Have you ever been halfway through a movie and abruptly announced “I’m too high for this shit”, whether or not anyone else was in the room? Of course you have. We’ve all been there. The hour’s late, the cannabis is potent, and for any number of reasons, the movie is just too much for you to handle. Whether it’s trippy visuals, unnerving plotlines, or production, script, and acting choices that are just unfathomably bad, combining movies and marijuana has the unique ability to make us feel that the reality we’re experiencing doesn’t match the rest of the world. If that’s a feeling you enjoy, read on, because we’ve compiled a top 10 list of movies that will leave you confused, contemplative, and maybe even questioning the very fabric of existence. And who doesn’t love that?
The Room (2003)
When it comes to movies that are so bad they’re good, there’s a reason The Room is a cult classic. From screenwriting to casting to producing to directing to acting, almost every choice made during the making of this movie was the wrong one. And since most of those choices were made by Tommy Wiseau, the writer, producer, director, and star of the film, watching The Room is kind of like getting a terrifying glimpse into the mind of someone who thinks in a profoundly different way than most other people. It’s funny and baffling enough when you’re sober, but once you add cannabis to the mix you’ll be alternating between crying laughing, and maybe just crying because someone genuinely thought they were making a good movie and what does that say about humanity as a whole?
Image property of Wiseau-Films
Bee Movie (2007)
Image property of DreamWorks Animation
This is a weird one, I know, but bear with me. Bee Movie just kind of… appeared in 2007, regurgitated from somewhere in the depths of Jerry Seinfeld’s mind. It resurfaced a few years later as meme fodder, but have you ever actually watched it? No really, have you? Because if you smoke while watching it, you’ll be left with a lot more questions than answers. For example, why was everyone chill with a human woman dating a bee? What are the implications of this bee society the filmmakers have established? Like, are they trying to say something about capitalism? Religion? Veganism? Who thought a lengthy lawsuit and a chilling vision of all flowers dying were good subjects for a children’s movie? Was this movie even made for children? Who is this for? Ya like jazz? What does any of it MEAN?
Seriously, if you have answers please comment with them below, because this shit still keeps me up at night.
If you prefer your animated freakouts more old school, watching Fantasia while thoroughly faded is a classic good time. If you’re not familiar, Fantasia is a Disney animation from 1940 that set cartoon images to well known classical music. There’s no dialogue besides the conductor introducing scenes, and not much in the way of plot, but there’s plenty of fanciful imagery that will make you clutch your pipe a little tighter and whisper what? The “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” section is one of the more well-known sequences, featuring good old Mickey Mouse using magic to make a broomstick come to life and generally causing shenanigans. But there are also magic mushrooms, a bunch of dancing animals and mythical creatures, and a pretty scary devil figure, not to mention lots of beautiful music you’ll recognize. As the title suggests, there’s no point in trying to make sense of what’s happening on screen. Just surrender to the bright colors and pretty sounds.
Image property of Walt Disney Productions
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
Screencap from youtube - public domain
To take things super old school, check out The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. This silent film from 1920 centers around a carnival sideshow in which a man named Dr. Caligari controls a creepy sleepwalker who, naturally, turns out to be murderous. From the themes to the music to the weird, slanty, impressionist buildings and landscapes, this movie is deeply unsettling. Just looking into the eyes of the actor who plays the sleepwalker is enough to give anyone the willies, and that’s before you even get to the stomach-dropping twist. Watching this one high requires a little more patience than the average stoner flick, but the sense of impending doom and the persistent thought that maybe you’re the unreliable narrator in your own life is totally worth it.
A Trip to the Moon (1902)
This one is more of an honorable mention because it’s only about 15 minutes long (the runtime is anywhere from 9 to 18 minutes depending on the frame rate of the particular version you’re watching). But within that short amount of time, this 1902 silent film will throw you for a loop. As the title implies, this is an early 20th-century vision of people traveling to the moon, and it’s as trippy and disquieting as you might expect. Shaky, grainy footage of old men in wizard hats, aliens that look like some kind of bird / frog / lobster hybrid, and once again, seemingly magic mushrooms will have you wondering just how much you smoked in no time.
Image from FlickerAlley - public domain
Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
Image property of Warner Bros.
If your high alter ego loves to spend time in that sweet spot between fantasy and horror and doesn’t mind subtitles, then you’ll love Pan’s Labyrinth. The story revolves around a young girl who experiences the brutal realities of living under a dictatorship in 1944 Francoist Spain alongside a vivid fantasy world where there are mythological creatures and a special destiny waiting for her. The political commentary and allusions to classic works of art and literature might go a little over your head if you’re watching this movie fully baked, but the intertwining of real-world events and fairy tale sequences is the perfect puzzle for your high brain to ponder. Everything in the fairy tale part of this movie is both beautiful and frightening, and you’ll be left wondering which events in the movie were actually “real,” and if there could really be monsters and magic lurking somewhere underground.
Take a darker turn for your stoned viewing with Mandy, a gory and psychedelic thriller that lets Nicholas Cage run free in an unhinged performance. The plot revolves around Cage taking revenge on a terrifying cult and an evil biker gang after they kill his girlfriend in front of him. A batch of tainted LSD is important to both the plot and the mood, and the movie is laced throughout with hallucinatory imagery as well as savage and bloody violence. The characters in this movie are definitely operating in a different existence from the rest of us, but it’s still rooted firmly enough in reality for the brutality to be deeply disturbing. This could be a rough one to watch high, but if you’re a slasher aficionado and you want to be more fully immersed in that feeling of being on a bad trip, give it a shot. It will definitely be a memorable experience.
Image property of SpectreVision, Umedia, Legion M
The Shining (1980)
Image property of Warner Bros.
Comedies may be the go-to genre for high viewers, but horror movies are unsung heroes that often pair well, and intensely, with cannabis. The Shining is a, well, shining example of this, because it blends psychological horror with supernatural and violent imagery so well. While the main character descends into madness and loses his grip on reality, the viewer sees more and more unsettling apparitions throughout the hotel that could be remnants of the past, hallucinations in various characters’ minds, or real people and events, but there’s no way to tell the difference. The push and pull between illusion and reality, and the horrifying consequences of not being able to tell the difference, will only be heightened if you watch this movie high.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
If you’re not in the mood for real horror while high, why not try some horror-themed camp instead? This cult classic plays with old b-movie horror tropes, and the main characters Brad and Janet are caricatures of “squares” who enter a world they don’t understand when they stop for help at Dr. Frank-N-Furter’s castle. These intentionally flat characters clash with the outrageously flamboyant Frank-N-Furter and his bizarre menagerie of employees and guests. This environment of glitz and drama where no middle ground exists feels strange and otherworldly, and with some cannabis on hand it’s easy to feel like you too have been transported to a castle full of theatrical goths who turn out to be aliens. Plus, you haven’t lived until you’ve done the time warp high.
screencap from youtube
Image property of 21st Century Fox
The Fall (2006)
Image property of Radical Media, Absolute Entertainment
When you’ve recently smoked and the world is a little blurry already, it’s the perfect time to watch a movie that revels in blurring the lines between reality and imagination. The Fall centers around an injured stuntman in early 20th Century America. He’s paralyzed in a hospital where he meets a fellow patient; a little girl with a broken arm and a whimsical mind. He begins telling her stories to convince her to steal morphine for him, and the movie weaves in and out of the epic adventures in his stories and the real-life events in the hospital. Because the story is a creation of both the stuntman and the little girl’s imaginations, it parallels their real lives in both direct and indirect ways. Each scene in the fanciful tale is visually stunning, and the way the characters drop in and out of their imagined story and their reality so frequently and fluidly will make it easier for you to transcend your current reality as well.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
This list wouldn’t be complete without a mind-bending romance. If you’re not already familiar, Eternal Sunshine takes place in a world where memory-erasing technology exists. The main characters Joel and Clementine begin a relationship without realizing that they already dated for two years, but both chose to erase the other from their memories after a bad break up. A good chunk of the movie takes place inside Joel’s mind during his memory erasing procedure. The audience sees snippets of Joel and Clementine’s relationship in reverse as his memories of Clementine intermingle with other other parts of his life, and everything feels dreamy and a little unreal. The movie poses a lot of questions about love, memory, truth, and fate, but it doesn’t try too hard to answer them. If you want to ponder the mysteries of the universe from inside Jim Carrey’s brain, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind should be your go-to movie the next time you’re high.
Image property of Focus Features, Anonymous Content, This Is That Productions
Did we miss a creepy contender for this list! Let us know below!