Where did you find your weird movies growing up?

In seventh grade (during COVID for me, also right around the time I discovered MST3K), I would have lunch in my math classroom with my brother and our mutual friend (the rest of the class was remote). While we ate lunch, the lady who supervised us would let us pick movies to watch off of the enormous, terrible Plex Video library. “20 Million Miles from Earth.” “Day of the Animals.” “The Indestructible Man.” “Hercules in New York” (which I am still obsessed with to this day). The terrible 1997 Hallmark adaptation of “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.” “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.”

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Growing up I learned about weird movies from MST3K, USA Up All Night, and late night HBO. That and this amazing video rental place called Video Library in Lenexa KS. That place had everything.

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@schraffster Since your four options were animated films, have you ever seen Twice Upon a Time? I think it’s the best animated film almost no one has seen. Better than a lot of Disney films. Certainly funnier. And in a style no one has ever done animation in since (possibly because it was a huge pain in the ass), using cut out, semi-translucent pieces of paper and an unconventional camera technique. It was made almost entirely in a small house in San Francisco and features the voice of Lorenzo “Garfield” Music. It was taped off of one of the movie channels for me as a kid and I have seen it many times since.

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Edit: This doesn’t tell the whole story, but it’s a pretty good overview. I forgot that Pixar’s Harley Jessup and the directors David Fincher (Fight Club) and Henry Selick (Nightmare Before Christmas) started their careers on the film.
https://www.sfchronicle.com/movies/article/An-animation-film-from-the-80s-finally-gets-a-6577523.php

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If we’re talking Seventies network TV, then the average variety show reached routine levels of oddness which the most committed Euro Surrealist filmmaker could only dream of. :wink:

We all love to shudder and mock a certain Sci Fi Holiday Special, but most of it was standard variety show weirdness for that time and place. And hey, at least it wasn’t Cartoon All-Stars To The Rescue!

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Brady Bunch Variety Hour, anyone?
Or how about Pink Lady and Jeff?

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I watched that premier and remember nothing but roller skates, yet more tepid 1950s pastiches, and terrible, terrible boredom.

[goes back in time and bawls out younger self for not going outside more]

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I’m with the “there were only three or four channels when I was growing up” crowd, but luckily one of those always seemed to have weekend afternoon monster movies. That’s about as weird as it got, though.

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When we got cable, I sat up one night flipping channels only to see that scene from Death Dream in which an undead dude murders the family pet in cold blood. This is why you should not channel surf if you ever plan on getting any sleep at all.

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We also had Sammy Terry coming out of Indianapolis showing late-night weird movies on WTTV 4. He died some time ago, but his son has continued the tradition at film festivals.

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WOR from NYC used to show weird stuff late at night. I think that’s the first place I saw Night of the Living Dead.

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I can now credit my sister with telling me about this weird movie. She liked it, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to watch the whole thing if it has this horrible flute noodling throughout:

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I remember seeing most of it via Sir Graves Ghastly (WJBK - Channel 2 in Detroit) or Detroit TV Thriller Double Feature. (WXON - Channel 20 in Detroit). I credit my grandma with tuning me in. She loved this stuff and so do I!
Sir Graves Ghastly

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I thought of another source - along with PBS and art school, there was the public library, they carried the non-mainstream, the rare and indie films, that stores, and gas stations didn’t.

The one that came back to me was a movie titled The Plumber from Peter Weir… now he’d done Picnic at Hanging Rock and The Last Wave, so he was on my radar, but I’d never heard of this flick (turns out it was made for Australian television).

A woman standing nearby advised me against renting it, “it’s terrible”, she said, and I answered that I liked the director, so I was going to chance it, but thanks. She seemed a little put out that I went against her advice, “all right, don’t say I didn’t warn you” - lol

I wound up enjoying it, it was not in the same league as Picnic, but still was good; a psychological thriller, but absurdist and low key, so I can see why some folks might hate it.

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Remember actually seeing all of Picnic on Showtime. For whatever reason, the folks decided letting us see the whole thing was acceptable. :grin:

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I remember that movie!! I just remember being irrationally happy to hear Lorenzo Music in something that was unabashedly weird. Might need to track this down as an adult :laughing:

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It’s on the Internet Archive.

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Sadly, I was a little too young to catch the legendary Bob Wilkins when he was the local horror host for our area.

My first regular horror host was Whitey Gleason and Frightnite Theater on channel 58 in the early 90’s. Whitey was a local morning DJ who did the whole horror host shtick in his spare time. He never dressed up, but did employ a lot of the same classic gimmicks that other hosts used, including having a “cambot” style camera operator character that he’d talk to, a few puppet characters used in skits, and reading viewer letters at the end of the show.

While it was a long time ago, one of my strongest memories of the show was that channel 58 only had a handful of horror movies in their archive, so several of them got shown multiple times. Night of the Creeps and Hell Comes to Frogtown were two that seemed to pop up nearly every month, and Whitey would always get (mock) outraged when he was forced to view a repeat. In retrospect, I’m sure these were just stock repeat episodes they’d air whenever Whitey wasn’t available to record another episode for the following week.

I’m pretty sure this show is where I first saw Squirm, Deathstalker, Warrior of the Lost World, and a few other of the other more R-leaning post-apocalyptic/horror movies.

After that came the golden age of cable, and being able to watch MST3K, Joe Bob Briggs, and Captain USA. But we did have one more local horror host in the form of Mr. Lobo, who started Cinema Insomnia in 2001 on our local KXTV Channel 10 affiliate in the 3AM movie slot.

I went to high school with the show’s producer, and really wish I’d taped a few of these early shows, since most of them are now missing. The show later moved to over to Access Sacramento, and ran on hundreds of other public access stations around the country, but that first year or so on Channel 10 was what I watched the most since I was still in college and keeping odd hours, where I’d routinely stay up all night and then go to bed at 5 or 6am.

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Would have been the local video store, which Blockbuster killed off. I know a lot of folk have fond memories of Blockbuster- I don’t. They ruined all the indie stores that had gold hidden if you looked.

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Agreed 100% about Blockbuster. They also wouldn’t rent NC-17 movies.

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Our local was Video King. That’s right, the King. Keep your head, rewind.

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