Ghost in the Machine – USA, 1993 – overview and review

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Ghost in the Machine – aka Deadly Terror – is a 1993 American horror science fiction feature film directed by Rachel Talalay (Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare) and released by 20th Century Fox. It apparently cost $12 million but only took $5,086,909 at the US box office.

Plot teaser:

A serial killer, named Karl Hochman (Ted Marcoux), is known as “The Address-Book Killer”, due to his habit of stealing address-books and choosing his victims from them. While he’s working at a computer store, he gets hold of the details of Terry Munroe (Karen Allen). While heading home that evening, Karl is nearly killed by a collision with a truck.

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When he has been placed in an MRT-machine in the emergency room, a surge from an electrical storm manages to transfer his own mind into a computer. Now as a network-based entity, Karl continues to plot his killing-spree, using the electrical grid, various appliances and computer networks.

Karl opens the scanned page from Terry’s address-book and begins killing the names that are on her list. Her co-worker, Frank Mallory (Richard McKenzie), becomes the first victim when he dies in an electrical fire. Another friend, Elliot Kastner (Jack Laufer) gets burned to death when a hand-dryer turns into a flame-thrower. Terry’s babysitter, Carol Maibaum (Shevonne Durkin), becomes the third victim when she gets caught between an exploding TV-set and a dishwasher in her kitchen…

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Review:

A crazy mean serial murderer believably comes back to life as electricity after crashing his car on the way to kill a single working mom. That totally makes sense.

As an evil electrical current, he can get inside a host of handy kitchen appliances, which he uses to zap the gorgeous babysitter whom the young boys she’s sitting, pay her cash money to lift up her shirt. (Why did I spend all my allowance on comic books when I could’ve put my puberty on fast-forward? Sometimes I can’t believe how stupid I was.) But like the “ghost,” you don’t get to see anything.

Things start to really byte when the killer gets inside the family’s computer. He wants to delete them all. Heh.

Ghost in the Machine (title taken from British philosopher Gilbert Ryle’s derogatory description for René Descartes’ mind-body dualism and/or The Police album of the same name featuring the snappy 1981 song, “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic”?) is kinda sorta maybe cool given that it came out in 1993 and computers weren’t anywhere near the life-destroying machines they are today…

Jeff Gilbert, MOVIES and MANIA

  

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