The 5 Most Baffling Horror Movies From Around the World
Out of all the movie genres, horror allows the freest rein when it comes to seriously weird crap; it's difficult to imagine The Human Centipede as, say, a romantic comedy. But chances are the horror movies you've seen are actually firmly at the sane end of the spectrum. Especially when compared to...
A group of schoolgirls goes to visit a lonely old lady at her isolated property, when suddenly God has an acid flashback.
Why It's So Weird:
We'll start with the young lady who, partway through the movie, gets eaten by a piano. That's nothing, you say -- you see one "young girl getting eaten by a piano" scene, you've seen them all. Well, what about one where she doesn't really seem to mind?
The rules of cause and effect simply do not apply anywhere inside this particular movie universe. Hausu is less a plotted story and more a movie adaptation of the mental state an Alzheimer's patient achieves on heavy doses of LSD: Not only is logic totally fucked, but nothing is even connected chronologically, and just as soon as you think you're making sense of things, it's 1920 again and that dog is your husband back from the grave. For example, early in the film, a girl goes out to a well to fetch a watermelon she'd placed in there to keep cool. You know, a well-melon. The young woman gazes happily at the sky while retrieving her dank fruit and doesn't even bother looking at the spherical object until -- tada! It's revealed to be her friend's severed head. And then the senility kicks in: Instead of screaming and running away, she stands entranced as the head giggles, raises itself into the air and does this:
Meanwhile, another Japanese schoolgirl is attacked by a pile of possessed firewood, which she fights off with a martial arts display, losing her skirt in the process. She remains in her underwear for the rest of the movie, until being eaten by a lampshade while the rest of the house floods with spewing human blood. Shit, that's nothing. That probably happens so frequently that it's practically a cliche in Japanese cinema now.
It's not just women who suffer insane deaths: The sole male character is turned into a pile of bananas near the end of the film. This has nothing to do with the haunted house (the man is elsewhere) or the film's main villain; it's as if the movie-makers just wanted to throw in a warning about fruit-based sorcery after reading about it in the newspaper that week and becoming concerned.
If an alien who had just landed on Earth cornered you one day and asked, "Hey, what's with all the Internet jokes about Japan being really weird?" you could show him this movie and he would say, "Oh." Then he would leave planet Earth forever.
Hard Rock Zombies (America)
80s hair metal musician accidentally raises the dead with rock 'n' roll. And is a pedophile.
Why It's So Weird:
While watching this movie, audience members might have some valid questions, such as: Why are the movie's main characters all killed by Hitler, a werewolf, a young naked lady and some midgets? Why is half of Hard Rock Zombies composed of video clips taken from earlier in the same movie? Why do some of the zombies move like they're doing the robot, or why did that midget ghoul decide to cover himself with sugar and gradually eat himself over the course of the film? But the most frequently asked question from Hard Rock Zombies' audience is simply: Why did the creators decide to make the film's main love story about a rock musician and his love for a very, very young girl?
This is Cassie, the love interest of the main character and hard rock vocalist, Jessie. No, she's not an unusually immature-looking 23-year-old. She really is about 15 in the movie, but that doesn't stop Jesse from writing love songs about her that include the line "I love you, but you're so young." Which was totally cool in the 60s -- half of all pop music back then was tortured ballads about statutory rape -- but is entirely unacceptable of a modern leading man.
Before the main horror action starts, Jessie battles for Cassie's affections while avoiding the wrath of her father, who doesn't approve of the pure love that blossoms between a mulleted, herpes-ridden guitarist and his school-age daughter. This is a sentiment that runs through the entirety of Hard Rock Zombies: The backward, ultraconservative townspeople just don't understand. Why, they're even determined to ban rock 'n' roll music because of its evil influences. But it's hard to sympathize with the plight of rockers when the rock musicians in question are actually raising the dead with rock while banging underage girls.
Much like in Romeo and Juliet, the love of Jessie and Cassie is cut short when Jessie is disemboweled by a fat Nazi with a lawn trimmer (the director's cut of R&J was way different). Since his rock band had already released their zombie-raising musical spell, though, he and his bandmates are able to come back for revenge. But their victims also rise from the dead, eventually leading to a classic showdown between townspeople, ghouls, Hitler and a crippled werewolf version of Eva Braun. Just because.
Luckily Jessie, inspired by the power of his highly inappropriate, illegal love, eventually overcomes his zombieness and kills Hitler by leading him into a gas chamber. The movie seems to think that's some kind of poetic justice, but in reality, it's just ridiculously offensive to all parties involved: Jews, Aryans, war vets, pedophiles. Hell, even the NAAWW (National Association for the Advancement of WereWolves) is thinking about registering complaints.
Shipwrecked sailors on a deserted island eat mushrooms, become mushrooms.
Why It's So Weird:
Imagine a version of Reefer Madness whose purpose was to warn about the dangers of magic mushrooms instead of marijuana. Now imagine it was made in Japan, so that instead of innocent teens descending into a life of crime, the people who try the hallucinatory drug turn into giant penises and begin kidnapping young women. There -- you have an approximate picture of Matango.
With the survivors trapped alone on an island with dwindling supplies, their society slowly begins to fall apart as they struggle to find food. This is despite the fact that their "we're stuck on an island" problem is largely due to the fact that only one of them is working on fixing their storm-damaged sailboat, while the rest walk around having conversations about the human condition.
WORK ON THE FUCKING BOAT.
Inevitably, despite the other survivors' warnings that he will be kicked out of school and lose his college football scholarship, one guy gets hungry and eats the island's plentiful mushrooms. Immediately he goes crazy and starts trying to shoot people. After this fails, he and his newly acquired slutty girlfriend resort to offering other people the 'shrooms. So what? That just sounds like a heavy-handed 80s PSA, right? But then it gets all Japany: When another character succumbs to the mushroom pitch, we watch from his point of view as the drugs kick in. Everything turns sparkly (awesome) right before the girlfriend tells him he is going to turn into a mushroom, too (still kind of awesome), and then he's attacked by a group of giant lumpy penis-men who are immune to bullets (less awesome).
But rather than resisting, running or at least getting in some last-minute pre-mortem dick jokes, the other survivors just calmly resign themselves to their fate. "They're half mushroom now," says one character casually, referring to the others who had already eaten the deadly fungus. His tone implies he's kind of disappointed, actually; like they were expecting something even weirder to happen, and the appearance of violent mushroom people attacking is just kind of a letdown when you're used to giant radioactive moths and tentacle monsters.
Long Weekend (Australia)
Australian couple tries to resolve their marital problems by shooting Nature in the face; Nature wins.
Why It's So Weird:
Fear lurks deep in the human heart whenever the words "Australia" and "nature" are mentioned in the same sentence, but no one seems to have told that to Long Weekend's protagonist Peter, who spends the first two-thirds of the film in an inexplicable violent frenzy against the natural world. He runs over native wildlife in his Jeep, starts wildfires, and chops down random trees just for the goddamn hell of it. Telling his wife he is going fishing, he wanders off and then starts shooting his rifle wildly into the ocean.
It's such an inordinate amount of rage; it's like nature slept with his wife, killed his father, disgraced his sensei and stole his dog all at the same time. Meanwhile back at camp, his wife smokes pot, masturbates and runs around naked, because she's shooting for first prize in a "most likely to die in a horror movie" competition. It works, because the movie abruptly switches from "slow but artsy character study of horrible assholes" to "The Birds with affirmative action." Everything gets a whack in at the couple: They're attacked by falling trees, ducks, possums, a large growling wombat (just to prove it's Australia) and even a dugong -- you know, those manatee-like creatures that look like dolphins with Down's syndrome -- which pursues them out of the water on its adorable, floppy little flippers.
Long Weekend is what would happen if An Inconvenient Truth damaged the part of its brain responsible for understanding subtlety while simultaneously augmenting the part of its brain responsible for awesome dugong murder scenes. We can only assume the movie failed to achieve box office success due to confused foreign audiences mistaking it for a boring nature documentary about Australia: Nature's Murder Continent.
Mystics in Bali (Indonesia)
Horrible black magic stuff happens to what are either the most unflappable, or possibly just the most stoned, people on earth.
Why It's So Weird:
People in horror movies don't always react in the ways that best ensure their self-preservation -- from refusing to shoot their zombified loved ones, to saying "let's split up" right before they explore the abandoned mental institution -- but they usually react at some point in the movie, even if it's just to register their displeasure at being disemboweled by all the mentally ill zombies.
In Mystics in Bali, however, every single cast member wanders through the film like they're trying to decide whether to switch car insurance companies while stoned, totally unfazed by that fact that an evil sorceress is gradually taking control of a woman's body. Halfway through the movie, while the protagonist, Catherine, is making out with her boyfriend, she suddenly throws up three live mice covered in green slime. They both react like one of them farted quietly and neither wanted to acknowledge it: The two characters merely exchange looks of slight displeasure, and then quickly start talking about something else.
They fear nothing
The main villain in Mystics is the Leak Master, which is both a testament to the importance of the workshopping process (seriously, if you had run that name by literally anybody before basing the movie around it, he would have laughed at you for 10 minutes before asking if you'd taken a blow to the head recently). The Master's "terrifying" signature is her laugh, and about 15 minutes of the movie is composed of her laughing at her own lines while everyone around looks on awkwardly; it's like being locked in a room with Dave Coulier. The Master eventually tricks Catherine into giving her the use of her head, which you would normally assume means some kind of mind control, but Mystics is nothing if not literal: The head promptly flies off Catherine's shoulders, departs the scene entirely and travels some distance to the house of a young woman giving birth, all so it can head-butt another woman through a wall and do this:
We would show you a picture of what happens next, but two separate shots of disembodied heads sexually assaulting Asian women in one article would probably get Cracked on some kind of watch list. Instead, we'll skip to the part when two villagers run in, and react exactly the way one would expect after stumbling on a disembodied head eating an unborn baby out of a dying woman's vagina.
The final, climactic battle of the movie takes place between the Leak Master and a guy we have never seen or even heard of before, who simply shows up and challenges her one day, presumably for shits and giggles. Halfway through the fight, the sorceress transforms into a giant humanoid pig, complete with huge, floppy boobs, and starts firing Star Wars-style force lightning at our anonymous hero, which the film neglected to tell us she could do, until she's suddenly killed by the rising sun, which the film neglected to tell us could defeat her.
As the remaining characters alternate between staring blankly at their feet and off into space like somebody told a racist joke at a party, Mystics in Bali comes to a close.
Read more from C. Coville at bloodslides.livejournal.com
For more foreign movie magic that left us scratching our heads, check out Lost In Translation: 20 Baffling Foreign Movie Posters. Or learn about some laughably bad monsters, in The 5 Most Half-Assed Monsters in Movie History.
What the Hell Did I Just Read: A Novel of Cosmic Horror, the third book in David Wong's John Dies at the End series, is available now!