Monday, November 1, 2010

On Dumb Teenagers

"If only I'd had my iPhone!"
You know, the more I watch older movies and T.V. shows, the more I'm confronted by the notion that technology is both ruining and evolving horror plots.

On the one hand, teenagers used to be pretty easy to kill. They'd run into the woods, get lost, and then it's just a matter of tracking them over land you're much more familiar with. Then they die.

But now? Kids have GPS all up and down their iPads and cellular mobile modular banana phones. One 12 year old girl even scared off a would-be kidnapper by pretending her iPod was an iPhone and saying she'd dialed 911.

Do you know what I saw in a T.V. show from only 6 years ago? Naked girl slaughters an industrial facility full of armed guards with telekinesis, gets shot, loses her memory and washes up on a beach somewhere. Two college kids find her and what do they do? They put a shirt on her and take her back to their place. Do they call the police? No. Do they take what looks to be an obvious rape/trauma victim to the goddam hospital? Nope. Take her home and feed her rice balls.

But you know, there's something to be said for losing this technology now that we have it. When a kid loses his cell phone in a horror movie now, he's really boned. He might know four useful phone numbers off the top of his head. He won't know where he's driving. He can't easily snap pictures of the hulking, machete-wielding lunatic that's been killing his friends and evading police custody due to lack of living witnesses.

It's real easy to make an audience feel like the protagonist has been stripped of his societal power and must survive on his own. Just take away his damned cell phone.

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