I grew up primarily in the '80s and early '90s in Southern California. I wasn’t in L.A., but we got the L.A. stations, so we had a bunch on both VHF and UHF, and most of them were independent. In other words, there was a lot of time to fill, and most of that was movies—something I think most folks of that era experienced. We sporadically had cable, but most of my watching was by antenna.
So I watched a LOT of movies, cheesy and not, growing up. I developed an affinity for older films; especially anything adventurous, spooky, or funny. But I didn’t really get absolutely hooked on the “cheesy” stuff until the summer of '89.
The preceding year had been a rough one, so I needed escape, and my dad had bought me a little portable black & white TV/radio combo that I took everywhere I was allowed to.
That summer, the indie stations didn’t let me down. For example:
- one station played all of the Frankie and Annette Beach Party movies;
- another went through all of the old original Tarzan movies;
- a new favorites show was Godzilla Theater, where they started with the first and each day ran through them all in chronological order including soooo many weird movies from the '60s
- and because this was the Summer of Batman, the old Adam West series was in heavy rotation.
That’s not all I watched, but after that summer if someone told me a show or movie was weird, odd, dumb, or just plain bad, I found myself drawn to it. I miss those days of perusing the video stores and renting movies specifically because they looked sooooo cheesy.
Hello from halftime!
I got into MST3K a couple years before I met my now-spouse but I think it was him that got me into what I consider cheesy movies – kung fu movies of all kinds, and Godzilla specifically. Though I have always had a soft spot for cheesy/corny/stupid comedies (think Return of the Killer Tomatoes)
That’s dedication! My wife isn’t so much into my cheesy movies, but surprises herself regularly with how much trivia she knows about them (still proud!)
I have to credit MST3K for it. Growing up in the 80s, I was drawn to movies that I would later discover were cheesy, but at the time they seemed mainstream – Strange Brew, Space Hunter, Ice Pirates, etc.
Around 1992, MST opened my eyes to a whole world of cheesy movies that I otherwise would probably have never found, and now I crave them and can’t imagine life without them. Badly dubbed Italian sci-fi? Forgotten low-budget gems? Wharwilfs and leech women? More please!
I watched whatever was on TV in the late 80’s/early 90’s. Somehow I ended up with VHS tapes of One Crazy Summer, Police Academy 4, and Top Gun 33 1/3. I knew deep down that these were a far cry from good movies, but I didn’t care and watched them repeatedly. They set me up to be a natural MST3K fan when I was introduced to it in the late 90’s. Goofy and/or cheesy films are still my go-to.
SoCal Expat, chiming in.
FWIW, grew up in the 60s & 70s, when cheesy movies were non-stop viewing.
OMG, I miss KTLA, KHJ, KTTV, KHTV, KCET, and KOCE.
Moved from O.C. in 2004, to Central California, and it is a wasteland for local television.
Even the network stations show infomercials during the day.
I weep for humanity.
I am pretty sure I always loved cheesy movies. When I was growing up in the 60’s and 70’s, if a movie on TV had a stop motion dinosaur or a cardboard spaceship with sparklers for propulsion, I would drop everything and watch it. It really did not become apparent until the 80’s and VHS tapes came around. Now I could tape those movies, and then make my friends watch them later. That’s when I found out that my taste for cheesy movies was atypical. It is also when I found out who my real friends were