With his introspective drama A History of Violence currently in theaters—not to mention Halloween quickly approaching—it's as good of a time as any to brush up on the disconcerting, smart, and hit-and-miss films of David Cronenberg. It's nearly impossible to like all of Cronenberg's stuff—but it's a hell of a thing when even the guy's lousy movies are still pretty interesting.

Dead Ringers (1988)—One of Cronenberg's best, Dead Ringers features Jeremy Irons as twin gynecologists who're doing the same chick (Geneviève Bujold). Irons is fantastic, and Cronenberg gets in enough psycho-sexual oddities to make even the most stalwart viewers cringe. Maybe more importantly, the film's funny as hell, though you might feel bad about laughing at the pitch-black humor. (I didn't, but apparently I think nothing's funnier than weird twin gynecologists.)

eXistenZ (1999)—A muddled, confused trip that's either about videogames or drugs. Or neither. I don't fucking know, okay? Anyway, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Jude Law stick these tubes into their bodies, and Willem Dafoe runs a gas station. Maybe I'm just not getting it, but I'm pretty sure this movie's pretty crappy. Right?

Scanners (1981)—Cheesy acting and cheesier dialogue ("I'm gonna suck your brain dry!") punctuate this pulpy story of ESP-enabled humans who... run around and kill people and stuff. That's about it, and it's pretty horrible—then again, this dude's head totally explodes in it, so I guess that's pretty rad.

The Fly (1986)—Flat-out awesome. A young Jeff Goldblum plays a scientist whose DNA gets combined with that of a fly—causing Goldblum to steadily change into something less than human. Complete with gross make-up effects, frightening psychological shifts, and darkly funny gags. Fox's new DVD rerelease boasts exhaustive documentaries and special features—including the most ridiculous alternate ending ever. (It involves a baby with butterfly wings, and that's all I'm going to say.)