BLOGBUSTERS Guilty Sci-Fi Pleasures
The SFX bloggers reveal to Alasdair Stuart the things they love that perhaps not everybody else does
Hello, my name is Alasdair and I have geek guilty pleasures. We all have, in fact – those stories or characters or films that only a mother, and we, could love. Some people view “Beer Bad” as one of Buffy’s underrated gems; others swear that Stealth is actually a good movie; and others have every episode of Cleopatra 2525 on DVD. For most people they’re crap; for us, they’re comfort food, custard for the brain, a hug from geekdom.
So I asked my fellow bloggers what their geek guilty pleasures are. The answers may shock you, unless of course you’re looking at your signed DVD of Crime Traveller as you read this. In which case, we forgive you. For now…
Laura McConnell: Someone recently asked me this one Twitter, and I answered them without too much thought. I’ll do the same here. It’s Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Not exactly high-brow cinema, I know, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it every time I see it.
Matt Risley: For years, I hastily decried that Joel Schumacher’s infamous Batman & Robin was the biggest cinematic comic book travesty since Judge Dredd. Yet only a couple of months back I found myself oddly (and, admittedly, hungoverly) transfixed after absent-mindedly finding it on TV one lazy afternoon. Whether it was the camp-tastic dialogue, the eye-rolling ridiculousness of the day-glo surroundings or the sheer morbid fascination of watching genuine acting talent ham it up in the most embarrassing style, it somehow morphed from “so bad it’s bad” to “so bad it’s kinda a little bit in a way awesome”.
While your Nolan/Bale flicks are never going to be beaten for character development, pathos, action and gruff voicery, their success somehow makes Batman & Robin’s utter rubbishness all the more glorious.
Not actual blogger
Kell Harker: Guilty pleasures are awesome; I’m not ashamed to admit what I love! Let’s see… I love shopping for superhero pyjamas; I still watch Fraggle Rock every Saturday morning; I cosplay. But my favourite geeky pleasure is dressing my daughter, River, in super cute sci-fi costumes. I don’t care if she resents me when she’s a teenager because right now she looks adorable as R2D2. River was born to be a geek. Also, she can kill you with her brain.
Stacey Whittle: I think to have a guilty pleasure you have to feel guilty about it. I feel guilty about nothing! Nothing I tell you! I happily admit to watching every season of Charmed – just in case! I like Garibaldi in Babylon 5 and his cheesy PI patter. I liked the Buffy The Vampire Slayer movie and “Beer Bad”! I like the George Lazenby James Bond. I love James Bond! I have watched Time Cop several times. You know what else I like? The Doctor Who movie with him offa Record Breakers in it! I liked the last Indiana Jones movie. I own the Lost In Space movie with Joey from Friends in it. You can’t embarrass me when it comes to bad geekery I am a geek and I am proud to just have geeky pleasures without the guilt.
Alasdair Stuart: Lifeforce. Lifeforce is utterly brilliant, cheerily tawdry and absolutely the oddest collection of science fiction tropes flying in loose, and at times nude, formation I’ve ever seen. Picture Torchwood, made at the cusp of the ’80s, with a larger budget, absolutely no angst, and Patrick Stewart making out with an astral projection made out of blood.
I’m not making that up.
The film opens with the Churchill, a joint UK/US manned mission to Halley’s Comet discovering a colossal spacecraft flying in the wake of the comet. They dock with it and inside they find thousands of huge, desiccated bat-like corpses and three perfectly preserved, and extremely naked, humans in crystal coffins.
So of course they decide to take them back to Earth. What could possibly go wrong?
What follows is basically a really, really excellent episode of Torchwood as the Commander of the shuttle mission, now psychically linked with the female evil alien space vampire, and Colonel Colin Kane of the SAS try and largely fail to stop London’s populace getting their souls eaten. The whole thing is utterly English and pragmatic and plays, at times, a little bit like a Carry On movie with a bodycount. It also, in Peter Firth, has one of the greatest English action heroes of all time. He’s polite, quiet, reserved and just a little bit grumpy about the whole thing and is quite, quite brilliant as a result. In fact, in my own personal canon, Colonel Kane ends up having to change his name and Sir Harry Pearce in Spooks isn’t just played by the same actor, it’s the same character..
Also there are nude space vampires. What’s not to love?
Stephen Ellis: Oooh, that’s a toughy. There are quite a few films on my DVD shelf that I’m a bit ashamed to own, ones that get me a raised eyebrow and a funny look when spotted by visiting geeky friends, but I don’t know which ones to share… The first thing I’d probably mention is the Resident Evil films. They really are switch-off-and-enjoy-the-crazy kinda films, and much better when watched with friends. Not so long ago I and a group of friends did a Resident Evil marathon, watching all four films (at the time) over a weekend. It was great fun because I think those films are a shared guilty pleasure. We all know they’re a bit crap, but we can enjoy them none the less. The Underworld films could be viewed in the same light.
There’s plenty of other guilty pleasure films that I own and enjoy which I think are frowned upon by my geek friends and sci-fidom in general. Bicentennial Man, Stealth, the Star Wars prequels, Constantine, the odd-numbered Trek films, 2012. All spring to mind as being a bit crap but sometimes enjoyable. I don’t know – it’s all subjective isn’t it? One fan’s guilty pleasure is another fan’s proud rave.
So there you go, our geeky pleasures laid bare for all to see. Assuming we haven’t shocked you into unconsciousness with horror at what we secretly love, we’ll see you next week when we ask the question:
What geek sacred cow do you just not get?
Moral outrage cannons on standby. We’ll see you then.