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Clang, Clang, You’re Dead! Evil Movie Robots, Ranked


Robots – boon to mankind, or Artificial Intelligence hell-bent on the destruction of it? Well, according to film, it’s the latter in most cases. Yes, you have your R2-D2, your BB-8, Data (Brent Spiner), even WALL-E. But for every Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) there’s a Megatron (Hugo Weaving) willing to squash humans under his big ol’ robot feet. So while we still can, take notes on these robots before they become our technological overlords.


12. Fem-bots (Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, 1997)

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Not only are the Fem-bots evil, they are Evil’s evil. Dr. Evil’s (Mike Myers), to be precise. Attractive and seductive, the Fem-bots were a means of distracting, and killing, Austin Powers (Mike Myers), not only with their agility but with their “machine gun jubblies,” guns protruding from their breasts. Fortunately, Powers out-sexed the Fem-bots with a seductive strip tease of his own, causing them to short. You just can’t make a robot that can stand up against the sight of ungodly wild chest hair.

11. Mechagodzilla (Godzilla vs. Kong, 2021)

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Who can stop Godzilla? Well, Apex Cybernetics thought they had a solution when they built Mechagodzilla, a giant, robotic version of the monster set to put all Titans in their place as the apex predator… and designed to kill Godzilla to do it. It was the perfect machine, except for one tiny detail. As part of Mechagodzilla’s remote control system, Apex used the telepathic skull of Ghidorah. As we know, combining the organic with the robotic always works out fine in the films. Said no one ever. Ghidorah’s consciousness takes over the dino-bot, leading to an epic showdown between Mechagodzilla and the team of Kong and Godzilla. And a crap load of clean up for the people of Hong Kong.

10. ED-209 (RoboCop, 1987)

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“The future of law enforcement” comes courtesy of Omni Consumer Products and their automated peacekeeping machines, the Enforcement Droid, Series 209, or ED-209. It looks like an AT-ST from Return of the Jedi, only smaller with synthesized speech, three automatic cannons and a rocket launcher. Senior President Dick Jones (Ronny Cox) unveiled ED-209 at a meeting of executives, but during the demonstration of the droid, the logic circuits malfunctioned, causing ED-209 to shoot an executive. Over, and over, and over, and over yet again.

9. Assassin Spider Bots (Runaway, 1984)

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Why don’t sociopathic evil geniuses use their powers for good? Dr. Charles Luther (Gene Simmons), while working for a defense contractor, invents a variety of robotic weaponry he aims to sell on the black market (after killing his workmates, of course). This includes a smart bullet that acts like a heat-seeking missile, smart bombs, and the pièce de résistance, small assassin spider-like robots that kill by injecting acid into their victims. Tom Selleck is there to save the day, thankfully, and stops Simmons, at his most villainous since KISS‘ 1981 debacle “Music from the Elder”.


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8. Megatron (Transformers, 2007)

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Unless you’ve lived in a cave since the 1980s, you are more than likely aware of Megatron, the leader of the evil Decepticons. In the 2007 movie, Megatron first came to Earth in pursuit of the All Spark, but he became frozen in the ice after crashing into the Arctic Circle, and not discovered until 1897. But you can’t keep a Deceptisicle down, and when Megatron is set free in the present day, he and the Decepticons that have made their way to Earth wreak havoc upon Mission City.

7. Mother (I Am Mother, 2019)

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Image via Netflix

After an extinction event wipes out life on Earth, its future lies in the hands of Mother (Rose Byrne), a robot that watches over human embryos in a bunker, with the goal of repopulating humanity. Mother chooses one embryo to raise and care for, a girl named Daughter (Clara Rugaard). Mother teaches Daughter lessons about morality, ethics, and the world outside, a world that is contaminated that Daughter should never ever venture out in. Wouldn’t you know it, a woman (Hilary Swank) appears from the outside world, pleading for help. Turns out that the world is not contaminated, robots like Mother kill humans, Mother herself killed the Daughter before her, and Mother doesn’t take kindly to Daughter’s growing bond with the woman. No Mother’s Day card this year.

6. Warbeast (Death Machine, 1994)

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Things aren’t looking so good for Chaank Armaments. The weapon-manufacturing giant is getting bad press over one of its cybernetic super soldiers, “Hard Man,” malfunctioning and laying waste to the diners in a local cafe. It falls on new chief executive Hayden Cale (Ely Pouget) to right the ship, and one of her first acts is to fire the designer of the “Hard Man” project, Jack Dante (Brad Dourif). Dante’s a little off, shall we say, and heads to Vault 10, where he activates his secret project, “Warbeast,” the Death Machine of the title, to exact revenge on Cale. Perhaps a sternly-worded letter to HR would have been a little less murdery.

5. Ash (Alien, 1979)

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Image via 20th Century Fox

The crew of the space tug Nostromo has a bug problem. It would seem that after investigating a distress call on a nearby moon, Executive Officer Kane (John Hurt) was attacked by a spider-like creature with a long tail that wrapped around his neck. That creature planted an alien creature in Kane, which burst out of his chest and ran to hide in the ship. That creature is taking out the crew one by one. Seeking answers about the alien, Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) accesses the ship’s computer and discovers that Science Officer Ash (Ian Holm) has orders to bring the alien to Earth, and that the remaining crew are expendable. When confronted, Ash tries choking her, only for his head to get knocked off by Parker (Yaphet Kotto), revealing Ash to be an android. An android with a psychotic respect for the alien. Lesson for the day: never put all of your trust in your GPS.

4. Roy Batty (Blade Runner, 1982)

Rutger Hauer as Roy Batty

Of all the robots on this list, Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer) is the most sympathetic. He is a Nexus-6 Replicant, an artificial being of exceptional strength and intellect. He was created as a combat model and deployed throughout the galaxy to serve in military campaigns, but wished to return to Earth and have his life expectancy increased by pushing back his expiration date.

So, he and a group of other renegade replicants killed twenty-three people in an off-world colony, hijacked a shuttle and killed all on board before setting course to Earth. He then kills others in an effort to reach his maker, Dr. Eldon Tyrell (Joe Turkel), who he also kills when Tyrell says extending his lifespan is impossible. But then he accepts his fate, rescuing Blade Runner agent Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) from falling to his death, then waxes poetic before passing away.

3. 101 Series Protector Robots (Chopping Mall, 1986)

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Image via Concord Pictures

In the spirit of Jerry Seinfeld, what’s the deal with the malfunctioning movie robots? Secure-tronics is in charge of the new nighttime security system at the Park Plaza 2000 Shopping Center, which consists of two elements: impenetrable doors that seal off the regular doors of the mall from midnight to 6 AM, and three 101 series Protector robots that are programmed to contain non-authorized people that are in the mall between those hours. The first night doesn’t go exactly as planned as a glitch causes the robots to become murderous. Oh, well. As long as no one is inside the mall they can be fixed the next morning, right? Yes, and no. If no one was in the mall then yes, that plan works. However, eight teenage shopping center employees are in the mall, holding a secret after-hours party in the home furnishings store. SPOILER: not all eight make it to sunrise.

2. The Terminator (The Terminator, 1984)

The cyborg in The Terminator

An unstoppable, relentless cyborg assassin sent from the future to kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) before she can give birth to the son that will save mankind from the malevolent, artificially intelligent Skynet. The premise is almost laughably simple but incredibly effective, thanks in no small part to the work of the Terminator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger. It is the perfect marriage of actor and character, with Schwarzenegger’s mannerisms and speech bringing the cyborg to a chillingly believable unstoppable force. That he was able to do a full 180 in the sequel Terminator 2: Judgment Day and act as cyborg protector of John Connor (Edward Furlong) from an even deadlier cyborg assassin, the T-1000 (Robert Patrick), is undeniably impressive.

1. HAL 9000 (2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968)

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Image via MGM

Could there truthfully be another contender for number one overall? HAL 9000 (Douglas Rain) is the GOAT of evil robots, seen only as a camera lens with an unblinking, unnerving red light. His voice is soothing and calm at all times, whether he’s providing useful information or refusing to open the pod bay doors, with the unwavering delivery becoming increasingly more creepy as his actions become more malevolent. What really puts HAL over and above his evil robot peers is the cold-hearted logic with which he justifies killing the crew. Torn between his programming to accurately dispense information and a direct order to withhold specific information, HAL makes the choice to kill the crew in order to keep from lying to them, therefore avoiding the internal conflict with his original function. But hey, HAL can play chess. He can’t be all that bad.



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