What do you get the guy whose seen everything?
October 26, 2007 10:27 PM   Subscribe

What do I put in a cult/horror/art/indie film care package for my (really non-traditional) dad that he hasn't seen?

My dad's going through a set of really grisly surgeries and needs entertainment to get his mind off of it, so I want to send him some DVDs. (He can't read, due to an issue with his eyes, as well as the pain killers.)

The problem? He's got awesome taste in movies already and I've sent him everything I think would be just his thing -- and then some.

This is a guy who took me to see LIQUID SKY and THE SHINING when I was a kid. His favorite films tend to be weird-awesome-cult -- FORBIDDEN ZONE, PINK FLAMINGOS, MAN BITES DOG, KILLING ZOE, THEY LIVE. He was very involved in film in the '80s so he's seen most of the "important" cult works from then and before.

He takes great pleasure in exposing the small town biker folks around him to stuff that "blows their mind" -- whether that's MEET THE FEEBLES or Gwar concerts on tape. He thinks Rob Zombie is the coolest ever (he fancies himself an evil hillbilly).

I've sent him BATTLE ROYALE, SKIDOO, OLD BOY, FORGOTTEN SILVER, SERIES 7: THE CONTENDERS to positive reviews. He enjoys things like JACKASS TWO as well as ERASERHEAD. He hated HOSTEL, thinking it was too stupid and exploitive -- not enough plot.

He moved to the middle of nowhere a little over 10 years ago, so anything recent has a better shot of wowing him. He's tended towards American cult, so foreign might have a better shot. He will have seen anything that gets run on standard cable.

He's requested DEATH PROOF and PLANET TERROR. I'm throwing in HOLY MOUNTAIN and MISTER FREEDOM for good measure. What else can I send his way? (I buy media, so things that are available DVD are best, but I'll scrounge up a bootleg if it's perfect.)
posted by Gucky to Media & Arts (51 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
Goremet: Zombie Chef from Hell. It's just awfusome.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 10:36 PM on October 26, 2007

Holy cow. Seems like he's seen everything cool, and Holy Mountain should do the trick.

Tetsuo the Iron Man
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer
Ballad of Narayama (the Ogata Ken version) [has a brutal sequence where several people are buried alive]
Kwaidan [beautiful beautiful color]
Spirited Away
Fires on the Plain [cannibalism]
posted by KokuRyu at 10:40 PM on October 26, 2007

Does he understand French? If so Eyes Without a Face. Has he seen Targets with Boris Karloff?
posted by brujita at 10:42 PM on October 26, 2007

six string samurai?
posted by juv3nal at 10:53 PM on October 26, 2007

Takashi Miike's Gozu.
posted by dong_resin at 10:53 PM on October 26, 2007

Has he any interest in cartoons? I wholeheartedly recommend The Maxx, but it's only on vhs as far as I know.

The late Barry Stigler does the most amazing evil-voice ever as Mr. Gone.
posted by juv3nal at 11:01 PM on October 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

Takashi Miike's Gozu.

I was thinking something by Miike, but chances are he doesn't speak Japanese, and if he can't read, subtitles are probably out.
posted by juv3nal at 11:03 PM on October 26, 2007

In the vein of some of the Japanese movies you've sent him, Audition and Ichi the Killer would be good.

Holy Mountain, as you suggested, would be good, as would anything else by Jodorowski, although given your description of your dad, I can't imagine he's not already familiar with Santa Sangre.

What about some of John Carpenter's more recent or more obscure stuff? Ghosts of Mars was fun gory science fiction horror, not groundbreaking or anything but at least reasonably amusing, Vampires had some kick-ass James Woods bits, and In the Mouth of Madness is a brilliant homage to H.P. Lovecraft that's actually really creepy and chilling.

For gore stuff, the Saw series is more plot-focused than Hostel while still featuring lots of cringe-inducing gore. The second film in the series is my favorite, personally. The remake of The Hills Have Eyes is predictable, but also has some interesting visuals; although I thought the acting and story were workmanlike, at best, I really enjoyed the movie's desert mutant hillbilly aesthetic.

Also, has he seen The Descent? That's some good shit right there, complete with edge-of-your-seat action sequences, a growing sense of paranoia and claustrophobia, and a couple of moments that really made me jump.

Incidentally, your dad sounds really cool. I want to hang out with him. Sorry he's got to go through all that surgery, and here's to a quicker-than-expected recovery.
posted by infinitywaltz at 11:06 PM on October 26, 2007

Godard's Weekend
posted by Bigfoot Mandala at 11:15 PM on October 26, 2007

Check out the programs for recent film festivals in major cities for more ideas. The more critically-acclaimed filmmakers are usually identified as such in the blurbs.

And I recommend the rest of Park Chan-wook's films, too. Oldboy is the most well-known, but I really liked Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance. (Lady Vengeance was weaker, I thought.)
posted by desuetude at 11:21 PM on October 26, 2007

posted by bruce at 11:23 PM on October 26, 2007

There's a pretty good documentary coming out on DVD pretty soon called Midnight Movies that I watched today. He might find it interesting. It covers the beginning of the midnight movies craze, with segements on El Topo, Night of the Living Dead, Pink Flamingos, The Harder They Come, Rocky Horror Picture Show and Eraserhead. (Also, inviews with all the masterminds of same, including Lynch, Romero, Waters and Jodorowski). Good stuff.

I hated it but he might like Inland Empire (a really nice Twin Peaks box set comes out Tuesday if you want to kill a ton of time). The Proposition is way-out violence written by Nick Cave. A little older but new on DVD is Ace in the Hole (the darkest film Billy Wilder ever did).
posted by Bookhouse at 11:47 PM on October 26, 2007

pretty mainstream, but fun:
shaun of the dead
hot fuzz
posted by j at 12:03 AM on October 27, 2007

A lot of the indie and obscure stuff I've taken a chance on in the last couple of years is taking itself awful seriously (eg The Fountain -- argh) for someone who has a healthy sense of humor like your dad. Here are highlights of the last 5-8 years among funny or otherwise culty less-seen films. (Still, he will have seen these if he's been keeping up on the art-house scene at all)

District B13 French action movie. Plotwise standard action fare, but cool stunt sequences involving parkour/freerunning.

Shaolin Soccer and Kung Fu Hustle, fantastic comedy kung fu.

Spirited Away for sure; kids' movie, lots of weird, maintains a sense of possible bad things just around the corner for the whole movie. Other films by the same director are pretty much all great bets.

Triplets of Belleville, again an animated kid-suitable movie, but great, great, great.

Shaun of the Dead British comedy zombie movie.

I assume your dad already knows about Jeunet and Caro, but if not, you DEFINITELY need to get him City of Lost Children and Delicatessen. The film Amelie which was very big in 2001, is by one of these guys; it has some of the same sensibility but is a little more uniformly sweet and palatable to more people.

Children of Men and Pan's Labyrinth were both terrific (though violent) movies that were widely released this past year.

I assume he's seen some of the Charlie Kaufman movies, which have seen pretty wide release but are weird. The Science of Sleep, released last year, was in the same vein though not by Kaufman.

American Movie is a documentary from 1999 about a smalltown guy who's trying to make a movie.

Lost in La Mancha is a documentary about the failed Terry Gilliam version of Don Quixote. (I assume he's into Terry Gilliam to at least some extent)
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:12 AM on October 27, 2007

A Bucket of Blood, a comedy horror about beatnik art (a busboy becomes famous by covering corpses in clay).

Little Shop of Horrors. Jacob's Ladder.

Has he seen Nightmare Before Christmas? Fargo? Fight Club? Brazil? Pulp Fiction? (These being not sooo recent and relatively popular, as 'indie' films go.)

He might also dig Trainspotting, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Se7en, O Brother Where Art Thou? or Rushmore.

Also, it could be cool to give him television series to watch, so I'd recommend Six Feet Under.

You could find stuff by browsing titles on Amazon that you know he likes, and checking out the recommended titles or user-created lists.
posted by lhall at 12:13 AM on October 27, 2007

This is England
The Tin Drum
American Psycho
Dead Man
Rumble Fish
True Romance
Dear Wendy
Jacob's Ladder
Reefer Madness
posted by evil holiday magic at 12:18 AM on October 27, 2007

Seconding 'City of Lost Children' and 'Delicatessen'
posted by Paragon at 12:54 AM on October 27, 2007

I'm assuming he's seen things like Blue Velvet, Donnie Darko, Memento, Requiem for a Dream, Wild at Heart, American Psycho and The Cook, the Thief, his Wife and her Lover.

LobsterMitten has some good suggestions (Pan's Labyrinth and Shaun of the Dead are fantastic). Here are some other ones, though while not horror movies, he might like:

Meet the Feebles

Shakes the Clown



If he likes something a little strange and different, French movies are usually quite good if he isn't against subtitiles.

With a Friend Like Harry - a great thriller

Fat Girl
posted by triggerfinger at 2:29 AM on October 27, 2007

Sorry, I see you've already mentioned Meet the Feebles.
posted by triggerfinger at 2:30 AM on October 27, 2007

Maybe its a little pedestrian but Motel Hell is a darn good movie.
posted by ian1977 at 2:33 AM on October 27, 2007

AND I just saw he can't read either so the French movies are probably out for now.

I promise to read questions more slowly in the future!
posted by triggerfinger at 2:36 AM on October 27, 2007

One more thing, chances are he will have seen it ( I think it was on the sci-fi channel), but if he hasn't the mini-series The Lost Room was quite good.
posted by triggerfinger at 2:42 AM on October 27, 2007

I haven't seen it (only had it recommended to me and read reviews) but the first season of Dexter sounds appropriate.
posted by Martin E. at 3:35 AM on October 27, 2007

Mondo New York (documentary)
Death in Brunswick (comedy)
The Wages of Fear [Le Salaire de la peur] (drama)

The last is in French, but it should be pretty followable without subtitles if he can't read them.
posted by manyon at 4:59 AM on October 27, 2007

Dead Man's Shoes... recent British small town revenge thriller. And everything else by the same director, Shane Meadows (someone has already mentioned This Is England).
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:32 AM on October 27, 2007

You'll find more obscure and interesting horror movies - including reviews - at www.cinescare.com than anywhere else. The author reviews both the mainstream stuff and some very obscure, very cool indie horror films.
posted by ellF at 6:01 AM on October 27, 2007

The Machinst, if you are going to own the CD, because it's rewatchable at least once, taking the plot twist into account on the second viewing.

I forgot the name, maybe someone else can help, but there is a film about some guys sending a time machine back in a time machine that could take many viewings to unravel.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:08 AM on October 27, 2007

Maria de mi Corazon (if you can locate it)
I guess that's the only one I can think of that he maybe probably hasn't seen.

If he's seen all the good cult movies, maybe you can get him some books? I'd imagine he might like a lot of graphic novels out there. The Sandman, V for Vendetta, Sin City, The Crow, The Fountain, 30 Days of Night, Maus. As far as novels, I'm reading The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe right now. It's very good, and dark. A Clockwork Orange is very good. There is tons out there he might enjoy.
posted by gauchodaspampas at 8:17 AM on October 27, 2007

24 Hours of Horror With Eli Roth
posted by hermitosis at 8:37 AM on October 27, 2007

Bad Ronald
posted by goml at 8:57 AM on October 27, 2007

Sorry, I should have said that there are only a FEW poor copies on DVD, but worth the search!
posted by goml at 8:59 AM on October 27, 2007

I forgot the name, maybe someone else can help, but there is a film about some guys sending a time machine back in a time machine that could take many viewings to unravel.

That's Primer... which I thought was a bit over-rated, but that's just my opinion.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:12 AM on October 27, 2007

Send him some french horror movies:

high tension

You didn't really mention westerns, is he a fan of those?

I'd reccomend Once upon a time in the West, the Wild Bunch, which he's probably seen, but maybe he hasn't seen Blueberry (renegade in the states) or even ravenous (blood drinking and western)
posted by Large Marge at 9:13 AM on October 27, 2007

Songs from the Second Floor
Night Watch (I haven't seen, ymmv)
Po di Sangui (this one is *fantastic*, if you can find it!)
A Chinese Ghost Story (maybe he's seen it? it's pretty well known.. but awesome.. especially when there are random songs in the middle of it!)
Hero is gorgeous..
And has he seen the Legend of Drunken Master movies?
posted by citron at 9:18 AM on October 27, 2007

Has he seen all of the Troma movies? I feel like those would be right up his alley, if he hasn't.
posted by god hates math at 9:19 AM on October 27, 2007


DEAD ALIVE! (also called Braindead)
posted by geos at 9:37 AM on October 27, 2007

Since he liked PINK FLAMINGOS, I'd recommend THIS FILTHY WORLD, which is John Waters, straight-up, talking for 80 minutes on a Lower East Side stage about his movies, about Divine, censorship, etc.

I'd also go for almost anything by WERNER HERZOG, but especially his MY BEST FIEND, which is about the bizarre, sado-masochistic relationship between film director Herzog and his "muse," actor Klaus Kinski. Herzog is "high-brow" but totally visceral and anti-ideological.
posted by just another other at 9:41 AM on October 27, 2007

I was focusing on the weird, rather than the horror, aspect. If he hasn't seen 28 Days Later (zombies) he really needs to. Trainspotting and Shallow Grave by the same director are also excellent (though older so he's more likely to have seen them)
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:03 AM on October 27, 2007

Desperate Teenage Love Dolls
Superstar: the Karen Carpenter Story
Actually, pretty much anything by Todd Haynes: Safe, Velvet Goldmine, Far From Heaven...
posted by streetdreams at 10:50 AM on October 27, 2007

Response by poster: A lot of these are great. I'll be digging for a ton of them -- thank you! (And a lot read like my DVD cabinet :) )

He's seen all the more mainstream indie films - Coen brothes, Raimi, Peter Jackson, Cronenberg, but they're all good suggestions.

Westerns: He sent *me* RAVENOUS for my birthday one year. I'll check out BLUEBERRY.

Herzog is a great avenue to pursue, so are the Japanese, Chinese and French films that are more obscure -- as he's been a bit more US focused.

And on hanging with him, heck, if he comes through the surgery OK and you're iever near Buffalo, NY and need a tattoo, you can hang out with him in his tattoo parlor/barn/moonshine bar :)
posted by Gucky at 11:00 AM on October 27, 2007

If you're getting him Holy Mountain (good choice BTW), you may as well get him the new Jodorowsky box set. It's A++ awesome.

Another great box set in the same sort of crazy mindset is the Mondo Cane Collection. If my house were on fire, I'd probably grab this first (after the photo album and children of course). Keep in mind that this one does have a fair amount of animals being killed in it, as well as some unbelievably distasteful imagery. But your dad sounds down with that.

Finally, for the freak who has 'everything' (and no one really has everything, I'm convinced at this point), you might want to forward him a link to The Weird World of 70s Cinema (bootleg stuff on DVDR, I've used it and been very happy). If he likes cult stuff, this site is almost certain to blow his mind.
posted by stinkycheese at 11:24 AM on October 27, 2007

yeah, asian cinema has a *lot* of films that are very ... 80s cult movie like ... two from sion sono that I saw this year and would recommend: Suicide Club, Strange Circus. The former is somewhat poppier.

director-wise, yeah, you can't lose with herzog (the obvious pick for 'cult' being 'Even Dwarves Started Small', although all his films are grand), jarmusch, haneke.

a *fantastic* indie sci-fi film I saw this year was Primer -- would recommend to anyone.

also, I haven't watched it yet, but i suspect taxidermia might fit the bill.

oh fudge. can't read? ... well. hm. primer, and some jarmusch (which it sounds like he's probably already seen) then. maybe A Boy And His Dog? i'll have to think of more quirky english language films I've seen.
posted by fishfucker at 12:34 PM on October 27, 2007

oh, re: westerns -- I see "The Proposition" has been mentioned already, which is *fantastic*, but you also might look into Seraphim Falls, a film that came out quietly in 2006 and which I really enjoyed. Don't be fooled by the presence of Pierce Brosnan -- he is friggin great in this movie.
posted by fishfucker at 12:44 PM on October 27, 2007

American Astronaut.
He might like the lighter stuff in
Cannibal! The Musical
Reefer Madness, The Musical (hilarious, really)
The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra

How's Your News

and for God's holy sake, Wonder Showzen

I'm plowing through this list, myself.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 2:01 PM on October 27, 2007

TV series:
Deadwood, HBO western with lots of cursing and blood

Fishing with John, from 1991 so he might have seen it. Musician John Lurie goes fishing with his friends Tom Waits, Dennis Hopper et al.

Little Otik - Czech. He will LOVE this if he hasn't seen it. Jan Svankmajer directs, stop-motion animation horror. A childless couple brings a tree root to life as a baby, but it turns out to be an insatiable killing machine. If he likes this he should check out other Svankmajer films, and films by the Brothers Quay.

The Saddest Music in the World - Canadian, totally weird in the line of Forbidden Zone. A beer company in the 20s holds an international contest to see which nation has the saddest music in the world. A musical in black and white with weird cuts and a barmistress with a glass leg full of beer. All Canadians I have met find this hilarious, others have mixed reactions.

Cronos - vampire film by same director as Pan's Labyrinth.

Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter - amateurish B-movie; fun.

Bubba Ho-tep - Bruce Campbell as an aged Elvis, and Ossie Davis as an aged black JFK, defend their nursing home from a mummy.

Freeway - cheapo exploitation film starring a young Reese Witherspoon as a runaway - not great per se, but one of those lesser-known oddities.

The Cremaster cycle of art-films by Matthew Barney might fit the bill. They're not stories in any clear sense but they're for sure weird.

Tales from the Gimli Hospital - supposed to be great, I haven't seen it. (maybe old enough that your dad has seen it though)

Riget is a horror mini-series set in a hospital. I haven't seen this one either but it's supposed to be excellent and really creeeepy. (Remade in the US as Kingdom Hospital; I have no info on which is better)
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:13 PM on October 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

A bit lame maybe, but if he likes westerns did he watch Firefly or the movie Serenity? Space westerns with a fair amount of killin'.
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:16 PM on October 27, 2007

Response by poster: I think his "can't read" comment is more about the eye strain (as his good eye is being pressed on by a tumor, but should be slowly regaining) and the having to think/focus for too long an idea in books is hard thanks to pain killers.

So, a few subtitles? Fine. All dialog intense in another language? Not so much.

The MS.45 is perfect... too perfect. He did the original poster. He also did THE FOG and FUNHOUSE and about a dozen others. Anytime a horror movie had a cheap poster in the early '80s, my dad was there. Thus the reason I'm assuming most '70s and '80s stuff is off the table and most of the '60s as well. Yeah, I know it's a tricky caveat.

Brilliant thoughts, all of them. Anything I don't send him, I may be getting myself.
posted by Gucky at 4:05 PM on October 27, 2007

I'm not sure how into it he might be--it's mostly a dialogue film, but Spring Forward is an outstanding indie film about men of different generations forming a friendship and coming to understand each other. My parents really enjoyed watching it with me, maybe your dad would like it too.
posted by zebra3 at 11:31 PM on October 27, 2007

Hard Candy?
The Minus Man?
posted by Martin E. at 3:10 AM on October 28, 2007

Might try Matinee, a Mexican coming-of-age/horroresque movie from the 1970s. Another Mefite recommended it a few months ago, might be obscure enough that your dad hasn't seen it.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:18 PM on October 30, 2007

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