The theme of “Mad Science” is manifested in the eponymous antagonist of James Cameron’s 1984 The Terminator (otherwise known as the T-800). The murderous android, conceived by humans first as military technology and subsequently developed by the malignant computer system Skynet, parallels with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in which the monster emerges directly as a result of human scientific exploration. When examined under the scope of Barbara Creed’s theory of abjection (Kristeva, Femininity, Abjection) and Jeffrey Jerome Cohen’s seven theses (Monster Culture: Seven Theses), the T-800 fulfils many of the defining criteria of the monstrous. On one hand, it is a “body without soul” whose mechanical body and humanoid façade disrupt “identity, system, order” (Creed); on the other hand, it is a revenant that escapes death twice and is “resurrected” (Cohen) in future instalments of the franchise (Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)). The T-800’s relation to abjection, refusal to participate in either side of the monster-human binary opposition and repeated resurrections reinforce its status not only as a movie villain, but also as the proverbial monster.
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