KnowTechie Roundtable: Which childhood movie terrified you about technology the most?
Mainly, all of them.
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Topic #3: Which Childhood Movie Terrified You About Technology the Most?
Josiah: I was the last person to submit last time, so let’s get this ball rolling early this time – I like to be included in banter.
Kevin: Josiah luvs 2 be seen.
Growing up, movies weren’t something I was really *allowed* to watch. Like, I saw some movies – but what the heck is a Wizard of Oz?
As far as movies involving tech is concerned, Lawnmower Man, maybe? I remember watching that at a friend’s house before we inevitably flipped over to some quality late-night HBO.
That’s the one where the dude undergoes some virtual reality experiments or something, right? Maybe I shouldn’t have gone first.
Curtis: Honestly, Lawnmower Man seems the most reasonably terrifying as technology has certainly become available to create that world.
Joe: Wow, I can just hear the creepy banjos now, Josiah. Honestly, you didn’t miss much by not watching the Wizard of Oz, except the nightmare-fuel of winged monkeys. Thank your parents for that. No technology in that one though, Kansas, amirite? It’s hard to choose when there was so much good Sci-Fi in the ‘80s.
Anyway, it’s Wargames. Forget that Matthew Broderick is scary enough on his own. It’s a tale of mutually-assured-destruction played out against a sadistic AI. It’s also a chilling reminder of the lengths that boys will go to impress pretty girls, a lesson that I’ve still not learned to this day. WOPR (War Operation Plan Response) is still one of the coolest acronyms too, in a military that looooves its acronyms.
Kevin: Damn, Joe. I was totally going to use WarGames as my pick. Solid choice.
Curtis: WarGames never scared me. I was a kid. What kid is scared by thermonuclear war? It seemed so far away y’know? Like, it wasn’t local enough to really be a threat to your existence as a child.
Josh: Wargames always seemed like an attempt to grasp at the Reaganesque fear that video games were going to be the nation’s downfall.
When I was little, my parents let my half brother rent anime movies from our local Family Video and he brought home Akira in the early 90s. It really went over how quickly things could go to shit when there were no checks and balances over greed and power. It scared me that a kid that felt out of place could get experimented on and effectively level a country. It was also a far cry from the Ranma ½’s and Dragon Balls I was used to.
Akira talked about politics, irresponsible science, stem cells and class systems in society. As a 7 year old kid, I thought a dystopian nightmare where kids fight to survive the streets while adults only act for their own interests was far off. 30 years later… I’m waiting to hear that Star Force has begun to experiment on psychic weaponry.
Kevin: Josh, I have no idea what any of those movies are. These movies are some next-level shit, huh?
I have to say, Terminator 2 had me shook. It was one of the first movies that introduced me to futuristic artificial intelligent robots. That one scene where Schwarzenegger’s character rips off the T-1000’s face, only to expose that mechanical robot face with the beady red eyes – Yiiiiiiikes. Not to mention, it shows the kind of power a tech company really has. Fucking Skynet, man.
Honorable mention goes to Total Recall, because, you know, three boobs. Yea, it’s not tech related or anything, but again, three boobs. That is all.
Curtis: That melty dude in Terminator 2 was pretty creepy for the time. Credit Robert Patrick for making pudding scowls so threatening.
I’d have to say that the movie that terrified me when it came to the power of technology was The Brave Little Toaster. There were elements in that film that made it tense and you cared about the fate of these characters, but that helped contribute to the distrust I then had for normal household appliances. While I would have liked a cheery, upbeat toaster with a naive view of the world, my vacuum received nothing but side eye from me every time one of my parents wheeled it out.
It wasn’t really about being scared, it was about being wary of these things. Could my appliances come alive and trot out of the house? Were they watching me and studying my life? Did they feel some sort of unconditional love for my existence? Of course, now the answers to those questions are a resounding yes, as we have smart home devices that do exactly that. Except they don’t get up and move about the house, except Kevin’s Roomba, but that’s because of the constant, invasive inappropriate touching.
Also did anyone ever see The Last Starfighter? I know y’all played just as many arcade games as me and the last thing I wanted was to be inadvertently recruited into an alien space force just because I was good at Paperboy.
Kevin: Keep my Roomba out of this, Curtis.
Guys, you’re overthinking this. The correct answer is Poltergeist. Demons come through the TV, there’s a sentient steak, and a guy rips his face off in the mirror. The lesson is that every piece of technology created after books is evil. Simple.
Kevin: OMG, I totally forgot about Swordfish. What a great flick.
Honestly, nothing really scared me growing up, but I lived in my basement with a big ol’ TV when The Ring came out and honestly fuck that noise, holy shit. I’ve never felt so uneasy going to bed in my entire life.
Curtis, you didn’t want to be recruited into a video game to be a space force pilot? What the fuck, man? I would have loved that shit. Getting sucked into a video game to live there instead of this nightmare hellscape sounds ideal.
Well, there you have it. These are the childhood movies that terrified us the most about technology growing up. Do any of them par up with your picks? If you think we got it all wrong, please don’t hesitate to tell us we suck. Seriously, whether it’s Curtis, Jake, Jared, Josiah, Josh, Joe, or myself – we want to hear from you.
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