Tuesday, 22 February 2011


Tempting to think it might be an acronym like LASER (Light Amplification through Stimulated Emission of Radiation), the word is actually Czech, and means simply worker or slave.

Zombie-like in cadence and mannerisms. Slow, ponderous and unswerving in their loyalty to their maker.... and paradoxically ready to run amok and kill their maker at the drop of a hat, is perhaps how we see the classic robot. But the image, role and perception of the robot has changed myriad times through sci-fi history. One thing though, has always remained a constant for me. Some are cool, some are cute, some are even humourous. But they are all.... CREEPY. Brrrrr... (shiver)
To illustrate my feelings here starts the Top 5 Creepiest Robots countdown.

Now I suppose the first of movie's creepy robots has to be Maria from Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1927), but then again every single character from every black & white movie from the 1920s is creepy. Those silent, googley-eyed, actors, with their over-the-top physical gestures and the camera speed giving their movements a frantic, jittery air of the maniacal is enough to creep out the person who knitted Freddy Kreugers sweater.

The imposing and impenetrable, mute, brute, Gort from  The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) is another example. Klaatu Barada Nikto. I hear you say. A phrase that would echo down through cinema history. Toys, Army of Darkness, Tron are a few films which make use of the (para)phrase.

Now Im going to get in so much trouble for my first entry at No.5 in the Creepiest Robots countdown.
Hell, I may even get death threats.
C-3PO. There I said it.

I know him and love him like an uvuncular metal man. I can even quote most of his memorable lines from the original trilogy.
But this is one uncle I wouldnt leave alone with my kids.
Having a camp robot is creepy enough, but there are times when his neurotic campness just spills over into Creepsville. The fact that he walks like Peggy Bundy doesnt help either. And he constantly wears that expression of mild alarm. Like that of a post-pooper whose finger has just breached the integrity of some cheap toilet paper.
Then to have him walking around (ro)bot naked with all his bits and workings showing in the prequel, like some wierd and shameless naturist was the vertiable LED on the circuit board.

'Remember R2, this is our little secret. You dare to tell Master Luke and you'll get sent to Anchorhead or I'll let those horrible Sandpeople touch you again... you know how you hate when those Sandpeople touch you... those rough hands... not like me R2.... not like me....'
And God only knows what happened in that cramped, little escape pod on the way down to Tatooine.

There you have it. Creepy Robot No.5 - C3PO
Tune in to my next blog as we get even creepier!
Big D out.


  1. I think I'd agree with every single choice there.

    Other worthy mentions are the Cylons from the New Battlestar Galactica, the Terminator endo skeleton, and Vincent from Disney's "The Black hole". Of course going from one extreme to another are three droids that could never creep me out, they're far to cute for that. I am of course talking about Huey, Louie and Dewey from the excellent "Slient running". They don't have any facial features but they emote far better than most of todays actors.

    Anyway, still enjoying the blog, matey, keep up the good work and see you at the next Nerdgasm quiz :).

  2. Sorry, I actually meant to say Maximilian from "The Black Hole", not Vincent.

  3. C-3PO is No.5 Dall.... Gimme a chance. Maximillian may soon turn up!
    (Maria and Gort are just asides)

  4. Speaking of all his 'bits' showing:


  5. http://youtu.be/e3EVuoOo3kA