Hello everyone! My name is Harper, and I’m glad to be back writing “Weird and Wonderful” after a long break. This year, I want to continue sharing films, music, shows, and more that are outside the mainstream. For my first post this semester, here are three out-of-the-box films I watched over summer and fall that I highly recommend.
The Stuff (1985) directed by Larry Cohen
Are you eating it…or is it eating you?
Within the first five minutes of The Stuff, a wandering man finds mysterious white goop on the ground, leans down, and eats it. This campy, satirical horror film asks the questions that’s on everyone’s mind: what if ice cream was evil? Over the course of its tight 87 minute runtime, we follow Jason (Scott Bloom), a young boy whose family has fallen prey to an addicting dessert that crawls in the night. Joining forces with former FBI agent Mo Rutherford (Michael Moriarty) and ad executive Nicole (Andrea Marcovicci), the three set out to stop The Stuff at its source with the help of some wacky sidekicks. I can only describe this film as “David Cronenberg meets The Blob — if the titular blob was a delicious, national sensation”. At its core, The Stuff is a brilliant satire of American consumerism that will leave you absolutely dumbfounded.
The Wizard (1989) directed by Todd Holland
I love the Power Glove, it’s so bad.
The first half of The Wizard‘s plot sounds like a drama: Jimmy Woods (Luke Edwards) suffers from PTSD after a family death, so he and his brother Corey (Fred Savage) journey cross-country to California. On the way, they pick up young drifter Haley (Jenny Lewis), who witnesses Jimmy’s gaming prowess and encourages him to enter a Nintendo tournament. That’s right, this film is actually one big, cheesy Nintendo ad, specifically for Super Mario Bros. 3. Hilariously overt product placement and a bizarre series of events for a gaggle of children will fill you with a sense of wonder at how this movie was ever popular, but its charm will win you over at its heartwarming conclusion. This film also has an insane easter egg for those with a keen eye: near the end, an uncredited young Toby Maguire can be seen in the background — and I think that’s all the motivation you need.
Possibly in Michigan (1983) directed by Cecelia Condit
Love shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg.
This musical horror story is only 12 minutes long, but it’s borderline indescribable. A story about two women, Sharon and Janice, who face the threat of a stalker, this is a surreal experience not for the faint of heart. The editing is unlike anything I’ve ever seen, and the musical motifs are creepier than some actual horror movies I’ve watched. The ending twist will leave you with your mouth on the floor, begging for an explanation. Possibly in Michigan is a delightfully devilish work that challenges representations of women and violence. Bonus points: the entire thing is free to watch on YouTube!