Recently I had the pleasure of introducing my favourite hacker movie, Hackers, at my favourite hacking festival, Electromagnetic Field Camp. For those unaware, director Iain Softley’s 1995 flick is a smörgåsbord of colourful CGI insanity, roller skates, neon, funky haircuts, and spandex. At one point in the movie, the main villain, a corrupt computer security officer with a corrupt computer security officer goatee, grabs a floppy disk from a hacker before skateboarding away through a misty New York City street.
You can now imagine how excited I was to not only introduce the movie with a small speech, but interview the director on stage after the screening, all in front of the best possible crowd: hundreds of fellow geeks simultaneously shouting “HACK THE PLANET!” in an enormous, overflowing main stage tent. You can watch the full interview here:
So just why is this quirky movie, with a 32 percent Rotten Tomatoes score, so popular? Those outside of hacker culture may think that it’s an ironic cult hit, enjoyed much like The Room for its awfulness. Except Hackers is far from awful, and it’s certainly not enjoyed ironically.
In an effort to more fully understand and explain how Hackers has attained such high status and influence amongst computer experts and hacker culture in general, I’ve gathered some thoughts from a few of those very experts.
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