[What If?]

Which Objects Haven’t Tried to Kill Us Yet?

Killer Tomatoes

For decades now, horror filmmakers have been warning audiences that the inanimate objects around us may just come to life someday and try to kill us. Common items we see every day — our vehicles, our household appliances, even our food — it’s all coming to get us eventually, so we’d better be ready.

This basic theme, it should be noted, can be handled with wildly varying levels of seriousness. A lot depends on the particular object being depicted as murderous and how inherently threatening that object is. For instance, as far as the average viewer is concerned, a car is a much more plausible threat than a tomato. Therefore, The Car (1977) is a straight horror movie, while Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (1978) is purely a comedy.

Filmmakers have seemingly been competing among themselves to devise more and more ridiculous things to turn into cinematic killers. We’ve had films exploring the homicidal urges of tires, beds, elevators, condoms, turds, socks, laundry folding machines, refrigerators, etc. Heck, that last one has been done at least twice! And we haven’t even gotten to the toys, dolls, puppets, mannequins, and ventriloquist dummies. They’re a whole category unto themselves!

Back in 2015, in an episode called “Peternormal Activity,” Family Guy did a story about a killer bar of soap, and it wasn’t really any more far-fetched than some actual horror movies! Same goes for American Dad and its killer hot tub from the 2011 episode “Hot Water.” That’s how weird things have gotten.

Is there anything still to do in this field? Any avenues left unexplored? For the next generation of horror filmmakers, I certainly hope so. I wouldn’t want to see the “killer objects” sub-genre disappear altogether. In that spirit, I present some ideas that have not — as far as I know — been done already.

  1. Killer Tampons

    You may think I’m being deliberately rude or insensitive here, but there actually is some historical precedent to this idea. In the 1980s, there was an epidemic of women suffering toxic shock syndrome (TSS) from tampons and becoming ill. It’s no great leap of imagination, then, to imagine toxic tampons becoming killer tampons.

    Perhaps some unscrupulous manufacturer uses an experimental material that claims to be more absorbent than anything else on the market. But this material is far too absorbent. It absorbs your body and soul… from the inside out! Eventually, there’s nothing left of you but the tampon, which then takes on a life of its own and wriggles across the ground in search of its next victim. Troma, are you listening?

  2. Killer Productivity Software

    It seems I can hardly go a day without seeing an ad for Monday.com, the app that promises to “run processes, workflows, and projects in one digital workspace.” Doesn’t that just sound horrifying to you? It’s even named after everyone’s least favorite day of the week! But how do you turn that into a movie? Okay, imagine that Monday.com (or some fictionalized version of the same) somehow becomes self-aware, like HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).

    And then the app gets a Svengali-like mental hold over the employees at some lame internet marketing company. They do whatever the app tells them to do, e.g. “3:00: Kill Jerry in the break room. 3:15 Dispose of the evidence and await further instructions.” Before long, this office building becomes a charnel house. Never has the term “killer app” been so literal.

  3. Killer Quinoa and/or Kale

    Don’t you just hate healthy people who eat right, exercise, and take care of themselves? Wouldn’t you love to see them suffer mightily… at least in the context of a horror movie? There’s a lot of hatred directed at foods like quinoa and kale, both of which are extolled at length by annoyingly healthy people.

    But the foods themselves are innocent! It’s the people who really get on our nerves! So why not punish them? Maybe kale and quinoa are tired of being eaten! Maybe they want to do the eating! If this happens as a movie, by the way, you have to promise me that Rob Lowe will be one of the victims.

  4. Killer Peloton

    Frankly, I’m surprised this hasn’t already happened. Perhaps by the time this article is posted, it will have. It’s basically a combination of ideas #2 and #3 from my list, namely a fear of technology combined with a hatred of physical fitness. But that’s a potent cocktail. Pelotons are already pretty sinister on their own. An exercise bike that tells you what to do? That’s my idea of a nightmare.

    You’ve probably already guessed the basic plot line. Someone gets a Peloton and develops an unhealthy attachment to it. Soon, the victim is eschewing family and friends to spend more time pedaling nowhere. Maybe there are reports of similar things happening across the country. It’s already starting to sound eerily plausible, isn’t it?

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