Back-to-back cult-favorites from 1977.
Even if you've ingested a lifetime's worth of gleeful J-horror violence or knowing, Raimi-style bloodletting, nothing quite prepares you for House, Nobuhiko Obayashi's aggressively bizarre 1977 horror/fantasy mindf*ck. Gorgeous and her six jailbait girlfriends shack up at Auntie's mansion for some R & R — though the murderous piano, lampshade, and blood-spewing cat have other designs. Obayashi directs like Orson Welles gone headfirst down the rabbit hole, throwing out green-screens, irises, rotoscope, matte, animation, and dozens of other gratuitous effects. It's a Fun With Genre tutorial, too, mashing up avant-garde, giallo, and '70s Saturday Morning. Speechlessness is understandable, but Janus Films deserves a thousand "thank yous" for unearthing this unlikely stroke of pop-surrealist brilliance. — Stephen Gossett
Pointedly personal and unapologetically polemical, Eraserhead is David Lynch's 1977 invitation into a wonderful well of weird. The offbeat classic is a miracle of mannered mania, with its nonlinear veneer, mise-en-scène nonpareil, and organisms that never seem quite organic. His nervous hero, Henry Spencer, is forced to marry his girlfriend and move her into his one-room residence after learning of his deformed baby. From there, the film becomes a roller coaster of strange sights (Henry's crushed cranium, the cheeky lady in the radiator) and even stranger sounds (interminable mechanical humming, the baby's bracing whine). Through his art-house argot and not-of-this-earth sensibility, Lynch imagines an exceedingly bizarre new world. — Jason Jude Chan