Sub-Genre: Cyber Punk

By: Thomas Massaquoi

Like any movement that has massive influence on culture, its reach seems to send shockwaves across various mediums of entertainment and art. The Punk movement of the late 60’s to 70’s seemed to create a genre of film that became popular in the late 70’s and 80’s, dealing with apocalyptic futures ran by machine or technology outsmarting and, in some cases, outgunning man as he struggles to take a back seat in this new normal. As these stories ran similar themes the cinematography and scoring broke the mold of films of yesterday’s past that tackled similar subject matter. Films like Alien, Mad Max, The Terminator, Blade Runner, RoboCop, The Matrix Trilogy, Hackers and Tron sit in this sub-genre within Sci-Fiction. Lowlife-but-high-tech is the aesthetic often portrayed in many of these stories with an anti-hero at the center.


Since youth I’ve been a fan often loving and hating these films for how close to reality they were or how accurately they predicted our future. Like its cousin in music, the genre created many superstars in front and behind the screen from James Cameron, Ridley Scott to Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mel Gibson. At the period in time when filmmakers were giving you romantic comedies set in the Pacific Northwest and teen movies based in suburban Chicago, this movement in film gave a generation what they wanted and needed as escape.


As a writer, actor or lover of film you would be doing yourself a disservice by not exploring this genre of great filmmaking. I would be dismayed to leave out the art and fashion that accompanied these films, which were essential to film that would become a staple within culture and define a generation. Enjoy your time at the movies.