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Weird, Random, and Obscure Films To Watch With Friends

By Brian Richards | Film | February 19, 2024 |

By Brian Richards | Film | February 19, 2024 |


When the late, great Bill Paxton was interviewed by The A.V. Club in 1998 about his upcoming role in director Sam Raimi’s A Simple Plan, he was asked if he was familiar with Raimi’s work before the two of them worked together on the film. Paxton’s response:

Bill Paxton: I was. Jim Cameron was the one who turned me on to Sam Raimi. I got a call one day—I’ve told this story, but it’s a good one—a real typical Jim Cameron conversation. “Hey, Bill, have you seen Evil Dead 2 yet?” “No, what’s Evil Dead 2?” “I’ll pick you up in 15 minutes.” Click. We drove out to East L.A., to some 99-cent house, five o’clock in the afternoon. We sit down and he goes, “Watch this.” And at the end, he goes, “This guy’s a hell of a filmmaker. It’s not every day that you see a movie that starts a new genre: the horror cartoon.” The Three Stooges meets Night Of The Living Dead. [Cameron] was a great admirer of Sam’s, so after that, I was really aware of his work.

One of the best and most fun things that friends will often do to strengthen their bonds is for one of them to introduce the other to something that they like or love, with the hope that their friend will also like it or love it, and give them something new to enjoy and geek out over. Whether it’s music, movies, or literature of all kinds, it can be wonderful to discover something that brings you joy, and successfully attempt to spread that same joy to the people you know so that you can appreciate it together. Sometimes it works, and you discover new and awesome things like John Wick, or Radiohead’s OK Computer, or even Tommy Wiseau’s The Room. And sometimes it doesn’t work, and you end up watching something that will not only make you question your friend’s taste in entertainment but will immediately make you want to wash your eyes with bleach, like Kevin Smith’s Tusk. (Seriously, that movie was ugly, cruel, and just plain f—-ing horrible, and not since I drank my first/last/only Car Bomb have I consumed something that instantly made me feel both disgust and regret.)

Last week, actress-writer-director Julia Marchese (who I also wrote about when she asked Twitter to share their favorite films that ended up languishing in Development Hell) posed this question to the people of Film Twitter:


There were many answers to Julia’s question, and here are just a few of them. Some of these weird and obscure films are ones that you’ve probably seen and are very familiar with, and some of them will make you raise an eyebrow once you read about them, and either seek them out so you can watch them yourself or pretend that they don’t exist and continue watching The Traitors. (FYI: This is not me talking sh-t about The Traitors, mind you, as I just started watching it this past weekend, after seeing so many people on Twitter talk about it nonstop, and now, I am hooked!)

Charlie and Rachel (played by Chad Lowe and Kristy Swanson) are a young couple who are on their way to Las Vegas to tie the knot, only to experience a major obstacle when Rachel is kidnapped and taken to Hell so that she can marry Satan instead, and Charlie must do everything he can to rescue her, in the film Highway to Hell.

If your childhood involved weekly trips to the local video store, be it Blockbuster Video, Hollywood Video, or the mom-and-pop video store that had its section of X-rated movies like Beaverly Hills Cop and Mad Jack Beyond Thunderbone over in the corner that would be separated from the rest of the movies by a red curtain, then you most likely recognize this box art for Highway to Hell staring out at you from the shelves of the Horror/Sci-fi section.


(Yes, those two porn films I mentioned are actually real. No, I will not explain how or why I know that those films are actually real.)

There are many of us out here who enjoyed Venom and Venom: Let There Be Carnage, and how unapologetically goofy those films in highlighting the bromance between Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) and his trusty but deadly symbiote. But for those of you who are still upset and disappointed that Spider-Man’s archnemesis never got the R-rated body horror treatment, then Upgrade, starring Tom Hardy lookalike Logan Marshall-Green, is the movie for you.

Throughout his long and impressive career, Brian De Palma has made many classic films: Carrie, Scarface, Blow Out, Dressed To Kill, The Untouchables, and Carlito’s Way. Then there’s Phantom of the Paradise, which has inspired devotion and discussion like no other film he has made and has gone on to become a beloved and respected cult classic despite its box-office failure during its original theatrical release.

Brian “The Boz” Bosworth was a linebacker with the Seattle Seahawks for three seasons until his career ended due to injury. And like many retired football players, he decided that his next move would be to Hollywood as an action star, which is how he made his acting debut in the 1991 action film Stone Cold, as a cop who is forced by the FBI to go undercover, and take down a biker gang that is planning a political assassination.

48 Hrs. was one of the biggest hits of 1982, which not only launched Eddie Murphy into superstardom but also gave the film’s director/co-writer, Walter Hill, a career boost that resulted in many studios wanting to be in business with him. Hill chose to work with Universal Pictures for his project, a rock-and-roll fable starring Michael Paré, Diane Lane, Rick Moranis, and Willem Dafoe, called Streets of Fire.

When you think of Peter Jackson, your first thought is probably of his incredible, groundbreaking work as director and co-writer of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, or The Hobbit trilogy, or maybe even Heavenly Creatures, which introduced American audiences to Melanie Lynskey and Kate Winslet. But before those films grabbed Hollywood’s attention, Jackson was known for making very twisted horror movies and dark comedies that made viewers say, “What the hell am I watching?!” One of those films was Meet The Feebles, and if you ever wondered what the Muppets would be like if they were the complete opposite of family-friendly and had no Act-Right whatsoever, the film will do anything and everything to answer that question.

Longtime independent filmmaker John Sayles is known for tackling social issues in the films that he writes and directs, whether it’s a major city struggling with crime and corruption (City of Hope), the 1920 Battle of Matewan (Matewan), or a woman ending her marriage to her husband upon realizing that she’s a lesbian (Lianna). The Brother from Another Planet is no different and is about an alien (who looks exactly like an African-American man, and is portrayed by Joe Morton) who escapes from his home planet where he was enslaved and crashes his ship on Earth, where he is pursued by two Men In Black (played by Sayles and David Strathairn).

It’s no secret that the horror genre has helped to launch the careers of some of Hollywood’s best and most successful directors. Peter Weir is one of them, and before he directed films such as Witness, Dead Poets Society, and The Truman Show, he made his directorial debut with The Cars That Ate Paris.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Rubber is about a tire that comes to life, and kills anyone who crosses its path. Seriously, what else needs to be said about it? Either you’re interested in watching it after reading that sentence, or you’re not.

What if Elvis Presley and John F. Kennedy (or an Elvis impersonator and an elderly Black man who insist that they really are Elvis Presley and John F. Kennedy) were not only alive but reached old age and lived in a retirement home, where they joined forces to battle an ancient mummy? That is the premise of writer-director Don Coscarelli’s 2002 horror comedy Bubba Ho-Tep, based on Joe R. Lansdale’s novella of the same name.

Finding someone to fall in love and connect with is never easy. Finding someone to fall in love and connect with right before the world is about to end in a nuclear holocaust is even harder, as Harry and Julie (played by real-life spouses Anthony Edwards and Mare Winningham) are about to discover in Miracle Mile.

Long before he wrote and directed the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy for Marvel and Disney, and before he became the co-CEO of DC Studios who will launch the newly rebooted cinematic universe with his upcoming film, Superman: Legacy, writer-director James Gunn was known for his history of making R-rated dark comedies like Tromeo and Juliet and Slither. His perverse take on the superhero genre was Super, starring Rainn Wilson, Elliot Page, Liv Tyler, and Kevin Bacon.

Other films that were mentioned: Diggstown, Attack the Block, Barton Fink, John Dies at the End, A Town Called Panic, Krull, Shakes the Clown, Night of the Comet, Delicatessen, Nighthawks, Red Rock West, Troll Hunter, and many more.

So if there are any weird, lesser-known, slightly unconventional films you feel like watching, and introducing to your loved ones, you have quite a few options to choose from.