sequences that all make sense at the end.
Barton Fink An intelligent satire on writing screenplays, pitting inspired work against Hollywood cookie-cutter and commercial pressures.
The uptight, tormented Barton is whisked away to Hollywood to write a pointless b-movie after his plays become a success, and he finds himself in a surreal hell that becomes more and more literal. Small touches such as heat, peeling wallpaper, pus and flames are turned into a full-blown surreal vision in a climactic ending, with a wonderfully enigmatic epilogue that teases with themes of beheaded muses, hell, the devil taking over, and living in a beautifully superficial but enslaving postcard world.
One of the Coen Brothers' early masterpieces, and definitely their most bizarre movie. Beasts of the Southern Wild A truly magical movie that deserved its hype. This tells the tale of a strong-willed little girl and her strict father that live in a poor bayou community in the American South called the Bathtub.
They live behind the levees and are in constant fear of flooding, but are very attached to their homes and lifestyle.
Her father contracts an unknown disease, adding to the fears, but the people are well trained in the practice of toughing it out and ignoring bad news.
The movie is not only seen through her eyes, but also through her mind, combining gritty realism with the unexplained mysterious world of adults, and several stories or warnings become fantastical, imaginary and surreal. When she misbehaves, her fears that she may have broken the world are seen as reality, and beasts of legend turn into symbolic monsters.
A trip across the waters that may or may not be real, leads her to a floating whorehouse where a woman who may or may not be her mother seems to do magical things.
I am usually not a fan of movies carried by children, but this one features a very striking and unforgettable lead, and the magic revolves around her. Bernie French madness in the form of a black comedy.
Bernie is an 'orphan' who decides to leave his orphanage where he has worked all his life, and search for his parents. Trouble is, he is also a paranoid and violent-prone idiot several levels removed from reality. Amongst the things he discovers is that he was thrown into a garbage can as a baby through a garbage chute, but this is obviously the fault of 'them' and not his loving parents.
His father turns out to be a psychotic sodomizer bum, and his mom has succeeded in building a respectable life, or has she? He also encounters a drug-addict, money-loving bitch whom he pays to be his girlfriend, and her sleazy wheelchair-ridden father.
Sparks fly, madness and violence goes rampant, and the movie is full of one shocking, blackly comic and colorful surprise after another. A bit too full of wackos for my taste, but undeniably entertaining if you don't mind trashy over-the-top madness. Compared sometimes to Pulp Fiction for ambiguous reasons but this doesn't have that movie's sense of reality nor its inventive structure.
This is more like a nasty cartoon. Some of Dupontel's subsequent comedies are similar but less nasty and insane. Buddy Boy I suppose it's popular to compare anything slightly weird to Lynch nowadays, but the only movie Buddy Boy compares to is The Tenant. But whereas The Tenant was fatally flawed by Polanski's acting and unbelievable madness, this one is more subtle.
A stuttering, shy and guilt-ridden Catholic man lives with his weird step-mother in a filthy apartment, peeping on his sexy, Vegan neighbour and then developing a relationship with her. He keeps watching and discovers his neighbour's dark secrets Guilt and a fear of hypocrisies lead him to doubt his neighbour's Vegan and loving 'religions' until he, and we, can't tell what is real anymore.What is it about scary movies that is so appealing to us?
Of course, cinematic fear is fleeting. It cannot touch our surface of reality.
Therefore, we love horror movies. Why Our Brains Love Horror Movies: Fear, Catharsis, a Sense of Doom Films like Paranormal Activity 3 still make massive box-office hauls, and science knows why. [Content warning: Discussion of social justice, discussion of violence, spoilers for Jacqueline Carey books.] [Edit 10/ This post was inspired by a debate with a friend of a friend on Facebook who has since become somewhat famous.
Welcome to a new Wait But Why thing: the mailbag. I get a lot of email from readers asking great questions, and there’s just not time to give most of them a proper answer. Unless, of course, I do a full post dedicated to those questions.
So that’s what this is.
When the last post went out, I. IMPORTANT: READ THE FOLLOWING INTRODUCTION TEXT CAREFULLY. WHY? BECAUSE I DIDN'T WANT TO SPLIT THE LIST SO YOU HAVE TO MAKE SURE ALL IMAGES ARE LOADED BEFORE YOU SCROLL DOWN LIKE A PIG!
There are way too many arthouse / surreal / artistic films out there to know where the hell to start. This time of year, thrillseekers can enjoy horror movies, haunted houses, and prices so low, it’s scary. But if fear is a natural survival response to a .