10 Movies Like ‘Mulholland Drive’ You Must Watch

We here at The Cinemaholic are often mocked for loving this film more than your average movie website, but we can’t help it! Speaking for myself, I wasn’t initially a fan on my first viewing. I don’t know why it didn’t work for me then, but my second viewing of it (something that happened thanks to due pressure from fellow cinephiles) blew me away, to put it short. ‘Mulholland Drive’ (2001) is like a cold, white, slender hand wrapping itself around my neck, getting tighter and tighter with every passing second. I felt as though I had seen the edge of cinema.

David Lynch is a genius and one of my favorite filmmakers of all time, and in order to celebrate what is often called his best work as well as a strong contender for the greatest film of all time, I’ll list out films similar to ‘Mulholland Drive’ (taking into consideration style, tone, subject, etc.) that is my recommendations. You can watch several of these movies like ‘Mulholland Drive’ on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.

10. Daisies (1966)

I like what this film is trying to do: bring philosophy and high-mindedness into a system of dimwits to see how they’d react. The film, to me, was so completely absurd that I did chuckle a couple of times due to the sheer madness I saw unravel on screen. Unfortunately, after a while, this trick loses its spark, and it becomes uninteresting, something also brought on by the nonsensical nature of the events that take place, not aiding the film to have a structure. I can’t say I hated it, but I didn’t “like it” like it either. I laughed, and I thought it was plain bonkers.

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9. Sugar Cookies (1973)

One of the most bizarre experiences I’ve had with a film. It being a Troma production is kind of strange, because there isn’t even an ounce of the independent studio’s infamous cinema tropes, at least as far as direction is concerned. ‘Sugar Cookies’ tells a story that isn’t easy to piece together; about revenge, though there’s something more to it than that. What you’re initially presented with is a cluster of social outcasts who have reached the peak of success, akin to the whackos Andy Warhol called his superstars. Using these characters, the film relates a plot involving a lesbian romance that is shattered by the murder on one of its counterparts, following which the one left alive devices a chaotic way of getting back. The film builds fear by making the audience uncomfortable, by choosing odd locations and unsettling music, as well as by incorporating a unique yet campy filmmaking style to present its beautiful tale.

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8. The Lickerish Quartet (1970)

‘The Lickerish Quartet’ is an erotic feature, wherein we’re presented with a house and its members, among whom the decided paternal figure has an absurd interest in 8mm pornographic cinema, watching them over and over and analyzing them conscientiously. A seemingly calculated but menacing warp in space and time takes place when the family meets with the star of one of the pornographic films, purely by accident, who finds her way into their lives, or perhaps their dreams, by taking advantage of their sensual shortcomings. Those who are familiar with Radley Metzger’s quality style will find themselves easily melding with the atmosphere of this film, though I doubt that even they will be able to fully understand its story.

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7. The Double Life of Veronique (1991)

This is by far the most distinctive film on the list, with respect to style, because it isn’t exactly a thriller. It’s a drama with a plotline that justifies its inclusion, about a highly gifted singer whose passing has an emotional impact on another woman living miles away, her doppelganger, by affecting her subconscious for reasons she can’t exactly sum up, saddening her well enough to sprout a curiosity regarding the reasons behind her pain. Krysztof Kieslowski is one of my favorite filmmakers of all time. His understanding of human beings feels clearer than any other artist to ever have worked on a film, and ‘Veronique’ is good evidence for this.

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6. Inland Empire (2006)

David Lynch’s ‘Inland Empire’ is a psychologically stunning follow-up to ‘Mulholland Drive’, and its one that baffles its audience with its sheer independence in creativity. Though there is a plot that is followed, most of what is done isn’t comprehensive, which is reminiscent of the style of the talented filmmaker. Laura Dern, in the lead, plays an actress who slowly realizes that the production she is appearing in has a past that gives way to sinister undertones. While the film is exceptionally told, I did have a hard time keeping up with the digital camerawork that Lynch had approved for its production.

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5. Perfect Blue (1997)

‘Perfect Blue’ is a film that blurs the line between what is real and what is not. It is concerned with a pop singer’s rise to stardom, and follows her life as she settles for an early retirement in order to opt temporary career options. Throughout the film, there’s a sense that she is being used, perhaps as a puppet of the society around her, as a strange fan from her past begins to haunt her life in mysterious ways, taking control of her subconscious. Satoshi Kon’s masterwork is not one to attempt a deduction on, in my opinion, but to be loved for the sheer inexplicability of it all. Every frame of this picture oozes mastery, except the final scene, which I felt went totally against the style of the picture.

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4. Alice or the Last Escapade (1976)

Like something out of Tarkovsky’s head, Claude Chabrol’s excellent portrayal of a woman stuck in limbo is unsettling, intriguing, and frightening, to say the least. In every sense of the term an art-house film, I thought the silence in the strangeness of the events transpired was evocative (to be taken in a personal sense), and Sylvia Kristel gives a performance for the times as the title character. Sporting some excellent cinematography, off-putting music, and a story that scares seemingly in an unintentional manner, this imagining of the subconscious is, I feel, a must watch for film lovers. It’s the kind of picture that’ll stay with and haunt you, as it did me when its final shot revealed something I already knew, but still ended up being hurt when it was confirmed to me.

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3. Last Year At Marienbad (1961)

Nothing happened at this grand hotel. Then everything did. This film is the most wonderful dream I’ve ever seen unfold on celluloid, and it is one of the greatest ever made. I can’t quite recall what happened last year. A play with a lot of people watching. Two lovers hiding from her boyfriend. Oh, but wait, was he really her boyfriend, maybe he was her father? But no. That’s not what took place. I don’t remember any of it. I have always been in Marienbad. I have lost all sense of time and direction. I know no emotions but the ones presented in that play. I know not one thing. I assume to know it all.

‘Last Year At Marienbad’ is a work of pure art that everyone must see. It’s cerebral, but then again, it really isn’t. It’s beautiful, that’s all I know. Nothing happened at this grand hotel. Then everything did. This film is the most wonderful dream I’ve ever seen unfold on celluloid, and it is one of the greatest ever made.

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2. 3 Women (1977)

‘3 Women’ is like the perfect amalgamation of ‘Mulholland Drive’, ‘Cache’ (2005), and the film that holds the top spot on this article. I personally find it better than the first two, and I think it’s as close to flawlessness as a film can get. It’s a piece of art carrying with it an underlying mystery of sorts that’ll suck you right into its dark world of tasteless humor and incomplete characters. It’s a film dipped in ambiguity (sort of like a surreal nightmare), and is not only my favorite Robert Altman film of all time, but one of the twenty-something pictures I consider to be the greatest ever made. Shelley Duvall and Sissy Spacek give terrifying performances, and the atmosphere here is so chillingly morbid that by the time it ends, the world of the film alone demands so much from its audience, who have at that point become powerless.

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1. Persona (1966)

persona

If I were to recommend just one film that deserves to be seen more than once, I’d probably go with ‘Persona’. I was completely in submission to its claustrophobic atmosphere, the coldness of its characters, the irrationality of their motives – the list goes on. ‘Persona’ isn’t the easiest of films to understand, if it was meant to be understood, but it finds its way into the enjoyment of its audience, something I received in the form of intellectual stimulation, however pretentious that may sound. The film is about an actress who loses her voice and hence is paired with a nurse to find comfort in the middle of nowhere, until she gets better. The relationship between the two women envelope them in this closeness that develops slowly, but surely, until a strange shift in personalities commences, leading to emotional chaos.

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