Guilty pleasures can vary from person-to-person, from something as simple as a favorite pint of ice cream to a cheap cigar. Movies are a favorite guilty pleasure of mine. There are some movies that most people would consider a waste of time, but I think of them as a great way to spend an Saturday night.
To me, the 1980s has the best guilty pleasure movies out there. They were at the forefront in special effects, any topic or storyline was fair game and the actors were cheesy and formulaic … The perfect combination for a guilty pleasure movie.
RottenTomatoes.com rates movies both good and bad, however their rating system doesn’t account for “guilty pleasure” movies. Here’s my list of my top five “Guilty Pleasure fantasy/adventure movies of the 80s” and how they are rated.
5. Conan the Destroyer (1984) – As bad movies go, this tops the list as one of the worst sequels ever made, right up there with Superman III and Batman and Robin (another Arnold snooze-fest). But how can you say no to Arnold Schwarzenegger and Wilt Chamberlain in a classic one-on-one duel to the death. Add in Grace Jones in all her badness as a female warrior and Sarah Douglas as the evil Queen and you’ve got a wicked guilty pleasure movie. You will never forget the argument about Malak’s “brother’s sister’s cousin!” (Rotten Tomatoes 26%, 1 1/2 stars)
4. Red Sonja (1985) – Since there was no traction for a third “Conan” movie after the last bomb, Arnold teamed up with Sylvester Stallone’s girlfriend Brigitte Nielsen and his “Conan” love interest Sandahl Bergman to bring another Robert E. Howard character to the silver screen, Red Sonja. So bad ass warriors, evil queen, magic orb … Check! Arnold got to flex his muscles as Sonja’s love interest Kalidor. The best part of this movie was Ernie Reyes Jr. who played Prince Tarn, a spoiled little prince with awesome Kung fu fighting skills. (Rotten Tomatoes 18%, 1 star)
3. Sword and the Sorcerer (1982) – This is the movie with the coolest sword of any “sword and sorcery” movie in the 80s. I mean, the blades shot out, how cool is that? It starred Lee Horsely, of another 80s classic Matt Houston TV series, as Talon, a mercenary who rediscovers his royal heritage’s dangerous future when he is recruited to help a princess foil the designs of a brutal tyrant and a powerful sorcerer in conquering a land. So, bad-ass warrior, damsel in distress and evil sorcerer … Everything a fantasy movie needs. The movie also starred Richard Lynch, who played a bad guy in practically every role he ever played, and your totally awesome popcorn movie night is complete! (Rotten Tomatoes 80%, 4 stars)
2. The Beastmaster (1982) – First off, this movie had an awesome cast … Marc Singer, Rip Torn, John Amos and the lovely Tanya Roberts (between Charlie’s Angels and Sheena). Again, the formulaic bad-ass warrior goes after despot ruler with a mix of magic and, this time, animals. Dar (Singer) can control animals with his mind. His pet tiger, hawk and ferrets make for a fun movie. The weirdest thing that sticks out in my mind about this movie is the witches that work for Maax (Torn) who have these incredibly sexy bodies with incredibly ugly faces. Gross! (Rotten Tomatoes 42%, 2 stars)
1. Krull (1983) – My number one guilty pleasure could actually be classified as a sci-Fi/fantasy movie because instead of a tyrant warlord or evil sorcerer, you have both wrapped up in a giant alien called The Beast. He travels from world to world in his fortress and army of Slayers. Of course, he kidnaps the beautiful princess and tries to convince her to be his queen and rule the planet of Krull (hence the name). She, in turn, is waiting for her handsome prince to rescue her and save the day using a magical weapon called the Glaive. Okay, like Beastmaster, this movie had an all-star cast of “before they were famous” British actors … Liam Neeson, Robbie Coltrane, Freddie Jones, Alun Armstrong to name a few. Pre-CGI effects were handled very well in this movie. The Glaive was a very cool weapon when he finally used it at the end of the movie, but overall, this is a quality movie night guilty pleasure. (Rotten Tomatoes 33%, 1 1/2 stars)
There are a few honorable mentions out there … Dragonslayer (1981), Ladyhawke (1985), and, of course, the incomparable Highlander (1986), with the best soundtrack in a fantasy movie EVER! What’s your favorite guilty pleasure movie? Let me know in the comments below!