Monday, March 30, 2015

On Retro-Futuristic Clamshell Phones

Read any think piece on It Folows and you will hear about the importance of Yara’s clamshell e-reader phone. It’s the mystery device on which she’s reading The Idiot throughout the film, and director David Robert Mitchell specifically created it so that a real smartphone didn’t immediately date the film.

As he explains in an interview with The A.V. Club:
That e-reader cell phone — or “shell phone” — you’re talking about is not a real device. It’s a ’60s shell compact that we turned into a cell phone e-reader. So I wanted modern things, but if you show a specific smartphone now, it dates it. It’s too real for the movie. It would bother me anyway. So we made one up. And all of that is really just to create the effect of a dream — to place it outside of time, and to make people wonder about where they are.
It seemed vaguely familiar to me, and I think that’s the point, but I couldn’t place exactly why such a device would seem familiar until this weekend, when I realized there’s a precedent for a retro-futuristic clamshell phone.

April O’Neli uses one in the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon. Not that it’s intentional, necessarily, but if we’re having a conversation about retro-futuristic clamshell phones…


  1. The Turtle-Com had surprisingly good reception. Maybe Donatello should work for Android.

  2. Always thought it kind of interesting that even after the Turtles moved to the updated TurtleComs, April still kept the flip model. I guess because it resembles a compact and could then be less conspicuous?

    But in that case, why not just make it look like a compact?

  3. AH DAMMIT i was farkin PISSED when i finally found out it wasnt real. Won't be long though lol. Too awesome to not be made.

  4. Joni Crater8:52 AM

    I feel the same way Heather Southall...I'm watching It Follows now and just saw the kindle-esque clam shell and immediately googled to see if it was available to buy! LOL!!! I'm not going to read any more because I don't want spoiled.

  5. I learn some new stuff from it too, thanks for sharing your information. cheap Verizon phones