Movie Villains Inspired by Technophobia
Warner Bros. Pictures
This summer is full of sci-fi thrillers, such as "Edge of the Tomorrow," "Lucy," "Interstellar" and "The Giver," to name a few. In all of these movies, technology is used for good and evil, just like in real life. Science fiction constantly holds a mirror up to society and culture and it's one of the reasons we love that genre. Our fears about the future are often reflected in the sci-fi stories we tell ourselves. In fact, the history of science fiction movies is lousy with mechanical villains inspired by our various technophobias. Who's the scariest of them all? We can start with cybernetic assassin robots from the future in the Terminator movie series. Here, the T-800 stares us down with eyes capable of face recognition, long-range zoom, night vision and tracking two different moving targets at once. You won't go far.
Above is the robot Maria from Fritz Lang's 1927 German expressionist epic "Metropolis." The hugely influential film dealt with themes like class revolt and the dehumanizing aspects of industrialization.
No list of technological terrors would be compete without HAL 9000, the murderous computer from Stanley Kubrick's classic "2001: A Space Odyssey." HAL reflects a fear that's been bouncing around sci-fi for decades -- the amoral computer that carries out its programming regardless of human life.
The original Godzilla was a kind of technological terror himself -- a giant sea monster spawned by nuclear radiation. Godzilla was conceived as a metaphor for the devastation of the atomic bomb attacks on Japan, and in 1974, director Jun Fukuda upped the ante with the robotic Mechagodzilla.
20th Century Fox
Ridley Scott's 1979 sci-fi/horror hybrid "Alien" explored another recurring trope in science fiction -- the man who's really a machine. In the film, the calculating android Ash determines that his human colleagues are expendable in pursuit of scientific knowledge.
In his 1987 film "RoboCop," director Paul Verhoeven mixed science fiction with savage social satire. In a near-future Detroit, the robotic enforcer known as ED-209 is developed by the ruthless OmniCorp to make policing more cost effective -- even if it means the occasional bystander gets shot.
Considered by many scholars to be the first true work of science fiction, Mary Shelley's 1818 novel "Frankenstein" has inspired dozens of films, including director Kenneth Branagh's 1994 version with Robert De Niro as the monster. The Frankenstein story continues to recycle itself in pop culture as a cautionary tale about science and technology run amok.
Several recent sci-fi films appear to reflect our increasing unease with drone technology. In the 2013 post-apocalypse thriller "Oblivion," Tom Cruise must contend with an entire squadron of unruly, unreasoning drones -- or "unmanned aerial vehicles," to use the fashionable military euphemism. Who is your favorite techno-terror from the movies?