(well let's be fair, otherwise you could have renamed this list 'A Top Ten David Lynch Movies').
There are a few notable absences, so sorry for the lack of: Prospero's Books,
Requiem For A Dream,
Altered States, Brazil, A Clockwork Orange, Delicatessen, Gothic,
Heavenly Creatures, If..., Dark City, The Trial... Okay, I'll stop, but
just to say this list (in reverse order) has been thought about!
eXistenZ director: David Cronenberg
Cronenberg... A master of the weird... eXistenZ is a real oddball of a movie, set in the not
too distant future, and is centred on the release of a new game console. It takes another look at the
whole Virtual Reality idea. There are elements in this movie that were arguably stolen from The
Matrix, but Cronenberg always manages to make things that little bit darker, weirder, a little
disgusting. The two leads (Jennifer Jason Leigh and Jude Law) are both sublime in this movie, there's
a real energy between them and, even when the story really starts to lose the plot, when things start
shooting off at tangents and you can't see any way this movie's gonna resolve itself, well, you take
one look at Ted Pikul (Law), and you realise he's as scared about where this is going as you are.
Weirdest moment: Ted involuntarily tucks into his plate of grotesque looking food,
sucking slime from the carcasses of mutated animals. Chomping away, disgusted, but unable to stop,
and gradually fitting the leftover bones together to create a... Nah, no spoilers here, just go watch
City Of Lost Children directors: Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Stolen dreams, kidnapped kids, midgets, narcolepsy, a circus strongman, cyborgs, Siamese twins and
killer-fleas - this has all the makings of a full-on acid trip. This movie turns left, right and
around in circles. The plot's a little hard to follow at times, but when confronted with some of the
visual delights this movie offers up it all seems worthwhile. It combines the dark evil presence of
Rosemary's Baby, with the overwhelming love and goodwill of
Amélie. Having seen
their earlier work, Delicatessen, I was expecting much of the same. Yes, it is still as weird,
if not more so, but it also seemed a lot more complete to me. 'One' the strongman (Ron Perlman) is a
fine performance. He comes across as slow, yet gentle, and merely ambles his way through this complex
fairytale/nightmare (you choose). Though for my money, the star is Daniel Emilfork, as mad scientist
Krank, with the bizarre ageing disorder for which his only relief is to feed on the dreams of young
Weirdest moment: to be honest, there is no single moment... it's just a bloody
Repulsion director: Roman Polanski
Along with Carrie, this is one of my all-time favourite horror flicks. It manages to do so
much with so little. Carol (played by Catherine Deneuve) is a gorgeous, captivating yet somewhat
disturbing young girl, home alone whilst her sister runs off on holiday with her fianc�. Left with
nothing but her fears and paranoia for company, she begins to crack. I always get the feeling that
there's something in this movie that I can't touch. It's saying something, but I just can't grasp it.
It's set in a seedy claustrophobic apartment, and tinged with a real uneasiness. I've found it
compulsive watching every time. The use of sound, or rather the lack of it in places, is very
unnerving. The cinematography is outstanding, and takes those Hitchcock angles, and twists them a few
steps further. Definitely one to watch alone!
Weirdest moment: the near silent rape scenes, or the constant reminders of how the
decaying rabbit is doing throughout the movie.
Memento director: Christopher Nolan
This one really took me by surprise. I still feel it owes a lot to Fight Club but, that aside,
it's a great idea for a movie. Guy Pearce plays Leonard, a man with no short-term memory. His goal is
to find the man that raped and murdered his wife. He holds himself together by keeping notes,
Polaroid snaps, and for the facts... tattoos. Waking every morning, not knowing where he is, and only
discovering his objective when he confronts himself in the mirror, and reads the story of his life
from his own body. It's a head-trip of a movie, and seems to almost run backwards. If you can, rent
it or buy it on DVD, as there's a special version of the film that's been re-arranged into
Weirdest moment: the final scenes of the film, where everything reaches a new level
Jacob's Ladder director: Adrian Lyne
You're taken into the world of Jacob Singer (Tim Robbins), a man on the edge of sanity. Just a
regular Joe to begin with, but then things start getting strange with flashbacks to Vietnam, old
loves, and his deceased son, along with strange creatures that seem to be lurking in the corners. You
just catch the glimpse of a tail, as it hides itself under someone's trenchcoat then, without
warning, you're pulled into a nightmare world that's not been topped many times since. A very
frightening journey all in all, one of those where you can feel the panic as Jacob realises that he's
really losing touch with reality.
Weirdest moment: Jacob finds himself strapped to a operating table, and being
wheeled through some kind of neglected, blood soaked hospital by facially deformed, nightmarish
After Hours director: Martin Scorsese
People say Scorsese, and you think Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, Bringing Out The
Dead... maybe even Kundun, but quite where After Hours came from, I don't know.
It's not your average Scorsese fare by a long shot. The story centres on Paul Hackett (Griffin Dunne)
who meets a girl, gets her number, and heads over to her place for a date. At this point, everything
in his world turns pear shaped. It's one of those movies playing on the 'just when you think things
couldn't get worse...' idea. It moves effortlessly from one bizarre character to another, all
completely over the top, and the feelings of claustrophobia and paranoia that are welling up in
Hackett become more and more extreme as the movie rolls on. It's a film where you really feel like
it's you stuck in this intense world of black comedy and quirky characters. It'll have you giggling
away like a loon.
Weirdest moment: more a weird character - the, then unknown, Linda Fiorentino
(Men In Black, Dogma) plays Kiki Bridges, a slightly mental sculptress. She's odd to
say the least, and years after seeing the movie, Kiki and her sculptures will be the bits that stick
Dark Star director: John Carpenter
I remember my dad showed me this when I was a little kid. All in all, it's downright bloody strange.
On seeing it again years later, it still sits there as possibly the most oddball sci-fi comedy I've
ever seen. The huge beachball alien is just one of those images that scorches itself into your
psyche, and refuses to ever leave. It's a very low-budget affair, which I think adds to the feel of
the spaceship. There's a real magic to the writing, but that's what you'd expect when you're
combining the genius of Dan O'Bannon and John Carpenter - two gods of the sci-fi genre. The script is
sharp, and just about as black as a black comedy can get. At times you think that it might have just
overstepped the mark, and gone that little bit too far, but then those little touches of extreme
strangeness seem to sit in nicely with the rest of the film. There are few low-budget movies around
that are quite this slick. The conversation with the sentient bomb, hell bent on detonating is
Weirdest moment: the entire movie is a bit of a freak show, but the full-on weird
and scary moment has to be when the alien takes on one of the crew, and manages to trap him in an
elevator shaft. Kinda creepy.
Fight Club director: David Fincher
I really didn't like Fincher's
Se7en all that much, and held
off for ages on seeing Fight Club. My reason? I really don't fancy watching Brad Pitt flexing
his muscles and beating people up. God, how wrong was I! I've always thought the name crippled the
film, but then maybe that's really what makes it! You enter the movie, thinking that you know what
you're going to get. And, to begin with, things seem to be going along just as you'd expect. Then
things get strange. The relationship between the three leads (Brad Pitt, Ed Norton and Helena Bonham
Carter) is electric. I've seen it maybe 20 times now, and I've enjoyed it more each time round. To
explain the plot would kill the film. Go into this one knowing nothing. It's a rollercoaster, it
builds for the first half hour to an hour, then it lets rip - and you're on the shoulder of Ed Norton
as he find his whole existence begin to crumble and reform around him. It's fantastic, ingenious, and
a completely different movie the second time round!
Weirdest moment: okay, so it's not that weird, but its weirdest moment is so
intense, that you can feel your brain really straining to rework the entire movie when it hits it.
When Norton has his moment of realisation, the film really opens up the throttle.
Pi director: Darren Aronofsky
I was scouring the video shop a couple years back, there was nothing interesting about, nothing that
really grabbed me - then I hit upon Pi - a black box with the 'Pi' symbol and the tagline
'Faith in chaos'. I was sold. I never read the back, just rented it and experienced the psychosis for
myself. It's from the same director as
Requiem For A Dream,
and has a lot of the same feel to it, only on a much cheaper budget. The whole film is shot in a very
bleached out black and white. At times, it's hard to tell what's going on, the plot can get a little
confusing in places, but it all comes together beautifully. The soundtrack, as with Requiem,
stands out a mile, and is so intense, yet fits in with the movie to perfection. It's a story of
mathematical equations. Maximillian Cohen (Sean Gullette) is on a crusade to find the 216-digit
number that holds the answer to everything. It's a number that will enable him to decipher what was
once passed off as chaos, and to make logic, and be able to accurately predict the past, present and
future. It really twists you up in knots, this one, but I'll bet you hit the rewind button, then play
it over again once you've finished it.
Weirdest moment: the moment everything becomes clear, and the moment after, when it
becomes too much too handle.
Lost Highway director: David Lynch
Lynch is, without a doubt, the most compelling, oddball, fucked-up writer and director I've ever
happened across. I've been following his career for years now, and it was really tricky to narrow it
down to one movie. But this one is just 100 percent genius. It'll have you lost from the opening
scene till the closing credits. Fred Madison (Bill Pullman) and wife Renee (Patricia Arquette) start
receiving intensely disturbing videotapes through the mail - grainy shots of the couple lying in bed,
taken from within their house. This leads on via much weirdness to another video shot of Pullman
having seemingly just committed a crime. He's then arrested and carted off to jail. Whilst in the
cell, he somehow transforms into Balthazar Getty and, on seeing this, the guards decide to let him
free. Getty turns out to be a skilled mechanic, working in an auto shop owned by Richard Prior... I
could go on, but it'd really not get any clearer.
Lost Highway is literally one of the darkest movies I've ever seen. Almost
every scene has you adjusting the brightness to make sure your TV's not faulty. It's got enough
symbolism and subplots to keep you locked up in a nice cosy padded cell for a year. At times it's
terrifying, at others it's confusing, but it's always Lynch. If you made your way through Twin
Peaks and managed to survive Eraserhead, if you've lurked in the closet through Blue
Velvet and have just returned home from watching
Mulholland Dr... then
this is your final challenge.
Weirdest moment: the conversation with the strange man at the party. He insists to
Pullman that he's in his house, at the very same moment that he's talking to him. He then gets
Pullman to phone home, whereupon the strange man answers the phone.