Random Thoughts on Culture: Cheesy SyFy Movies

I have a confession to make. I love cheesy, corny, and poorly made science fiction movies. The Blob? One of my all time favorites, even though the monster itself looks like a bin liner stuffed with jello. Them? Giant ants – love it.  Giant spiders, squid, creatures from the black lagoon, mad scientists shrinking people into minis to wreak vengeance upon others – oh yeah. Bring it on.

I think part of the allure of bad sci fi movies is that I know what I’m getting when I tune in. I’m not promised a tear jerker, or some sort of thought-provoking drama. Oh, there’s a place in my life for both; one of my all time favorite movies is Forest Gump, and I always cry when Jennie dies.  I love a great suspence movie, like Hitchcock’s North by Northwest, another favorite. And someday I have to write about my admiration and love for French New Wave cinema – not everyone’s glass of chardonnay, but Francois Truffant is brilliant, and I admire his film making tremendously.

But there’s a really special place in my heart for bad science fiction and horror movies. I can’t watch slash ’em up movies anymore, but I do like a good ghost story, or a strange creature. Years ago, nuclear bomb testing was the bugaboo; today, it’s global warming.  Years ago, the Cold War was the backdrop for suspense and science fiction movies, today it’s terrorism.  Times change, but the basic plot structure doesn’t.

Favorite cheesy science fiction movies? Independence Day takes top spot, and it’s not very cheesy, actually.  I think it’s actually well done thanks to Jeff Goldblum, Will Smith, a decent plot, an adorable little boy and of course, a Golden retriever. You add a cute little boy with a baseball cap on backwards and his loyal dog and I’m a total goner.

That said, did you catch Sharknado this past week? Wonderful cheesy Hollywood at its best. You know a really stupid movie when you see one and can predict who is going to get killed/eaten by sharks/devoured by giant pythons/killed by flying letters from the Hollywood sign. Yes, I predicted that one.

Masquito…Python versus Gator…Megashark….Oh, just add “mega” to any movie title and you know it’s screaming bad film making. And let’s not forget the classics; The Blob, Them, It Came from Outer Space, Forbidden Planet, The Incredible Shrinking Man, Attack of the 50 Foot Woman…the list goes on and on.

They’re all great fun, and some are decent movies. The cult of the B movie lives on with cheesy SyFy movies, and as for me – I’m grateful for it.


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