help me make an indie rock bar a little more surreal
May 16, 2008 11:46 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for something really freaky to put on the tv at the bar I work at; video imagery to really make some hipster indie rocker kids say wtf when they notice it playing in the background-"holy mountain" and svenmahers"alice" are my usual standbys, but I know you Mefites know just the thing to make a standard night watching post rock bands just a little stranger.what visuals would you use, remembering that the sound of the movie won't be heard--
posted by donabean to Media & Arts (76 answers total) 62 users marked this as a favorite
Haven't seen it myself, but I love the electric sheep screensaver and they put out a high res dvd.
posted by phrontist at 12:45 AM on May 17, 2008

un chien andalou
posted by phrontist at 12:51 AM on May 17, 2008

Oh, and if straight up porn is allowed, this seems pretty hard to top.
posted by phrontist at 12:53 AM on May 17, 2008 [6 favorites]

Damn, phrontist beat me to un chien andalou. Ditto that, then.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 12:54 AM on May 17, 2008

Powers of 10 will blooooow yourrrr miiiiiiiiiiiiind.
posted by phrontist at 1:11 AM on May 17, 2008

actually Beyond the Valley of the Dolls is pretty good for pure visual wtf?

also, Jan Svankmeyer's Conspiritors of Pleasure.
posted by xz at 1:12 AM on May 17, 2008

Providing that your clientele is cool with many boobs and much blood, THIS dvd compilation of B-horror trailers never fails to please.
posted by rhinny at 1:22 AM on May 17, 2008

Off the top of my head: Jon Moritsugu's Mod Fuck Explosion and Pier Paolo Pasolini's Salo The 120 Days Of Sodom.
posted by ISeemToBeAVerb at 1:23 AM on May 17, 2008

Daft Punk's Electroma was made almost solely for this reason, as far as I can tell.

But I would go for One Million Years BC, pure badly acted, wtf? goodness.
posted by munchbunch at 1:58 AM on May 17, 2008


You can thank me later. ;)
posted by jmnugent at 2:07 AM on May 17, 2008

How could I forget John Waters' Pink Flamingos

"A particularly notorious scene from Pink Flamingos, simply added as a non sequitur to film's end, featured — in one continuous take without special effects — a small dog defecating and Divine eating its feces." from wiki
posted by munchbunch at 2:08 AM on May 17, 2008

Fantastic Planet

Barbarella would be fun, too. . .
posted by flotson at 2:17 AM on May 17, 2008

David Lynch's Rabbits.
posted by crabintheocean at 2:23 AM on May 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

And I was just going to say selected scenes from the "Last Temptation of Christ".
posted by magikker at 2:25 AM on May 17, 2008

Go with some non-narrative independent film; it's been decades since I last saw these, but in my memory they retain a power:

Stan Brakhage's "Sirius Remembered" or "Window Water Baby Moving".

Kenny Anger's "Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome", "Lucifer Rising".

Marie Mencken "Arabesque for Kenneth Anger".

And ditto phrontist and flibbertigibbet on "un chien andalou'.
posted by orthogonality at 3:25 AM on May 17, 2008

Anything by the Brothers Quay.
posted by SassHat at 3:41 AM on May 17, 2008

If you have the time and technology to download hi-res files and burn to dvd, browse around and type in some freaky keywords. There's a wealth of material out there that the indiest indie hipster won't be able to reference.

Otherwise, one of Chesty Morgan's films. Freaky sized retro norks are perhaps not suitable for what you are doing, otherwise I'm nthing Un Chin Andalou.
posted by mooza at 4:00 AM on May 17, 2008

posted by Thorzdad at 4:34 AM on May 17, 2008

Franz Kafka's "The Trial" as directed by Orson Welles.
posted by ninazer0 at 4:50 AM on May 17, 2008

posted by flabdablet at 4:51 AM on May 17, 2008

posted by ph00dz at 5:10 AM on May 17, 2008

You can ignore everything above and safely go with Merhige's Begotten. On the back of the box it says, "Begotten makes Eraserhead look like Ernest Saves Christmas." They aren't kidding.
posted by dobbs at 5:19 AM on May 17, 2008

TV Carnage
posted by Gortuk at 5:20 AM on May 17, 2008

The Cremaster Cycle. youtube clips abound.
posted by the painkiller at 5:33 AM on May 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

posted by turgid dahlia at 5:49 AM on May 17, 2008

Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles. A movie that's fucked up in extremely subtle ways. Wonderful film.
Andrey Rublyov by Tarkovsky is filled with oddness. In fact, any old Tarkovsky should serve you well. Or anything by Eisenstein, for that matter.
posted by Kattullus at 6:13 AM on May 17, 2008

Try to check René Laloux's movies, his most well known is fantastic planet but Time Masters and Gandahar are pretty visually arresting piece of animation.
If you're more into shocking people you can't go wrong with Wakamatsu Koji, specially The Embryo hunts in secret, or anything from Tsukamoto Shinya.
posted by SageLeVoid at 6:23 AM on May 17, 2008

The last few minutes of Star Wars IV (WTF ever) played all the time at the club... It was always pretty awesome to look up for the "use the force Luke" part.
posted by zengargoyle at 6:26 AM on May 17, 2008

Jim Henson's early live-action films tend to elicit a grand ole doubleyou tee eff, though I'm sure the effect would be slightly diminished without the sound. Either way, check out Trapped in A Cube.
posted by pedmands at 6:53 AM on May 17, 2008

phrontist, nightdreams will haunt me every morning from now on.
posted by umbú at 6:55 AM on May 17, 2008

the harder they come
(all films i've seen in bars as background visuals; all lent an air of WTF?)
posted by macadamiaranch at 7:06 AM on May 17, 2008

I am surprised that no one has mentioned
The Forbidden Zone!

Richard Elfman movie with Danny Elfman, the Sacred Knights of the Oingo Boingo, Herve Villechaize, and a cast of thousands. Pure magic, even with the sound turned off.

Also, Lucha Libre movies make good background visuals, especially if they are fighting monsters.
posted by Seamus at 7:36 AM on May 17, 2008

If you're going the sexual route, Jack Smith's Flaming Creatures is a bit of a wtf?

And I love Man Ray's L'Etoile du Mer a lot. It's slightly narrative, but still a little out there visually.

If you can find Jean Cocteau's Le Sang d'un Poete, it's a good one too.

Ubuweb (linked above) has a pretty extensive collection of avant garde and experimental films. I know that there are several DVD collections of early (pre 1930s) avant garde films available via Amazon. The later stuff is more elusive.

Good Luck!
posted by theRussian at 7:39 AM on May 17, 2008

Early, silent film horror and scifi classics. Think Metropolis and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
posted by nathan_teske at 7:59 AM on May 17, 2008

Aphex Twin videos: Rubber Johnny (this really does make some people uncomfortable, though of course it's all SFX), Come to Daddy, Windowlicker (the first bit is funny, but the crazy starts about four minutes in), Donkey Rhubarb

Though if your audience is hipsters, a few might have already seen these.
posted by electric_counterpoint at 8:04 AM on May 17, 2008

Came in here to suggest Forbidden Zone, which I see has already been done.
posted by avocet at 8:04 AM on May 17, 2008

Sick: The Life & Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist

I'm so sorry
posted by waraw at 8:09 AM on May 17, 2008

Couple possibly-relevant previous questions:

Trippy movies
Movies and marijuana
Movies and acid

Besides these, I'm pretty sure there was a previous question that is almost identical to yours, but I'm having trouble finding it, so, yeah, maybe I'm hallucinating the whole thing.
posted by box at 8:55 AM on May 17, 2008

Don't know where you are but in the UK's Indian shops you can buy single DVD's of The Big Number from fifty Bollywood films for a fiver or less. The four I have are called A Tribute to Mohamad Rafi and A Tribute to Mohamad Rafi Disc Two ( snappy eh? ) , Bollywood Flashback and Lata Mangeshkar Golden Collection Vol. 2. That thumping sound will be the would be hipster's jaws hitting the floor. Or try 60's japanese gangster films like Black Tight Killers.
posted by Dr.Pill at 8:59 AM on May 17, 2008

Tetsuo the Iron Man.
posted by neckro23 at 9:13 AM on May 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

Putting on Peter Jackson's early, sick puppet movie Meet the Feebles would certainly start conversations.
posted by Schismatic at 9:29 AM on May 17, 2008

Early Betty Boop cartoons.
posted by Andy Harwood at 9:31 AM on May 17, 2008

Dead Leaves. It's plenty weird with the sound, but even stranger without it, probably.
posted by mismatched at 10:13 AM on May 17, 2008

Peeping Tom
posted by charlesv at 10:15 AM on May 17, 2008

It's been said a couple of times already, but I'll say it again just to drive it home:

You cannot go wrong with Eraserhead.
posted by kaseijin at 10:50 AM on May 17, 2008

Songs from the Second Floor - Swedish film from early 2000s - not much of a plot but plenty of odd imagery, unsettling, but not gross. I recommend.

Far as Tarkovsky goes, The Mirror would be my recommendation.. lots of interesting imagery..

Paradjanov - The Color of Pomegranates
posted by citron at 10:52 AM on May 17, 2008

Songs from the Second Floor trailer.. (wow, creepier than I remembered)

I feel like.. um.. the shock tactical stuff has been waaaaayyy overdone

Scenes of Tarkovsky's The Mirror

Final scene of Assayas's Irma Vep
posted by citron at 11:07 AM on May 17, 2008

Salò is a good one; background info at wikipedia.

Also, Cannibal Holocaust oughta do it.
posted by synaesthetichaze at 11:09 AM on May 17, 2008

It could be cool to play things that will remind your hipster clientele of their picture perfect childhoods, or at least the ones they wish they'd had. So, I suggest:

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Note I am suggesting the wacky Gene Wilder version and not the more accurate Johnny Depp remake.
Dark Crystal and Labyrinth
The Neverending Story

With the exception of the first film I listed, I don't think any of these are necessarily spectacular -- but they do have crazy and wonderful visuals. And while kids movies like this are not necessarily "wtf," they are pretty, "dude! check it out!" You could dedicate one night a week to old family films, even going with Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and other more obvious stuff.
posted by brina at 11:26 AM on May 17, 2008

Baraka or the first episode of the Ghost in the Shell 2nd Gig Stand Alone Complex has some great visuals.
posted by P.o.B. at 11:43 AM on May 17, 2008

if you can find a good copy of it, the Nine Inch Nails Broken Movie is pretty WTF as is their Happiness in Slavery video...also most Tool videos...
posted by fogonlittlecatfeet at 11:48 AM on May 17, 2008

I second necrkro23's suggestion, not to be confused with the current "Ironman" movie. This was playing on a loop at the bar in a club my husband was performing in (I think it was Trash Bar in Wburg but I can't be positive).

I am generally not a fan of graphic horror movies, but I could not tear my eyes away from the screen and its stark and stylish imagery has stayed with me. The sound was not on and it didn't need to be, it's visually arresting enough that words would be superfluous.

There's a sped up version set to techno here, if you want to see the movie at warp speed in order to get a better idea of what you're in for.
posted by stagewhisper at 12:30 PM on May 17, 2008

How about some Russian fairytales? The Golden Horns, Viy, and Sadko are all pretty bizarre.

Kenneth Anger stuff: Lucifer Rising, Scorpio Rising, Invocation of my Demon Brother.

Perhaps some Pinky violence? Girl Boss Guerilla, Terrifying Girls High School, or Criminal Woman: Killing Melody.

Paradjanov's stuff is nice to look at: Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, Color of Pomegranates, Legend of Surami Fortress, Ashik Kerib.

There's a crazy Rasputin movie called Agony or Agonia which is fun.
posted by medeine at 1:08 PM on May 17, 2008

The Broken movie hasn't aged well has it? I saw it so long ago..

Another suggestion, Altered States, for creepy quasi satanic WTFery

As I recall, Bruno Dumont's L'humanité had a very high WTF factor in a creepy disturbing way, if that's what you're going for.

Older Sokurov films if you can find them like Days of Eclipse which is gorgeous and sort of postapocalyptic but v long and v slow.. (the featured user comment on IMDB is so offensive, wtf.)

And Richard Kern is shock film w/the cool Sonic Youth + Lydia Lunch connection, I haven't seen any myself.
posted by citron at 1:31 PM on May 17, 2008

posted by Oriole Adams at 1:37 PM on May 17, 2008

Response by poster: wow-thanks for all the great suggestions-so many great new choices-I knew you all would be the crew to ask-anybody know of a good torrent site to find some of the more esoteric films on this list?
posted by donabean at 1:45 PM on May 17, 2008

My linkage didn't work the first time. Trying again: Neighbours.
posted by Oriole Adams at 1:46 PM on May 17, 2008

The Secret Adventures of Tom Thumb. Claymation, but they have actual people in parts, trying to stay as still as they can for stop motion photography. Only no one can be completely still. It's very trippy.
posted by kingjoeshmoe at 4:26 PM on May 17, 2008

Also, Jerry Lewis movies... it's hard to overstate how bizarre they are, especially scenes without context.
posted by Kattullus at 5:29 PM on May 17, 2008

I'd go with silent movies - Phantom of the Opera, Nosferatu. Many are in the public domain so you don't even have to torrent them. Also, any of the Residents' DVDs.
posted by crinklebat at 6:54 PM on May 17, 2008

Definitely Paprika. I haven't had a chance to watch this one yet myself (and I'm a little annoyed that I missed it when it was in the theaters) but there's surreal images a plenty in the linked trailer.

Other animated examples I can think of: Spirited Away, for all the neat monster/creature designs and Gankutsuou. The latter is an anime adaptation of The Count of Monte Cristo with a science fiction bent that replaces cel-shaded animation with bright textures and patterns, resulting in some very interesting visuals.
posted by kosher_jenny at 7:19 PM on May 17, 2008

Seconding the recommendation for Tetsuo. Also the amazing Electric Dragon: 80,000 Volts by the same director.
posted by pilibeen at 9:45 PM on May 17, 2008

Any claymation by Bruce Bickford. The Amazing Mr. Bickford, featuring music by Frank Zappa, should do the trick.
Will Vinton's The Adventures of Mark Twain.
Jac Mac & Rad Boy (wahoo!)
Retro '70s TV ads, ala Shakey's Pizza, Chuckwagon Dog Food, Big Wheel, Stretch Armstrong, etc.
Vintage 8mm home movies of Disneyland.
Technicolor for Industrial Films - 1949 Promo Film and other industrial films.
Dr. Suess' live action "kids" feature film The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T.
Early videos by William Wegman.
...for starters.
posted by prinado at 3:00 AM on May 18, 2008

The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition.

Wizards, or anything by Ralph Bakshi.
posted by Demogorgon at 9:13 AM on May 18, 2008

The art films of Paul McCarthy are so profoundly fucked up that apsd09upaJSZM.x,jc9qw3iej.a/sld
posted by Joseph Gurl at 4:41 AM on May 19, 2008

Like Schismatic said: Meet the Feebles. Hard to top, hard to watch. Also from Peter Jackson: Braindead (aka Dead Alive).

Cemetery Man has some cool visuals.

Voyage dans la lune - A trip to the moon

Stephen Norrington's Death Machine is pretty awesome.

And for bright and eye-catching, I have to go with Invader Zim.
posted by quin at 2:21 PM on May 19, 2008

Thirding Forbidden Zone, seconding Dead Leaves and firsting Cat Soup.
posted by lekvar at 4:21 PM on May 19, 2008

Also: Noiseman Sound Insect. (low-quality YouTube here)
posted by lekvar at 4:26 PM on May 19, 2008

Similar to Tetsuo: The Iron Man, I would recommend the films of Shozin Fukui: specifically Rubber's Lover and √964 Pinocchio (the Prodigy song accompanying the YouTube video has nothing to do with the movie)

note: these are extremely dark
posted by bobobox at 5:54 PM on May 19, 2008

And, oh hey, nobody's mention Lars von Trier yet. His movies are plenty weird. Element of Crime and The Idiots are good places to start for weirdness.
posted by Kattullus at 5:31 AM on May 20, 2008

get a copy of the documentary mondo cane.
posted by austere at 1:24 PM on January 2, 2009

Meshes of the Afternoon by Maya Deren & Possession by Zulawski will kick their asses!
posted by spee at 7:10 PM on January 3, 2009

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