Twisted and weird, disturbing but not gory
December 21, 2014 5:08 AM   Subscribe

If I like(d) The Babadook, Confessions, Under the Skin, Gone Girl, and Welcome to Night Vale, what should I read/watch/listen to next?

Some data points:
  • Generally I like things that are creepy/weird/twisted in some way, but have zero tolerance for gore.
  • Was a huge X-Files fan back in the day, but think "Pusher" or "Our Town" (good people good food!) rather than the Flukeman or that one with the murderous inbred brothers that I am not even going to link to because the first scene still haunts me and I never watched any further.
  • Similarly, my all-time favorite Stephen King story is "Strawberry Spring", and more recently "A Good Marriage" in Full Dark, No Stars, although I hated the extended revenge fantasy in the same collection that was "Big Driver".
  • Also hated Gillian Flynn's first two books.
  • Used to have no tolerance for works where every character is loathsome (i.e. tried watching Weeds once, couldn't continue) but lately am more open to that.
Three of the books above the fold have movie adaptations that I haven't seen, so there's that. Based on the reviews, The One I Love seems to contain some weirdness that might suit me. Any other ideas? We have both Netflix streaming and Amazon Prime.
posted by Flannery Culp to Media & Arts (26 answers total) 72 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Amendment: we get Netflix discs as well as streaming, so disc-only movies/TV are OK.

Also, I forgot Horrorstör, which was fantastic - minor gore, deeply weird.
posted by Flannery Culp at 5:39 AM on December 21, 2014

I will likely be back with more, but the first thing that jumped into my head was the China Mieville short story 'The Ball Room'. You can find it in his collection Looking for Jake
posted by daisyk at 5:44 AM on December 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Perhaps you would like The Orphanage? NB: there is one gory moment in that film, shortly after a character is hit by traffic. It's a stupid jump scare and you won't lose out if you cover your eyes! The rest of the film is just creepy, mysterious and melancholic.

I also recommend The Insult by Rupert Thomson.
posted by daisyk at 6:02 AM on December 21, 2014

Also, 'Where are you going, where have you been?' (PDF) by Joyce Carol Oates.
posted by daisyk at 6:08 AM on December 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

Welcome to Twin Peaks...
posted by unannihilated at 7:03 AM on December 21, 2014 [4 favorites]

I think that we have somewhat similar taste. The One I Love is fantastic. I saw it at a film festival earlier this year and highly recommend it. At the same festival, I also saw a New Zealand-made black comedy/"horror" called Housebound, which I think might fit with your taste if you can access it anywhere. It was my favourite film of the festival.

I was disturbed but also enthralled by the mini series Top of the Lake. Trigger warning for the plot because it does involve a sex crime.
posted by kinddieserzeit at 7:23 AM on December 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Geek Love by Katharine Dunn

The Last Seduction
The Opposite of Sex
posted by Mchelly at 7:28 AM on December 21, 2014

You need the anthology The Weird edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer.
posted by pretentious illiterate at 7:45 AM on December 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

Emily Carroll comics. A lot are online, she also had a collection released this year.

Kelly Link short stories.
posted by wsquared at 8:20 AM on December 21, 2014 [5 favorites]

Great question! Excited to see what else Mefi recommends.

Black Mirror, streaming on Netflix: "an episodic science fiction show that focuses on the creeping use of technology in a 21st century world. It’s similar in vein to Twilight Zone or even Hammer’s House Of Horror. It’s dark. Cruel. A little fucked up."
The first episode is a little gross, though not gory.

And other recommendations, if you like it.
posted by horizonseeker at 8:24 AM on December 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

The Collector by John Fowles
posted by book 'em dano at 8:53 AM on December 21, 2014

Fringe is similar to the non-gory episodes of the XFiles, and has even alluded in-story about being the next iteration of the XFiles FBI team.
posted by rhapsodie at 8:54 AM on December 21, 2014

+1 on Fringe (but it took me awhile to get into it; once the deeper mythology storyline got going, I was hooked).

+1 on Top of the Lake (but it might be a little tame for your tastes).

I really liked Les Revenants, also on Netflix, though I was a little disappointed with the ending. (I've only seen the French, subtitled version; I know nothing about the various other projects sharing this name/idea.)

I always hesitate to recommend it, since 98% of the population shouldn't go anywhere near it, but Jerzy Kosinski's Steps is...well, here's what David Foster Wallace said about it in a review from 1999:
This won some big prize or other when it first came out, but today nobody seems to remember it. “Steps” gets called a novel but it is really a collection of unbelievably creepy little allegorical tableaux done in a terse elegant voice that’s like nothing else anywhere ever. Only Kafka’s fragments get anywhere close to where Kosinski goes in this book, which is better than everything else he ever did combined.
posted by Bron at 10:07 AM on December 21, 2014

Black Mirror is the most disturbing thing I've ever watched, and super well done.
posted by stoneandstar at 10:49 AM on December 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Seconding Emily Carroll -- some of her works are a bit gory ("Out of Skin" is probably as bad as it gets) but it's more gory in a weird/creepy way, rather than a Saw movies/slasher way. But yes, go buy yourself her collection, Through the Woods right now (except for one story, it's all things that haven't been online). She's an amazing talent.
posted by darksong at 11:03 AM on December 21, 2014

I like twisted and weird but not gory, too. Seconding Twin Peaks and really any David Lynch movie. If you've not seen Lost Highway or Mullholland Dr., you should.

Have you watched any of Darren Aronofsky's films? His movies are NOT horror but tend to be creepy and weird and contain an element of realistic body horror (Black Swan, The Wrestler, Requiem For A Dream) in a dramatic setting.

As for books, I'd suggest Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (but skip the movie. It's a decent movie but IMO kind of loses the subtle, something-is-not-quite-right-here tone that made the book so unsettling).
posted by Aquifer at 11:32 AM on December 21, 2014

If you have the opportunity to see P'tit Quinquin, the slapstick/mystery by Bruno Dumont, don't miss it.
posted by ouke at 12:46 PM on December 21, 2014

Movie: The Skin I Live In available via Netflix disc.
Seconding the book Geek Love.
posted by youdontmakefriendswithsalad at 2:57 PM on December 21, 2014

Let's see: Holy Motors, pretty much anything by Darren Aronofsky (Pi, Black Swan, etc.), Cell 211.
posted by Cogito at 4:02 PM on December 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

posted by pmcp at 6:30 AM on December 22, 2014

Upstream Color, stat. Don't read anything about it before you watch it.
posted by jbickers at 6:49 AM on December 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Frailty. Bad trailer, good movie.
posted by cnc at 12:29 PM on December 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Read: Ben Loorie's Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day is wonderfully unsettling short stories
Listen: Various episodes of the Risk! podcast (previously), such as the Halloween episodes
posted by knile at 12:56 PM on December 23, 2014

Response by poster: You guys are great. For those reading along, recommendations above that I have read/seen and can second:

The One I Love (just watched the other night, SO GOOD)
"Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" - as I recall there is a movie version with Laura Dern that was OK
Emily Carroll comics
Never Let Me Go
Frailty - haven't seen this since it was in theaters, will have to rewatch

Thanks for making my Christmas creepier!
posted by Flannery Culp at 8:21 AM on December 25, 2014

Am I too late to recommend Borgman?
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 3:14 AM on April 12, 2015

Oh, and A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. It's like if John Hughes and Jim Jarmusch got together and decided to make a black-and-white Iranian vampire film. (And got Ennio Morricone to score it.)
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 1:34 AM on April 20, 2015

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