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Terminal Man, The

Entry updated 16 February 2017. Tagged: Film.

Film (1974). Warner Bros. Produced, directed and written by Mike Hodges. Based on The Terminal Man (1972) by Michael Crichton. Cast includes Joan Hackett and George Segal. 107 minutes, cut to 104 minutes. Colour.

Segal plays a man who suffers from violent blackouts as a result of brain damage suffered in a car accident. Doctors use him as an experimental guinea pig: into his brain they insert electrodes linked to a tiny Computer implanted in his shoulder, so that when a convulsion starts the computer will automatically send soothing impulses to the brain. However, there is an unanticipated backlash from neural Psychology: the Cyborgized brain proves to enjoy the soothing effect so much that it becomes conditioned to trigger the blackouts at an ever-increasing rate; the man is driven to commit further acts of violence and finally has to be shot down. Quotes from T S Eliot, music by Bach, colour-coded visual symbolism (with lots of black) – all seem to aspire to a significance that does not, in the end, seem very profound. The mutually destructive relationship between man and machine is interesting; the stereotypes (monstrous doctors, etc.) are crude. [JB/PN/DRL]

see also: Cinema.


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