The Lift (1984)
Nomination Year: 1992
SYNOPSIS: There are strange goings-on at a mid-town office building in a major Swedish city. The elevator is malfunctioning -- it gets off on the wrong floors, stops randomly, and, worst of all, almost suffocates a group of party-goers. An inquisitive elevator repairman and an investigative reporter explore the building, only to be nearly killed themselves. They learn from a professor friend that Chips are dangerous, and a special kind of computer Chip was used in that particular elevator. The repairman and the reporter go back to the building to do battle with the evil lift before anyone else is killed. They're too late -- kiss one blind man and a security guard goodbye. Once again, the duo is in the clutches of the depraved elevator. At the last minute, the Chip's inventor arrives and destroys his creation with a gun. With its dying gasp, the elevator snaps its cable and drags its creator into the shaft, who dangles, Christ-like, as a warning to all who would tamper with Technology-for-Which-Man-Is-Not-Yet-Ready.
- Most Ludicrous Premise
"Take the Stairs! Take the Stairs! For God's Sake, Take the Stairs!"
The premise: an intrepid elevator repairman teams up with a feisty reporter to find out why the elevator in a certain building seems to be killing people. The answer: CHIPS! Right. An evil elevator? How hard can it be to avoid that? Even the video's impossibly cheesy tagline screams the answer: "Take the stairs! Take the stairs! For God's sake, take the stairs!"
- Worst Science
You're probably wondering why every time this description mentions Chips, it's in bold text. It's all because of this scene.
Our intrepid duo has gone to a university professor in order to find out why the elevator has gone haywire. The Professor proceeds to give them a lecture about the evils of computer Chips. Soon, he predicts, the Chips will become smaller and smaller and eventually take over the world. These Chips, he says, are dangerously unstable because some organically-based Chips can alter their own "brain patterns." He explains that in America, they made a computer based on organic Chips and it started to reprogram itself, "so they pulled the plug, dug a big hole, and buried it." Finally, after mintues and minutes of polite ranting, he mentions that the elevator in question uses an experimental new type of organic Chip.
Oh, why the emphasis on Chips? Each time the (dubbed) professor says the word "Chips," his voice becomes astoundingly deep, and his mouth opens really wide. And he says it a lot. I don't know what the Swedish word for "Chips" is, but it must be funny-looking to American eyes. So now, each time one of the Smith-ka-teers has occasion to say the word "Chips," we use the deep, robust inflection that Professor Compu-phobia used in the film.
- Inane Dialogue
Better Eat Your Wheaties®!
What could be more normal than a family seated around the breakfast table, having a pleasant conversation? In this case, if this is normal, it explains a lot about our dauntless elevator repairman.
The six-year-old daughter pipes up out of the blue and says: "Some of the girls at school are growing things on their chests."
The older brother (~10) says, "You mean boobies?"
Dad corrects him: "Breasts. They're called breasts."
Daughter: "Mommy, when will I get breasts?"
Mom: "When you learn to stop talking at the table."
Geez, if it were that easy, meals might be a good deal quieter.
"I'm Gonna Head Downstairs -- You Want Anything?"
Somehow, while looking down the empty shaft, a security guard gets his head caught in the Lift's doors. Any guesses as to what happens next? Right -- the elevator comes down from above and touches the back of the guy's neck. Then there's a tiny blip and suddenly a clearly fake head is there instead. The elevator continues downward, shearing off the fake mannequin head.
Another funny part of this scene is the hapless guard's friend, who, when he sees his buddy's head trapped between the doors, tries to "help" by repeatedly pressing the call button.
- Crummiest Ending
Getting the Shaft
This guy -- the elevator's creator, we can only assume -- comes out of nowhere and shoots the elevator's control box, to which a gelatinous substance is clinging (presumably the evil Chip). Sparks fly up. The man turns toward our two wounded heroes and says, simply, " It's finished." But...with its "dying breath," the elevator snaps and animates one of its cables to reach out and strangle its creator. The body gets dragged into the shaft to dangle there in a very Christ-like fashion. The two heroes basically go: "Hmm. Now there's something you don't see every day. Oh, well, let's go home." And they limp down the stairs as the credits roll.
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