Stephen King has obviously had a huge impact on contemporary culture -- who among us hasn’t thought about The Shining when staying at an old hotel? Or fantasized about terrorizing the people we went to high school with freaky telekinetic powers? Even some of King’s less well-received stories have retroactively become relevant, like his novel Cell, about an evil cell phone network that turns people into murderous zombie-like creatures and the survivors who just used beepers or something. In 2016 it was made into a movie starring John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson, but it promptly bombed and was presumably never brought up again by anyone until this very moment.

Well, thanks to the neverending madness that is modern existence, the ludicrous paranoia of Cell is weirdly pertinent today. One of the most widespread, baffling conspiracy theories to emerge in the past year is the allegation that 5G networks caused the coronavirus outbreak, leading some believers to actually burn down cell phone towers all over the world.

Most insanely, one of the celebrities involved in the social media discussion was none other than John Cusack (who claims he was talking about 5G being unproven tech, rather than the virus thing), in what we can only assume was a belated PR stunt to help promote this 4-year-old horror movie. Further capitalizing on people’s irrational phone-based fears was the not un-Cell-like 5G ZOMBIES, a horror movie about the government controlling the survivors of a zombie apocalypse using 5G -- amazingly, this is a real movie that came out in 2020, not an SNL sketch that got cut for time.

Hopefully, the fact that the premise of Cell aligns with a real-life conspiracy theory doesn’t mean that people will begin, say, believing that all classic cars are possessed by evil ghosts.

You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter! And check out the podcast Rewatchability.

Top Image: Saban Films

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