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Worlds Without End Blog

Take This Job and Shove It Posted at 10:54 AM by Paul Thies

Savalas

Johnny Paycheck - Take this Job and Shove ItYou may recall earlier this summer we told you our WWEnd intern Barry was going to attempt to land a job using a résumé peppered with evil corporations from science fiction films.

As part of this project, we’ve been collating a list of evil companies, and in doing research on the web we discovered a few interesting facts:

1. Top Ten lists of evil sci fi companies abound
2. All the lists essentially repeat the same companies over and over

(NOTE TO BUDDING EVIL CORPORATE ENTREPRENEURS: If you are looking to forever immortalize your brand on a universe of Top Ten lists, do something really nasty. Like send astronauts to their death a la “extraterrestrial distress signal” so as to collect an alien sample. Or dye Rutger Hauer’s hair platinum blonde and have him run around downtown Los Angeles in a pair of Depends. Whatever works.)

Given the pervasiveness of such lists, it was only a matter of time before the WWEnd brass stopped by my office to demand that we produce our own, so as not to fall behind the competition.

(You may also recall these were the same corporate suits who demanded we do a Hot Sci Fi Babe list, resulting in the infamous “Over 60” post.)

Okay, I can play along. I appreciate ad dollars as much as the next guy. But we’re not going to reproduce the same list of companies that everyone else seems fixated on. No, we’re going to approach this as we do with all things science fiction: a little differently.

So here we go with the Top Ten Evil Corporations of Science Fiction Not on Anyone Else’s Top Ten List of Evil Corporations. Johnny Paycheck, eat your heart out.

Moon10. Lunar Industries (Moon, 2009) – Seriously, people? How does this company not make other lists? Subjecting an army of Sam Rockwell clones to indentured servitude is bad. But it’s in the corporate lie that’s told to each clone (i.e. that “his” wife and daughter is waiting for “him” on Earth at the end of his shift) where this company earns its malfeasance. Pretty cold hearted.
Looker9. Digital Matrix (Looker, 1981) – Any company that turns a middle-aged Albert Finney into an action hero deserves to be on a list of bad companies. What makes this company truly simmer in badness is the ultracool James Coburn as its primary shareholder of evil and destroyer of supermodels. But what was with the laser tag guns?
A.I.8. Cybertronics (A. I., 2001) – If your company makes unblinking Haley Joel Osment robots that develop pathological attachments to their owners, attend Ministry concerts and play Tonto to Jude Law’s Lone Ranger, you may want to rethink your business model. All joking aside, this company asks us to examine how healthy is our temptation to create people who love us even while supplying us with said people. For my money, William Hurt’s turn as company mad scientist is all the more insidious because he is so tender, genuine and honest.
Code 467. The Sphinx (Code 46, 2003) – Let’s see, an insurance company that manufactures documents which dictate where you can live, your ability to travel, the work you do and who you can love in an authoritarian society. Falling afoul of this über healthcare bureaucracy is everyman Tim Robbins (and I thought he was a liberal). The Sphinx gives new meaning to the term “State Farm”, but this is one good neighbor you wish wasn’t there.
Surrogates6. Virtual Self Industries (Surrogates, 2009) – Four words: Bruce. Willis. Blonde. Wig. For my money, that alone is one of the more damning examples of cinematic villainy. Compounding matters is Ving Rhames as a Rasta prophet – if Bruce should never have hair in a movie, that goes double for The Ving, people! And James Cromwell, with what I would characterize as an unhealthy attachment to avatars of young men, completes the ensemble of evil.
I, Robot5. U.S. Robotics (I, Robot, 2004) – Female voiced supercomputer commands an army of robot soldiers to subjugate humanity. Terminator Salvation? Actually, we’re talking about I, Robot. Frequently mistaken for an episode of iCarly, this film details USR’s attempt to hijack Chicago until bionic man Will Smith gets jiggy with it. (Sidenote: Rod Blagojevich purportedly sat on USR’s board of governors.)
Gattaca4. Gattaca Aerospace Corporation (Gattaca, 1997) – If your workplace requires you to use the urine of another man to advance your career, it’s time to polish your résumé. Hey, I’d like to be an astronaut too, but Ethan Hawke took his desire to be the next Buzz Aldrin too far. He’d have been better off just eBaying Jude Law’s hair and buying his own space program.
Moonraker3. Drax Enterprise Corporation (Moonraker, 1979) – When your HR Director is a steel-toothed giant named Jaws, you know it can’t be a fun place to work. I don’t know, maybe it’s me, but there’s something about trying to poison all of humanity and starting over with a space-based master race of beautiful people that is sure to get your firm placed on a list of evil companies. On the plus side: though Drax himself looks like a deranged gourmand, the fitness program at DEC is the envy of the industry.
Tron2. ENCOM (Tron, 1982) – This is another one of those picks that I can’t believe didn’t make anyone else’s list. I expect that to change when Tron: Legacy comes out in December, but let it be said that WWEnd called this one first. Before Microsoft Windows, there was the Master Control Program. Somebody call the Help Desk! This just in: Apple recently contacted ENCOM to see if they can borrow the shrink ray for Steve Jobs’ ego.
Westworld1. Delos (Westworld, 1973 / Futureworld, 1976) – Delos is guilty of several of the great cardinal sins of 70s sci fi cinema. First, they kill off both Yul Brynner and James Brolin in the first film. But that’s just a warm up act. In the sequel, Delos menaces investigative reporter Peter Fonda while attempting to replace all the world’s leaders with robot clones in a world domination scheme. But Delos’ final act of sabotage is relegating Yul Brynner to nothing more than a dream sequence cameo in his final film appearance. That’s like asking Joe Montana to be a backup quarterback. Sacrilege!
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7 Comments

Wintermute   |   31 Jul 2010 @ 06:38

Bravo. Another excellent, original funny article. Love it. These should be published in a weekly or monthly sci-fi magazine. Seriously, who out there is a sci-fi magazine author and why aren’t they publishing these pithy columns. They are perfect to either open the magazine – like Bill Simmons did with ESPN The Magazine – or close it – like Thomas G. Donlan in Barron’s.

Paul   |   31 Jul 2010 @ 07:07

Thanks for the kind words, WM. I can’t complain – the WWEnd brass told me that as my compensation, on my deathbed I would receive total consciousness. So I got that going for me, which is nice.

WhiteWolf   |   02 Aug 2010 @ 20:25

"Like send astronauts to their death a la “extraterrestrial distress signal†so as to collect an alien sample."I’m assuming this refers to the Weyland Yutani corporation from the ALIEN films, but then it doesn’t make it onto the list. Why is that?

Paul   |   02 Aug 2010 @ 20:38

Good question, WW, and the simple answer is that Weyland-Yutani is on essentially every other list of evil sci fi corporations out there. In fact, it’s considered the gold standard for evil sci fi companies. For this list, I wanted to highlight overlooked companies – which is why I didn’t elect to mention WY, Tyrell Corp., Soylent Corp., Omni Consumer Products, etc.

redhead   |   17 Aug 2010 @ 07:10

the movie of those I most recently saw was Moon, and it was the best movie I’ve seen all year. Why is Sam Rockwell not getting more movies??Yeah, Lunar Industries is totally creepy. . .but I think they are the least evil on the list. I’m thinking of companies I’ve worked for in the past and the carrots they’ve dangled in front of my face – the promise of a promotion, bonus, raise, whatever. Knowing there was maybe a reward got a little extra work out of me, regardless of if I got the reward or not. So yeah, the company is totally lying to the clone, but if they said "You’re a clone, and you’re gonna die in 3 years, but work hard anyways", how much productive work would they get out of the guy? As far as Lunar Industries goes, I can see both sides. eh, just some two cents.

Jack Cross   |   31 Jul 2011 @ 11:25

Where is the Union (Repomen) – In 2025, a corporation called "The Union" has perfected the creation of bio-mechanical organs, which are available to those with money or "good credit". If a customer falls three months behind on payments, a "repo man" is sent to reclaim the artificial organ (artiforgs). The process of the repossession almost always results in the death of the customer. – That is pretty damn evil.

codespace   |   03 Jul 2013 @ 10:24

Surprised that Zorg Industries (Fifth Element) didn’t make this list.

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