Since I posted my list of 7 Movies That Technology Would Wreck, I couldn’t wait to get the flip side, which is 7 Movies That Technology Wouldn’t Wreck. I thought maybe I could hold out just at least a small while before getting to this, but it just seemed like too much fun, so let’s dive right in.
We’ll start with a kind of obscure one. A bunch of RPGers get together for a game situated in a university building. The dungeon master is one of their professors (Roddy McDowall). All of them communicate with walkie talkies. Make those phones, and it completely changes…not a damn thing.
#6 The Birds
Eine minuten bitte! What devilish chicanery is being perpetrated here? How can this be on both lists? Well, with submission m’luvs, I did say that only the phone booth scene in The Birds gets ruined. As for the rest of the movie, the possession of a phone would have done fuck all for those people.
#5 Black Christmas (1974)
Or, for that matter, When A Stranger Calls. In either case, the big reveal is that the calls are coming from inside the house which is pretty freaky with a landline. Not so freaky with a smartphone, but still kinda creepy that the person everyone is looking for is in fact right there in the house. It’s a little less of a shock, but whatever. And I guess technically they might be able to find the killer a little faster based on phone towers or some shit. Works on Law & Order all the damn time.
#4 The Shining
This was suggested by Madame Verdurin who writes the ever entertaining Cinemuffin. She pointed out the following:
Some movies though wouldn’t be ruined by technology. An example? The Shining with mobile phones.
“911, how can I help you?”
“I’m Wendy from Overlook Hotel, I need help, my husband the writer is trying to kill me and my son! The old lady ghost in room 237 is trying to kill my son too! And I just saw a man with a dog mask giving sexual pleasure to… hello? Hello??”
And she’s absolutely correct. Plus, Kubrick makes it very clear that The Overlook is, except for a Sno-Cat, inaccessible, so phones or not, cut off is cut off.
#3 The Thing (1982)
For those of you already packing for that Antarctic dream getaway, Intrepid Travel points out that your phone will not work. There are satellite phones, but your iPhone/Galaxy/other infernal device will be less than useless. Well…made quick work of that one.
#2 Sleepaway Camp
This was originally on the other list. The kids and counselors would all have phones, yes? Well, depends. The Banana Splits Movie handled this nicely. No phones allowed in the studio, so they all get collected and put in an office where they are later found destroyed. Could do the same thing when the kiddies arrive at camp. As for the counselors, the cops and ambulances and crap still show up with them or a landline, so having phones wouldn’t change much. We could even throw in a scene where some kids try to get the phones to call home and find they’re all smashed.
#1 The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Another move that very nearly made the previous list. At first I kind of assumed that once good Kirk gets that big ol’ mallet whack to the melon, the girl woulda called 911, as would everyone else who was left. But then I remembered she didn’t see that happen, and Leatherface put the grab on her right quick when she came a-lookin’ for him. So neither of those two woulda called or texted anyone, and nobody else woulda gotten a chance. The only time a phone would have saved them woulda been if they called the cops on the hitchhiker, but even today, there’d be a discussion, and they could very believably decide not to bother cuz he’s just some weirdo. A similar case could be made for Two Thousand Maniacs. as none of the kids really know the others are being deep-sixed.
And that’s the other side of the coin…or Bitcoin if you will. And there’s still plenty more to talk about on both sides. Either way, technology, it seems, is not always as helpful as we might think.