Cell Phones, Security Systems, and Computers: How Scary Movies Could Use the Tech of Today
Article by: Maria Ramos
For all their quirky charm, classic horror films have always ensnared themselves within our heartstrings, especially around this time of year. But have you ever wondered why many of them don’t get remade into the present time like all of these comedies and action films do? It’s probably because technology is now leaps and bounds ahead of what it was when these movies were made and it would result in some serious plot holes. Let’s take a look at just a few of the scary movies we’ve come to love, despite their now implausible plot devices. After all, what’s more terrifying than being without today’s basic technological “necessities”, like our smartphones?
Remember VHS? I bet the characters from The Ring (2002) wish they had never known about them. At the time, this was a horrifying idea: a child, or anyone for that matter, getting their hands on a cursed VHS tape they happen to find, then a creepy girl crawls through the television to kill them seven days later. Thank goodness no one owns those evil things anymore. Though, everyone just uses various streaming services nowadays, they were kind of the equivalent of tangible viral videos.
Speaking of the internet, social media could’ve helped countless victims of these horror movies. Take for instance, the Hitchcock film Psycho (1960) and even its modern retelling, a TV series aptly named, Bates Motel (2013). If customers had been able to look up reviews for the Bates Motel they might not have met their demise at the hands of the psychotic Norman Bates. Sure, there may not be many options while passing through a small town but if they read some chilling reviews, like “no WiFi” or “creepy taxidermy obsessed owner”, I bet they would’ve kept driving. And let’s not forget the, now implausible, reasons why Norman never got caught – scrub those bloodstains all you want, forensic technology will rat you out. On that same note, if police and civilians had access to social media, Hannibal Lecter probably wouldn’t have gotten to enjoy a brain on his flight because his face would’ve been everywhere. Someone in airport security was bound to recognize him.
Besides, where would we be if it weren’t for things like caller ID? Well probably facing the same fate as most of the cast from Scream (1996). Nothing makes you feel personally invaded quite like receiving calls from an unknown stalker, if they only had caller ID. Sure, you could argue that the killer could’ve used a spoofing app allowing one to change or block their number from the person they’re calling but even so, the police or your phone provider would be able to trace the calls, capturing the murderer soon after.
While we’re on the subject of feeling invaded, how about chilling home invasion movies like The Strangers (2008) and Funny Games (1997). Home security companies now offer the most high-tech and tricked out systems money can buy. A simple security system could’ve saved the families in Funny Games, because although the victims essentially welcomed the culprits into their homes at one point, some systems even allow owners to press an emergency button to call for the police, should they be in danger.
What about home invaders you can’t see? In Spielberg’s Poltergeist (1982), a family goes from experiencing harmless interactions to having their daughter kidnapped by a malevolent apparition. Decades ago, the static little Carol Ann spoke to occurred when a channel would “sign-off”, ceasing broadcast, late at night. Paranormal investigators have developed new equipment in order to capture and interact with spirits and white noise, static, also happens to be one of the main frequencies investigators use to communicate with spirits. Thankfully, televisions no longer act as spirit boxes with broadcasting continuing all through the night.
So, when you’re indulging in this season’s chilling and terror-inducing movies while inhaling handfuls of candy, be thankful you’ve got the technological know-how to save yourself. Whether it’s doing a search on that shady motel, having the most state of the art security system, or knowing exactly who is calling, you can rest assured, you’re relatively safe from whatever haunts you in the night.