Your parents tried to alert you. Don’t take candy from strangers. And in 2011, the film “Take This Lollipop” attempted to relay the same message to internet users worldwide. This film was an interactive horror short film that touched on the issue of information security in the internet age, and it went completely viral and won several awards. Pretty splendid for a film that lasts only a little over two minutes.
Why did “Take This Lollipop” resonate so deeply with its viewers and make waves all over the internet? Ably, initially, the viewing experience used the Facebook Connect platform to make the viewing experience isolated t every viewer. This film would use your FB information to tailor the movie to you personally, making it all the scarier.
Take This Lollipop also made a press release on a few topics that were very important back in 2011 and remain vital today: cybersecurity. Unsurprisingly, since this is often still such a hotly debated topic today, director Jason Zada decided to release Take This Lollipop 2 last year in 2020. This sequel brings us to question what information could be being shared through our Zoom calls, which became such a prominent method of communication during this global pandemic.
What Is Take This Lollipop?
The title of Take This Lollipop was inspired by parents’ requests for his or her children to not take candy from strangers, and also from the 1963 song “Please female child, Take This Lollipop” by Bobby Jameson. Director Jason Zada first conceived the thought in September of 2011 when he awoke one morning and began to create something spooky that might relate to the difficulty of cybersecurity.
The brief film features a creepy-looking guy (who is quite sweaty for somebody just sitting at a computer) who has found your profile on Facebook. As he scrolls through your profile, the camera flashes to his display screen, and you can see that the photos he’s viewing are the particular photos that appear on your Facebook profile.
This sweaty, creepy man continues to look through your profile, occasionally caressing the screen when he finds a specific photo of you that strikes him emotionally. Whether he’s inspired by love, jealousy, hatred, or some combination of the three is unclear; however, the person then turns to form eye contact with you by staring straight at the camera then rushes out into his car. Using data collected from Facebook, the film shows the person pulling up Google Maps and pinpointing your actual home address (or whatever address might be on your Facebook). Basically, this maniac knows where you reside.
As the man drives, the viewer can see him within the driver’s seat going absolutely bonkers. Betwixt brief moments of calm, he is often seen convulsing in strange ways and letting out histrionic yelps of agony. It is clear he has something nefarious planned, and it’s clear that the plan involves you.
The final scene of the film shows the person parking and stepping out of his car. The viewer is to assume that he has arrived at their house, and is coming to hold out whatever he planned to try to do (probably kill you, by the looks of it). To feature to the creepiness, he has a picture of you taped to his dashboard, another picture taken from your Facebook profile. This horrifying stalker was played by Bill Oberst Jr. And therefore the film was shot mostly inside an abandoned hospital.
Naturally, Facebook didn’t take all that kindly to a movie designed to enlighten viewers about the potential cybersecurity issues with Facebook. When Take This Lollipop first went survive YouTube on October 14, 2011, it had been initially flagged by Facebook as malware and far away from the site. However, after Zada explained to Facebook that Takes This Lollipop wasn’t misusing or sharing any personal information, it had been replacing up.
The film went on to win several awards in 2012 for its experimental style use of social media.
Also Read About: “I’m Feeling Curious” and Other Google Easter Eggs
Take This Lollipop 2
After the smashing success of the primary installment of Take This Lollipop, Jason Zada decided to update his formula for newer times. Take This Lollipop 2 was released in 2020, and this time, Zada focused on the doubtless dark aspects of Zoom and deep fake technology. If you’ve seen recent webcam-based horror movies like Host or Unfriended, this most up-to-date installment of Take This Lollipop is nearly like being a personality in one among those films.
When you arrive on the home page for Take This Lollipop, you’re greeted with nothing but a lollipop taped to a black wall with the word “lollipop” behind it. Upon closer inspection, however, you will notice that there’s a razorblade contained within the lollipop. Is that a transparent warning that you simply shouldn’t take the lollipop? Yes. Are you getting to do it anyway? in fact.
Worse luck, Far from the primary movie, you have to pay $1.49 to play Take This Lollipop 2, otherwise, you could just watch somebody else play it on YouTube, or read the remainder of this text and just about get the gist.
Spoiler alert: If you’d preferably play Take This Lollipop 2 for yourself, stop reading here.
The movie starts with you entering your name into the website. Then, you’re put into a four-way Zoom-Esque video chat with three “strangers”. There’s a talking bar on the side of the video chat during which the opposite people start sending messages. You’ll send messages too, but they don’t ever really get an appropriate response.
First off, one among the people in your Zoom call says that she’s received an image of herself on her webcam via text. Shortly after, things start to urge eerie in her corner of the Zoom call. The sunshine behind her mysteriously turns off and a shadowy figure appears within the background. In a pretty predictable fashion, she’s then dragged off-screen and her webcam turns off. At now, the illusion that you’re on an actual live video chat with three people has been shattered. It becomes pretty obvious that it’s a prerecorded video.
Next, the person within the top right corner of the Zoom call starts claiming that his computer is being controlled remotely. When he tries to shut down his computer, whoever is controlling his computer blocks him from doing so. Then, a strange message appears within the chat sidebar telling the person to see his phone. His camera then switches to his phone camera and, you guessed it, he gets attacked by a mysterious figure.
Finally, it’s just you and a woman named Sophia. She starts telling you that something is behind you, and if you check out your own screen, you’ll notice a strange glitchy figure walking behind you. Sophia’s screen then grows in size until she takes up your entire monitor. At first, she starts crying hysterically; however, her face suddenly changes thereto of an old man. The old man starts laughing maniacally until his eyes go white, he screams, and therefore the camera shuts off.
The next part of the simulation involves you joining a completely new Zoom call with three new participants. Once the other three people appear, your face also will appear in your segment. This time, however, you’ll be the deep fake, and you’ll see your mouth moving and listen to yourself say, “My name is Alex. Who wants to play lollipop?” Creepy stuff.
What’s the Message?
It seems like Jason Zada is trying to form some extent with this interactive film that you simply can never be too sure what people do together with your information, or even together with your physical appearance. In a world where deep fake technology is rapidly advancing, it’s not out of the realm of possibilities that somebody could steal your face (so to speak) and pretend to be you on the web, or maybe on your company Christmas party Zoom call.
While within the first Take This Lollipop Jason Zada definitely placed on a spotlight on the very fact that somebody could come after you using your online information, in Take This Lollipop 2, he really kicks it to the next level and shows that folks might even have the power to become you using modern deep fake technology.
In my opinion, Take This Lollipop 2 wasn’t a really scary experience. It only fooled me into thinking that the events happening on the screen were real for a couple of seconds, then it became very obviously faked.
However, I need to say, the concept underlying Take This Lollipop 2 is actually terrifying. Imagine someone stealing your identity for the purpose where they will pretend to be you in a video chat! In what other ways will fraud advance within the future? Maybe we’ll get to the purpose where you see your friend on the road, but it’s not really your friend, it’s someone who’s stolen their identity. Maybe that seems like the plot to a bad sci-fi movie, but you never know!