Is it sci-fi? A slasher film?
An action movie?
Yes! Writer-directorJamesCameronsaid he came up with the idea for The Terminator in a fever dream, and the film is certainly a delirious mash-up of everything from 1927’s Metropolis, with its flesh-clad android bent on destroying humanity, to John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978), in which relentless psychopath Michael Myers is on a mission to kill, kill, kill.
Like the latter film, Cameron made The Terminator on a shoestring budget, just US$6.4-million, even employing stop-motion animation techniques à la Harryhausen for the special effects.
But everything clicked – Cameron would later say that even star Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Austrian accent proved perfect, as it had a “strange synthesized quality,” just what a homicidal cyborg might sound like.
The film would go on to earn more than US$78million at the box office and made Hollywood giants of both Cameron and Schwarzenegger.
It would also spawn numerous sequels, each with its own take on the original’s story about a not-too-distant dystopian future – 2029! – in which a sentient AI program tries to wipe out humankind.
Those crazy machines – always trying to kill us.