A. Loudermilk’s Guide to Movies with Personality


Susan Tyrrell in Forbidden Zone (1980), see Comedy/Drama (A-L)

White Noise (2022): Noah Baumbach’s adaptation of Don DeLillo’s 1985 novel is about an Airborne Toxic Event, specifically a chemical spill from a derailed train, and how a rather quirky family copes with evacuation. See entry at Comedy/Drama (M-Z). Though absurdist in its satire (think Don’t Look Up), White Noise proved a wakeup call after an actual “bomb train” prompted the evacuation of East Palestine, Ohio in early 2023.

Adam Driver and Greta Gerwig head up the Gladney family in White Noise (2022)

RIP Leslie Jordan (1955-2022). Most know him for television’s Will & Grace and American Horror Story, to others he is Brother Boy in the film Sordid Lives (2000, see Comedy/Drama (M-Z)) that spun-off into its own TV series.


Helped by a Kickstarter campaign and John Waters, the documentary on Tura Satana (1938-2011), star of Russ Meyer’s classic Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965) (see Comedy/Drama (A-L)), is still in production as of 2022.


2021 ends with the 50th Anniversary of the release of Hal Ashby’s Harold and Maude, starring Bud Cort and Ruth Gordon—see Comedy/Drama (A-L); also check out the documentary Hal in Documentary A-L


Cult cinema fans mourning Dean Stockwell (1936-2021) will be quick to point to David Lynch’s Blue Velvet (1986), as we should. This is to remind you of or turn you on to some other memorable Dean Stockwell movies. From his child star years, there’s Home Sweet Homicide (1942) and The Boy with Green Hair (a lead role, 1948), from his dashing youth there’s the Leopold & Loebe-inspired masterpiece Compulsion (1959), and from the campy side of 1970s horror there’s Werewolf of Washington (1973). See Classic Era (A-L) and Horror (M-Z).


Hester Street (1975), dir. Joan Micklin Silver: Restored for a 2021 re-release in theaters, the film is also streaming; for more, see The Classic Jewish Film Hester Street Gets a New Life in 2021carol-kane_hester


Carol Kane, one of Quirky Cinema’s Saints of Quirky Cinema

New documentary about the iconically quirky duo Sparks, brothers Ron and Russell Mael, directed by Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead). See Documentary (M-Z). The Sparks Brothers have also written music and screenplay for a 2021 musical titled Annette, directed by Leos Carax and starring Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard.

Tammy Faye Bakker, with husband Jim Bakker, dominated 1980s televangelism until their wildly public downfall. The 2021 film The Eyes of Tammy Faye is named after the beloved documentary The Eyes of Tammy Faye (2000) narrated by Ru Paul. Try binging a triple-feature with Fall from Grace (1990), a TV Movie starring Kevin Spacey and Bernadette Peters. For a combo-entry on all three versions of the Bakker saga, see The Eyes of Tammy Faye in Comedy/Drama (A-L).


Bingo Hell (2021) dir. Gigi Saul Guerrero, starring Adriana Barraza (see Horror (A-L))

Films starring Aubrey Plaza, newest Saint of Quirky Cinema: Life After Beth* and The Little Hours (directed by husband Jeff Baena, 2014 and 2017), An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn (2018),* Child’s Play (2019), Black Bear (2020) (*see Comedy/Drama (A-L))

2020 brought the release of “The Human Voice,” a dazzling short film directed by the great Pedro Almodovar––his first English-language film, not that it is dialogue-driven (a central irony, of course). Starring the very singular Tilda Swinton who knows how to show complexity even through silence.

The Witch of Kings Cross (2020) dir. Sonia Bible (see Documentary (M-Z))

Greener Grass (2019), directed by Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn LuebbeMV5BMmUxNDUxYmMtZTFkZi00NTVlLWI0ZTQtZmRhYzYxNzIxMmYyXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyODY3Nzc0OTk@._V1_

Kajillionaire (2020): Less introspective, slightly opaque new film from Miranda July that doesn’t star Miranda July herself; it’s still just as quirky but characterological and directorial experimentation suggest an expanding cinematic vision. See Comedy/Drama for her films Me and You and Everyone We Know (2005) and The Future (2011).


RIP Sylvia Miles (1924–2019)


Sylvia Miles can’t be dead. She was made of an immortal material. She was fire. She was acid. She should’ve survived the apocalypse. For her most iconic roles, seek out (clockwise): the perverse horror entry The Sentinel (1977), Andy Warhol’s Heat with Joe Dallesandro (1972, see Comedy/Drama (A-L)), John Schlesinger’s Midnight Cowboy (1969), Tobe Hooper’s underrated The Funhouse (1981, see Horror (A-L)), and the big Agatha Christie splash Evil Under the Sun (1982).

Who Killed Mary Whats’ername? (1971) stars Red Buttons, Sylvia Miles, Conrad Bain, Sam Waterston, and David “Bosley” Doyle. A weird and grim-gritty slice of the urban early-1970s.



Disabilities are not quirks, I should say, but there’s a lot of engaging personalities going on in this “indispensable documentary” (Rolling Stone‘s Peter Travers) directed by James Lebrecht and Nicole Newnham. Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution (2020) focuses on not only the camp experience but also those campers who’d later become driving-force activists in the disability rights movement.

RIP: Director Larry Cohen (1936-2019). Longtime psychotronic fave, Cohen’s movies were ever-present in horror sections at video stores in the 1980s and ‘90s. There’s campy fun in the It’s Alive trilogy (1974-1987), an urban “creature feature” Q: The Winged Serpent (1982), a horror-comedy with social commentary called The Stuff (1985), and the Salem’s Lot sequel (1987). See Horror (M-Z) for more on Q and Stuff. Also, see Horror (A-L) for entries on Cohen’s visionary “wtf?”-inducing masterpieces Bone (1972) and God Told Me To (1976).

Larry Cohen Memorial

Please visit my companion website QUIRKY ACTORS, a photo blog starring over 300 quirky, obscure, supporting, or lesser-known actors, from both classic Hollywood and modern-day eras, many of them admired throughout QUIRKY CINEMAs hundreds of entries. Plus find a hardy page dedicated to classic era actors parodied in cartoons of the era as well as a nostalgic page dedicated to retro television actors.

 A. Loudermilk’s QUIRKY ACTORS Photo Blog

Mike Leigh classics High Hopes (1989) and Life Is Sweet (1990). See entries in Comedy/Drama (A-L).

mike leigh

Border (2018): This Swedish masterpiece, directed by Iranian-born Ali Abbasi, features Eva Melander as Tina whose animal-like face and behavior, particularly her acute sense of smell, set her apart at the airport where she works as a security guard. She smells something on one particular traveler that will change her life. Variety described the film as “an exciting, intelligent mix of romance, Nordic noir, social realism, and supernatural horror that defies and subverts genre conventions.”


Frank Capra’s You Can’t Take It With You (1938): A quirk-peppered screwball classic. All thriving under one roof, Capra’s cast of kooky nonconformists tune in, turn on, and drop out—Depression-era style. See Classic Era (M-Z).


Katherine Helmond (1929-2019). Helmond is one of those scene-stealing supporting players most deserving of inclusion in Saints of Quirky Cinema. Her career spanned Hitchcock, mainstream TV, and avant-garde film.

Katherine Helmond

Clockwise from top left: In Hitchcock’s endearing comedy-thriller Family Plot (1976); in her iconic TV role as the matriarch on Soap (1977-1981); as Mrs. Ogre in Terry Gilliam’s wild ride Time Bandits (1981); in her iconic face-stretching scene in Terry Gilliam’s outrageously dystopian Brazil (1985); as ghost lady in Lady in White (1988); as the hotel clerk in Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas (1998). A “familiar face” encountered in unexpected places, obscure film fans might also know her as a racist biddy in The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1974), a podunk mom to Ron Howard in the TV movie Locusts (1974), Lizzie’s sister in The Legend of Lizzie Borden (1975), and a mentally disturbed industrialist’s wife in the obscure ‘80s gem Shadey (1987). For more on the latter, see Comedy/Drama (M-Z).


From the Divine Archive – Divine’s travel makeup case

Do Not Fold, Spindle, or Mutilate (1971) is not a “psychobiddy” entry but close: a psycho pursues some formidable biddies played by (r-l) Mildred Natwick, Myrna Loy, Sylvia Sidney, and Helen Hayes.

Do Not Fold, Spindle, or Mutilate

See Horror (A-L). Hayes and Natwick returned for more in the fun TV series The Snoop Sisters.

A 2014 documentary about veteran character actor Dick Miller (1928-2019). His career spanned nearly 200 films over sixty years, including: It Conquered the World (1956), Bucket of Blood (1959), The Trip (1967), Piranha (1978), The Howling (1981), Gremlins (1984), Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983), and Chopping Mall (1986).


Check out my PopMatters review of Elsa Lanchester‘s autobiography Elsa Lanchester: Herself––originally published 1983 by St. Martin’s Press; reissued 2018 by Chicago Review Press. More than The Bride of Frankenstein, more than wife to legendary actor and out homosexual Charles Laughton, Lanchester was one of the twentieth century’s best kept secrets.

Barbara Harris (1935-2018):

Barbara Harris montage

With Hitchcock on set of Family Plot (1976) (see Comedy/Drama A-L), in Altman’s classic Nashville singing the finale “It Don’t Worry Me” (1975), and in the Disney fave Freaky Friday (1976) with Jodie Foster. A dear, funny person who cared far more about acting than she ever did about celebrity.

Sorry to Bother You (2018) and director Boots Riley, see Comedy/Drama (M-Z)

Why do fans take George A. Romero’s 1978 indie masterpiece Martin so personally?

My essay in PopMatters looks closely at the film, its novelization, its experimental jazz soundtrack, the pop song by Soft Cell it inspired, and a recent book-length analysis.

Martin PopMatters screengrab

“On Lasting Intimacy with a Cult Cinema Vampire”: PopMatters. See also Horror (M-Z).

This 2018 documentary on counterculture-defining director Hal Ashby (1929-1988), among the most beloved of Saints of Quirky Cinema, will hit fans hard in the best ways, opening up understanding of his few but crucial films. See Documentary A-L.


He directed The Landlord (1970), Harold & Maude (1971), and Being There (1979), all included in the Comedy/Drama section, as well as The Last Detail (1973), Shampoo (1975), Bound for Glory (1976), and Coming Home (1978).

Hereditary (2018): A masterful blend of psychodrama and supernatural terror, directed by Ari Aster.


RIP clever, idiosyncratic Margot Kidder (1948-2018), known for playing Lois Lane in the Superman movies (1979-1983) starring Christopher Reeve. Also the Briana DePalma classic Sisters (1973, see Horror (M-Z)), the Bob Clark classic Black Christmas (1974), The Amityville Horror (1979), and Some Kind of Hero with Richard Pryor (1982). Lois Lane had eclipsed Kidder’s entire career, alas, and she suffered a very public breakdown in 1996, which has been referred to as “the most famous public freak-out in history.”

Jane Campiom 2018

“Capitalism is such a macho force. I felt run over.” (The Guardian, 2018)—Jane Campion, one of Quirky Cinema’s Saints of the Quirky as director of the Oscar-winning The Piano (1993) as well as 2 Friends (1986), Sweetie (1989), and An Angel at My Table (1990, pictured below—see Comedy/ Drama (A-L)). “Hero stories are wearing thin. We have lived a male life, we have lived within the patriarchy. It’s something else to take ownership of your own story.” Note: Campion went on to address masculinity directly in her award-winning western The Power of the Dog (2021).

Voyeur (dirs. Myles Kane, Josh Koury) (2017): Journalism icon Gay Talese (top photo) reports on Gerald Foos (lower photo), the owner of a Colorado motel who, for decades, with the aid of specially designed ceiling vents, watched and took detailed notes on his guests. See entry in Documentary (M-Z).



New wave cult classic Liquid Sky (1982) on Blu-ray from Vinegar Syndrome: Cult Film Preservation & Releasing. Look for Paula E. Sheppard singing “Me and My Rhythm Box” (below left). She stars in only one other movie, a cult classic titled Alice, Sweet Alice (1976, below right) in which she plays bad seed Alice (see Horror (A-L).

Clip from Liquid Sky: “Me and My Rhythm Box”

The Greasy Strangler (2016) dir. Jim Hosking: see Comedy/Drama A-L.


Music Docus x4

Music documentaries included in the Documentaries A-L and M-Z sections: The Decline of Western Civilization (1981), Klaus Nomi in The Nomi Song (2004), The Devil and Daniel Johnston (2005), Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone (2010)

In terms of inspiring the quirkiest killers in horror, Charles Manson (1934-2017) and Ed Gein (1906-1984) rule supreme. My high school psychology teacher showed the mini-series Helter Skelter (1976) to fill up some classes and I am still grateful. Steve Railsback is Manson for me as much as Manson is himself, pictured below with George DiCenzo as Vincent Bugliosi, the Los Angeles district attorney who wrote the book Helter Skelter.


Railsback went on to spearhead an underrated 2000 horror indie titled Ed Gein (see Horror (A-L)) starring Railsback himself as Gein and costarring Carrie Snodgrass as his emasculating mother. 


Recommended documentary on a shocking case of “Munchausen syndrome by proxy” and murder: Mommy Dead and Dearest (2017, dir. Erin Lee Carr) (see Documentary (M-Z)). Also worth a watch, and re-watch, is the drama-series The Act (2019) with brilliant performances by Patricia Arquette, who wisely foregoes “looking like” mother Dee Dee Blanchard, and Joey King who achieves an uncanny likeness of daughter Gypsy Rose Blanchard.


Remembering Pat Ast: From Warhol star to bad girl in Donna Summers “Bad Girls” video, Ast possessed both comic quirks and gutter grit while sporting designs by her pal Halston. Here she is with Joe Dallesandro (in Warhols Heat, 1972, see Comedy/Drama (A-L)), with Wendy O. Williams (in Reform School Girls, 1986, see Comedy/Drama (M-Z)), and in a snapshot with Shelley Duvall. For more Saints and Anti-Heroes of Quirky Cinema, see the Saints of the Quirky page.

See The Naked Civil Servant at Comedy/Drama (M-Z)

for a combo-entry on films about queer icon Quentin Crisp

A Hero Among Zombies, George A. Romero (1940-2017) and a Genius with Psychos, Tobe Hooper (1943-2017)


Oskar Fischinger (1900-1967): “German-American abstract animator, filmmaker, and painter, notable for creating abstract musical animation many decades before the appearance of computer graphics and music videos.” (Wiki)

Oskar Fischinger

Check out Comedy/Drama (A-L) for my entry on The Lonely Lady, starring Razzie Queen Pia Zadora, now on Blu-ray from Shout! Factory. This is a favorite “trash cinema” classic with an unforgettable nervous breakdown montage and a searing finale monologue from Zadora. Oh how Hollywood flashes its dark underbelly.


Bela Lugosi (with quote) and Oscar-winning Martin Landau (1928-2017) playing an aged Lugosi in Tim Burtons film Ed Wood (1994); Landau also known for TV’s Mission: Impossible (1966–1969), Woody Allens Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989), and the horror/sci-fi obscurity Without Warning (1980). (See Comedy/Drama (A-L) and See also Horror (M-Z).)


“I learned that stars starve in silence,” laments Betty Davis, the most hardcore funk pioneer of the 1970s and also the biggest musical mystery of the 1970s. Finally there’s a documentary to help old and new fans better understand her short-lived but influential music career: Betty: They Say I’m Different (2017)



“A Queer Alliance”: PopMatters

Dame Margaret Rutherford as Miss Prism, with Dame Edith Evans, in The Importance of Being Earnest (1952); and as eccentric medium Madame Arcati in Blithe Spirit (1945)


Danny Perez’s Antibirth (2016) featuring Natasha Lyonne, Chloë Sevigny, and Meg Tilly: gritty gyno-horror comedy with lots of gross-out splatter

11/9/2016: Had to tune out the election results to watch heroic Marie Dressler as a Depression-era Lysistrata in the pre-Code comedy Politics (1931); the film opens with the statement: “This story is dedicated to women—who have been fighting for their rights ever since Adam and Eve started the loose-leaf system.” See Classic Era (M-Z).

RIP: Alexis Arquette (1969-2016), as Georgette in Last Exit to Brooklyn (1989) and promoting Killer Drag Queens on Dope (2003):

Tickled (2016), dirs. David Farrier, Dylan Reeve.

Don’t read anything about this documentary. Just watch.


RIP: Gene Wilder (1933-2016)Geneheader_GettyImages-71494838-1024x631

Laurel & Hardy in Thats My Wife (1929); Al Hirschfeld’s “Laurel & Hardy, Sweet Dreams



Above: My review of What Happened, Miss Simone? (2015), new on DVD: PopMatters

Below: My review of Antonia’s Line (1993), now on Blu-ray: PopMatters


Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (dir. Russ Meyer, 1965). See Comedy/Drama (A-L).


A few titles from my PopMatters article

“32 Films That Begin with Someone Leaving a Mental Institution, 1904-2012”:

The escaped lunatic in D.W. Griffith’s The House of Darkness (1913)


Screengrabs from Woman in White (1917)

Home Before Dark (dir. Mervyn LeRoy, 1958)


Emily (Mariclare Costello), Jessica (Zohra Lampert) in Let’s Scare Jessica To Death (1971). See Horror (A-L).


I’d always joked that any movie beginning with someone leaving a mental institution was going to be good. Well it wasn’t a joke. It’s a whole subgenre! My article in PopMatters “makes the case for the recently-escaped-or-released-mental-patient narrative as its own subgenre, replete with a language of recurring themes, plot devices, and character archetypes.”


A few more titles from “…32 Films That Begin With Someone Leaving a Mental Institution (1904-2012)”:

Screengrab from William Castle’s Strait-Jacket (1964). See Classic Era (M-Z).


VHS cover for Daddy’s Deadly Darling a/k/a Pigs (dir. Marc Lawrence, 1972). See Horror (A-L).


from Outrageous! (dir. Richard Benner, 1977). See Comedy/Drama (M-Z).


Clean, Shaven (dir. Lodge Kerrigan, 1993). See Horror (A-L).


“To Gong or Not To Gong The Gong Show Movie?” by A. Loudermilk


How a major TV phenomenon inspired a flop film: PopMatters

See also Comedy/Drama (A-L)

Harper Lee (1926-2016) with Mary Badham who played Scout in the classic adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird; also Jem (Phillip Alford) and Dill (John Megna)


The Babadook (2014) by director Jennifer Kent (pictured). See Horror (A-L).

Based on her short film Monster from 2005 (click below).


The board game on the big screen, Clue (1985) with Eileen Brennan (Mrs. Peacock), Tim Curry (Wadsworth), Madeline Kahn (Mrs. White), Christopher Lloyd (Professor Plum), Michael McKean (Mr. Green), Martin Mull (Colonel Mustard), and Lesley Ann Warren (Miss Scarlet)


“You’re as funny as a cry for help.” Obscure comedic actor Jody Gilbert to W.C. Fields in the memorable diner sketch in Never Give a Sucker an Even Break (1941). Look for her as well in Shadow of the Thin Man (also 1941), Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), and Willard (1972).

Diner Sketch

American & Czech posters for Hal Ashby’s Being There (1970) starring Peter Sellers. See Comedy/Drama (A-L).

Bryan Forbes’ stylish classic Seance on a Wet Afternoon (1964)

starring Kim Stanley and Richard Attenborough. See Classic Era (M-Z).


Tammy (2014)

Patricia Collinge in Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt (1943)



Susan Tyrrell (1945-2012), a Saint of the Quirky


The Boulting Brothers’ Twisted Nerve (1968). See Classic Era (M-Z).


Check out Bernard Hermann’s classic score: Twisted Nerve, Theme

Housebound (2014)

Click link below for this hoot of a music video for Miss Jeannie Holliman’s song “D.U.I. Blues”

included in the recommended documentary Mule Skinner Blues (2001). See Documentary (M-Z).

D.U.I. Blues

Finding Vivian Maier (2013): See Documentary (A-L).

Elsa Lanchester is a saint in the scheme of the Quirky, along with her husband Charles Laughton. She’s known most for playing the Bride in Bride of Frankenstein (1932), wife #4 in Private Life of Henry VIII (1933), Aunt Queenie in Bell, Book and Candle (1958), Katie Nanna in Mary Poppins (1964), the domineering mom in Willard (1971), and Jessica Marbles in Murder by Death (1976). My February 2014 article on Elsa Lanchester and songwriter Forman Brown focuses on their time with the queer and eccentric Turnabout Theatre. Read Online: Polari. Also see Turnabout: The Story of the Yale Puppeteers (1992, dir. Dan Bessie) in Documentary (M-Z).


Philip Seymour Hoffman (1967-2014)

Lady in a Cage (1964): From the grim but tripped-out opening credits sequence to Olivia de Havilland declaring “Stone age, here I come!”, this shocker still shocks with its aggressively dismal view of society.

Zellner Brothers’ Kid-Thing (2013). See Comedy/Drama (A-L).

A 2012 movie from the director of Sordid Lives (2000), released on DVD in 2014. See Comedy/Drama (A-L).


Viña Delmar (1903-1990) wrote the Oscar-winning comedy The Awful Truth (1937) as well as the heartbreaking drama Make Way for Tomorrow the same year, both for director Leo McCarey. See Classic Era (M-Z).


The Mad Room (1969) directed by Bernard Girard,

a remake of Charles Vidor’s gothic-noir classic Ladies in Retirement (1941). See Classic Era (A-L).

Algonquinite humorist Robert Benchley may not have originated the mockumentary but he was the first to popularize it. His many one-reelers are collected on DVD though hard to found. Try YouTube. Perhaps begin with “How to Sleep” (which one an Oscar) or “The Sex Life of the Polyp.” See entry on How To Sleep: Robert Benchley’s Miniatures in Classic Era (A-L).

….  ….

      Steve Buscemi b+w portrait by James Dimmock

A fashion-focused montage of clips from the otherwise impossible to find German film It Is Not the Homosexual Who Is Perverse, But the Society in Which He Lives (1971); directed by Rosa von Praunheim

…… ….. …..

It Is Not the Homosexual

Christopher Guest as Corky St. Clair in Waiting for Guffman (1996) showing us his Remains of the Day lunchbox.

Jennifer Coolidge, Patrick Cranshaw in Christopher Guest’s Best in Show (2000). See Comedy/Drama (A-L).

Jimmy Stewart, Thelma Ritter

From the Mike Leigh classic High Hopes (1988) with Philip Davis and Ruth Sheen

Roddy McDowall reads the stories of H.P. Lovecraft. Click link below to hear “The Outsider”

“The Outsider”

A true and enduring cult classic documentary The Atomic Cafe (1982). See Documentary (A-L).

For comics fans, a heroic tale: Miss Robin Hood (1952) starring Dame Margaret Rutherford and Richard Hearne. See Classic Era (M-Z).


Bill and Coo (1948): Movie starring birds dressed as humans with a plot reflecting wartime fears and pushing patriotism; the tiny set won a special Academy Award

Bill and Coo (Full-length Movie)

Pages from a Pop Culture Scrapbook I started in 1987

My article in Polari on female impersonator Charles Pierce, the most famous Bette Davis impersonator in the world and supporting player in the film adaptation of Torch Song Trilogy (1988); there’s a link to Pierce’s one-person show, Legendary Ladies of the Silver Screen, at the bottom of the article


. ….. .

Misleading poster for the nearly impossible to find 1967 thriller Our Mother’s House with Pamela Franklin and Dirk Bogarde. From Jack Clayton, the director of The Innocents (1961) and The Pumpkin Eater (1964). Links below to trailer and Georges Delerue’s theme.


Our Mother’s House (Trailer)

Our Mother’s House (Theme Song)

Oscar-nom Agnes Moorehead should’ve won

for her immortal role in Orson Welles’ The Magnificent Ambersons (1942).

Still not available on DVD in the US: The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds (1972). See Comedy/Drama (A-L).

Caglar Juan Singletary’s song-poem “Non-Violent TaeKwonDo Troopers,” featured in the much recommended documentary Off the Charts: The Song-Poem Story (2003). Link below; see also Documentary (M-Z).

Singletary’s Song-Poem

This 2012 documentary is required viewing for fans of Cinema with Personality and film buffs generally

About UK poet Stevie Smith (1978); see entry in Comedy/Drama (M-Z)

Quirky actor of note: Dick Shawn gave voice to Snow Miser from A Year Without a Santa Claus (1974) and had memorable roles in movies like The Producers (1968) and the first Angel movie (1984). In 1987, he suffered a heart attack onstage while performing his act and died. He was 63-years-old. Check out my entries on Angel and his suicidal mockumentary Good-bye Cruel World (1983) in Comedy/Drama (A-L).

……….images……….images-1………. ……….


Clarkworld (2009), documentary about beloved director Bob Clark, known most now for the holiday favorite A Christmas Story (1983, see Comedy/Drama A-L). Also check out: She-Man (1967, see Comedy/Drama M-Z), Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things (1972, see Horror A-L), Black Christmas (1974), and the Porky’s movies (1981, 1983). One of this website’s Saints of the Quirky, Clark and his son both died in a car accident in 2007.


The Secret Garden (1949) with Brian Roper, Dean Stockwell, Margaret O’Brien

Lucio Fulci classics

Shirley Valentine (1989) starring Pauline Collins

I really loved the manservant character in A New Leaf played by George Rose and had a vague memory of reading about him as an obscure gay icon who was murdered by his own recently adopted son. For more on the tragedy, see The Killing of Mr George


Went from a rather dry documentary, Kraftwerk and the Electronic Revolution (2008), to an Indonesian jungle-cannibal flick Savage Terror (1980) with opening theme song being, of all things, Kraftwerk’s “We Are the Robots.” Thank ye gods of psychotronic cinema for another unpredictable thrill!

Moviegoers could see the ghosts even without the gimmick Ghost Viewer, of course, which allowed William Castle’s delightful 13 Ghosts (1960) to be aired on TV over the years. See Classic Era (M-Z).

Illusion-O Viewer

Ray Bradbury’s: The Electric Grandmother (1982) with Maureen Stapleton: A quirky family film that’s perfect for a winter afternoon (60 minutes and, sadly, hard to find)

Linda Day‘s best role. She’d later become Linda Day George, married to her costar Christopher George (Gates of Hell), both very familiar (if not necessarily quirky) faces from the ’70s.


from the House of Psychotic Women program playing at 92YTribeca


House of Psychotic Women a/k/a Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll (1974)

A young Carol Kane, one of the Saints of Quirky Cinema:

The much loved gay character Lindy (played by Antonio Fargas) added a queer kind of quirk to the cult classic Car Wash (1979). (See Comedy/Drama (A-L).) Censors cut Lindy out of the movie altogether when Car Wash aired on TV, robbing viewers of the movie’s most famous line, delivered with dignified sass:

Scene from Car Wash

Ruth Gordon at four looking 40; Ruth Gordon by Al Hirschfield looking kid-like:


Virginia O’Brien (1919-2001), quirky vocalist known as “Miss Red Hot Frozen Face” wowed audiences in MGM musicals like The Big Store (1941) with the Marx Brothers and Panama Hattie (1942).

Posters for two movies by the Duplass Brothers; see Comedy/Drama (A-L) and (M-Z)


Frequent butler, Eric Blore, here in Picadilly Jim (1936)

Watch clip with E.E. Horton and Eric Blore from Shall We Dance (1937)

Thora Birch as Enid in Ghost World; Felissa Rose as Sleepaway Camp‘s Angela in a recent meme.

Mother Jefferson rules! Played by Zara Cully who, alas, died three years into Norman Lear’s series The Jeffersons that immortalized her. Before her TV roles—and roles in films like The Liberation of L.B. Jones (1970), Sugar Hill (1974), Darktown Strutters (1975)—she was a longtime HBC prof known as “one of the world’s greatest elocutionists.”

Judy Garland


The Amazing Delores


Please see Documentary A-L and Jacob Young: Contributions to Different Drummer (1987-92) for details concerning the Amazing Delores documentary

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

Up in Smoke (1978)

“A scathingly brilliant idea”: The Trouble with Angels (1966) featuring June Harding and Hayley Mills

A scathingly brilliant idea

Michael Redgrave and friend in the original horror anthology film Dead of Night (1945)

Dead of Night (1945)

Strangers in Good Company a/k/a The Company of Strangers (1990)

Girl Stroke Boy (1971). See Comedy/Drama (M-Z).

Revenge of Bigfoot (1979) starring Rory Calhoun, so obscure even I can’t find a copy: “An Indian moves in with a friendly rancher and a local bigot tries to run the Indian out of town. A bigfoot monster gets in his way.” (IMDb)

Eating Raoul (1982) with indie legends Paul Bartel and Mary Woronov. See Comedy/Drama (A-L).

EATING RAOUL, Mary Woronov, Paul Bartel, 1982, TM & Copyright (c) 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All ri

Character actors on vinyl:

A Taste Of Hermione Baddeley and B.S. Pully’s Fairy Tales ‎(both 1961)

Pedro Almodóvar’s High Heels (1991), starring Victoria Abril and Marisa Paredes, with Almodóvar center



The Baby (1973): A campy nightmare of female power. See Horror (A-L).

ZaSu Pitts and Thelma Todd in On The Loose (1931)

ZaSu Pitts and Thelma Todd in On The Loose (1931)

 Thelma Todd and Patsy Kelly in Babes in the Goods (1934)


Two actors who can be found throughout the Classic Era sections are Patsy Kelly (Movie Struck a/k/a Pick a Star, My Son the Hero, Nobody’s Baby, Pigskin Parade, Road Show, Topper Returns) and Zasu Pitts (Dames, Life with Father, Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch, So’s Your Aunt Emma! a/k/a Meet the Mob). Both stars worked in comic duo-ship with Hal Roach star Thelma Todd, making well over two dozen shorts. Patsy Kelly was iconic enough to become the subject of a so-called Tijuana Bible. As for Zasu Pitts, her candy recipes were published posthumously as a book called Candy Hits by Zasu Pitts.

tumblr_lxbx5mtT401qe6nze (2)5135_1422559052



Paul Dano


Nick and Nora Charles (William Powell and Myrna Loy) of the Thin Man film-series:


Atari game version of David Cronenberg’s classic body-horror film Videodrome (1983) starring James Woods and Debbie Harry.



My essay on stalker movies from a sissy point of view, at BRIGHT LIGHTS FILM JOURNAL:

“Last to Leave the Theater: Sissy Spectatorship of Stalker Movies and the ‘Final Girls’ Who Survive Them”

 Aline MacMahon and Guy Kibbee in Babbit (1934)


It Should Happen to You (1954) starring Judy Holliday as Gladys Glover. See Classic Era (A-L).


Notes from a grad-school Film Studies Class on a conceptual term PARACINEMA that goes a long way to define the term PSYCHOTRONIC (coined as title of Michael Weldon’s film magazine and cult-adored movie guides) that readers of Quirky Cinema will find not uncommon, especially in the Horror sections. The few notes below reflect Jeffrey Sconce’s classic film-studies essay: “’Trashing’ The Academy: Taste, Excess and an Emerging Politics of Cinematic Style” (Screen 36:4 Winter 1995) :

Click for Psychotronic.com

Tugboat Annie (1933). See Classic Era (M-Z).

Quirky actor extraordinaire Marie Dressler incognito

Click here to see clip of Marie Dressler in Dangerous Females



Thank you for visiting my website. Enjoy the individual reference sections:  

Comedy/Drama,  Classic Era Comedy/Drama,  Horror/Thriller/Psychodrama,  Documentary


The marquee of the movie theater in my hometown in southern Illinois, and an old newspaper ad

Legal Notice: This is an online reference guide. All the writing is by me, A. Loudermilk. I do not, however, own copyrights for any of the images. They are offered in the spirit of education, film studies, and cultural criticism. If you own the copyright of a certain image and wish it removed, leave a comment below.




Comedy/Drama: 164

Classic Era Comedy/Drama: 145

Documentary: 138

Horror/Thriller/Psychodrama: 137

Total Number of Film Entries (all written by A. Loudermilk) as of Summer 2022: 584



Return to Top

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s