Escapism. Its all something we crave sometimes. To leave our troubles and worries in a far-flung corner of our mind and enter another world. Perhaps if I had the choice, and the bank balance, I would choose to escape to remote locations around the world, battle with mosquitoes, or the native tongue, or unpronounceable food. Yet alas, I have limited funds and therefore must escape in a much simpler way. With fantasy. I am in the throes of Thrones right now. Game of Thrones. Halfway through book three and unable to put it down yet also wondering when fantasy became full of so much fluid. Blood, saliva, semen, gravy, tears, blood, pus, poison, semen and blood. Game of Thrones is a messy affair. So I got thinking about some of the first movies I saw that made me the fantasy-loving gal that I am.
The Never Ending Story: Probably my biggest childhood crush, besides Erik Zyderfelt, who gave me my first kiss in the field behind my house, was Atreyu. Especially when his shirt fell open and bloody gashes appeared on his beautiful skin. I was terrified of Morg, the heterochromic wolf puppet and had dreams of being the Childlike Empress. (If only because it meant getting closer to my dreamboat, Atreyu). Imagine a girl in chocolate stained pajamas whose been stood up for her prom, wailing hysterically into a limpid hanky. That’s me when Artax dies in the swamps of sadness.
The Labyrinth: I watched this movie a lot as a kid. And yet somehow I never picked up on the scariest part of the entire movie. David Bowie’s crotch. Encased in high waisted grey Lycra and gyrating far to close to “babe” Toby throughout the entire movie. It needs its own mention in the credits. Seriously. You’d find less bulge in a male lead in Swan Lake.
Willow: Long before Peter Dinklage was flying the flag for little people as Tyrion in Game of Thrones, there was the original mini-hero that was Willow. This movie had everything a good fantasy movie should have: magic, mischievous pixies, three-headed animatronic beasts, trolls (that’ll eat your face off) and sacrificial babies. It also provided the viewer with myriad ways to insult their enemies, “Peck!”, “Burglekutt, you’re troll dung”, “Your mother was a lizard!”, subtle pick up lines, “Wanna breed?” and hints of bestiality. Fun for the whole family.
The Princes Bride: The best kinds of children’s movies are one’s that are really adult movies in disguise. There’s something about this movie that makes one feel dashing. Capes and swords and leather gloves should be donned and revenge exacted. Never trust six fingered men, especially if they keep a chubby tongued albino in an underground lair and masks will ensure that even your true love cannot recognise you (unless you have a handy catch phrase for your love already in place.) Be sure your sidekick is a WWF giant who is good at rhyming and if you’re going to kill yourself, a dagger to the breasts is always the best way.
The best thing about these movies is coming back to them years later. And realising you still love them just as much as you always did. Jennifer Connelley had it wrong when she said “You have no power over me”. These movies still continue to weave a spell on me long after my belief in magic has faded.