Fantastic Fun
Tongue-in-cheek films with a science fictional edge


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Barbarella
D: Roger Vadim (1967) 98m


Jane Fonda's outspoken opposition to the war in Vietnam forced her to seek work overseas - and as a result we got Barbarella. French comic strip heroine makes love to any marginally sensitive 41st-century male that asks. The striptease during the opening credits is guy heaven, and the rest is just plain camp classic.





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Dark Star
D: John Carpenter (1974) 83m


Carpenter's first full-length feature manages to send-up just about every SF icon of the late 60s/early 70s - especially Trek and 2001. An anti-Kirk captain leads a dog-tired crew whose job it is to ignore intelligent life and blow up unstable planets. A sentient Hal-like smart-bomb wants to talk things over. Fabulous shoestring special effects.





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The Rocky Horror Picture Show
D: Jim Sharman (1975) 95m


Alien transvestite (Tim Curry) sets out to build the perfect man with a side-dish of de-flowering a virgin (Susan Sarandon). Not as enjoyable without a vast array of theatrical audience participation - including costumes, shout-lines, live props and imitative performances. However, most certainly the top cult film of all-time by a naughty-cal mile.





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Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai
D: W D Richter (1984) 103m


An incomprehensible plot and lack of narrative structure hasn't stopped this film from earning a cult following about the size of the 8th dimension. Buckaroo is a brain surgeon, physicist, race car driver and rock n roll star who accidentally releases some nasty aliens as a result of an experiment gone wrong. This one rocks like no other!





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Spaceballs
D: Mel Brooks (1987) 96m


A critical flop on release and about as dumb as Mel Brooks films get, this parody has remained popular by riding the coattails of the Star Wars phenomenon. It's not Brooks' (Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles) best by a long shot, but manages the occasional guffaw largely thanks to the presence of Rick Moranis and John Candy. Brooks himself plays two roles in the film.





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Men in Black
D: Barry Sonnenfeld (1997) 98m


A secret organisation of 'Men in Black' keep ETs living in anonymity on Earth in check. A NYPD cop (Will Smith) reluctantly joins 'MIB' when one goes astray - and the race is on to save the planet from destruction. The special effects are great (especially the nasty alien), the humour doesn't miss a beat, and the acting is spot-on.





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Galaxy Quest
D: Dean Parisot (1999) 104m


Alien 'Thermians' are convinced that transmissions of a 20-year-old Trek-like TV show are the real thing. In the middle of yet another fan convention, they take the show's cast for a ride - expecting to have their planet saved from annihilation. Geekish fans help win the day. Classy Trek-tribute, also enjoyable for non-Trekkers.





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Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
D: Garth Jennings (2005) 109m


Douglas Adams' radio series that turned into a five book 'trilogy' and a BBC TV series finally hits the big screen. As one might expect, it's difficult to do such a cultural icon justice in under two hours, but this film does pretty well. When the Vogons destroy Earth, Arthur Dent becomes an intergalactic hitchhiker on a hilarious journey.


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