Ghost in the Machine
Ghostinthemachine poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRachel Talalay
Written byWilliam Davies
William Osborne
Produced byPaul Schiff
CinematographyPhil Méheux
Edited byJanice Hampton
Erica Huggins
Music byGraeme Revell
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • December 29, 1993 (1993-12-29)
Running time
95 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$12 million[1]
Box office$5.1 million[2]

Ghost in the Machine is a 1993 American science fiction horror film directed by Rachel Talalay and released by 20th Century Fox about a deceased serial killer with artificial computer intelligence.


While working at a computer store in Cleveland, Ohio, serial killer Karl Hochman (Ted Marcoux), known as "The Address Book Killer" due to habitually stealing address books and choosing his victims from them, obtains Terry Munroe's (Karen Allen) address book, due to the store manager, who is demonstrating a scanner, copying a page of her address book into a computer, allowing Karl access to it. On a rainy night while heading home, Karl hurriedly drives into an oncoming lane and swerves to miss a truck. This causes his car to go off the road into a cemetery, all while he laughs like a maniac.

In the emergency room, he is put into an MRI machine. A surge from an electrical storm manages to transfer his soul into a computer. Now, as a network-based entity, Karl continues to plot his killing spree using various objects connected to the electrical grid and computer networks.

Karl opens the scanned page from Terry's address book and begins to kill everyone listed on the page. Her boss, Frank Mallory (Richard McKenzie), becomes the first victim when his microwave oven begins radiating the entire kitchen. Another friend, Elliot Miller (Jack Laufer), gets burned to death when a hand dryer turns into a flamethrower. Later on, babysitter Carol Maibaum (Shevonne Durkin) is hired to look after Terry's son, Josh (Wil Horneff), and his best friend, Frazier (Brandon Adams). However, Carol becomes the third victim; she is electrocuted from an exposed electrical cord on the kitchen floor when the dishwasher explodes and floods the kitchen.

The police do not believe the theory that Karl is on a killing spree after his death, but Josh realizes the order of the killings parallels a list of contacts from Terry's address book. Terry, along with noted computer hacker Bram Walker (Chris Mulkey), unplugs everything in her house.

The police then receive anonymous reports of an armed robbery, a hostage situation, domestic violence, and a murder in progress, all at Terry's house. The police open fire on the home after mistaking an exploding pole transformer for gunfire. After realizing their mistake, they cease fire. Terry's mother goes into shock during the siege and is transported to the hospital for recovery. Aided by Bram and Josh, Bram manages to defeat Karl by introducing a computer virus that traps him in a physics laboratory. They activate an atom smasher located in the lab, which draws Karl in and destroys him because of the extremely powerful magnetic field produced by the machine.

As the film ends, Bram tells Terry to turn off a heart rate monitor in an ambulance, causing the screen to fade to black.



The film was shot in Los Angeles in color with Dolby SR sound[citation needed].

Release and reception

During its opening weekend, Ghost in the Machine grossed $1,854,431 and ranked at no. 10.[3] By the end of its run, it had grossed a domestic total of $5,086,909,[4] failing to recoup its $12 million budget.[5] The film was generally not received well by critics, holding an 11% "Rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 9 reviews.[6]

Home Video

Ghost in the Machine was released on VHS and Laserdisc on May 25, 1994 and on DVD on January 17th, 2006.

See also


  1. ^ "Ghost in the Machine – USA, 1993 – overview and review". Retrieved December 29, 2020.
  2. ^ "Ghost in the Machine".
  3. ^ "Domestic 1993 Weekend 53".
  4. ^ Ghost in the Machine at Box Office Mojo
  5. ^ Ghost in the Machine (IMDb)
  6. ^ Ghost in the Machine at Rotten Tomatoes