One of the best resources on the Internet for public domain films is The Internet Archive. If you’ve never visited the site, you’ll thank ol’ SlackerDan for pointing you in the direction to literally thousands and thousands of public domain film clips and movies available for download. And if you regularly visit the Internet Archive, you already know that many of the videos are very, very strange. Here are ten clips of the weirdest:
1. One Got Fat (1963)
Watching children wearing crude monkey masks biking around the neighborhood and getting into various accidents is more surreal than you might think. And, boy howdy, this educational film on bicycle safety has gotta be one of the most surreal. And the creepy narration sure doesn’t help matters. Read the comments on archive.org, many of which state this film gave the viewers nightmares for years. That’s public education for you, giving kids nightmares instead of teaching ’em.
Is this the origin of Furries? Proto-Furries? Neander-Furries? Whatever you call ’em, they’re scary.
2. The Relaxed Wife (1957)
Proclaiming the wonders of “ataraxi medicines”, this 1957 gem portrays an almost terminally stressed husband freaking out while his serene, tranquilized wife tries to calm him down. Lots of bizarre images in this one, but I won’t spoil it for you. Just keep in mind mixing drugs with bad acting never pays off. Just ask Gary Busey.
Sleeping in double beds? What is this, “The Dick Van Dyke Show”? Let’s see some sexy action, you hot couple, you.
3. The Talking Car (1969)
A young boy named Jimmy almost gets run over by a car, the result of which leads to his dreaming of automobiles talking to him. Hmmm, maybe he did get hit by a car and is hallucinating in the hospital…. just a theory. Fortunately he learns the “see & be seen rules” of traffic safety from the talking cars and goes on to live a full rich life not getting run over. Phew!
If cars start talking to you, getting run over is the least of your worries.
4. Experiments in the Revival of Organisms (1940)
(Warning! You May (And Probably Will) Find This Video Very Disturbing!)
Gotta hand it to the Soviets for weird medical experiments. Or their gross disdain for canine life. In any case, this video depicts several blood circulation experiments performed on various unlucky dogs, the unluckiest one literally losing its head in the process. Those heartless Commie doctors! Makes me glad I live in Canada with our subsidized health care not involving my head being removed and hooked up to machines. If you want more information on this video (and you’re a freak if you do, God bless you), check out the wikipedia entry.
5. Lair of the Leeches (1959)
Nothing will ruin your day faster than being attacked by a giant leech. Or a giant ex-spouse, kinda the same thing. Or possibly being the guy who has to dress up like a giant leech in a horrible 50’s flick. It’d be campy and funny if it wasn’t somewhat disturbing to watch. Lots of screaming in this one, which only makes sense when you remember how loud you screamed at summer camp when a tiny leech attached itself to you. Remember? You yelled louder than a wounded cheerleader and everyone laughed at you. Even the counselors. Ah, those sweet childhood memories…
6. Drugs Are Like That (1968)
Gotta love the theme song and images of drugs raining down in this anti-drug educational film. The best part of this movie, or at least one of the best parts, is the scene of a bald, portly businessman high on something cavorting around in traffic. Maybe he should have listened to Jimmy and his talking cars. The narrator of this film, Anita Bryant, goes on to compare various bad experiences to what it’s like being on drugs. Personally speaking, after watching this film I felt like I was on drugs.
7. “Heartbreak Hotel” Song Cover (1959) – Gisele MacKenzie
Possibly the worst cover of an Elvis song, ever. From the 50’s show, “Your Hit Parade”, this music clip is performed by Gisele MacKenzie, a singer I suspect nobody has ever heard of. I wonder if The King saw this clip; if he did, I bet Mr. Presley shot the television with a big, big handgun.
8. “The Flying Saucer” Movie Trailer (1950)
The headlines scream, “Saucer Seen Over Miami!”, “Saucer Over New York!” Watch the actors in this clip react while observing a flying saucer; they seem remarkably calm. Too calm, in fact. Maybe they were surfing on a good high from “ataraxi” drugs. I guess in the 50’s everyone was used to seeing UFO’s. In around the one minute mark we’re treated to the sight of a flying saucer that looks remarkably like a giant horseshoe crab. Don’t bother trying to make sense of most of the images in this trailer, as it seems the film editor grabbed random clips to make up this weird movie.
9. “Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla” Movie Trailer (1952)
In the mood to see two B actors rip off Jerry Lewis & Dean Martin? Well, go no further. The guy doing the Jerry Lewis impression is frighteningly good but the Dean Martin dude has to go. His singing is horrible, simply horrible. Poor Bela Lugosi, getting involved in this tawdry mess of a movie. Watch for the obligatory guy in a bad gorilla suit, too.
Sammy Petrilo, the Jerry Lewis impersonator in this movie, has some interesting things to say about this movie and his life…
10. Doomsday Horror Animation (1950’s)
“The Day of DOOM is coming!” Created on what must’ve been a zero budget, this is the epitome of bad movie trailers. There aren’t even actors, just horribly crude drawings and even worse narration! “It’s easier to die than to live!”… what?!? “See the movie poster for time & date”… uh, no thanks. If the trailer for the film is this bad, watching the actual movie would be an exercise in masochism.
These days people worry more about Taylor Swift farting than the entire Human race getting wiped out during a possible Doomsday. Ain’t social media grand?
These ten videos are just the strange tip of the Iceberg of Weirdness. Next time you’re bored, search through the Internet Archive’s excellent collection of public domain movies, you’ll be glad you did. Well, maybe not so much as glad as traumatized. But well worth wasting a few hours, anyways. Good luck, and beware the giant blood-sucking leeches.
SlackerDan is a comedy writer and always looks both ways while crossing the street to avoid oncoming talking cars.