FROM THE VIDEO STORE GRAVEYARD: 'THE TOWER (1993)'
The early to mid 90s were a glorious era of future shock and techno fear, movies where we were promised a glorious future of smart office buildings primed to murder and splay any unauthorized individuals caught after hours. Although Alexa and Echo powered smart homes, offices and appliances are today ripe for hacking, one can giggle as Paul Reiser, riding his hot sitcom streak via ‘Mad About You’ (and to be sci-fi fair, an Aliens series alumni), wrestles with all that clunky PC flavored hardware and ultimately taking the system down with a cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival (really…).
Made as a TV movie in 1993 before occupying the bottom shelf of a video store near you, The Tower ticks all the right boxes for bad speculative 90s techno fiction. Reiser plays an electronic musician set up with a job at some sort of hi tech office tower sporting an all watching advanced central security system complete with sassy AI named ‘Cas’. Reiser gets into trouble quick with a faulty ID card screwing his automated office entry, his parking space and, thanks to willfully flaunting the strict employee codes, gets marked for 'deletion' by the errant Cas system, assisting him inadvertently to the death of his sociopathic boss in an malfunctioning sauna.
Apparently skimping on the casting of extras, the massive tower seems to be only staffed by one front desk security personnel, a secretary and Reiser’s eventual love interest. There’s a distinct aroma of the murderous security droids of the gleefully B Grade ‘Chopping Mall’ in this towering building turned hunter/killer, and we must warn you that there will be continuous use of the song ’Bad Moon Rising’ to communicate with the computer nasty. Keep eyes peeled for Reiser freeing himself and love interest from a smoke filled hallway with a bowling ball, a tussle on an errant window cleaning scaffold and icicles forming on our protagonist faces due to the system needing sub zero temperature to survive.
This is the type of film you’d find amongst the last crap standing on a video store shelf late on a Saturday night after all the good new releases were taken, and we kind of love it for that reason. You'll be hard pressed to find this one outside of a shoddy YouTube upload, but we encourage you; come for the clunky computers, stay for the terrible exploding miniatures! Oh, and elevator shaft action aplenty.