10 Influential 80’s Geek Films
I thought it would be fun to see what kind of movies were out in the 80’s that may of influenced the hacking games that I posted last week. The 80’s were a full of lots of slightly (and in places not so slightly) tacky movies. This is not a Top 10 by any means, the films are just ones that I remember having an influence on me and possibly my peers around the same time.
Weird Science (1985)
Cheesy most of the way through a classic John Hughes film where two high school “nerds” attempt to create the perfect woman ending up with Kelly LaBrock (schwing). The computer nerd of the film (Wyatt) reaches the maximum he can do with his current equipment and then proceeds to hack into an unnamed system. Cue transitional video with large tapes rolling in the background to denote activity. Yes kids this was how data was both saved and loaded on corporate systems in the dark age of the eighties.
Link: [Weird Science on IMDB]
Real Genius (1985)
A young Val Kilmer (schwing) plays Chris Knight a genius at an institution for the gifted who is duped into making a military laser (because lasers were cool in the eighties). Along the way they meet the guy who lives in their closet Lazlo who helps them alter the destination of the test. During the film you’ll see lots of cool kit, lasers, ice that turns to gas, fun uses for liquid nitrogen, eighties style graphics, some social engineering and an interesting use for popcorn.
Link: [Real Genius on IMDB]
Matthew Broderick plays a whizz kid who hacks the school computer, first of all changing his grades and then takes things further by hacking into the government security and plays a game with it. Trouble is the game he chooses is called “Global Thermo Nuclear War” and the game is not a game after all but a simulation that goes horribly wrong and causes a real reaction. Switching to Defcon 1…. BOOM
Link: [Wargames on IMDB]
Short Circuit (1986)
Ahh… I love this film so much. Although it does not involve a lot of hacking the genius of the film (played by Steve Gutenburg) does try to hack into the robot that has gone rogue due to a power spike. The robot names itself Johnny 5 and goes on a journey of discovery trying to prove that he is actually alive to avoid being dismantled by the military. I also forgot to mention the presence of Ally Sheedy (schwing)
Link [Short Circuit on IMDB]
Electric Dreams (1984)
If you have seen the more recent and awesome film called Her, just imagine almost the same film but in the 1980’s with more hair, cheesy pop and a big trak! Yes the computer who is named Edgar starts to get jealous of the new relationship Miles is getting into with Madeline who had moved in upstairs. At one point Miles think it’s a good idea to pour champagne onto the computer which only makes things worse. We here at GeekOut must state that pouring liquids onto electronics is generally a bad idea and not something we would advise. However this film is very cheesy but has a place in geek history and on top of that has a great soundtrack including a classic by Phil Oakey from the Human League.
Link: [Electric Dreams on IMDB]
The Wizard (1989)
Fred Savage plays Corey Woods whose brother Jimmy turns out to be awesome at Video games. They both run away from home and compete in what I think is the worlds first video game competition ever on film. It’s a terrible film in my opinion but really was a vision for what has only in the past 5 years or so become a reality where we now have E-Sports channels. You cannot watch The Wizard without acknowledging that the whole thing was basically a massive marketing move by Nintendo in the quest to promote a new game. I’d like to say they did well to disguise the whole thing like a film and the storyline was fantastic but that would be a big fat stack of lies. I do need to point out that the film includes the rarely seen and utterly useless Powerglove. Oh… Christian Slater is also in this film (schwing)
Link [The Wizard on IMDB]
You can’t mention eighties computer movies without talking about Tron. Kevin Flynn (played by Jeff Bridges) ex-employee of ENCOM takes it upon himself to find evidence that the corporation stole four video games he created. When hacking into the system something goes horribly wrong and Kevin is consumed by the computer and has to literally fight his way through as a program. It was genius back then and the 2010 reboot of the film was actually quite good which in itself was a rare thing.
Link [Tron on IMDB]
A normal boy is dropped off in the middle of the woods and found by a childless couple. However this is no ordinary boy and before you ask: no, he is not made of wood and no his nose does not grow when he lies! Nope, Daryl is actually a super sophisticated robot that is now trying to be recalled by the military. What was it with the military in the eighties? Daryl learns human socialisation, human traits and emotional responses. I remember watching this film as a kid and being utterly captivated by it.
Link [D.A.R.Y.L on IMDB]
Superman 3 (1983)
Probably the worst of the three superman movies in my opinion but has some classic geekery in it. Gus Gorman played by Richard Pryor has a hidden talent of being a computer genius. Working for Wealthy businessman Ross Webster (think Donald Trump) he manages to bypass the internal computer security with ease. So next time you think the government is taking too much in tax, log onto the HMRC website and when your asked for a security code type in “OVERRIDE ALL SECURITY” it’s sure to work, the eighties tell us so.
Link [Superman 3 on IMDB]
When Robocop was released it was vastly talked about for being graphically violent and hard hitting. I was only 12 at the time it was out in the cinema and rated 18 I had to wait a fair few years before I was allowed to see it. You know I think it still stands tall to this day as a film that broke boundaries. Alex Murphy a regular cop on the mean streets of a futuristic Detroit gets shot by a street gang and then rebuilt into the worlds first cyborg policeman. The geekery is all over this film from the moment they begin to put Alex back together to the unveiling of the ED-209 mech run by the greedy OCP Corporation. This was another film that received a reboot in 2014 but there was something missing from it in my opinion and the original for me still stands as a better film. all together now “Dead or alive you are coming with me”, “Your move.. creep”
I’m sure there are a lot of films I have missed, if you can think of any to add to our list then drop us a comment. If you’re one of our younger readers and have not seen these films then we encourage you to go and check them out. Then come back and tell us just how bad/ you thought they were.