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Projecting the Shadow

The Cyborg Hero in American Film

Part human, part machine, the cyborg is the hero of an increasingly popular genre of American film and, as Janice H. Rushing and Thomas S. Frentz so provocatively suggest, a cultural icon emblematic of an emergent postmodern mythology. Using the cyborg film as a point of departure, Rushing and Frentz examine how we rework Western myths and initiation rites in the face of new technologies.

Through in-depth examinations of six representative films—Jaws, The Deer Hunter, The Manchurian Candidate, Blade Runner, The Terminator, and Terminator 2—Rushing and Frentz track the narrative’s thread from the hunter to his technological nemesis, demonstrating how each film represents an unfolding hunter myth.

For each movie, Rushing and Frentz show how uninitiated male hunters slowly lose control over their weapons. In Jaws, a ’soft’ man, dominated by technology, can re-acquire the heroic hunter qualities he needs by teaming up with a ’savage’ man and a ’technological’ man. In doing so, he can still conquer the prey. The Manchurian Candidate charts how technology can turn a human into a weapon; Blade Runner perfects the artificial human with its manufactured replicants who are "more than human"; and The Terminator introduces a female hunter who leads humanity in its struggle against technology.

269 pages | 30 halftones, 3 line drawings | 6 x 9 | © 1995

Film Studies

Rhetoric and Communication

Table of Contents

1: The Intellectual Landscape
2: The Transmodern Frontier
3: The Hunter Myth
4: Jaws: Faces of the Shadow
5: The Deer Hunter: The End of Innocence
6: The Manchurian Candidate: The Human as Weapon
7: Blade Runner: On the Edge
8: The Terminator: Future-Perfect Tense
9: Terminator 2: Judgment Day: Effacing the Shadow

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