Sometimes to achieve a certain style, directors utilize techniques such as distorted imagery, brilliant colors, and a complicated, layered montage. Movies shot in this style are known as trippy movies. They’re very effective in terms of visual storytelling.
These trippy movies can provide you with a visual experience like no other. Not many directors make such movies but when they do it is always a treat to watch.
All of the trippy movies that we’ve handpicked are from different genres. However, sci-fi is a prevalent genre in them but the movies aren’t limited to it.
30. A Scanner Darkly (2006)
A Scanner Darkly is a crime drama movie Based on a book of the same name by Philip K. Dick. Taking place in the not-too-distant future, An undercover officer becomes entangled with a dangerous new substance and starts to lose his identity.
Director Richard Linklater uses a rotoscoping animation technique that makes the film look quite surreal and trippy.
Overall, A Scanner Darkly features a great cast, brilliant storytelling, and, most importantly, a unique visual style. This movie is counted among the best trippy movies of all time. It is certainly an underrated gem that deserves more love.
29. The Color Of Pomegranates (1969)
Discover The Color of Pomegranates, an unconventional blend of biopic and surrealism by Sergei Parajanov. Exploring the life of Armenian poet Sayat Nova, the film abandons linear storytelling in favor of psychedelic visuals inspired by his poetry. Immerse yourself in this unique experience that feels like a self-crafted biography of the poet, perfect for those seeking a mesmerizing and extraordinary cinematic journey
28. Tekkonkinkreet (2006)
Tekkonkinkreet is not your traditional anime. This anime is often called “American anime” because American director Michael Arias directed it. The film’s unique visual style will take you on a mind-numbing journey.
Tekkonkinkreet is an anime action-adventure movie. The story of this film revolves around two street youngsters navigating the city while trying to not get entangled in the city’s evil underbelly as the Yakuza sets their eyes on the brothers.
A powerful blend of eastern animation and western visuals, this film is a feast for the eyes.
27. The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari (1920)
Even though The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is a very important movie in cinema history, it has aged quite well and still gives a disturbing premise its due.
Often regarded as one of the very first horror movies, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari’s story revolves around the title character, a crazy hypnotist who murders people using an asleep walker.
If you’re a fan of film history or vintage films in general, then make sure to watch The Cabinet of Dr. Caligary. It is one of the best trippy movies of all time.
26. Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (2004)
a romantic/sci-fi movie revolving around a couple who get each other erased from their memories when they hit a road bump in their relationship, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a multi-layered storyline with very deeply written characters.
The whole sequence of Joel getting his memories erased is quite trippy and soulful. Jim Carrey carries this sequence with a marvelous performance, but the real focus is on the camera work and lens flare.
Full of emotion and beautiful visuals, this movie will tug at your heart and swoon your senses.
25. Naked Lunch (1991
Partially based on the author’s real-life experiences, Naked Lunch’s surreal plot revolves around Bill Lee, a writer who accidentally kills his wife. He’s addicted to a spray that is used to exterminate bugs. He then gets involved in a conspiracy that involves gigantic bugs.
Naked Lunch takes you on a drug-induced trip down the writer’s brain. It is directed by David Cronenberg so if you are a fan of his work then you’ll love this film, We have also discussed this film in our list of movies about writers.
24. Akira (1988)
Discover Akira, an anime classic with groundbreaking animation set in a dystopian future. Join Kaneda on his quest to help Tetsuo navigate challenges and unlock supernatural powers. A must-watch for fans, Akira influences sci-fi films and captivates audiences with its trippy visuals and complex characters. Experience this unforgettable masterpiece today.
23. Eraserhead (1977)
Discover Eraserhead, a top trippy movie and fantasy horror masterpiece by David Lynch. Dive into the world of Henry Spencer as he endures an industrial nightmare, a troubled relationship, and the chilling cries of his alien newborn. Ideal for a midnight watch, prepare yourself to embrace the mind-bending madness of this must-see classic from the master of surreal cinema.
22. Beetlejuice (1988)
Step into the trippy and darkly comedic realm of Beetlejuice, a spellbinding horror-fantasy film infused with Tim Burton’s signature flair. The story unravels around a deceased couple whose peace is disrupted by an unbearable family that has taken over their home. Desperate, they seek the assistance of a mischievous ghost.
With Michael Keaton’s standout performance as the eponymous character, Beetlejuice artfully melds dark humor, horror, and a surreal atmosphere. This timeless classic becomes even more entertaining with each viewing, making it essential for fans of both comedy and macabre.
21. Clockwork Orange (1972)
Enter the unsettling world of A Clockwork Orange, a dystopian crime film set in a bleak future. The story follows a brutal gang leader who, after being imprisoned, volunteers for a behavior-modification experiment with unexpected results. Surrealistic cinematography is a trademark of the visionary director, Stanley Kubrick, known for his unconventional and abstract creations.
While A Clockwork Orange may not be as “trippy” as some other entries, its dystopian concept and unnerving atmosphere are undeniably compelling.
20. Being John Malkovich (1999)
Explore the peculiar realm of Being John Malkovich, a standout among trippy movies that promises a captivating experience. The plot unravels as a puppeteer discovers a secret portal into the mind of Hollywood’s John Malkovich, taking viewers on an unforgettable journey.
This intriguing film, directed by Spike Jonze, seamlessly joins humor and the bizarre, creating a one-of-a-kind cinematic masterpiece. To truly grasp the unique appeal of Being John Malkovich, dive in and watch it for yourself – you’re in for a delightful surprise.
19. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
Venture into the enchanting world of The Grand Budapest Hotel, a film that, while not the most trippy, offers a visually delightful experience. Directed by Wes Anderson, the story follows M. Gustave, a legendary hotel concierge, and Zero Moustafa, a loyal lobby boy who becomes his trusted companion.
This captivating film showcases an exceptional cast and an intriguing storyline. The stunning cinematography and seamless editing create a beautiful visual treat, marking it as a true Wes Anderson masterpiece.
18. The Matrix (1999)
A groundbreaking sci-fi action film, The Matrix takes audiences on an unforgettable adventure. The story unfolds as computer hacker Neo meets a mysterious stranger and uncovers a shocking truth: his reality is an elaborate simulation.
The Matrix revolutionized the VFX world with its iconic “bullet time” technique, setting a new standard for modern sci-fi films.
With a thought-provoking premise and mesmerizing psychedelic sequences, The Matrix easily earns a spot on our list of the best trippy movies.
17. Trainspotting (1996)
A drama film revolving around a group of low-income young guys who use drugs, fight, breach the law, become crazy drunk, and otherwise ruin their lives in and around Edinburgh, Scotland.
Director Danny Boyle opted to use the opposite of the usual vibrant color palette of the most trippy movies but still turns the film into a visual treat. Trainspotting looks thematically disturbing, disgusting, and rotten.
You might need to watch this film with the subtitles on so you can get through the thick Scottish accent but overall a wonderfully unique experience.
16. Loving Vincent (2017)
The world’s first painted film-loving Vincent is probably the most unique movie on our list of trippy movies.
An animated film that revolves around a young guy who travels to Vincent van Gogh’s hometown to deliver the troubled artist’s final letter, and who ends up observing his final days there.
Loving Vincent is visually just beautiful. You’ll probably end up watching some scenes multiple times to truly appreciate their beauty. Furthermore, the beautiful musical score perfectly fits the film.
15. TRON (1982)
An early 80s sci-fi movie TRON is probably one of the decade’s most trippy movies. The story revolves around a computer hacker who is kidnapped into the digital realm and forced to compete in gladiatorial games, with only a heroic security program to help him escape.
The story of Tron gets buried though under its true legacy: the glowing bikes, and the fast-paced camera work. A visual treat from beginning to end, you’re sure to be fully immersed in its futuristic digital world.
14. House (1977)
A comedy horror movie about a high school student who invites her classmates to her aunt’s house where they encounter wicked ghosts; the house is one of those movies that makes you feel high without needing any ingested substance
It is hard to describe House to someone who hasn’t watched it. It is not a conventional movie. This movie toys with your mind and perception of reality. The best way to describe House is that a lot of weird things happen, and we love to see them.
13. Altered States (1980)
Altered States is a thriller film that revolves around a scientist fascinated with discovering humanity’s purpose. He believes, through experimenting with various medicines, he’ll be able to achieve this.
The entire film is terrifying with its trippy visual effects and thrilling storyline. Moreover, Altered States is rich in ambiance and the atmosphere overall is one of the best aspects of the movie.
All the surreal imagery is downright hallucinatory. If you watch this film while smoking grass you might get an experience like never before. It is one of the best truly trippy movies.
12. Fantastic Planet (1973)
Oppressed humanoids on a distant planet revolt against their machine-like rulers, that is the world of a fantastic planet.
Another animated movie on our list of trippy movies this film is quite unconventional in terms of storytelling as well as animation. And with many metaphorical references and social commentary, this film will captivate your mind and make you analyze each of its beautiful frames.
11. Yellow Submarine (1968)
Yellow Submarine is full of vibrant colors, dazzling animation, and fantastic music, inspired by the beetle’s discography, Yellow submarine is a film for all ages.
The plot follows the animated beetles as they ride their submarine to save the residents of pepper land with their groovy tunes from the music-hating blue meanies that had taken hold of the island.
The plot is simple but effective and does its job but even without it, the music is what leads and compliments the trippy world of Yellow submarine.
10. Mind Game (2004)
After getting shot by the Yakuza and resurrected, a low-lifer, accompanied by his childhood crush, sets out to turn his life around. With themes of self-discovery, “Mind games” is a wonderful exploration of just how to build a multilayered character
But the real star of this film is the varied art style. A technique rarely used and very impactful the director opts to change art styles as the tone shifts lending a dreamlike and emotional viewing experience.
9. Blade Runner/ Blade Runner 2042
While Ridley Scott’s blade runner and “Raquel” Denis Villeneuve’s blade runner 2042 take place in the same apocalyptic world, are both sci-fi thrillers and thematic link up, both remain visually distinct.
The first movie uses rough and grunge aesthetics with a touch of retro-futuristic vibe, but the sequel went all out in the futuristic theme with vibrant yet controlled colors. This choice gives us two separate and individual but equally trippy viewing experiences.
8. Doctor Strange (2016)
The 13th installment of the MCU took the most risk at the time in terms of visual storytelling and still stands as one of the franchise’s most experimental ventures.
The plot follows our titular doctor as he loses everything in a car crash that breaks both hands, taking away his surgical abilities, he eventually finds a new purpose among mystics.
This movie is not only carried by Tilda Swinton and Benedict Cumberbatch’s upstanding performances but by its mind-bending sequences, notably the representation of magic or anything happening in the “mirror dimensions”.
7. Daisies (1966)
Two girls decide to treat themselves after deciding that the entire world is spoilt. They rob elderly guys, eat costly meals, and get into all sorts of trouble. However, this leads them into some hot water.
Like some other movies on this list of the best trippy movies, Daises is a bit hard to fully explain. The plot of this movie is almost non-existent, but with many underlying themes of war, feminism, and communism, the movie serves as a wonderful vector for beautiful surrealism.
6. Brazil (1985)
Terry Gilliam has made some of the most visually unique and appealing movies to date, but Brazil might be his most trippy.
Set in a dystopian future, a bureaucrat accidentally becomes the most wanted enemy of the government while pursuing the woman of his dreams.
Brazil masterfully mixes dark humor, science fiction, and satire with ridiculous fantastic elements with visuals that are a pure treat to watch.
5. Inception (2010)
Probably one of the most well-known trippy movies, Inception is a sci-fi thriller film revolving around a group of people who try to plant an idea into an individual’s mind. However, they must do this by going into their dreams and the task requires caution.
Talented actors, good writing, and beautiful cinematography, all of that is top-notch, but the true entertainment value is most likely its trippy visual and practical effects.
4. Waking Life (2001)
Walking Life revolves around a guy who shuffles through a dream, encountering numerous individuals and questioning the universe’s meanings and purposes.
Using innovative animation processes the film contains a lot of trippy visuals that compliment perfectly the film’s equally min-boggling storyline and even though it might come off as pretentious at times, the movie excels at operating a very philosophical premise that’ll make you question everything.
3. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
The Discovery One and its groundbreaking supercomputer set out to uncover the mystery of a monolith discovered on the lunar surface. Directed by the legendary Stanley Kubrick, “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968) is still the gold standard for a startling sci-fi film.
Earning multiple awards for best visual effects, the film excels at building another worldly atmosphere. Notably, the iconic stargate scene comes to mind, a trippy sequence from beginning to end that filmmakers are still recreating, reimagining, and referencing all those years later trying to capture the pure visual delight that was the original.
2. Enter The Void (2009)
Brace your minds for a lot of flashing imagery and psychedelic visuals as we delve into the void. A drama fantasy film, the film tells the story of an American drug dealer living in Tokyo that is betrayed by his best friend and slain. Observing the effects of his death, his soul wishes to be resurrected.
Enter The Void film is quite similar to an earlier film on this list “Mind Game”, however, it is way more trippy and quite dark with a few shocking moments that you might want to spoil yourself on ahead of time if you’re of faint heart.
1. Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas (1998)
A strange journalist and his psychotic lawyer visit Las Vegas for a series of hallucinogenic adventures that is the plot of the trippiest movie to date.
A near-perfect visual translation of Hunter S. Thompson’s literary classic, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas trippy visuals compliments perfectly the equally trippy storyline with both escalating and are the best representation of just how strange a road trip film could become.