Movies made solely for the purpose of shock value aren't always a good thing. Take a certain controversial anti-Muslim film we've been hearing about lately, for instance. And a lot of gross-out comedies produced in the wake of John Waters and then watered down through the Farrelly brothers heyday are just cheap attempts to garner uncomfortable laughs and shouts of "no they didn't!" But when a filmmaker really has guts or knows how to creatively cause you to cringe for good purpose, that's something any cinephile should like to see.
Maybe not everyone enjoys every sort of crazy or weird or disturbing or completely f**ked-up film, but I believe there's a good deal of worth in filmmakers doing something we haven't ever seen before on the big screen. And while not every director can show us fully imagined planets or come up with fresh dialogue or invent a new camera trick, there's still something to be said for the sick and twisted and bizarre and amazing wonders you might find in the works of Gasper Noe, Takashi Miike, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Alejandro Jodorowsky, and, I'll be honest, a lot of others I'm probably too chicken to even know by name.
Or that I am just unfamiliar with because I've never been to Fantastic Fest. From what I hear, the annual haven for serious genre film lovers, which began today, is the place to go if you appreciate -- I won't necessarily say enjoy or like -- films that push the envelope. I am someone who does, but I tend to settle for the tamer audacity of Lars von Trier and Michael Haneke and stuff that's more surreal over, say, the really insane horror films I hear about from my fellow bloggers in Austin in mid-September. I've never even peeked at The Human Centipede or A Serbian Film or Irreversible or I Spit on Your Grave or Cannibal Holocaust or Salo or Eraserhead. And those are the mainstream ones.
As far as crazy films I like, Un Chien Andalou is probably the answer. I'm boring, I suppose, but it was the first film I saw where I was truly stunned and impressed by how daring and wild filmmakers can be with something that's also watchable. I like Noe's Enter the Void, too, but I don't think that's really crazy so much as irregularly fantastic and beautiful.The craziest film I didn't like is likely Crispin Glover's What Is It?
So, maybe I'll be brave this weekend while so many of my friends and peers are seeing new insane films down in the Texas capital and check out some crazy classics. Suggest some below, but please be gentle.
Which is the craziest movie you've ever seen? Here some responses received so far via Twitter:
And here's the contribution from a friend whose tweets can'e be embedded because he has a private account:
The Happiness of the Katakuris. Gore, Death, Japanese, Musical, Comedy by Miike. Amazing. I also want to put The Wayward Cloud by Tsai Ming-Liang as a tie with #1. Actually, that's my #1.
Join the next discussion on Twiter by following Christopher Campbell (@thefilmcynic) and Movies.com (@Moviesdotcom).