By Donna Bourgois. I’ve done it! I survived Psychfest and its endless days of rain, flooding, and tornados attacking Texas. Unfortunately, there’s another year of waiting for Psychfest, and probably another month of iPhone weather emergency alerts. Enough depressing news, let’s get into what I accomplished this month.

Psychedelic films fall into two basic categories, one based on the era in which the film was made (’63-’72, and with it, a more politically driven plot), and the other being of a more drug-related sort (“trippy” visuals, plot, etc.). Regardless, few within this niche are good psychedelic movies, but the majority of the good happen to also be staples of cinema and my personal favorites. As a result of trying to avoid any repeats, I seriously struggled through watching and hunting down the following films and finally came up short. Which was bound to happen at some point, not too stressed, I’ll bounce back next month.

Next month, I have something planned for the mental health of my boyfriend, as far as films are concerned. I’m happy to return to a far less strict guideline of what I can watch and a list of films that is totally out of my control. I’m living off recommendations for June, and we’ve covered a lot of ground since this project started, so I’m counting on you to have some good suggestions for me. Can’t wait to see what you have to recommend!

Screenshot 2015-05-26 at 1.42.51 PMValhalla (2013)

Directed by Ben Sturgulewski & Nick Waggoner.

Running time 64 min.

Screened via Netflix.

A trippy look into the life of a snowboarder hanging out in some hippy mountside hole. I made the mistake of enjoying it at first until I realized the whole film was a snowboarding commercial with a couple of psychedelic scenes thrown in. I totally stumbled right into it.

The-Girl-on-a-MotorcycleThe Girl on a Motorcycle

Directed by Jack Cardiff.

Running time 91 min.

Screened via Hulu Plus.

This reminded me that psychedelic films can be truly great. The film follows a woman having an affair as she travels between lovers on her motorcycle. Similar to Easy Rider in the obvious ways the film has less to do with war between cultures and more to do with the war on female societal stereotypes.

dcCabD.C. Cab

Directed by Joel Schumacher.

Running time 100 min.

Screened via Vulcan Video.

The movie lacks serious direction, and it’s more all-over-the-place than talking to a preteen who just ran out of ritalin. I know I should justify why I watched this, but alas, we’ve only reached another shameless plug for my podcast Gary Buseytown Massacre. Getting back to the film, it’s terrible and extremely racist.

166780_fullRookie of the Year

Directed by Daniel Stern.

Running time 103 min.

Screened via Vulcan Video.

Guys, have you seen this movie before? It’s hilarious. I was literally dying for laughs because I was in stitches. Apparently the target demographic for this film is “late-twenties, over-worked, exhausted lady”. Be warned: if you actually like baseball or understand even half of the rules this movie will destroy you.

Un_Chien_Andalou2Un Chien Andalou

Directed by Luis Buñuel.

Running time 16 min.

Screened via Vulcan Video.

While I found the film curious and intriguing, I enjoyed learning about Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí’s tumultuous relationship a great deal more. The film is about what you’d expect: Surrealism for the sake of pushing boundaries. But the special features really shine some interesting light on the argument of what makes art, art.


Directed by Vera Chytilová.

Running time 74 min.

Screened via Vulcan Video.

Another film that pushes you to think about women and their roles in society. This film was so controversial it was actually banned because of the behavior of the women in the film. Too much independent thought says late-Sixties government, but have we really changed that much? Last time I checked I still make less than men.

Zabriskie_Point-Main-ReviewZabriskie Point

Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni.

Running time 110 min.

Screened via Vulcan Video.

I like a lot of parts in this, but the film lacks cohesion and though each of these parts are well-shot and perfectly represent the time and mood of the culture, they are all shoved into one film. I would have much prefered the plot progressing as an anthology; I feel that would have been a much more effective film.

Point-Blank-7364_9Point Blank

Directed by John Boorman.

Running time 92 min.

Screened via Vulcan Video.

This is wildly different than all of the other films I’ve watched this month, and oddly enough one that I enjoyed a fair amount. While the film was far less political than most psychedelic films, it did not disappoint on the visual front. If you’re in the mood for a more eccentric Noir-esque film, treat yourself to this gem.

phantom-tollbooth-2The Phantom Tollbooth

Directed by Chuck Jones, Abe Levitow, and Dave Monahan.

Running time 90 min.

Screened via Vulcan Video.

Night One of Psychfest was a wet and muddy mess. Lucky for me I had on boots; the earth was eating shoes like they were HoHo’s. It reminded me of The Doldrums and so I thought I’d watch this. Loved this movie when I was a kid and I still think it’s pretty fun.

HolyMotorsHoly Motors

Directed by Leos Carax.

Running time 115 min.

Screened via Netflix.

Carax does a wonderful job shooting the film and leaving a lot to the imagination, however the freedom he leaves to the viewer is a bit overwhelming as there is hardly a story to follow at all. While the film has some interesting moments, I would not label the film as “psychedelic” or even “good”.

FritzCat2Fritz the Cat

Directed by Ralph Bakshi.

Running time 78 min.

Screened via Netflix.

Wildly sarcastic and wickedly clever, Fritz focuses on the counter-culture, sex, drugs, and racism. The animation style is indicative of the times and reminiscent of some equally satirical New Yorker comics. The film itself is ridiculously crass and offensive but overall well worth watching for its witticisms.

Wake-in-Fright008Wake in Fright

Directed by Ted Kotcheff.

Running time 104 min.

Screened via Vulcan Video.

We’ve all had a booze fueled night or two that stretched into a week long bender, right? As far as boozy benders are concerned this one looks pretty fun, and kinda similar to Mad Max. I guess that’s the Outback for you. Regardless of the lack of psychedelia, the film is pretty entertaining and generally insane.

MV5BMTc2NTYzODc2MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwMzYyOTQ2._V1_SX640_SY720_Fantastic Voyage

Directed by Richard Fleischer.

Running time 100 min.

Screened via Vulcan Video.

This movie is fantastic, and I’m almost certain I watched it during a Biology class in High School. While the basis of the plot is reliant on politics, the film is clearly of the visually psychedelic variety. The majority of it is set inside of a human body, and it’s awesome. It makes me feel like there’s still some joy left in the world.

diabel1Diabel (1972)

Directed by Andrzej Zulawski.

Running time 119 min.

Screened via YouTube.

If you consider yourself a lover of A Field in England or Black Death I may have just found your perfect film. Diabel is almost certainly a basis of inspiration for Jodorowsky, Wheatley, and Smith. While a little jumpy and confusing the film is well-shot and the story is interesting.

thumbnail_21464Area 51 (2015)

Directed by Oren Peli.

Running time 95 min.

Screened via Alamo Drafthouse.

I could make a convincing argument that parts of this film are more psychedelic than others I’ve seen this month, but I don’t want to lie to you. I saw this movie because I happen to be a big time sucker for alien anything. #IWantToBelieve, but what I really want to believe is that all of the good parts of this movie were edited out.

3 Women Short Takes3 Women

Directed by Robert Altman.

Running time 124 min.

Screened via YouTube.

3 Women follows, as you may have guessed, three women and the shifting of their personalities. It’s a threeway personality switch-a-thon! Altman nails the moodiness of the women and builds great tension in his story. However, the story moves incredibly slow and the women are beyond annoying.

a66bdf38f6581b3b39aa90fa8697cb00Acid Delirio dei Sensi

Directed by Giuseppe Maria Scotese.

Running time 92 min.

Screened via Youtube.

As you might guess from the title this film is all about acid. What I found most interesting is that the film is somewhere between a documentary and a scripted film. While this particular style is pretty captivating I found that overall the film was a little too peachy for me. It’s too D.A.R.E. for me.

theredshoes_1The Red Shoes

Directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger.

Running time 133 min.

Screened via Vulcan Video.

An absolutely beautiful film in every way possible. The story follows two young talents, one a dancer dreaming of becoming a prima ballerina, the other a composer in pursuit of his own composition and orchestra. This film is absolutely stunning. No surprise why this landed in the Criterion Collection.

hqdefault200 Motels

Directed by Tony Palmer and Frank Zappa.

Running time 98 min.

Screened via Vulcan Video.

A series of wacky and often humorous vignettes focusing on touring life. The format reminded me of Monty Python at times, but of course, far more psychedelic in visuals. Lots of lava lamp and tie dye effects. Surprisingly, a lot of the jokes actually landed and overall the film was pretty fun and well worth a watch if you’re a fan of Zappa.

hallucinationgenerationHallucination Generation

Directed by Edward Mann.

Running time 90 min.

Screened via YouTube.

With such a promising premise it’s difficult to understand how this movie ended up so blase. Billy Williams’ (Danny Stone) vacation turns into a staycation with his beatnik buddies. Cut off from his folks he makes the obvious turn to a life of crime, getting mixed up with Eric (George Montgomery), who has a certain panache for spiking drinks with LSD.

tumblr_nhgh1pipMg1qlzc4lo1_500 - EditedThe Invasion of the Thunderbolt Pagoda

Directed by Ira Cohen.

Running time 30 min.

Screened via YouTube.

If you, like me, are a big Kenneth Anger fan, you will not be disappointed by this film. Clearly influenced by The Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome, but more like a music video for Merzbo, the film lacks plot and goes for more of a disorienting feel with visuals and harsh noise driving the film.

Konstantin-Khabensky-as-Anton-Gorodetsky-in-Bekmambetovs-NIGHT-WATCH - EditedNight Watch (2004)

Directed by Timur Bekmambetov.

Running time 114 min.

Screened via Netflix.

While not a typical psychedelic movie, or one that could even be categorized as such, it does have a lot of the standard psychedelic visuals. Night Watch is an refreshing and interesting take on the pretty exhausted premise of light vs. dark, good vs. evil. If you’ve been looking for an unique twist on an old story I think you’ll really enjoy this.

heaven-knows-what-venice-film-festivalHeaven Knows What

Directed by Ben Safdie and Joshua Safdie.

Running time 94 min.

Screened via Alamo Drafthouse.

A powerful and beautiful film about a girl, a boy, and heroin. Reminiscent of the 1995 classic Kids, Heaven Knows What follows Harley through the streets of New York after a suicide attempt. It’s easy to see the cadence and mannerisms of people I’ve known in the cast, and thus it’s easy to fall in love with them despite their faults.


Directed by Roger Vadim.

Running time 98 min.

Screened via Netflix.

Not only is this crucial sci-fi, but it’s also a crucial piece of cinema. Widely known for its wacky dialogue and amazing costumes, this film is a visual treat. Barbarella is a classic for a reason and a film that I think everyone should see. It looks like it was shot on a dayglow porn set, and it’s difficult to find a reason not to fall in love.

l-etrange-couleur-des-larmes-de-ton-corps-photo-5142dd660b99fL’étrange Couleur des Larmes de ton Corps

Directed by Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani.

Running time 120 min.

Screened via Netflix.

There are some highly sexualized and very bizarre visuals carrying this equally bizarre film. Like watching a living piece of art, the film relies heavily on intense color and sound to convey a heavy mood that is heavily based on the Freudian school of thought. A wonderfully thought provoking and stunningly beautiful film.

1118_0_screenshot - EditedMoon

Directed by Duncan Jones.

Running time 97 min.

Screened via PSN Streaming.

With so many scifi films being released, each clearly trying to capitalize on what made 2001 so great, it’s refreshing to find one that finally comes close. Comprised of captivating visuals, stellar performances, and a fever dream flow of the plot, Moon is certainly in the upper echelon of the genre.

Hey! Are you on Letterboxd? You should be. Follow Donna’s daily progress over on her Letterboxd page.