Technology is your friend. It helps keep you healthy by providing the medical community with information and tools for diseases and injuries. It keeps you safe by installing alarms and cameras and metal detectors at specific locations. It keeps you connected with friends and give you the ability to find information at the click of a button. It even supplied endless entertainment with efficiency that could only be more impressive if it was shot with a laser directly into your eye sockets.
But what if it became your enemy?
This has become a popular concept in horror movies, first reaching real maximum effect around the 1980’s when we were openly welcoming our future robot overlords into our homes.
So, for this special of all occasions (Halloween), let’s take a look at some movies that show us that technology could, in fact, kill you in horrible and painful ways.
Techno Monster Movie #1 – The Ring
There is a reason I don’t watch VHS tapes, and it has nothing to do with the fact that it is a dead media format. It is all about The Ring, the Hollywood adaption of Asian horror classic Ringu. It tells the story of a VHS tape that, when watched, elicits a phone call telling you that you have a week left to live. Then, at the end of your days, your die a horrible death thanks to a creepy ass ghost girl with a penchant for screwing up your face and a serious hatred for lighthouses.
While many will claim the original was the superior of the two (and I usually agree), I found the effect of the girl crawling out of the TV, as well as the content of the tape itself, in the American version especially creepy.
Techno Monster Movie #2 – Poltergeist
Is there a single person reading this who saw the title and immediately didn’t think of the little girl sitting in front of the static-filled television screen? In the film, the Freeling family moves into their lovely new home — which they don’t realize was built above a Native America burial ground. For some reason, this immediately equates to really pissed off spirits that first make contact through the television screen’s “snow”, and eventually take the child through the same device.
There are a ton of cheesy moments in this movie, just like the one above. But the TV became an iconic image as a harbinger of evil thanks to it.
Techno Monster Movie #3 – Doctor Who: The Sontaran Stratagem
Not technically a movie, but it was a TV episode, so it counts. In the fourth season of BBC series Doctor Who, an alien race known as the Sontarans take advantage of a genius who creates ATMOS, a GPS unit that in its testing phase slowly begins to kill people by driving their cars into lakes. It also serves another purpose: to eject poisonous gas into the air, which is done globally from millions of cars, and runs the risk of killing off whole cities. The idea makes another appearance in an episode where it manages to kill of large populations due to the Doctor’s death.
Every car seems to have GPS now, as well as cell phones, media players, computers…they are all over the map. Thinking of it as a conspiracy by an alien race bent on dominating the planet is a pretty frightening metaphor for other, more social issues.
Techno Movie Monster #4 – Maximum Overdrive
Stephen King is a master of horror, and his “last survivors” genre works are especially chilling. This directorial debut balanced between terrifying and ridiculous by suggesting that the world’s technology were given life after Earth passes through the tail of a massive comment. Not only do they move on their own, but the machines gain actual sentience, and choose to use it to destroy the masters that once used them. A small band of survivors have to stick together to fight the machines as they are picked off one by one.
Not scary to you? Take a moment to imagine being in your home, asleep, when your alarm clock begins to strangle you with its cord. Alright, maybe that seems a little funny, but it would be less amusing if you were dead.
Happy Halloween, everyone!