When I follow how much technology evolves around me and what comforts she brought me over the years I realize how old I am. When I was born, big clunky TV’s where the hit and you had four TV stations to choose from, PC’s where destined only for nerds, and there didn’t exist yet cell phones. I called myself lucky to have a landline phone and if needed I could use a phone booth. The cars didn’t have a parking assistant, a steering assistant system, airbags, ABS and so on. Then I had a Walkman which could take cassettes. That’s the equivalent to an mp3 player these days which runs on bits and bytes. At that time VHS cassettes were a real thing to store your movies, as there didn’t exist hard drive disks with 1 terabyte storage space. Instead, we had floppy disks with a 512mb storage capacity.
I’m telling you this because at some point technology will evolve further and you will feel the same anxiety that can overcome you when you feel overwhelmed. My parents before me were in the same situation, as in their time, even all the above things were luxury items. When I talk to them today about the new technology coming they just shake their heads in unbelieve. Blockchain is hard to even for me to comprehend, try to explain it to someone who avoids using the internet. Self-driving cars, Social Media, Biomedicine and many more areas.
That’s where horror movies addressing technology malfunction gain a foothold. I hate change as everyone else and I like the habits that I have. Computers were a great thing, the internet too, but before trusting them, some time had to past. That’s why the first social networks did fail or got replaced by better ones. The same happened to AOL’s and Yahoo’s search engines. Sadly Tesla is another candidate which is at risk facing the same faith. New things need time to be accepted by the masses. Doubts have to be lowered bit by bit.
Some of the very best horror movies in this genre have been made during my “timeframe” of VHS’s, TVs and more. Lately, a few newer movies address the same topic, mostly dealing around wrong social media interactions, Facebook, Skype, etc. Not many of them did really scare me to the extent the old ones. This is the point where you have to decide for yourself. It could be that Stephen King a once in a generation horror book writer didn’t write about newer technology or that my evolvement with the old technology was deeper and therefore I was experiencing it deeper.
Here’s the list with my favorite technology related movies:
This was a book written by Stephen King. The story is about a young man at the year of 1978 who acquires 1957 assembled Plymouth Fury. It was related to the love men can have towards their cars, but this one didn’t have only a custom paint, but also a name. Christine. Arnie who brought the car in a shabby condition has to make many repairs until he can drive it. More and more as Arnie repairs and works on the car, his behavior changes, and he dresses more like a man in the 50’s Arnie’s best friend Dennis, concerned, finds out that the previous owner of Christine died in this car and starts to research the circumstances. When watching the movie you will find out that Christine is not a usual car.
Maximum Overdrive (1986)
That’s another one by Stephen King in which movie he is also directing. The movie didn’t have success and King never tried again to direct, but when I watched it as a kid, this was scary and funny at the same time. It all begins when in 1987, the Earth passes through the tail of a comet. Previously perfect working inanimate machines become suddenly conscious and homicidal. This isn’t only one car like in Christine but reaches every machine from a lawnmower, pocket radio, chainsaws to trucks. The only goal of the machines is to organize together and kill humans. The movie concentrated on showing us the events unfolding in North Carolina and later focus on a truck stop where a group of survivors seeks refuge.
This movie became a great hit in 1982 and was followed by two sequels. In 2015 they made a remake of the same, but believe me when I tell you, this 1982 version will spook the hell out of you. The set is placed in California where a family’s home is invaded by malevolent ghosts. The contact happens when on one night the daughter watches TV, something every parent allowed their kids in exchange to get some rest. The contact happens through the TV, where a hand reaches out to the young kid. After that incident many more strange and bizarre events happen with the aim to abduct the child. The ghosts will succeed. The parents try to rescue their beloved daughter with the help of a medium.
This is more a science fiction movie than a horror, but imagine being a young kid at that time when computers were totally new to you and this was your first introduction to them. Maybe, that was the reason why I was later on so crazy about to install the best Anti-Virus program on my PC, even though the internet wasn’t a thing yet, haha. The story isn’t the simplest but I will try to summarize it. Kevin Flynn a software engineer who runs a video arcade (a store with large playing consoles in it, like an Internet Café) tries to hack ENCOM’s mainframe system. He doesn’t succeed as the Master Control Program (MCP) of ENCOM blocks them. This MCP is, in reality, a virtual intelligence and has a security program called TRON. When Kevin attempts again to hack the system, the MCP finds a way to put Kevin into his TRON program as a bite. Now, Kevin needs to seek an escape plan.
The Ring (2002)
This is a remake from the 1998 Japanese movie. The American version was a box office hit and was followed by sequels and created the trend of similar remakes from the Asian horror movie market like The Grunch, The Eye, Dark Waters and so on. The story unfolds pretty straightforward when teenagers Becca and Katie discuss a legend about a cursed videotape; whoever watches it dies seven days later. Katie confesses that she watched the tape with her friends the previous week. That night, Katie is killed by an unseen force. At Katie’s funeral, Ruth, Katie’s mother, urges her sister Rachel, a Seattle journalist, to investigate her daughter’s death as she recalls the night she discovered Katie’s disfigured body in the closet, with doctors being unable to explain the cause of death. Rachel discovers that Katie’s friends were killed in bizarre accidents on the night of her death. To find more out Rachel and her ex-boyfriend Noah a video analyst watch the tape separately. The true horror begins.
Friend Request (2016)
One of the newer movies in this genre, Friend Request deals with the popularity of Facebook. The plot evolves as follow Alicia a popular student in her college has many friends on Facebook and has a very active social life. One afternoon, Laura receives a friend request from a quiet classmate, Marina. Noticing that she has no online friends, Laura accepts and the two begin hanging out, but Laura is soon uncomfortable with her obsessive behavior and sees that her Facebook page is full of dark and disturbing posts. When she tries to cut cords with Marina by unfriending her, strange things are happening around her and friends die. Laura’s Facebook page is then used to post, the macabre way of how their friends die and this has as a result, friends around her start to unfriend her. Obviously, this movie is a nice try, I found the ending not that disturbing but rather deliberating for Laura.
Lights out (2016)
A clever movie that uses electricity, light and dark environment as the main scare factor. In a textile factory during closing hours, an employee named Esther encounters a silhouette of a woman when the lights are off, but cannot see it when the lights are on. After she leaves, her boss Paul encounters the woman and he is killed after she chases him through the factory. A short time later, Paul’s daughter Rebecca is called into the school nurse’s office because of her brother, Martin. Rebecca and Martin are half-siblings, sharing the same mother, Sophie. The nurse was unable to get in touch with Sophie to inform her that Martin has been falling asleep in class lately. Martin avoids sleeping because he sees the same silhouette of a woman that killed his father. And then Rebecca is starting to see the same woman. Rebecca and her boyfriend Bret investigate the connection of Sophie with this silhouette and come up to a scary revelation about their past.
This is just a small amount of movies where technology plays a significant role, containing some evil and if you dig deeper into this topic you will find many other movies that have been made (Unfriended, Polaroid, etc). You can always share with me, your thought about the above movies and also suggest to me another movie which I shouldn’t pass on.