From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

Ten Cheesetastic Fantasy Flicks for Summer

The days might be getting shorter, but the mercury is rising (and rising, and rising…). Sometimes it’s just too hot to handle anything serious-minded; all you want is a fun fantasy flick.

We’ll, we’re here to oblige! We’ve rounded up ten cheesy old favorites that go perfectly with a few good friends and a few gallons of iced tea.

1. Earth Girls are Easy

Geena Davis is a Valley Girl whose pool gets invaded by aliens. If you (inexplicably) need more reasons to watch this movie, Julie Brown is her best friend, and Jeff Goldblum, Damon Wayans, and a prepubescent Jim Carrey are the aliens, all three of whom quickly shed their shaggy fur and emerge as blazer-wearing beefcake for ninety minutes of some of the fluffiest comedy ever.

2. Krull

The film that perfected high-fantasy cheese (and would have gone out for the sci-fi title too, except that sci-fi was already busy making a fool of itself). The brave prince Colwyn sets out on a quest to claim his bride via personal weapon, prophecy, and teleporting fortress. Wave to the United Kingdom’s Central Casting for me!

3. The Lost Boys

Late-80s heartthrobs Jason Patric, Keifer Sutherland, and the two Coreys stare their way through this campy classic about beaches, small-town amusement parks, and what a drag it is when you just can’t be as badass as your friends. Admit it; after all these years, you still believe.

4. Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure

Dudes, you cannot even deny that this is, like, the funniest movie in the world. Because it’s so…hilarious, and yet…astute. Because it’s so…like, classic, and stuff. If you hate this movie, that’s totally bogus. SANDIMASHIGHSCHOOLFOOTBALLRULES!

5. Van Helsing

Of all the movies on this list, this is the worst, because it’s painful instead of hilariously cheesy. But here’s the deal: it’s hot, and that iced booze isn’t going to drink itself. Put on Van Helsing, pick any aspect of it (monster attacks, hilarious weaponry, Richard Roxburgh camp overload, hamfisted references, possible origins of Kate Beckinsale’s accent), and drink with impunity.

6. Masters of the Universe

Because in some ways, Krull was a little too restrained, you know?

7. Batman Forever

It’s half a cheeseball comic-book movie, half cautionary tale. To watch this is to examine a moment in time, a time when Val Kilmer and Jim Carrey had non-ironic careers. Watch this knowing the Burton movies we’d left behind, and what horrors would await us under George Clooney’s nipple-y reign. Now that we’re safely back in Nolan territory, we can watch this with the distance of anthropologists, and the glee of people who secretly listened to that soundtrack all the time whenever we thought we were alone.

8. The Mummy

A modern pulp classic, this kicked off the trend for reincarnated monster movies, none of which had the sly touch this one had. (Including this one’s two sequels. Pretend they don’t exist; it’s better for everyone.)

9. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

What Masters of the Universe began, TMNT perfected. Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Raphael literally came to life in this action flick, which proves that turtles have just as much existential angst as the rest of us. Plus the responsibility that comes with bearing arms. Of all the vaguely-off-putting live-action adaptations of your favorite animated series, this is the off-puttingest.

10. Xanadu

I know you think this movie is a confusing jumble of has-beens awkwardly performing musical numbers. You’re correct! Now go watch it immediately.

Genevieve Valentine’s fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, Strange Horizons, Fantasy, Federations, and more. She is a columnist at Tor.com and Fantasy Magazine. Her first novel, Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti, is forthcoming in 2011. Her appetite for bad movies is insatiable, a tragedy she tracks on her blog.