Vote Now: Pop Culture’s Scariest Robots!

Revolution 19 coverHow do you destroy robots that were created to fight wars against other robots? How?!? Gregg Rosenblum’s debut novel, Revolution 19, is set in a not-so-distant future where the human race has been ravaged by a robot revolution. These seemingly indestructible bots were built to fight a war, but one day they stopped fighting each other and turned on their creators. It seems impossible that three teens would even think that they could survive against such a strong enemy. But Kevin, Nick, and Cass are willing to do anything to find their parents and save them from robotic clutches.

They aren’t the first humans to have to fight a mighty bot enemy. Inspired by Revolution 19‘s evil robots, we put together a list of other terrifying robots in pop-culture, and then we smashed all the electronics in our office and slept with the nightlight on for a week.

2001: A Space Odyssey Movie Poster


HAL, 2001: A Space Odyssey 

“Open the pod bay doors, HAL.” When HAL learns that he is going to be disconnected (though just for routine maintenance), he decides that jeopardizes his primary objective of completing the spaceship’s mission. The solution? Kill the crew. *Shudder*




The Terminator Movie Poster


Terminators, The Terminator

How do you argue with an artificial being that sees humans as inefficient and useless collateral to completing missions? When you’ve just marathon-watched the entire Terminator series AND polished off a whole pint of Chunky Monkey, it’s kind of difficult to defend yourself.




Battlestar Galactica


Cylons, Battlestar Galactica

Holy. Frak. What could make artificial intelligence bent on destroying humanity more terrifying? If you couldn’t tell who was human and who was robot. Hello, most terrifying reboot ever. Also, ALSO! Some of the cylons don’t even know that they are cylons.




Doctor Who


Cybermen, Doctor Who

They’re all for ridding the world of emotions, and will turn you into one of them. Your personality, feelings, memories, and dreams totally wiped as a bunch of metal machines chant, “Delete. Delete. Delete.”? Maybe a fate worse than death.




I, Robot movie poster


VIKI, I, Robot

Another instance of Zeroth Law Rebellion (in order to preserve humanity as a whole, single human lives may be forfeit). What makes VIKI so scary, though, is the LEGION of robots she controls. It’s not ten or twenty—it’s a massive hoard.  And when their little lights go all HAL red, it’s death time. For humans. ALL humans. Except Will Smith.




The Matrix movie poster


Everything in The Matrix







Which of these terrifying robots is the scariest? Vote now! Did we leave a scary robot off the list? Let us know which ones we missed in the comments!


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35 thoughts on “Vote Now: Pop Culture’s Scariest Robots!

  1. Even though I’m a huge Whovian, the Cybermen of New Who aren’t scary. I’m going with HAL. Holy crap, HAL is frightening! HAL is scary because it was created by humans and is the epitomy of logic in a computer. You can’t reason with HAL, and HAL will use any means necessary to complete his mission.

    • I agree. I get chills just thinking about that cold voice telling Dave “No”. Somehow creepier than I ever guessed it would be…

    • I’m glad someone else feels the same way I do. Hearing HAL singing the daisy song as its getting shut down beyond tops the cybermen, love them though I do.

  2. Torn between iRobot’s VICKI (not Niki) and the Cylons of Battlestar Galactica…but dare I say you’ve forgotten one of the most truly fear inspiring robots (actually he resents being called that, he is an android just as Cylons are technically cyborgs): Data from Star Trek TNG. Hear me out! Hear me out! I can’t help but see the dark potential in a character like Data. Watch The Most Toys and see what I mean. Not to mention when he stabs one of his fellow crew members with blank eyes. Craaaaazy!

      • But Data isn’t scary! He’s a wonderful character who was one of the most complicated character to ever cross Star Trek! No, if anything should be added to this list, it should be the Borg. If the Cybermen are on the list, the Borg should also be there. Now they outdo the Cybermen for scariness. Not only were the Borg once human, but they acknowledge that connection. They don’t strip your personality away like the Cybermen do, but utilize it to add to their collective. They adapt, they conquer, and they FRICKING ASSIMILATED PICARD!

  3. I’m a GIANT whovian and everything, but the terminators in the terminator were quite terrifying… I remember watching it in”4D” at like Universal Studios and almost having a heart attack when the metallic spider thing was threateningly poking at my chest. I swear I was this close to hyperventilating in my chair!! And oh, when Arnold melts one of their faces into a pipe I was just sitting there like 😮 “My Gawd… I know he didn’t just- Is her face metal?!?”

  4. Just going to say that I would have to say that the Borg are super scary! Also to agree with a previous post I want to say that Data is not very scary BUT does have the potential, I’m thinking of First Contact, the 2nd Star Trek TNG movie. Where Data sides with the Borg and then there was also the time Data’s evil brother Lore and when he teamed up with the Borg. Just pointing this out!

    • I think the daleks have gotten scarier, because I’ve heard lots of people say that but they terrify me. I think the most frightening occurance I saw was in parting of ways, when they killed everyone on floor zero.

    • The Daleks have recently gotten scarier, but on the flip side, the Cybermen have not been treated well in New Who. I can’t wait for Neil Gaiman to make them scary again.

  5. Honestly, I have only watched part of The Matrix and up to season 3 of Doctor Who. All the others I have not yet watched… So I’m probably a crappy judge for this.
    Yeah,the Matrix was scary. The idea that humans are being harvested by a great big machine is more than a little disturbing.
    But I’ll have to go with the Cybermen. Why?
    Because they were human at one point. Not like all the other robots on this list, who were created. No, Cybermen are humans who were stripped of their humanity. That’s what’s the most disturbing about them.

  6. I live Doctor Who, but the Cybermen never really scared me. I’m torn between HAL and the Cylons. However, I do agree that Data has the potential to be utterly terrifying.
    Sadly, I’ve never seen The Terminator, The Matrix, or I, Robot. I am planning on seeing The Mateix soon, though.

    • Definitely the Borg. Horrible, screaming assimilation nightmares. Out of this list, I’d have to say the Matrix–I dislike the idea of being trapped in a little pod with tubes shoved into various arteries–but the Borg need to be on here. And then I will vote for them. A hundred times.

  7. I’m very surprised that HAL isn’t getting more votes. I will take this as people just don’t understand what makes HAL scary. 1)Human’s made him. Thus giving into the idea that human’s are very self destructive (even without knowing it). 2)Think of the situation. You’re in space. You’re completely at his mercy. With Cybermen and The Matrix and such you can get AWAY. Well… it wouldn’t be EASY with some of them, but still possible. HAL controls every system you use, and unless you’re BOSS like Dave then you can’t do anything about it because you don’t know how.

  8. Three-way tie for me, between HAL, the Cylons in BG, and everything in the Matrix.

    I went with HAL. But now I’m freaked out, hearing robot voices in my head. *shudder*

  9. You totally forgot the robots in It’s A Small World. Granted, this may not necessarily be pop-culture, but I think they should count.

  10. Screw the Matrix, Cybermen are freaking scary! They grab people and turn them into robots for crying out loud!! They’re like.. Walking Daleks…

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