Ghost in the Machine (1993) Poster

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Great beginning, not-bad middle, horrible ending
boondocksaint2022 November 2002
Warning: Spoilers
This one flies like an airplane that is suddenly without a pilot; soaring at first, then, gradually, spinning out of control, and plummeting to its own doom. I was in the video store, looking for some mindless entertainment, and came across this one. I vaguely remember this one being out in theaters (I think I was 13 at the time), and since I couldn't remember if it was well received or not, I coughed up the 99 cents and brought it home anyway. What I got was only slightly better than average entertainment.

The beginning is actually really good, believe it or not. I don't know if anyone else thought this, but I thought the guy playing the serial killer did a very convincing and rather frightening job. He really had me convinced that this was another one of those people in the news that could do such horrible things, and act like the quiet guy next door. I thought one of the opening scenes where you see the back side of a couch with a whole family watching tv, and then it pans around and you see them horribly mutilated was rather shocking, and in a weird type of sense, well done. The movie really had my attention at that point, especially when the mom (Karen Allen) and her son go into a computer store, and boom, there's the killer right there. I thought the whole idea about an address book killer was really good and original...I'll say again, this one had my interest peaked, only until I realized that I made the fatal mistake of reading the back cover of the that point, I was simply dreading the part when the killer gets zapped into the electrical wires...boy are my instincts ever right.

Before I start bashing this one, I have to say it may not have been a fairly original concept, but the writers sure dish out very creative ways to execute (no pun intended) some of the scenes in this one. This was made during the early days of windows, and even the internet (around 1993), or at least, when it was becoming popular in homes. Man, talk about deja vu all over again. Anyway, I did think it was cool how the killer got into this huge mainframe, obviously connected to some Central Office or some point of presence somewhere, and could get into people's houses when they simply dialed into the mainframe. He follows people everywhere, and begins to methodically kill everyone on the address book that Karen Allen leaves in the store.


The killings are way drawn out, not suspenseful, and will sometimes make you laugh at how ridiculous they are and how they are trying so hard to scare you. The part where the dog is watching the doggie show on tv and then the vhs tape spits out at him was classic...I almost choked on my beer with that one. But, you have to give the filmmakers credit, they tried really hard to make you scared, and at times, with little scenes here and there (a bowl of grapes deflating due to a bezerk microwave, the killer's garbled voice on the phone line, the body flying out of the oven while being cremated and of course, my favorite, the washing machine that displays sadistic wash cycles such as 'explode' and 'die'. Quite creepy, I must say when you see the scene.) their efforts shine. However, the deaths are pretty stupid and pretty pointless, except to continue where the address book killer left off by killing all of Karen Allen's friends. And then there are some really bad inconsistencies...the WORST being when the son finally discovers that the recent murders are all happening in the order that they appear in Karen Allen's missing address book. Well, our three heroes not only DON'T bother to look to see who is next on the list to be slaughtered, but guess where the mother hides the son in the next scene? You guessed it, with THE SAME person who is next on the list, as we find out 5 minutes later. I was screaming, YOU STUPID IDIOT!! All you had to do was look on the stupid list and avoid that person like the plague! By the way, the scene with the trigger happy police sure would spell L-A-W-S-U-I-T.

The acting is not bad, especially the guy who played the computer hacker extraordinare, Chris Mulkey I think is his name, anyways, he's in a few B-Movies and his acting is surprisingly good. And I have to admit, the kid is actually a competent, believable and effective child actor for this movie, and that is saying a lot since most child actors overact or can't act at all. Karen Allen, what happened to you? You were the hottie with an attitude in Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Boone's girlfriend who slept with the english teacher in Animal House. Her acting is pretty bad, and apparently, age did not favor her too well. She just doesn't show any emotion or shock when people or pets in her life suddenly start dropping like flies. And as I said earlier, the guy who plays the serial killer, for the 15 minutes that he is actually on screen in the beginning, he is really chilling to watch. I was wishing throughout the whole movie that they would have just made this movie into a film about the address book killer, in the flesh, without the 'techno thriller/killer comes back from the dead' aspect. Like I said, the opening scene with the dead family is disturbingly creepy, as well as when you see the killer in the store, licking his fingers which are caked with what appears to be dried blood.

As for the special effects, aside from the quite well-done scenes of the killer traveling through the wires and going through people's systems, the effects are horribly bad in most areas, especially the end. The end is the worst part of this film. No entertainment value at all. The special effects are just gruesome looking at the end...enough said.

All in all, not a bad movie. If you end up watching this, you will probably be like me in saying that it starts off great, but then gradually begins to suck. This movie, though, as you can tell, was really on the money with the technology at the time, which, in some small ways (and I mean in very basic ways) is up to date. Being an Information Systems major, it was amusing to see how far we've come in ten years and then some. I liked the technical aspect, but as for the horror aspect, the movie falls flat on its face 20 minutes into the film. Basically, once the killer goes into 'the machine', the movie dilapidates into eventually, a sorry excuse for an ending I've seen in a long time. But still, not a bad time waster overall. I'd love to give this one 7 stars for being a slightly better than average movie, but I just can't, it wouldn't seem right to the other 7's I've given over the years, LOL. Because it has very few redeeming qualities, or scares for that matter, despite an interesting premise, occasional moments of great (though, few and far between) filmmaking and a great beginning, this one gets 6/10 stars. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it
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Serial Killer's Soul Invades Computer Mainframe...
Doylenf5 December 2006
I thought THE NET with Sandra Bullock was pretty over-the-top in the way her identity was so completely stolen, but it made a smashingly interesting thrill flick. However, THE NET was nothing compared to the overripe imagination of the screenwriter for THE GHOST IN THE MACHINE.

Computer tekkies will love all the computer graphics involved here in showing how a serial killer, during an MRI power surge, gets his killer soul inserted into a network of computers so that he becomes the hacker from hell. KAREN ALLEN is his main victim, since he was an employee in a store where she was looking for a computerized address book. He has designs on her the moment he sees her with her young son (WIL HORNEFF).

But she's not the only victim he seeks from her address book. Several others meet their imaginative deaths because of his stalking them through his computer wizardry (in most improbable and highly unlikely ways). But logic is the ingredient missing from the entire concept of this horror story that has fun devising various gruesome deaths for at least four or five people. CHRIS MULKEY is good as a computer wizard who helps her combat and ultimately destroy the virus which takes human form in the shape of graphic bits.

Not really as bad as it sounds but all the graphics become a bit tiresome after awhile. I thought one of the best scenes had the automatic awning on the swimming pool covering almost the entire pool in ominous fashion, until the boy decides to swim underneath it to adjust the controls. That bit of natural horror was scarier than some of the computer graphic nonsense.

Summing up: Not bad as these sort of things go. Holds the attention but demands complete suspension of logic.
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One of my childhood faves
rivertam2631 May 2020
This has always been one of my fave flicks since I first saw it st a sold out screening on a sunday afternoon as a kid. It was a mid sized theater of course. A serial killer nicknamed the address book killer by the media whose killed just as he picks his next victims courtesy of his job at an electronic store. Karen Allen (Raiders of the lost ark) stars as single mother Terry who gets a gift for her tech whiz boss and has a page of her address book scanned at the store. He dies and his soul is transferred into the net to continue his murder spree but this time with the advantage of anything electronic. The kills are pretty wild and creative and the finale is corny but fun. As a kid I had a huge crush on Terry's ghetto white boy son Josh. Gimme s break I was 13, lol. I revisit this several times a year its goofy bit really fun and energetic with inspired direction from Rachael Talalay ( freddy's dead).

Budget: $12m Box Office: $5m
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caspargirl548 July 2004
I saw this film on regular TV a few years back, and I watched because I like Karen Allen. I REALLY enjoyed this film, and YES, I WOULD RENT IT. It had good special effects and I thought the plot was great. A lot of people have seen this film, so that tells you that at least the title is a grabber. I go against all the nay-sayers though, and say this is worth your time if you like scary flicks. I remember the ending being especially suspenseful, right down to the final minutes. I do not watch every horror film that comes along, and most of them are forgettable anyway, but this one has always stuck with me. I would definitely give it FOUR STARS. (Hey, the majority is not always right!)
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Well, I still like it!
dinsvin14 March 2006
Warning: Spoilers
To tell the truth, this movie isn't all that good. It doesn't cross the line of being so bad that it's funny, it's too good-clean-family-fun for that. BUT! If you like SFX like the ones in "TRON" (I'm not comparing it to "TRON" at all, it doesn't even come anywhere close!) then you might wanna see this one as well. The movie is funny in the way that half of the scenes supposed to be scary or kewl doesn't pull through but then the other half works fine. It's like they never really finished the whole movie properly. One supposed-to-be-scary scene that totally fails is when the kid almost gets caught under the automatic swimming pool cover… Really! Not believing it, it's rather poorly made and what are those tentacles (or wires I suppose?) he's pulling on? Allso you have to sit through the moralizing statement that hackers should think twice before committing crime…! Ohh, go suck a bug! The catchphrase of the movie also happens to be the plot "There is no way anyone can kill somebody with a computer!" My reason for watching this is the early days of computers, cyberspace and Virtual Reallity plot and the SFX's. Furthermore the director Rachel Talalay has done pretty kewl stuff like "Nightmare on Elm Street" but her best work so far; "Tank Girl" 1994 is one of my favorites so I had to see this one as well! So if you're in the mood for some light movie watching this is what I recommend! NJOY!
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Amazing and Touching Film
benchillin836 September 2001
"Ghost in the Machine" provided the best entertainment in years. The special effects were phenomenal and the acting was superb. I was on the edge of my seat the entire movie. The best part was when the dishwasher was put on the command "EXPLODE"! Wow, I was flabbergasted and appalled. The men and women involved with this movie are geniouses. I applaud them for their creativity and hope to see a sequel to this movie in the near future.
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So bad its good!
Bobzilla8529 July 2002
This is one of those films that is so flagrantly horrible that its actually good, in the vein of Godzilla - its the type of film that you can watch on a Saturday night with a group of buddies and laugh your @$$ off to, the deaths are hilarious in their extravagance, and the killer is laughable along with the the prior reviews to get the jist of the movie, but read this one if you would like to know a good, bad movie.
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VHS memories
NonSequiturL7 September 2016
Everyone of a certain age has VHS memories. You know the ones I'm talking about - those hazy, barely remembered evenings of mediocre pizza and even more mediocre straight-to-video horror films. Films that you simply couldn't resist as they stared at you from the shelf with their box-art that promised more than the cassette inside could ever hope to deliver. Ghost in the Machine is one of my hazier VHS memories.

I know I saw it when it made its way to video stores in the early 90's, but the details had long faded, like an old newspaper, or Eddie Murphy's career. I couldn't remember much of it, though one image had stayed with me - the bodies of a murdered family sitting together on a couch. After re-watching the film for the first time in almost twenty-three years, it's hard to see why that moment stuck with me - it's not really spectacular, or particularly gruesome - but it's NOT hard to tell why the rest of Ghost in the Machine didn't stay with me at all.

That's not to say there's isn't fun to be had with this sci-fi supernatural thriller, but the proceedings do have an unshakeable cheap, straight-to-video flavor. Rachel Talalay - director of the most wretched of the Nightmare on Elm Street sequels, Freddy's Dead - is responsible for this one. This was her sophomore effort, and it came only a couple of years before she obliterated her big screen career with the epic box-office bomb Tank Girl. She was then banished to directing random episodes of Ally McBeal for the next couple of decades. It seems she's found a groove in TV direction lately though, working on Doctor Who and Sherlock... but I digress. Let's get back to the movie at hand.

Ghost in the Machine was almost certainly green lit when hungry, drooling executives noticed The Lawnmower Man scraping in those Pierce Brosnan bucks and decided they wanted a piece of the early 90's tech-thriller pie. The plot centers around an individual known as the "address book killer" (yes, seriously). He crashes his car during a police chase and dies on the operating table. Since this happens in the middle of a lightning storm, naturally his consciousness inserts itself into nearby electrical equipment, leaving him free to continue murdering with the help of his newly acquired powers to jump into computers and dishwashers and stuff.

Ghost in the Machine was made in an era when the public at large was still unaware of the impending societal paradigm shift that would come later in the decade. I'm talking about the rise of the internet, of course. As a result, the script is filled with hilarious talk of hackers, and nonsensical computer discussions that would make even the most tech-illiterate grandma of today giggle.

What it does manage surprisingly well, is to tackle themes of technological fear. The personal computer was still a relatively new thing, and the idea of bringing something with so much unknown power into the home is a very real concern. We do it all the time now in the form of new cell phones and the social networks they connect us to, but there is always that worry we're messing with something we shouldn't be. It also played on the fear of the online stranger - the catfish - before it became the tangible boogeyman it is now. There are scenes where the young protagonist receives threatening messages from the killer, and in some ways these themes make the film more relevant now than it was upon release. Bargain bin fodder like Ghost in the Machine usually ages for the worse in all aspects, so kudos to the writers for making something so forgettable somewhat prescient... I guess.

There are also some interesting special effects on display. Sure, much of it is terrible 90's CGI, probably stolen from The Lawnmower Man's cutting room floor, but there are a few moments of cool practical work. The camera zooms in and out of machines on a microscopic level as the villain causes mayhem, and a ridiculous scene involving a microwave is impressively gruesome.

That's where the good stuff ends. The cast aren't given much to work with. Karen Allen plays the concerned mother with a Dana Scully haircut, Rick Ducommun appears as a nerdy goofball, and Chris Mulkey is a knight in shining armor that's as boring as a budget airplane meal.

It's all very bland, and I guess that's why it's gone mostly forgotten. The 90's-isms are embarrassing rather than charming, the story had already been done in other similar films, and it never really goes far enough. One thing I do wonder though, is if this film had any influence on the Final Destination series? Lists of people dying accident-like deaths at the mercy of an unseen supernatural force? There are enough similarities for me to believe it. But similarities to marginally better films aside, it's unremarkable at best. Maybe I should have left it as a VHS memory... like that dead family on the couch.
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The Ghost in the Machine!
Movie Nuttball20 January 2005
The Ghost in the Machone is a very good scientific horror film that has a good cast which includes Karen Allen, Chris Mulkey, Rick Ducommun, Ted Marcoux, Wil Horneff, Jessica Walter, Brandon Quintin Adams, and Nancy Fish. The acting by all of these actors is very good. Karen Allen and Chris Mulkey are excellent in this film. The action is good. The music is very good by Graeme Revell. The film is quite exciting and the movie has some great horror moments! This is a very good and thrilling film. Karen Allen, Chris Mulkey, Rick Ducommun, Nancy Fish, and the rest of the cast I've mentioned above, thrillers, Sci-Fi, horror, and exciting action films then I recommend this film!
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The Vidiot Reviews...
capone6667 January 2011
Ghost in the Machine

The worst thing about being an online serial killer is that Internet users can leave comments about how "gay" your murders are.

Fortunately, the serial killer caught in cyberspace here can retaliate against such cowardly remarks.

When the Address Book Killer (Ted Marcoux) gets into an accident, he's taken to the hospital. As his injured body lies inside of an MRI, an electrical storm causes his mind to be transferred into a nearby computer.

Able to continue carrying out his murderous rampage, by possessing electrical appliances, ABK targets Terry (Karen Allen) and the contacts in her little black book.

Now, her and her computer hacker friend must trick the killer into accepting a virus.

Although dated, and poorly acted, this 1993 horror movie has some interesting ideas when it comes to cyber-slayings.

As for how to spot an online serial killer – they're the one who's wearing someone else's profile picture. (Yellow Light)
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Agreeable escapism.
Hey_Sweden11 August 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Not bad techno-thriller is reasonably slick and well paced, and delivers some okay thrills for not particularly demanding viewers. Granted, it requires one to completely suspend their disbelief, but that hardly makes it unique for this kind of thing. If you can buy into it for entertainments' sake, you may find it to your liking.

The story deals with a sick, sadistic psycho killer who robs address books from people and then murders everybody in the books. (One would think this would keep him pretty damn busy.) His name is Karl Hochman (Ted Marcoux), and he works as a technician at a computer store. While on his way to murder his latest victim, single mom Terry Munroe (Karen Allen, appealing as always) he gets impatient and gets into a horrible car accident. While his body is being scanned at a hospital, his "imprint" or "soul" or whatever is sucked into a computer mainframe thanks to a power surge. In this form he can then continue to stalk Terry, ruining her credit and depleting her bank account, while going about slaughtering those in *her* address book. His ingenious methods have him utilizing various electrical devices. Two delicious set pieces involve a hot air blower in a washroom and a microwave oven. You have to see these to believe them.

Director Rachel Talalay rebounds somewhat from her fumbled, lame debut of "Freddy's Dead" in the "Nightmare on Elm Street" franchise by keeping this moving well enough no matter how much the script, by William Osborne and William Davies, may have us shaking our heads. Allen is great, although her characters' cluelessness may frustrate some in the audience. The film also gives a nice co-starring role to veteran supporting and character actor Chris Mulkey, as the outlaw hacker turned respectable employee who becomes the hero of the piece. Marcoux is a hoot as the very unsubtle villain (he actually *sniffs* Terry's address book, for Gods' sake!). Wil Horneff is decent as Terry's rebellious son, and Jessica Walter ("Play Misty for Me", 'Arrested Development') is on hand as Terry's mom. The supporting players include such familiar faces as Brandon Quintin Adams (the lead of another horror film, Wes Cravens' "The People Under the Stairs"), Rick Ducommun, Nancy Fish, Carl Gabriel Yorke, Chris Ellis, and 'The West Wing' cast member Richard Schiff in a bit; Schiffs' brother Paul was the films' producer. Super sexy Shevonne Durkin provides appreciable eye candy as the babysitter. The various computer generated special effects are well done, and overall this is diverting stuff for anybody ready to turn off their brains for an hour and a half. One thing you have to enjoy is the image of the killers' creative way of staging a family night at home.

Seven out of 10.
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Chris Mulkey strikes again in this original sci-fi thriller
chrismulkeyisgod3 May 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I may be a little biased for certain obvious reasons, but I loved this movie. I normally don't enjoy movies that have ideas of technology in them, especially if the technology is acting up in a manner that makes me feel threatened (and believe me, I felt threatened on a total of seven different occasions). I made an exception to this film because I trust Chris Mulkey's peculiar choice in his rolls (very complicated in many respects). The theme of this movie is serial killers and technology; what would happen to us if a serial killer were able to use technology to serially kill. It's a poignant idea, though not really one that I would normally volunteer myself to confront, and even though ***SPOILER ALERT*** the killer was eventually foiled, ***END SPOILER ALERT*** I worry that maybe actual serial killers may use this film to find out about technology, and try to use technology to commit their crime. I can only assume that serial killers do not currently use the internet, so I feel safe right now (for the most part,) but no one can say what the future holds for us. I hope this film is not in our future (though I fear that it may be, especially when I see the news that's going on in the world). I can guarantee that I will no longer allow my children to visit any arcade alone, or buy software for our computer, alone. But even with these preventive measures, I cannot feel safe, now. This film really drives home just how dependent on electricity, and technology we really are (--we are very dependent!!). Bravo to Chris Mulkey et. all for taking on such a brave subject matter. It is about time that someone questioned all of this change that's going on around us. One only has to look at the news going on in the world to see. I suggest you watch this film with your children so that can be more wary too about the safe use of technology.
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an extravaganza of electronic error
jbucher24-11 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
The opening credits to "Ghost in the Machine" show over a background of simulated computer circuitry at a microscopic level. The effects are just about what you would expect from the original "Lost in Space" television series, and I'm thinking to myself that surely this movie was made no later than 1980. Then I check its info on my digital cable...danger, Will Robinson! It was made in 1993. Wow, I think to myself, I don't remember special effects being that bad back in my teenage days. But hold on, I remind myself, wasn't T2 made in 1991, even before this movie? Then it hits me: "Ghost in the Machine" just really really sucks. But by then it's too late and I'm sucked into it's riveting story line...if by riveting you mean mind numbingly retarded.

"Ghost in the Machine" takes place somewhere in Ohio, a location as befittingly bland and pointless as this film. (I actually forget exactly what town it takes place in because I performed a lobotomy on myself right after viewing this pile of crap.) The main premise is that some serial killer guy, about whom we are given no background information other than he sports the smile of a child molester and likes to drive into oncoming traffic, transfers his consciousness upon his death into a vast computer network into which apparently every computer in the country is hooked up to. Surely, had Al Gore's nefarious scheme to invent this so-called "internet" been thwarted, the subsequent tragic deaths of several innocents would have been avoided. But alas, Bill Clinton was elected, and the fun's just beginning.

There exists a solemn, unspoken trust between filmmaker and viewer. This covenant is summed up by the concept of suspension of disbelief. (I'm going somewhere with this, just give me a second.) In other words, the viewer agrees to temporarily accept the reality posited by the film, and in exchange the filmmaker agrees to keep the story line roughly within the bounds of that reality. The writers of "Ghost in the Machine" saw fit to not-so-delicately urinate all over that covenant, and just when you think they couldn't possibly desecrate it anymore, they proceed to pull down their pants and spray diarrhea all over it.

Just what exactly am I talking about? OK, OK, so the killer's consciousness is supposedly now in the form of computer data. I'll buy that. It starts gathering information about the people it wants to kill...everything's still cool. The moment I call bull is when the killer is able to enact its whims through whichever electronic device it chooses. Apparently there is no distinction between a data network and the power grid in this universe; the killer happily goes about terrorizing people with microwaves, dishwashers, and pool covers that have no data storage capacity to speak of and aren't even hooked up to the network in which his consciousness is stored. The filmmakers further insult the viewers' intelligence by giving the killer the ability to make these devices do things WHICH THEY ARE PHYSICALLY INCAPABLE OF DOING. For example, one poor schmuck is killed when the business end of a hair dryer spews 10 foot long flames. Another moron meets his doom when the killer fills AN ENTIRE ROOM WITH RADIATION FROM A MICROWAVE OVEN. I mean, if these devices were actually designed to do these things, the terrorists would have already won. I can take some level of stupid, but when I am looking for the nearest pane of glass to throw myself through, it's gotten bad.

The heroes temporarily keep the killer at bay by putting tape over the electrical outlets in their house (I am NOT making this up). Apparently this guy can use a seemingly harmless kitchen appliance to roast human flesh but cannot make his way through a bit of weak polymeric adhesive material. I mean, have you ever heard of an electronic serial killer ghost stopped by mere tape? Yeah, I didn't think so. Needless to say, the heroes succeed in overcoming the killer in an ending so stupid that summarizing it will lower my IQ another ten points.

The real question I have for the makers of "Ghost in the Machine" is this: if the killer can at a whim transfer himself from computer network to power grid to phone lines, why can't he go into other utilities as well? Why stop at electronics? Imagine if he were to get into the gas mains and emit poisonous mustard gas! Or, how about getting into the water lines and creating an army of angry steam zombies? Cable lines, air ducts, sewer systems...the sky's the limit here. I smell sequel. Just please remember me in the credits when you make "Ghost in the Machine 2: Now with 50% More Stupid." In conclusion, there are bad movies, there are awful movies, and then there's "Ghost in the Machine." If you get the urge to see for yourself how truly bad this movie is, I advise you find the nearest steel pipe and bang yourself in the head with it for ninety minutes. I guarantee a lot more entertainment and far less pain.
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Simply Amazing!
rivkazvi23 April 2020
A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!! A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!

A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!! A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!
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ts-000027 November 2020
Much was based on,special effects/science fiction.. Regardless.. Showed ideas of,how technology can be. Good cast & overall storyline,lead this movie. Watched it years back & now in 2020,it was a rather advanced concept.
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Like Lawnmowerman 2--but crappy!
unakaczynski25 April 2006
Ghost in the Machine, 1993 Imagine if you took Lawnmowerman 2 and made a crappy version, then splice it with a lame serial killer thriller. Wait, you think Lawnmowerman 2 is already a crappy movie? Boy, are you in for a treat. This is actually worse.

This monstrosity revolves around a serial killer who's known as the "Address Book Killer." See, he steals an address book, then goes and kills everybody in it. No sh*t. And yet, his kill count isn't even up to 20… Kinda makes you wonder about the lifeless shut-ins he's stealing these things from. At any rate, on he's also a tech whiz because that apparently makes perfect sense (to the filmmakers at least) when he's rocketed into being a creature made entirely out of electrical current. Oh yeah, that's right. Just like in Lawnmowerman 2, this guy is reduced to being electrical impulses who kills people via their various electronics devices. Except here, he enters the electrical world by being, apparently, swallowed up by an X-Ray machine in a hospital during a thunderstorm. So, anyway, he starts stalking this woman and her kid and her address book inhabitants in bizarre and nonsensical ways. He shows up to terrorize the kid while he's playing a Virtual Reality video game. For no reason whatsoever, the kid's face appears on his VR counterpart, and while there aren't details of any sort in the images or game, somehow the ability to blast off an arm exists. Trust me when I say that VR games from circa 1993 were no where near this accurate. Actually, they also really lacked anything even remotely fun. Eventually, the kid and his Mom and some computer hacker genius (not kidding) pull the super-electro-killer out of the world of copper cables and into our world. He looks like a Jobe from the first Lawnmowerman in one of his all-CG forms… That is, if he was crappily crafted and animated by a blind man in a high school equipment closet. Of course, bullets don't hurt him, but magnets sure f*ck him up.

This film really has no good merits, pretty much at all. Not since the ridiculousness of Wes Craven's "Shocker" has the world of science and technology been so thoroughly eviscerated and replaced by malevolent ignorance and fantasy. And this makes "Shocker" look competent. The endless early 90's Rap music doesn't help things, either. Of course, the inept script and mindless direction aside, the film also suffers with room-temperature acting, substandard atmosphere, and near endless stupidity. The violence and gore are decent enough. But, it's best to just avoid this one.

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A movie about the sinister possibilities of the young internet.
Anonymous_Maxine21 January 2003
Ghost In The Machine is one of those movies that comes out with the emergence of some new technology and how it can go wrong. Computers were still in the major developing stages in the early 1990s (at least compared to today's standards), as was the Internet, and Ghost In The Machine seems to be a false start on getting a handle on turning the new technology into a horror movie or suspense thriller. The problem is that the writers of the movie were apparently so anxious to get the film written and filmed and released that they didn't take the time to put any thought into it.

The technical production of the film is not entirely a pathetic mess, even though it does assume that electronics come equipped with little windows through which can be seen the shining faces of people at their computers, and that electrical outlets with tape over them will display a blinking red ACCESS DENIED sign if you attempt to get through them, but even the most cartoonish computer animated scenes that took us on a roller coaster ride through our microwave ovens were at least mildly interesting, although not at all convincing. In this case, we are looking more at the technique than the content, the way you watch an abstract relaxation video.

The problem here is that the movie tells the story of how a serial killer steals peoples address books and then kills the people listed in them, but a reason for these killings is never even suggested. The closest we come to having a reason for why this guy is so eager to commit all of these brutal killings is during an early scene when he is driving home from his job at the computer shop, and in recklessly trying to pass a slow moving truck he swerves into oncoming traffic only to jerk the wheel to the left and go skidding down a steep hill upside down in his car, laughing all the way, HA HA HA! So the guy is completely insane. That's a reason, I guess, but probably the most uncreative one imaginable and therefore one of the least interesting ones possible.

The whole idea of the killer going into electricity in general is obviously the most unrealistic thing in the entire film, but it is stretched to cover almost the entire movie from beginning to end, which is what shows most clearly the fact that the movie is based on the emergence of the world wide web. It's kind of a what-if thriller about what would happen if a psychotic killer was accidentally released into the electricity based communications system that is the internet and was then able to defy all laws of logic and physics and who knows what else, and if he had somehow developed this overwhelming passion to kill a certain woman and her family and friends for committing the crime of leaving her address book at the computer shop. The movie makes a good solid effort to be a worthwhile thriller, but for the most part it falls completely flat.
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Kinda lame. Shevonne Durkin makes it watchable (sorta)
JBoze31323 April 2001
I know that's probably a horrible thing to say about the movie, but everytime I see it on one of the premium channels, I usually watch it just to see the babysitting scene with Shevonne Durkin. That said, this isn't a good movie at all. It hits its mark throughout. The idea is a nice one, but it's too much. It was made to shock with lots of gorey scenes, but it doesn't do so well on the horror side. The acting is decent, and I like Karen Allen and the two young boys in it, but the plot is off. If you see it on tv, you might check it out, but don't rent it. A movie with the best scene being the babysitter showing her bra is one I wouldn't spend money on!
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Extremely lame
clkottke-951573 August 2016
A really lame movie. Used Stephen King's idea of Lawnmower man but failed miserably. Stupid is the best description I can use. I wouldn't waste my time watching it. I can't believe I watched this to the end.

Started out with a serial killer that stole people's phone books and killed everyone listed in them. This alone was not a very creative idea. Then the scene where the killer had a car accident, you heard him laughing but the actor wasn't laughing. He is taken to the hospital and while having an MRI he dies because of a power failure due to lightening. This is where the movie really takes a dive. It is down hill from there.

Don't waste your time even watching this one. The only reason I gave it 2 stars instead of 1 is because I watched it till the end.
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Not bad, not good....
MarieGabrielle6 March 2008
I have to agree with several reviewers who tired of the special effects. By now, we cannot suspend disbelief enough after years of the internet, and the premise is tired and dated.

Karen Allen, a decent actor, elevates the material a bit, as well as Chris Mulkey and a few amusing scenes with Jessica Walter, as the cantankerous mother in law.

Other than that, the only memorable scene is when the dog disappears under the swimming pool tarp. You may want to skip this one unless you are easily led by sci-fi fiction. Recommended if you are completely bored on a rainy day. 4/10.
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I didn't want to watch it in the 90's....
silentcheesedude11 May 2009
... and I should have never watched it now. A bad rip off of Nightmare on Elm Street mixed with Lawnmower Man, & a bit of Shocker.

Sure, you are not supposed to ask questions like "Gee, why is the Address Book Killer such a stupid name?" or "Why don't CAT scans have surge protectors?", but it's hard not to.

I found myself at odds with even more bewildering, illogical explanations. Such as how a serial killer suddenly has control of every single electrical appliance and mechanism. Look, I'm not the one to judge intelligence when it comes to sci-fi or any "good" movie that requires a stretch of the imagination. But had the movie moved out of the realm of a typical hospital CAT scan, and more into a mad scientist lab...

I cared so little for the characters, with the exception of Karen Allen's. Her son is a brat, so what if he dies? The bad guy is so... meh. Typical & boring. Special FX's are laughable, even by it's time of release. Compared to computer sfx extravaganza Jurassic Park, which released the same year, GITM showed it's low budget like strings holding a UFO. Like many 80's movies, it tried to reach out to a new "computer horror" genre, but this movie was from the 90's. Too late.
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Asinine plot but the graphics are kind of cool
preppy-324 August 2007
Movie about a divorced mother (Karen Allen) and her kid (Wil Horneff) being menaced by the Address Book Killer (Ted Marcoux). He steals peoples address books and kills the persons mentioned in them. Through a series of increasingly stupid (and illogical) circumstances, he ends up dead but his soul has been transferred into machines and travels around through computer systems and such. Also, Allen's book was put on computer and he uses it to kill her friends and family...and go after her and her son.

I was one of the (very) few people who paid to see this in theatre. Saw it in a huge auditorium with a large screen and a great sound system. I saw it because I like Karen Allen, I love horror movies and the premise sounded interesting--not good but interesting. With the large screen and the stereo sound this movie really comes to life. The special effects are actually pretty good (especially for 1993) and the sound effects really kick in at the end. I love the way you "see" him travelling through computer systems and wires. The special effects however can't totally save the movie.

The plot (as said before) was just ridiculous. I mean come ON! He also manages to make electrical appliances do things they can't do. HOW can a hand dryer spit out flames? How did he manage to get on the radio of all the police cars in the area and give them different signals? And I wasn't aware a microwave oven has enough radiation to kill a person! I realize you have to suspend disbelief with horror films but this one just got way too silly.

The only things that make this work are good acting (especially by Allen), good direction by Rachel Talalay, a few funny bits by Jessica Walter and cool special effects. Still the plot really sinks this one. I give it a 4.
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Featherweight entertainment, but a lot more could've been done (TWO POSSIBLE SPOILERS)
mattymatt4ever22 January 2003
Warning: Spoilers
I'm not going to totally dismiss this box office dud as "bad," because I find it quite engaging, in a guilty pleasure sense. Plus, I haven't seen Karen Allen in a major role since "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and it was nice to see her on screen again. Though showing signs of aging, she's still quite attractive and a good actress to boot. The premise may sound goofy to some, but I found it to be strangely original. A serial killer invades a computer, and is able to murder his victims via electricity. Well, maybe one thing that could've made it more intriguing was if the killer wasn't simply killing for the heck of it. If it were somebody out for revenge, it might've been more exciting. Anyway, the movie contains very few surprises, and though I found it fairly enjoyable, I was never on the edge of my seat. One thing I must dispute is killing the hot babysitter. Why does she have to die so early in the film? Why! Why! That should be a rule in all scary movies: If there's only one hot chick, don't let her die. Some of the effects are showy but ridiculous, like the overweight man whose face bubbles up. I wouldn't be surprised if the publisher of "Fangoria" magazine was on set, and they were simply showing off for him. I don't hate this movie, but more could've been done with the quirky premise and this could've actually been a distinguished sci-fi/horror film.

My score: 5 (out of 10)
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Not bad, but nothing special
kannibalcorpsegrinder3 December 2016
Still upset over the death of their father, a woman and her son try to piece their lives together find that the deaths of her friends and acquaintances is the result of a serial killer transformed into the computer networks forcing her to turn to a computer expert to stop him before it kills everyone.

When it tried there are a couple of rather good things about this. One of the better features here is the fact that the storyline was quite an interesting concept, and it's really handled decently for the most part. The originality of the concept is nice to see at the time, utilizing the unfamiliar technology that would've been just introduced to most at the time while introducing the concept of the killer's reasoning for the rampage which gives this a rather topical touch and is a welcome change from the normal slashers at the time. Seeing the lengths he goes to in order to track them down both her and those within her address book both out in the real world or in her house adds a great dimension to the concept of the fear in this one, and manages to provide some nice action along the way. The opening car accident gives this a great action-packed opening which featured something new, a car sliding on its roof through a graveyard from the driver's point of view, the different traps around the house where one gets their skin melted off in a super- heated room or being trapped under a rapidly-closing pool cover all work since several of the kills in here are pretty nice, while the funeral sequence where a crematorium furnace fires a coffin back out and a charred corpse goes flying into the audience of mourners is a rather effective shock moment. The final conflagration is rather decent in its over-the-top hysterics within the big machine compound and ends it rather nicely filled with some nice stalking with the race to get everything prepared to stop him provides a lot to like. These here really work nicely for this one even though this is still a far below decent film. The biggest flaw is the fact that the film makes absolutely no sense at all since there's nothing here to tell what's going on, how the killer came into its present state of being, or how it even worked in the first place. It's all just really taken for granted and doesn't offer any explanations for anything. There's not even any hesitation whatsoever and no awe as to the killer's newfound abilities, which is what normally happens in this kind of movie to offer an attempt at an explanation, but this just ignores it and doesn't tell what happened to anything. The other big factor is the fact that nothing even really happens at all, and most of the time resorts to techno-babble that doesn't explain anything at all. There are only a few kills in the film and they're so spread out that it's a long time to get started. It's just an all-around dull and lifeless affair trying to hope something happens, and it really leaves this one quite spread out in terms of its action. Otherwise, this was a boring slasher film with a few decent scenes to put above the dull, but it's still not that impressive.

Rated R: Graphic Language, Violence and violence-against-animals.
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Infantile 90's horror
Coventry25 July 2005
One of the dumbest movies I ever had to struggle through AND an ideal example to illustrate just how worthless the horror genre was during the early 90's. Really everything about this movie is horrid, starting with the nonsensical idea of a serial killer without personality who continues his murderous habits after he died, and this through computers, dishwashers and other electrical household items! The guy got killed in a car accident but his "soul" was transferred to cyberspace so he can cheerfully go on with his modus operandi of slaughtering everybody who's in Karen Allen's address book. Considering the premise of this film is so ridiculous, you'd expect that the cast -and crew members themselves wouldn't take their jobs very seriously, right? Well hell no! There's absolutely no sense of humor in the script and every 'actor' devotedly produces his/her lines like as if they are part of some eminent Hitchcock production. The overuse of visual, headache-provoking effects is very annoying and also pretty pointless, since no one really knows how a soul floating around in cyberspace must be portrayed. So all they do is showing some wild and colorful images that look like irritating screen-savers. There's no suspense (or what else did you expect) and the gore – although plenty – is not at all convincing. The only element worth mentioning (childish of me as well, I know) is the supportive role of a young and ambitious actress called Shevonne Durkin. This cute and cherubic girl appears as the babysitter who shows some beautiful cleavage before getting her butt electrocuted. My generous rating 2 out of 10 therefore entirely belongs to her.
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