Sunday, June 23, 2013

Movie #195: Ghost in the Machine

Ghost in the Machine is a terrible 1993 slasher movie, starring Karen Allen (in her low period), Chris Mulkey, Ted Marcoux, Will Horneff, and Jessica Walter. It's directed by Rachel Talalay, the genius behind Tank Girl (we'll get to the Ts), which I didn't realize until now.

So. Carl (Marcoux) is a serial killer known as the Address Book Killer, who steals people's address books and then murders the people in them, all the while taunting the original victim. This movie is set in Cleveland, and that fact does not cast the Cleveland PD in an especially favorable light, since this guy is not the most subtle of serial killers but he's been killing for three years.

Anyway, Terri (Allen) is the mom of Josh (Horneff), and little Josh is having trouble coping with their father running off; he's running scams and trying to talk black, but these people are from Lyndhurst and, to quote Taye Diggs in Go, if this kid were any less black, he'd be clear. He is something of a computer genius, but computers in this movie are off the fucking map, because...well, for instance, Terri goes into a computer store (where Carl works) to buy her boss some software for...desktop organization? I dunno. Anyway, it's apparently got a hand-held scanner peripheral that lets you scan in your address book, which then translates directly to text (hands up anyone who had OCR that good in 1993? No?). So she leaves behind her address book, Carl nicks it, gets in a car wreck on the way home, gets put into an MRI, there's a power surge, and BOOM! HE'S IN THE MACHINE!

Carl spends the rest of the movie zooming through power lines (not actually computer lines, since he jumps into things like dishwashers to kill people, like Final Destination only 1000% stupider), killing the people in Terri's address book, while a hacker named Bram (Mulkey) finds her out because of the damage this "hacker" is doing. Eventually they kill him with a particle accelerator, because magnets.

This movie is fucking terrible, and I don't know why I own it. It's a low point in a lot of careers, including Jessica Walter (who went on to play Lucille Bluth in Arrested Development). The effects are pure 90s CGI trash, the deaths are gratuitous (though no nudity, although there's a bit of babysitting exploitation), the science makes you yell at the screen. It is, however, a superb movie to MST3K, and has been since my brother and I did it back in the 90s.

My grade: D
Rewatch value: Medium, but this tape is through and I'm not replacing it

Next up: Ghost Ship