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10 Surreal Movies To Watch If You Love Room 104 -BB

HBO’s eclectic anthology series Room 104, created by the Duplass brothers, is the perfect vehicle for providing new filmmakers across all genres with an opportunity to create cinematic stories about the lives of people checking into an unnamed hotel in America. Filmmakers involved in the series include So Yong Kim, Patrice Brice, Liza Johnson, and Sarah Adina Smith.

Room 104 does a good job of breaking out into dreamlike sequences, where distinctions between reality and fantasy are completely obscured. This experimental tone makes the series irresistibly entertaining for people who enjoy surreal storytelling. Inspired by the stylistic underpinnings of Room 104, here are 10 strange hotel films that compliment the series.

10 The Lobster (2015)

Before he made waves in the mainstream with The Favourite, Greek-born Yorgos Lanthimos wrote and directed this dystopian film starring Colin Farrell. Farrell plays David, a man sent to a hotel for single adults. At the hotel, David has 45 days to fall in love. If he doesn’t, he will be transformed into an animal of his choosing.

A dark satire about the modern dating landscape, The Lobster also stars Rachel Weisz and John C. Reilly. Lanthimos relies on complete absurdity to garner laughs from his audience, putting his characters in awkward and contrived situations.

9 Hotel Splendide (2000)

This forgotten edgy British comedy stars Toni Collette and Daniel Craig. Craig’s character, Ronald, is the chef at his family’s hotel and health spa, which administers colonics and serves bland food to guests. His ex-girlfriend Kath, played by Collette, decides to return in order to help him revive the decaying resort.

Kath’s arrival signals a sea-change at the island hotel as she attempts to alter the resort’s offerings and management style. Fueled by a cast of quirky characters, Hotel Splendide pays homage to the great 1970s British hotel comedy, Faulty Towers.

8 The Night Porter (1974)

This controversial Italian thriller finds a former SS officer and a young Jewish woman he tortured and abused during World War II crossing paths years after the war ended, in 1957. The reunion, at the Viennese hotel the man is employed by, shatters both of them, yet they are drawn into a self-destructive, sexual affair.

As the man, Max, faces trial for war crimes, the nature of his relationship with the woman, Lucia, grows more and more toxic. This tense film digs into the nature of trauma, providing no clear-cut answers about how both abusers and the abused deal with the aftermath.

7 The Beyond (1981)

A gory Italian film set in Louisiana, The Beyond utilizes gore and body horror to tell its tale of a hotel that is a gateway to Hell. Liza, who inherits the hotel, is completely unaware of its demonic status.

As Liza learns more about the hotel and its history, she asks her lover for help, but he doesn’t believe her. As more and more people are consumed – literally – by the evil seeping out of the hotel, Liza comes to terms with the state of her inheritance, but it’s too late. The movie ends with her descending into the great, dark beyond.

6 Four Rooms (1995)

This anthology film told in four chapters focuses on a bellboy at a luxury hotel long past its prime. The bellboy, played by Tim Roth, attends to the needs of the hotel’s inhabitants on New Year’s Eve. The shorts that make up the movie are directed by Allison Anders, Alexandre Rockwell, Robert Rodriguez, and Quentin Tarantino.

The framing of the film is clearly analogous to how Room 104 functions, and both involve dark, comedic tales that range in genre and influence. Everyone from Antonio Banderas to Madonna has a role in Four Rooms.

5 Plaza Suite (1971)

A screwball comedy, Plaza Suite is another anthology series set in a hotel. Legendary actor Walter Matthau is the string that holds it all together, playing different characters in each of the three stories brought to life in the movie.

One story involves a couple returning to the site of their honeymoon 24 years later, another a movie producer attempting to seduce his old fling, and the final a couple trying to convince their daughter to leave her locked hotel room to attend her own wedding, which is happening in the hotel’s ballroom.

4 Motel Hell (1980)

This goofy B-horror movie follows in the wake left by The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Farmer Vincent runs an award-winning sausage business and a roadside hotel. It turns out the secret ingredient to his sausages is the healthy people who made the poor choice to spend a night at Motel Hello.

While in many respects another comedic, low-brow horror movie, Motel Hell still manages to maintain a creepy aura and atmospherics missing in other horror films. Farmer Vincent’s harvesting techniques are also some of the most unique to ever make it on screen.

3 2046 (2004)

Hong Kong-based auteur Wong Kar-wai is at the helm of this speculative, science fiction film that involves multiple story arcs, time-traveling, and references to two of his other films: In The Mood For Love and Days of Being Wild.

Moving back and forth through decades, the movie begins in the year 2046, most of its action focuses around a hotel room numbered 2046. Dense and layered, 2046 is ultimately a thought-provoking romance about ill-fated love and missed opportunities. It stars Kar-wai’s frequent collaborator Tony Leung as Chow Mo-wan.

2 The Witches (1990)

Based on the book by children’s author Roald Dahl, The Witches is an entertaining feature from one of Australia’s best filmmakers, Nicolas Roeg. In the movie, a young boy vacationing with his grandmother at a seaside hotel discovers the hotel is also hosting a witch convention.

As the boy eavesdrops on the meeting, he discovers the witches are hatching a plan to turn all the children in England into mice. The Witches stars Angelica Huston and features work from Jim Henson’s Creature Shop.

1 The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

Wes Anderson’s idiosyncratic ensemble drama is set in a fictional luxury hotel in a fictional European country during the 1930s. The movie follows the trial and tribulations of the hotel’s famed head concierge, Gustave H., played by Ralph Fiennes. After his much older lover dies, he inherits a priceless Renaissance painting from her, leading the woman’s greedy family to pin her death on Gustave.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is a beautifully-designed film, relying on intricate set arrangements to bring the grandiose seasonal hotel to life.

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