From bizarre sequels to ludicrous B-movies, with the odd utterly jaw-dropping Christmas flick thrown in, here are 25 weird and wonderful films that will make you ask just what on earth the filmmakers were smoking.
Birdemic 2: The Resurrection (2013)
Following the ironic, unintentionally hilarious success of his catastrophic original, which featured hysterically dull driving sequences, awkward dating and avian attackers literally pasted in from clip-art, hapless writer/director James Nguyen decided to have one more bash at man-against-nature horror.
Blessed with effects, acting and dialogue every bit as atrocious as the first film, if anything Birdemic 2 is even worse – and it manages to introduce zombies into the equation.
Rites Of Passage (2012)
Former Heathers star and ever-grinning pin-up Christian Slater has taken some oddball roles over the past 15 years. But his jaw-dropping turn in surprisingly intriguing but utterly crazy slasher flick Rites Of Passage really takes the biscuit.
Slater steps into the shoes of an insane, disfigured meth-head called Delgado, who – driven out of his mind by the death of his wife and child – sports a bizarre hat and wig combo, wields a shotgun, and merrily doles out the c-word to already infuriated women. Oh, and he also has conversations with an imaginary stuffed monkey doll that pleads with him not to go on murderous rampages. So there’s that.
Santa’s Slay (2005)
Featuring demonic deer and some of the most inventive slasher movie deaths in history, here Santa is revealed to be a ruthless killer – and the result of a virgin birth initiated by Satan (seriously).
Prepare yourself for seasonal slaughter as Father Christmas kills-off various innocents in magnificently festive ways: including drowning in eggnog, and death by turkey leg.
Holy Motors (2012)
French actor Denis Lavant (pictured) plays the absurd lead character in this art-house flick, assuming different roles in his daily life: a weirdly memorizing performance that’s both uncomfortable and compelling. Supporting actors include Édith Scob as Lavant’s character’s limo driver, Eva Mendes as a model and Kylie Minogue (yes, really) as Lavant’s suicidal ex-partner.
Lavant’s transformation through his day of varying ‘appointments’ takes him from a motion capture studio to assuming the role of a Chinese gangster.
Home Alone 4: Taking Back The House (2002)
The widely-derided, Razzie-nominated Home Alone 3 was supposed to spell the death of a series that had once delighted so many bloodthirsty, smart-arse kids. But the studio clearly had other ideas.
Cue the release of this straight-to-TV atrocity back in 2002, which relocates Kevin and co to a lavish, hi-tech mansion, and has the obnoxious little twerp work to foil a plot by Marv to abduct a visiting royal family. Because bigger is always better, right?
Exterminator 2 (1984)
The world’s least charismatic vigilante hero returns in a preposterous follow-up to 1980 flop The Exterminator, with Robert Ginty reprising his role as a Vietnam vet who resolves to fight crime.
Once again donning a welder’s mask and picking up his trusty flamethrower, ‘hero’ John Eastland does little more than put everyone he cares about in mortal danger when he takes out a gang leader’s brother. Like the bastard son of Mad Max and Death Wish, only stripped of all style, substance and logic, the carnage that unfolds is just baffling.
The Hebrew Hammer (2003)
Superhero movies are a dime a dozen these days – but we reckon you’ve never seen anything quite like this.
Dressing like the world’s most badass rabbi-pimp, Jewish crime-fighter The Hebrew Hammer must battle to save Hanukkah from the evil clutches of Santa’s son.
The Lion King 1½ (2004)
Timon and Pumba return to re-write the original Lion King – and put themselves centre stage. Taking an eyebrow-raising fourth wall breaking approach with a Mystery Science Theater 3000-style frame, the two are silhouetted against the original film as they watch it back on a cinema screen.
As Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is to Hamlet, so The Lion King 1½ is to die-hard Lion King fans. Watch out for other Disney character cameos at the end.
One of the oddest family films of the 90s – no doubt aiming to piggy-back off the success of Beethoven and Homeward Bound – this is the story of a dog who realizes he is the reincarnation of a man who died in a car crash, and sets off to find his old family.
Samuel L Jackson voices a cool, confident St Bernard that the titular character befriends on his journey of terrifying existensial angst.
This Danish comedy tackles a plethora of taboos. It follows two inappropriate friends (comedians Frank Hvam and Casper Christensen) and a kidnapped 12 year old nephew on their debauched road trip. Denmark’s answer to a Sacha Baron Cohen movie, director Mikkel Nørgaard tries his best to include as many lewd sex acts and bodily functions in the film as possible.
An American remake is now in the works thanks to Warner Bros. with Todd Phillips (the Hangover trilogy) set to direct, but be sure to check out this original version. Not one to watch while eating dinner.
Showgirls 2: Penny’s From Heaven (2011)
Paul Verhoeven’s universally panned stripper drama Showgirls was notable for one of the world’s weirdest sex scenes, among other indignities, but has picked up a loyal cult following since its mid-90s release thanks to a newfound appreciation of its deeper satire. Pretty much nobody expected a sequel however.
So when a spin-off revolving around lead character Penny emerged in 2011, the few who actually heard about it were probably stunned. Interestingly, the Kickstarter-backed parody sees a number of the original cast return, including star Rena Riffel – who also wrote, produced and directed.
The Zombie King (2013)
Co-starring alongside fellow fallen child star Edward Furlong, former Goonies, Lost Boys and Stand By Me actor Corey Feldman looks like Gary Numan on a VERY bad day in ultra low-budget British zom-com The Zombie King, where he portrays an evil voodoo deity who forges a pact with Furlong’s grief-stricken character.
Cue a desperate fight for survival as a bunch of ordinary village folk, including a foul-mouthed milkman, tangle with the forces of darkness. Hmmm…
Santa with Muscles (1996)
Hulk Hogan stars as a drug-dealing millionaire who bangs his head and wakes up thinking he’s the real Father Christmas. Meanwhile, an evil scientist tries to blow up an orphanage so he can get the ‘magic crystals’ buried under it.
Do we really need to say anymore?
Hobgoblins 2 (2009)
Widely considered one of the worst films ever made, ’80s B-movie and blatant Gremlins rip-off Hobgoblins gained widespread infamy thanks to its naff effects, extremely ropey acting and tacky exploitation elements. Twenty years later, director Rick Sloane decided to make a sequel.
Packing an admirable sense of humour about itself, Sloane’s surreal successor uses look-alike actors to play the original characters and maintains the ’80s aesthetic and outfits – even though modern innovations such as the internet make an appearance.
Dead In Tombstone (2013)
Once renowned the globe over for his turns as socially awkward nerds in Weird Science, The Breakfast Club and National Lampoon’s Vacation, it’s fair to say that few would have predicted that Anthony Michael Hall would one day go on to play a murdering Western outlaw whose brother is resurrected after making a pact with the Devil.
Did we mention that said brother is played by Danny Trejo? And that the reason he’s risen from the grave is to take down Hall, and the rest of the gang? Yeah. As bizarre B-Movies go – this is up there.
Hobo With A Shotgun (2011)
Probably best known for his iconic villain roles in seminal sci-fi Blade Runner and classic shocker The Hitcher, a few years back Rutger Hauer quit watching c-beams and decided to kick some vigilante ass in Jason Eisener’s genuinely brilliant spoof exploitation flick.
As the titular avenging tramp, our man faces a hilarious firearm/lawnmower dilemma, tangles with a vile family of gangsters, and finds himself pitted against a couple of demonic mercenary killers called ‘The Plague’. Seriously – it’s awesome.
Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny (1972)
A notorious car-crash of a movie now considered a so-bad-it’s good classic, this low budget children’s flick sees a hapless Santa get marooned in Florida. And it’s totally, bafflingly weird.
Including an hour-long fairytale diversion clearly filmed separately then shoe-horned in, you’ll feel like you’re having the drug-free acid trip of a lifetime.
Our Robocop Remake (2014)
Featuring everything from naff CGI animations to an amazing interpretive dance sequence, this tongue-in-cheek protest against the new Hollywood version comes armed with the rather brilliant tag-line: “If anyone’s going to ruin Robocop, it’s us.”
Packed with bucket-loads of gore and nudity – a move that original director Paul Verhoeven would no doubt heartily approve of – it’s 100 minutes of pure, unadulterated lunacy from 60 different directors.
Almighty Thor (2011)
Featuring a scene where the Norse God Of Thunder uses an Uzi to fight a giant dinosaur, knock-off blockbuster specialists The Asylum surpass themselves with this ludicrous pile of trash.
Villain Loki is a dead-ringer for Gary Newman as he stalks around the modern US, looking moody and slaying random people off-camera. The effects are naff, the acting as wooden as a garden shed, and the fight sequences prove hilariously dumb.
Maniac Cop 2 (1990)
This ludicrous sequel to the original cult favourite sees mega-jawed Robert Z’Dar return as the killer police office of the title. Only this time he’s a zombie. And it’s Christmas.
B-Movie king and Evil Dead hero Bruce Campbell is also back as a cop who thwarted the murderous villain last time round.
Fist Of Jesus (2012)
The New Testament meets The Evil Dead in glorious, gory style. This jaw-dropping Spanish short sees Jesus taking on a horde of rampaging, flesh-eating zombies when his resurrection of Lazarus goes very, very wrong.
Cue the Messiah karate kicking and chopping his way to victory – using giant fish as weapons no less – with Judas acting as his trusty sidekick. It’s 15-minutes of utter, utter madness, and there is currently a campaign underway to turn it into a feature-length film.
The Judas Project (1990)
Another biblical oddity, this is a contemporary re-telling of the Gospel story where Jesus is ‘Jesse’ and Judas is ‘Jude’. What results is a well-intentioned misfire is blessed with one of the cheesiest soundtracks in the history of film.
Set in the present day Deep South, Jesse works all your favourite miracles to the utter, understandable bemusement of everybody around him, while a powerful politician plots the guy’s downfall. For some reason. Imagine George Bush deciding to nail David Blaine to a wall, and that pretty much sums up the whole premise.
The first Tamil superhero movie, Mugamoodi follows a martial arts specialist called Bruce Lee (!) who gets caught up in fighting crime after pretending to be a superhero to entertain kids.
Half action movie, half romance – with musical numbers thrown in.
Rare Exports (2010)
Santa is not the fat, jolly old man we all know and love. Oh no. According to this inspired but thoroughly barmy Finnish comedy, it turns out he’s an evil, child murdering monster who’s been encased in ice for centuries.
Time for a plucky young boy and his reindeer herding community to fight back…
Iron Sky (2012)
It’s 2018, and this Finnish-Australian-German film predicts that the Nazis who fled earth in 1945 to the moon are returning with a space fleet, stronger than ever.
Lunar Nazis should be bizarre enough to convince anyone to give foreign cinema a try, their slogan awkwardly: “we come in peace”.
Additional words by Pippa Day