The 10 Scariest Balls in Film
by David Christopher Bell
Circles are surprisingly menacing – it’s just hard to trust something that doesn’t have corners. The film industry seems to know this, because it’s given us some of the most ominous villains out there in spherical form.
I know it’s weird; I don’t care. And sure, triangles are pretty shifty too – and let’s not forget the kind of shit rectangles have pulled in the past as well.
But for today, here are some movie spheres that you just wouldn’t want to cross.
10. Klaatu’s Ships in The Day The Earth Stood Still
Just once I’d like to see a movie where an alien comes down to earth and just sort of hangs out and everyone’s cool with everyone else. Even when the alien is chill like in E.T. or Starman, we end up being the assholes to make up for it.
Speaking of E.T. and Starman, the remake of The Day The Earth Stood Still once again gave us the spherical craft that so many fictional aliens seem to enjoy – this time, however, there were a shit load of them. All packing up our animals for storage – which is a pretty terrible sign of things to come.
9. The Langoliers
It was a TV Miniseries, but you just can’t leave these things off of a list of scary balls. The Langoliers were, in concept, quite scary. Once you see them it kind of sucks, but that’s just because we were dealing with 1995 CGI. Basically they are giant meatballs that eat the past, because that’s apparently how time works. If you don’t know, or haven’t guessed already, this was a Stephen King story.
So if you want to see what Balki from Perfect Strangers would look like fighting Al from Quantum Leap and David Morse – go to your nearest run-down library and check this thing out.
8. Flying Eyeball Monster in Big Trouble In Little China
If I’m not mistaken, this thing was used as a spy for the villain Lo Pan. That seems counterintuitive – using a giant ball of freak to spy on people. Then again, nothing in this film was at any point something that could be described as subtle. In fact, it’s probably the least subtle film ever.
According to Wikipedia, this giant floating dude was the hardest effect to pull off in the film, requiring a bunch of cable puppeteers and even a special matte system designed just for this. I think it was worth the effort.
7. The Borg Sphere Ship in Star Trek: First Contact
The Borg loves their cubes, which is why the sphere ship stood out as much as it did – that, and the fact that it could create a temporal vortex that altered space-time and successfully sent them to the past to dominate Earth.
Here’s a question though, why couldn’t they have done that at any point before? Did they just invent the tech? If so, why did they fight their way to Earth before using it? Why not go back in time when there was no Federation, then fly to Earth and take over the human race? If any are reading, this is exactly why the Borg need me.
6. Saruman’s Palantir in The Lord Of The Rings
Wizard Skyping – or judging by Gandalf’s hesitance in going anywhere near the thing – it’s probably more like wizard Chatroulette. Just imagine that – a bunch of shirtless wizards staring at each other hoping to see some boobs, wearing Guy Fawkes masks and shit.
In the smartphone age, crystal balls just seem silly. They are bulky, hard to use, and seem to mostly show swirling lights. You can’t even watch Netflix with one, can you? And you know that shit rolls across the room every time you drop it – and you will drop it.
5. The Drones in Oblivion
You knew these guys were up to no good the moment you see them with their permanent frowny faces and evil eyebrows over a red Terminator eye. Why can’t evil robots ever look nice, or at least neutral?
You know what I’d do if I were Tom Cruise in this film, I would go around giving them fluffy foam clown noses every time I had to repair one. How cute would that be? Maybe paint a smiley mouth under it as well and go for the full effect, or if you’re really bored you could make them look like flying basketballs.
4. The Perfect Sphere in Sphere
It’s perfect in every way except for the way that doesn’t kill you. In fairness to the sphere in the movie, it was really we who were sinister; all the sphere did was give everyone magic mind powers and shit. But it’s not like the thing tried to be anything other than ominous the whole time. All they really needed was a sign next to the thing that said, “Warning: Entering This Sphere Will Cause Your Subconscious To Manifest In Reality” and boom – no more problems.
Had they only sent the helicopter pilot at the beginning of the film down with them and he could have saved them all with the power of love.
3. The Great Evil in The Fifth Element
Shit makes your head bleed pudding during long distance phone calls, a power I’ve always wanted to harness since Comcast raised their rates. Big ol’ ball of death coming at Earth and the only thing that can stop it is a Bruce Willis/Milla Jovovich love uppercut. That’s pretty lucky for Earth.
So this thing is pretty formidable. That said, it’s also slow as shit. Every five thousand years? Why? What did it have to do in the meantime? Feels like evil isn’t all that evil if it keeps to a schedule.
2. HAL 9000 & the EVA Pod in 2001: A Space Odyssey
While technically not a full three-dimensional sphere, HAL is hard to leave off of such a list. You couple that with the EVA Pod, a spherical tool that the troubled bot uses to sucker punch an astronaut, and you have quite the coupling of round, evil objects. This film was big on ominous geometry, what with that monolith and all. Who would have thought that the pivotal celestial architect of humanity would be a big shiny doorstop that turns people into giant babies?
Now that we have HAL out there, I want you to imagine him at the helm of the only sphere scarier…
1. The Death Star
Of course. Take the abilities of anything else on this list and the Death Star pretty much has it. It’s a big evil ball filled with magic robot wizards that destroy planets over and over. Heck – this thing will destroy a planet just because it’s feeling frisky. Everything about it points to a madman architect: the long and badly lit hallways, the random and seemingly endless indoor abysses with no protective railings, the hilariously volatile thermal exhaust system. Or maybe it’s because it was designed by the government.
But with all its problems, the thing is still a badass planet killing machine – just don’t ask it to take out a moon; it has trouble with moons.