George Segal ... Harry Benson
Joan Hackett ... Dr. Janet Ross
Richard Dysart ... Dr. John Ellis
Donald Moffat ... Dr. Arthur McPherson
Michael C. Gwynne ... Dr. Robert Morris
William Hansen ... Dr. Ezra Manon
Jill Clayburgh ... Angela Black
Norman Burton ... Det. Capt. Anders
James Sikking ... Ralph Friedman
Matt Clark ... Gerhard
Jim Antonio ... Richards
Gene Borkan ... Benson's Guard
Burke Byrnes ... Benson's Guard
Jordan Rhodes ... Questioner No. 1
Dee Carroll ... Night Nurse
The Terminal Man is a 1974 film directed by Mike Hodges and based on the 1972 novel of the same name by Michael Crichton. The plot centers around the immediate dangers of mind control and the power of computers.
Harry Benson, an extremely intelligent computer programmer (IQ of 144) in his 30's, suffers from epilepsy. He often has seizures which induce a blackout, and wakes up hours later to unfamiliar surroundings with no knowledge of what he's done. Benson suffers from Acute Disinhibitory Lesion (ADL) syndrome, and is a prime candidate for an operation known as "Stage Three." "Stage Three" requires surgeons to implant electrodes in his brain and connect them to a miniature computer in his chest which is meant to control these seizures. Not only does he have ADL syndrome, but he also suffers from delusions of computers being on the rise against man. Benson's psychiatrist, Janet Ross, is concerned that once this operation is complete, Benson will suffer further psychosis as a result of his person merging with that of a computer, something he has come to distrust and disdain.
THE TERMINAL MAN is one of the rarest things — a genuine Hollywood art film. It’s also one of the coldest and most unfeeling studio films this side of Kubrick, with a slow, creeping sense of horror reminiscent of both 2001 and THE SHINING. It’s a work of science-phobia where a brilliant computer scientist gets a microcomputer implanted into his brain to prevent the violent seizures he is suffering from as a result of a head injury. Needless to say, things go horribly awry and the cure is worse than the disease. While, like all of Crichton’s work, plot development is clearly signposted, Hodges defiantly eschews audience expectations. This may be why critical consensus labeled the film dull. Instead of a standard thriller, Hodges is more interested in creating a dystopian near future through a heavily stylized atmosphere that is so deliberately stilted that it is practically suffocating. Every shot is off-centered and oddly-framed on incredibly stark, white sets.