Director: Panos Cosmatos

Oh, how to describe first-time feature filmmaker Panos Cosmatos's trippy, made-for-midnight-madness debut Beyond the Black Rainbow (which opened in limited theatrical release yesterday). First, let's start with the story at hand: Set back in an unfamiliar, Stanley Kubrick/2001: A Space Odyssey-inspired incarnation of Reagan-era 1983, Beyond the Black Rainbow mostly takes places inside the facilities of the now-ancient Dr. Arboria's research institute, where a young girl, the non-speaking, ethereal Elena (Eva Allen) undergoes a series of probing mental tests at the hands of doctor, and first-class creep, Barry Nyle (Michael Rogers). After a few tests go haywire, and Nyle loses his mind, Elena decides she's ready to escape. And the fleeing, naturally, doesn't happen smoothly.

As Cosmatos himself would tell you, though, Beyond the Black Rainbow isn't really about what's happening in the narrative sense. The power and singularity of Beyond the Black Rainbow lie in its otherworldly, horror-thick imagery and the enveloping nightmare mood, all presented with a retro aesthetic that brings to mind what those Dharma Initiative reels seen on ABC's Lost would look like if viewed through a Fangoria filter. With an unnerving synthesizer score that's straight out of John Carpenter's '80s movies, not to mention touches of telepathy, homicide, the occult, and cosmic dread, Beyond the Black Rainbow is a mind-fuck of the highest order.