It’s difficult and artistic to try to capture the “psychedelic experience” on screen. In fact, the psychedelic film is a distinct subgenre that focuses on psychedelia and attempts to depict the experience of using these drugs. This is frequently accomplished through the inventive use of distorted audio and visuals, as well as experimental storylines that deliberately subvert the notion of reality.
We have chosen five movies that, like a good trip, force you to step outside of your comfort zone and make you wonder about reality by experimenting with psychedelic editing, narration, music, and cinematography.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
The cult classic and foundational work of the psychedelic movie genre is Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. It is a Terry Gilliam-directed film starring Johnny Depp about a drug-fueled weekend in Las Vegas that is both humorous and unsettling.
Based on the enduring novel by the illustrious (and promiscuous) Hunter S. Thompson, the film explores and personifies the psychedelic experience through cinematic features that put the viewer in a similar state of mind as someone who is tripping; by following the main characters’ rampant consumption, it also provides a distorted view of the counterculture movements of the 1960s. It is a film so surreal and full of black humour that you are constantly forced to check back in with your own reality.
Samsara is a captivating documentary that was filmed over the course of five years in 25 different nations, but what makes it special is that there is no dialogue. Instead of using words, it enthralls with astonishing images of the world’s wonders, highlighting both the commonplace and the remarkable aspects of the human experience.
Samsara is a Sanskrit phrase that roughly translates to “birth, death, and rebirth” and refers to the idea that existence is circular. This unique movie transports you into a blissful meditation state while pondering the cycle of life. It calms your eyes, mind, and soul.
The Animatrix (2003)
The foundation for the popular film The Matrix is a set of nine animated sci-fi shorts called The Animatrix. According to some people, this movie is possibly the best thing to come out of the Matrix series.
The movies, which tell the history leading up to the events in The Matrix and include the conflict between humans and computers, are produced by nine different Japanese animation studios.
Enter The Void (2009)
Gaspar Noe’s violent hallucinogenic film Enter the Void is a masterpiece. The story revolves around Oscar, an American drug dealer who operates in Tokyo’s seedy nightclubs. Things start to become extremely bizarre after Oscar is shot and killed by the police after being betrayed by his buddies.
This gritty fantasy drama follows the protagonist on his or her journey from a subjective point of view, forcing the viewer to follow along. In-depth insights on the experience of using various drugs are also provided by Enter the Void; Noe’s inspiration for the movie reportedly originated from taking magic mushrooms.
Donnie Darko (2001)
This cult classic depicts the tale of a young man named Donnie Darko who must unravel the enigmas of time in order to prevent the end of the world. Donnie Darko is the ideal movie for a gloomy, rainy day. It has teenage love and angst and 80s-inspired music. If you can figure out what’s going on with Frank (the enormous, hallucinogenic rabbit) right away, congrats.
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