Is this the truth about The Terminator?

Was The Terminator just a man with obsessive compulsive disorder, wonders Matt?

The Terminator

As a teenager I had a bright yellow winter coat. I remember being in the shop choosing a jacket and finding the one I liked in yellow and black. I thought, “‘I always get black, I’m going to get yellow. Mix things up a little bit.”. The decision wasn’t given the amount of thought it truly deserved as I ended up stuck with a yellow winter coat for the foreseeable future. It was too cold not to wear it, and so I looked banana-esque for the whole season.

As you can imagine, looking like a Post-it note in school made me something of a target. In hindsight, I can look back at all of the people who were such unbearable twats and realise that their problems weren’t with my canary costume, they were issues they had with themselves. Confidence and identity problems. Hair in strange new places. Sexual confusion at being so aroused by a massive nerd in oversized neon winter wear. Whatever the specific case, none of their problems really had anything to do with my coat. It was difficult to see at the time (unlike myself, even on the roads at night), but now I can recognise what their behaviour really meant.

At around the same time, I saw the James Cameron’s sci-fi actioner, The Terminator, for the first time. I loved it then and I love it now. However, thoughtlessly I had just presumed that Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character was a cyborg. Now, casting my mind back, I have to concede that perhaps I was wrong. Is it possible that ‘The Terminator’ was just a man with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?

When I worked in a chain record store I ordered a video for a woman with OCD. When it arrived and she came to collect it, she asked me to please not open the case to check the tape, as we usually did. She had OCD, she explained, and if she saw me open that one case she would have to open every video case in the store, which would have been thousands. Imagine the same thing, except instead of being compelled to open video cases, you’re Arnold Schwarzenegger and you’re compelled to kill Sarah Connor.

Ad – content continues below

In fact, if you watch the film back, you can see several instances that would support this theory. In the scene in the night club, if you watch carefully, you can see Arnie’s character counting his steps. Notice that in the police station he has to shoot an even number of officers? No? Well just take my word for it then (definitely don’t check it). It also never struck me as odd before that there are 38 different scenes where The Terminator is washing his hands.

Whilst researching OCD (yes, Wikipedia) I also found that sometimes sufferers experience anxiety as a result of ‘inappropriate sexual thoughts’. Could The Terminator’s violent rage be explained by confusion over the thoughts he was having about Sarah Connor? Wanting to kill her and also wanting to bum her? I have similar feelings about the girl who sings the I Kissed a Girl (And I Liked It) song and can confirm just how frustrating it can be.

The theory, unfortunately, doesn’t hold up too well to scrutiny. The main problem seems to be that it’s massively wrong and that all of the examples I gave were just lies. The Terminator is a robot, you see him without his skin and he’s made of metal and lights and things. He’s got that red glowing robot eye. It’s as clear to see as an embarrassed teenager in a bright yellow coat.