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John Lamb, Published October 23 2012

Lamb: Smartphones ruining the scares

FARGO - I’m not a real tech-savvy guy, nor am I a Luddite who doesn’t recognize the continuing advantages of applied science. But there is a very real threat to all of the advances we hold at our fingertips.

I’m not talking about a loss of real, person-to-person social interaction or our declining ability to spel wen txtng.

I’m talking about something much more immediate: Smart phones are killing horror movies.

Phone lines cut by a serial killer? Not a problem with a cell phone. Lights go out? Click the lighter app you haven’t used since that time you saw your dad’s bar band play “Free Bird” at the VFW. Lost in a haunted house? Not a problem with Google maps, or even better, if you have an iPhone 5 you can get a 3-D, 360 degree view of what’s under that trapdoor. Keep hearing the shrieking violins from the shower scene in “Psycho”? That’s just your ring tone for your mother-in-law.

What’s the typical horror movie scene? Some poor schmuck is minding his own business – or getting it on with a camp counselor – when he hears a strange sound. He goes off to investigate and gets a machete/axe/pick axe/pitch fork/Garden Weasel to the head.

That won’t be happening to the poor schmuck with a smartphone, because he’ll be too busy checking his Twitter feed to notice the camp counselor has been throwing herself at him.

Even if there is no hot, lustful co-ed around and the would-be-bloody schmuck decides to allow a Twitter-vention to investigate, the phone is still a game changer.

Instead of opening the door and yelling, “Who’s out there?” our zero now asks, “Siri, who’s out there?”

And in her calm, disembodied voice, Siri would reply:

“It’s Jason Voorhees, the boy who drowned at this abandoned campground while his counselors were partying in the barn. He’s here to avenge the death of his mother who killed a group of teenagers here in the name of her son. I told you we should’ve have vacationed in Paris.”

The prey, let’s call him Timmy (just like lost children, victims always have good two-syllable names to scream, like Billy, Bobby or Tommy), could counter the killer’s chilling theme by opening his iTunes account and playing his own infectious signature tune, “Call Me Maybe.”

Stalkers always approach slowly, giving Timmy time to shoot a video and upload it to YouTube. If the slayer is extra slow, Tommy would even have time to remix the footage to “Gangnam Style” while also tweeting, “great, vacay ruined by undead killer with bad breath. evr heard of mouthwash dude? #slasherstank.”

In addition to being slow, slayers’ accuracy gets worse deeper into the movie, which doesn’t make sense since they’ve had lots of practice disemboweling scores of victims in unlikely ways. So after a couple of too-high-and-wide hacks Timmy would taunt-tweet, “hey jason, you wear a goalie mask but see and swing like a referee! Time for a new mask? #slasherfail.”

The cyber-shaming would finally come to a merciful end when Tommy finally Googles “how to defeat unstoppable, machete-wielding killing machine” and realizes he needs to drown Jason in Crystal Lake – again. Roll credits 23 minutes into the film.

The real downside to all of this is that smartphones will save the lives of dumb teenagers who would mess around in haunted houses and go investigate strange noises. The only drama they’ll face is trying to deal with a smothering mother, and that’s something even Siri can’t help you with.


Readers can reach Forum reporter John Lamb at (701) 241-5533