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Terminator - The Hunt for Sarah Connor

robulon

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T2 seems to have been written with ambiguity over who was the protector and who was the killer at first. This culminates in the great scene where both appear from opposite ends of the corridor with John trapped in between them. The effectiveness of this twist got diluted by the trailers giving away that Arnold’s Terminator is now the good guy. Even arguably by the film itself; by using “Bad to the Bone” during his introduction. But it did get me thinking if a similar concept could be applied to the original.

How to play up the ambiguity that Reese is actually the killer?

In the theatrical cut it's definitive who kills at least the first Sarah Connor. We’re shown that it's Arnold. So my initial thought was to remove as many of the Terminator’s scenes as possible before the confrontation in Tech Noir. We show that Reese is armed, has the page from the phone book with the Sarah Connor addresses and let the audience draw their own (admittedly misled) conclusions. In fact it's his creepy stalking that drives her into Tech Noir in the first place. Hopefully this doesn’t make the Terminator’s eventual attack at the club too out of nowhere. Although suddenly appearing out of a crowd to kill a target should be a Terminator’s M.O

Except that only gives me stuff to do up to the Tech Noir shootout. After it is revealed that Reese isn’t the killer, the question has been answered and the ambiguity is gone. But we can switch that ambiguity to a new question - one that Sarah is asking herself at this point. Is this guy insane and making all this Terminator stuff up?

I decided to try stripping back all scenes that corroborate for the audience any part of Reese’s story. We don’t show the future war, or time travel and we don’t have proof that the Terminator is a cyborg. No evidence to contradict the theories the detectives come up with to explain what Sarah has seen. Reese is delusional and the Terminator is wearing body armour and feels no pain due to drugs. The audience is learning things along with Sarah instead of always being way ahead of her.

This continues up to the police station massacre. I take the moment when Sarah gives away her hiding place by calling out “Reese” as the point when she fully commits to believing him. Once they make their escape together the futuristic aspects of the film can come back into play until the end.

One thing I did notice in removing all those Terminator scenes, was that I’d taken out nearly all of the dialogue spoken by Arnold in the film. (Not that there was much to begin with) So just for another spin on things, I figured why not try removing all of it. Have the character completely embody the silent stalker architype like The Shape or Jason.


Change list

  • Cut 2029 prologue and Onscreen Text.
  • Replaced Credit Sequence with custom Title Card. Credits moved to the end of the film.
  • Cut all Terminator arrival scenes.
  • Aerial from the 1984 section of Terminator Genisys used to open film.
  • Removed Reese arriving from the past. Start with him already in the alley and getting to his feet in pain.
  • Cut shot focusing on Reese’s stolen Nikes in the photobooth. (Don’t want the audience focusing on the particular shoes he wears to aid a later mis-direct).
  • Cut Terminator hotwiring car.
  • Cut Gun shop scene.
  • Cut Terminator looking up Sarah Connor address in phone book as well as the first murder.
  • Removed Reese’s future dream in the car. Now he just hotwires the car and immediately drives off in it.
  • Trimmed end of the scene where Reese watches Sarah leave the garage on her bike so that we don’t see him drive after her.
  • Added the shot of the Terminator opening the sliding door to the end of the scene where Ginger & Matt are ignoring the answering machine.
  • Cut Terminator attacking and killing Ginger & Matt. We find out they are dead when Sarah calls.
  • Trimmed Sarah’s answering machine message and recut the scene to show someone is still there searching the apartment. Reframed shots to not show the Terminator’s face.
  • Recut build up to Tech Noir shootout to only reveal the Terminator properly when he directly approaches Sarah through the crowd.
  • Cut red Terminator vision shot during alley foot chase.
  • Cut Terminator voice mimicry of the policeman.
  • Cut Sarah asking Reese “Can you stop it?”. She hasn’t fully accepted his story yet.
  • Cut Terminator surgery and repair scenes.
  • Cut “I’ll be back” scene. Now he just rams through the doors unannounced.
  • Cut red Terminator vision during police station shootout.
  • Moved scene of Terminator flipping through Sarah’s address book. We go straight from Sarah and Reese leaving the tunnel to them arriving at the motel.
  • Used address book scene to bridge Reese leaving to get supplies and Sarah talking on the phone with her mother. Cut all shots of the Terminator’s damaged eye as well as the “Fuck you, asshole” exchange.
  • Ended Sarah’s phone call on “Ok here’s the number”. In this version it's her actual mother she’s talking to, not the Terminator.
  • Cut Terminator driving back from the cabin and used the earlier scene inside the cabin in its place. Moved audio around so the Terminator is just dialling the motel with the number he’s found. Scene ends before he responds to “Tiki Motel...”
  • Inserted close ups of damaged red eye to just before the Terminator is hit by the truck. This is the first time we see it.
  • Cut “Get out”. Just a look from the Terminator is enough for the guy to want out of the truck.
  • Cut Sarah’s screams of “No! Noooo!” at seeing the endoskeleton.
  • Reframed shot of endoskeleton opening door to remove visible operator behind.
  • Removed opening credits added to the end of the film.

So if you are one of those people who legally owns a copy of The Terminator but somehow has no idea what the story is about - then this could be the fanedit for you! :D


 

Jrzag42

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This edit sounds awesome! I actually hadn't seen The Terminator until just recently, and while watching it I thought it would be cool to edit the film to be more akin to a slasher. Cutting out Arnold talking and some of his solo scenes were definitely things that I considered, so it makes me happy to see an edit that does such. Adding an element of disbelief to Reese's story is also a great idea! This really sounds like the closest thing to my ideal cut.
 

robulon

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This edit sounds awesome! I actually hadn't seen The Terminator until just recently, and while watching it I thought it would be cool to edit the film to be more akin to a slasher. Cutting out Arnold talking and some of his solo scenes were definitely things that I considered, so it makes me happy to see an edit that does such. Adding an element of disbelief to Reese's story is also a great idea! This really sounds like the closest thing to my ideal cut.
Thanks so much @Jrzag42! It's always encouraging to hear a project you're working on is something others are excited to see.

If you (or anyone) wants to take a look and give feedback let me know. I'd certainly appreciate it!
 

Dwight Fry

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I'm very intrigued by this concept. I'd love to watch and provide feedback if you wish (though I know I will miss Dick Miller, but that's how it is!)
 

That One Guy

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This sounds fascinating and I love the idea. I'd like to have a look and am happy to provide feedback.

It's been a good while since I last watched the entirety of The Terminator, I think the last couple of times I remember were watching the Under The Terminator's Skin short from the Time Travel Consecution.
 

TinyBreadMouse

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The last time I ventured into the franchise was a T1, T2, T3, and Salvation marathon last year, and I've been itching for a good, non-DC edit to watch. I'll offer feedback too, if you'd like.
 

mrbenja0618

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So glad someone actually said that about T2! I always felt the vision is that we didn't know who was the hero... Or maybe we thought Robert Patrick was the hero when he first shows up. Agree the trailers screw all of this up.

As a fan of the first two Terminator films, this looks interesting.
 

Dwight Fry

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So glad someone actually said that about T2! I always felt the vision is that we didn't know who was the hero... Or maybe we thought Robert Patrick was the hero when he first shows up. Agree the trailers screw all of this up.

As a fan of the first two Terminator films, this looks interesting.
There was a fanedit years ago that restored the ambiguity of which character would be the bad guy. I think it was this one.
 

ArtisDead

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Terminator as a slasher flick? Without the cheese? Count me in!
 
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Dwight Fry

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I just watched this, and while I do have a few suggestions that I will discuss with the editor via PM, I'm really impressed by it. Best realized first-time edit that I've seen in a long time. This is a sure fire instant approval!
 

ArtisDead

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I just watched this, and while I do have a few suggestions that I will discuss with the editor via PM, I'm really impressed by it. Best realized first-time edit that I've seen in a long time. This is a sure fire instant approval!
That there is some high praise, sir.
 

Butcher24fps

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Dont forget Arnold killing the punks at the beginning. That scene gives away that he is at least a murderer. And the mall chase has plenty of opportunities for Reese to kill, but he chooses to escape instead.
 
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mrbenja0618

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There was a fanedit years ago that restored the ambiguity of which character would be the bad guy. I think it was this one.
Interesting.

See, I never felt like it needed an edit to conceal that. It truly felt like this was the design and intent of the film. It was all the trailers that gave it away that Arnold was the hero.
 

ArtisDead

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Interesting.

See, I never felt like it needed an edit to conceal that. It truly felt like this was the design and intent of the film. It was all the trailers that gave it away that Arnold was the hero.
Agreed.
 

lantern51

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This sound interesting. I like the idea of what's going on here and adding that opening scene from Genisys is a nice movie too.
 

Murikamir

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I love ideas like this. It reminds me of all those pitches to edit Passengers to make Chris Pratt seem like the bad guy at first by framing it through Aurora's perspective. And honestly, you could pretty much do a version of this for almost every Terminator film too if you need ideas for future edits.
 

Dwight Fry

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I love ideas like this. It reminds me of all those pitches to edit Passengers to make Chris Pratt seem like the bad guy at first by framing it through Aurora's perspective. And honestly, you could pretty much do a version of this for almost every Terminator film too if you need ideas for future edits.
Well, under my point of view, Chris Pratt *is* the bad guy in Passengers. What he does to Aurora is horrendously selfish and inconsiderate.
 
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