The Origins of Early Creepy Computer Movies

Jim Knipfel Mar 4, 2019

We look at some of the lesser-remembered but influential evil artificial intelligence computer movies, Colossus and Demon Seed.

The ugly turns taken by assorted historical vectors in the late 1960s and early ‘70s—a string of high-profile assassinations, race riots, Manson, the Weather Underground, Vietnam, Nixon, a broader awareness of impending environmental collapse—made the 1970s a particular golden era for dystopian cinema. All the above mentioned forces and more gave us the likes of Soylent Green, No Blade of Grass, Thx-1138, Frogs, The Omega Man, and countless other visions of our doomed future. In and amongst all our other inescapable anxieties and paranoias was an increasing awareness of the role computers were playing in our daily lives.

Technoparanoid fears of dehumanization and power-mad machines can of course be traced back to the silent era in cinema, and much earlier than that in literature and legend, but
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