If you don’t know – I’m a movie buff and I’ve lived in Texas since I was twelve years old.  So, I was meant to write this article.  There are a lot of movies filmed in the Lone Star State some are great, some not so good. The list you are about to read is a combination of weird, bizarre and over-the-top.  I do suggest that if you do try to find these films – WATCH AT YOUR OWN RISK!  They are weird, but I do like some of them.  So, what makes a weird movie? Well, the film can just be confusing, way over the top or it can just be a failed attempt to make something great (see "Deadly Blessing").  Some of these films are really low budget and were trying to capitalize on a trend at time (See "Don't Open The Door" and its attempt at being scary).  And, some films get one established actor to sell some tickets to film with a ridiculous plot (see "Night Game").  Some are weird  in a good way - Peter Fonda and Warren Oates in "Race With The Devil."  Some are just strange in a bad way - the incoherent "Gas-s-s-s" which indie director Roger Corman thought would be his best film. He was way off.  Anyways, for your enjoyment, I've added the trailer for each so you can see what I'm talking about.  The trailers (for some) are just as confusing or as strange as the movies themselves. Of course, as Texans, We all know “Urban Cowboy,” “No Country For Old Men,” and “Friday Night Lights” but do you know these…

 

  • 1

    Deadly Blessing (1981)

    What movie filmed in Waxahachie, Texas starred Sharon Stone and Ernest Borgnine and was directed by horror legend Wes Craven? The answer - 1981's strangely not-very-so-scary "Deadly Blessing."  The film, in which Texas doubles for Pennsylvania Amish Country, is just weird.  Stone, along Maren Jensen (from the original Battlestar Gallactica) and Susan Buckner (the annoyingly lovable Patti Symcox from "Grease) play three women terrorized by curses, ancient evil and Ernest Borgnine yelling in his horribly pasted-on amish beard. Texas looks nice in the trailer though...

  • 2

    The Swarm (1978)

    Filmed partially in Houston (Astrodome, McKinney Street. Memorial Park), this killer-bee attack film from the "master of disaster" Irwin Allen ("The Poseidon Adventure," "The Towering Inferno") was an actual disaster. In fact, some call "The Swarm" the worst film ever made. When I saw it in the theatre when I was 10, I loved it.  Now, not so much. Like all disaster movies of the 70's, the movie featured way to many stars playing underdeveloped parts.  The climax of the movie takes place in Houston where they basically burn H-town down with flame-throwers to take on the swarm of killer bees.  FUN FACT: 800,000 bees had their stingers removed to interact with the actors. What a waste of stingers...

  • 3

    Don't Open The Door (1975)

    When I watched the trailer the first question I had was - "how is this movie rated PG?"  This slasher was made in Jefferson, Texas and revolves around a woman who comes home to take care of her sick grandma.  While she's taking care of Grandma, she's harassed by weird phone calls from a maniac. Welcome home!  Filmed in 1973 and originally called "Don't Hang Up," "Don't Open The Door" is riddled with bad horror movie cliques - weird camera angles, blood that is way too red and a whole lot of screaming going on!  DOTD tried to ride the successful coat tails of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" it had one problem - it wasn't a good film - heck - it was even a mediocre film.

  • 4

    Bruno (2009)

    Sasha Baron Cohen' "Borat" follow-up, the hilarious and under appreciated "Bruno," filmed one it's many outrageous scenes in Tyler, Texas.  The movie is the journey of disgraced Austrian fashion journalist Bruno as he heads to America to make it big. It is not for all people. It is Borat on steroids. Parental discretion is definitely advised.

  • 5

    Night Game (1989)

    Roy Scheider "Jaws" stars in this bizarre thriller centered around a Houston pitcher. Apparently, every time fictional Astros pitcher, Silvio Baretto, wins a night game someone gets murdered.  Filmed in both Houston and Galveston, Scheider plays a former minor league player turned cop who investigates the case. I'd explain who the murderer is and the ending, but the setup is ridiculous enough.  The good part is we get a nice look at the Astrodome in it's hey day.  I mean, besides "The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training" and Robert Altman's "Brewster McLeod," it's one of the only movies to showcase the 8th Wonder of the World!

  • 6

    Race With The Devil (1975)

    Peter Fonda and Warren Oates are two motor bikers who are on vacation with their wives. One night, sitting outside their parked camper, they see a satanic ritual and they are spotted by the satanists. This starts a "Race With The Devil!" The devil folks chase the camper and terrorize the four vacationers. Filled with action, I loved this movie when I was a kid.  And, I saw it a few years ago and it still holds up.  The movie was filmed in Bandera, San Antonio, Leakey, Castroville and Tarpley Texas.

  • 7

    Gas--s-s-s (1970)

    Strange, Incoherent, Futuristic? Yes.  I think.  I'm still confused.  "Gas--s-s-s" was supposed to indie director Roger Corman's greatest film. Then, people saw it. Filmed in New Mexico and Texas, Corman still contends that American International Pictures destroyed his masterpiece.   The plot evolved around Dallas where a gas is leaked that kills everyone about 25. Then, it goes off the rails as both God and Edgar Allen Poe are characters in this thing. A lot of good actors like Ben Vereen ("Roots"), Cindy Williams ("Laverne & Shirley') and Talia Shire ("Rocky") were wasted in this mess.

  • 8

    Hangar 18 (1981)

    Filmed partially in Midland and Big Spring Texas, "Hangar 18" was Sunn classic movie that was going to blow the lid off the many UFOs conspiracies that brewed in the 70s.  Sunn's previous "documentary" movies included "In Search of Noah's Ark" and "In Search of Historic Jesus" which were minor hits at the box office. "Hangar 18" was a bit different - a docu-drama  that would tell the story of a space shuttle's encounter with a real UFO.  The movie starred Darren McGavin, Robert Vaughn and Garry Collins and claimed you would see the closest thing to a "real ufo" and featured a supposed alien autopsy based upon "real events."  The movie even promised they would uncover the truth that the government is hiding from us about aliens!  It didn't. It was just a bad space movie.

  • 9

    The Chase (1994)

    Charlie Sheen stars in this "chase" film where he kidnaps a rich socialite in a convenience store and leads cops on a ...ah...chase.  The chase is supposed to take place in California, however the convenience store was in Kemah.  And, the brand new (at the time) Hardy Toll Road is featured most of the movie as "the highway."  And, I'm not joking Charlie Sheen and his co-star Kristy Swanson are in the car and driving the majority of the film (even during the love scene).  As you can guess by my description ,the movie runs out of gas quick - I just wish Sheen's car would have too.

  • 10

    Phantom Of The Paradise (1974)

    Brian DePalma's rock music version of "the Phantom of the Opera," is very strange,  but entertaining. Released in 1974, it bombed.  Recently, the film is more appreciated and has reached cult movie status. The story revolves around a young songwriter (William Finley) tricked into signing away his life's work to the bad guy, music producer Swan (Paul Williams). After a serious of events to restore his name, the songwriter is disfigured and becomes  "The Phantom of the Paradise." The "Paradise Theater" in the film was really the Majestic Theater in Dallas.  Most of the live music scenes were filmed in Dallas including Gerritt Graham's memorable performance as glam rocker "Beef."   The movie, despite its poor reception,  was nominated for an Oscar for best original score.