How I Snuck Onto The Set Of Terminator 2

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A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away I lived in a suburb of San Francisco called Fremont. Fremont was a typical suburb; there was nothing to do. In order to do something more exciting than hanging out in the local mall you either had to have a car or pay a lot of money to take BART, which is a commuter train type system. When something exciting actually happens the word gets around pretty fast because almost nothing ever happened there. So, when word got out that a film crew were filming some scenes for the then upcoming Terminator 2 people got excited. I was a huge Terminator fan so this was a huge deal for me!

Among the large web of people who I knew back then there was a sort of bet going around. Actually, not so much of a bet rather than bragging rights. How far could you get on the set of the film without being caught. Well, like the bored older teenager that I was I decided to see if I too could get on the set. It was me, a girl named Tiffany and a guy whose name I have forgotten who decided to drive to the set and see what was going on.

The scenes that were filmed in Fremont involved the headquarters of the evil company Cyberdyne. James Cameron and his crew had set up shop in an industrial area in southern Fremont and actually used a real building to film the scenes.  From what I remember it was a newly built area so all of the office buildings looked all modern and nice. Contrary to what some people say it was NOT a fake building built for the film. What they did was lease a building, build an extra story onto it, set that top story on fire and had a bunch of explosions coming out of it. Also, the scenes in the lobby of Cyberdyne were actually filmed on a set that was located in the bottom story of the building.

When my friends and I arrived there you could see a large group of people milling about watching the set. Some people had brought lawn chairs and coolers. I told you, Fremont was really boring. They had everybody behind some yellow tape and beyond a small little grass hill in the parking lot. There were fake cop cars parked at strange angles in front of the building and a helicopter that was just sitting there. Since there were too many people in that area to be able to try to sneak past the security tape we decided to go to the back of the set and see if there was a way in. We drove to the back of the complex, parked and started walking slowly towards some security tape. Surprisingly there wasn’t anybody guarding the rear of the set, so we very easily went under the tape. Since we were scared of being caught we would run from shadow to shadow like we were in a film. Looking back at that it seems very silly, but we were on a mission by golly!

How far did we get? I don’t know if it was dumb luck but I remember getting to the point where we were in parking lot alley of sorts that ran along the side of the Cyberdyne building and we could see the cop cars from the opposite side of where the other people were. For some reason I also distinctly remember seeing a very large wind fan.  At that point we all kind of freaked out and left the way we came. At the time I worked at a famous video tape chain, and I learned the next day that Arnold Schwarzenegger had come into my store while I wasn’t there. What the fuck, right? This was about the most exciting thing that happened to me in 1990, more fun then seeing MC Hammer’s dancers going to the mall. No, seriously, MC Hammer had a huge house in Fremont. I don’t know why he did either, so don’t bother asking. The ‘Cyberdyne’ building became kind of a hangout spot after filming was finished and I went there several times to breath in the atmosphere. Yes, I was that much of a film nerd even back then.


Why A Lot Of Film Villains Are British

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The other night the husband and I watched the film In Time and I noticed something a little strange; one of the villains was British. It’s not strange in itself that he was British, however he was the only British character in a film that took place in a dystopian American city. How did this British guy get plopped right in the middle of a society that he obviously wasn’t born in? Simple, he was inherently evil!

Now, I’m not saying that the British are inherently evil. However, it seems like filmmakers seem to think that they exude this special kind of malice. When they are casting for films they think ‘How can I make this character even more evil than he already is?’. They think for maybe 5 minutes and come up with the brilliant idea that somebody with a British accent is needed. After they get that idea they have the choice of either a posh accent or a non posh accent. This isn’t necessarily an easy decision, because depending on the accent their character will be simply bad or extraordinarily evil. Let’s look at both types of accents and characters.


British people who possess a posh accent are for the most part people who are wealthy, people who are pretending they are wealthy or those who just happen to live in an upwardly mobile area that aren’t wealthy. For filmmakers a posh accent can encompass anybody from a person who happens to live in west London to a member of royalty.

What I have noticed is that an evil character who has a posh British accent quite frequently has plans to take over the world. In other words the characters who have this accent have plans that are greater than anybody else. These accents automatically give their bearer the superhuman power of being intelligent enough to come up with these grandiose plans. Why? Because they possess a posh accent and you don’t! They have had better schooling and better opportunities at life and they are using these to their fullest extent. Grabbing evil by the throat they are using this intelligence to get what they want. It could be some land, money, women, or all of the gold bars on planet Earth. It doesn’t matter, they are dangerous because they know they are dangerous, and they exude an air of moral superiority.


British people who speak with a non posh type of accent can be from a anywhere in Britain. Be it from Yorkshire or the West Country the one thing filmmakers know is that they are not posh, since they have chosen to retain their accents. They can lave a lavish lifestyle, but when it comes down to it they have risen from off the streets.

Those British villains without a posh accent are quite frequently trying to move up in the world. They have come from lowly beginnings and are using their wits and skills to try to make their cash in any fashion that they can. It can even be a character from the wrong side of the tracks who will do anything to become famous; using anonymous people, friends and just about anybody else. That is not to say that the non posh British villain can’t be smart, because of course he can be. Rather than having an expensive education they have earned their skills from the streets. Because of all of this the non posh accented British villain can be even more deadly than his counterpart. He is hungry and wants more.

There are of course exceptions to some of these rules. Once in a while you will come across a movie villain who has a posh British accent but who is slumming. This character has come from a wealthy family but has become a black sheep and is now just a bank robber or such. Then there are the ones who are the head of crime organizations who have posh accents even though they have come from the streets. I know that doesn’t make sense, blame the filmmakers not me!

One thing that every film villain who is British, no matter what the accent, exudes while on the screen is sex. Yes, women in film audiences do find British accents hot. This is a truth that cannot be denied. I suppose that this only holds true for countries that are not inherently British. I mean, a British accent isn’t going to be hot to you if you already live in Britain. I’m American and American accents don’t do a thing for me at all. So, the British villain is cool to the guys watching because the character comes across as a suave or dangerous man who can get all the ladies and cash that he needs. While to women he is the epitome of sex appeal. Basically when filmmakers include a British villain they can’t lose because they are making the villain appeal to both of the sexes.

British villains will always be a staple in films and long may they reign!

The Curse Of Being A ‘Red Shirt’

The term ‘red shirt’ came into being when people watching the original Star Trek series noticed that almost every single time security personnel, who wore red shirts, were sent down to a planet with Kirk and company that they were killed by the end of the mission. They were fodder for the robot/creature/woman/man that was out to hurt the more important members of the landing party. What mattered was that the officers of the crew were safe and that the ‘red shirts’ were expendable. Below is a montage of red shirt deaths from the original Star Trek series. I didn’t make it so don’t blame me for the music!

The term ‘red shirt’ is now used to represent any character in a film whose presence doesn’t bring much to the plot, but whose death somehow creates a sort of filler. This filler can be used to show the killer or something similar, but the ‘red shirt’ doesn’t matter as much as the fact that they die. As you can guess this is used quite frequently in horror films. If there is a haunted house filled with rowdy and horny teenager chances are a couple of them are going to sneak off, have sex and be killed in the process. They can be considered ‘red shirts’ because their roles aren’t meaningful and their deaths give the killer some more time on screen.

Is any of this fair to these poor expendable characters? Of course not! Can you imagine being an innocent character just going about your business when all of a sudden somebody jumps out and kills you? I mean, you only had five minutes of screen time and didn’t even get to show off your talent of being able to blow milk bubbles through your nose!

Hear that? It’s the Wilhelm Scream!!!

Just the other day, while the husband and I were sitting down watching Lethal Weapon 4, I thought I heard something familiar. No, it wasn’t Mel Gibson going on a racist or sexist rant. Rather, it was the sweet, sweet sound of the Wilhelm scream. Once you hear it you never forget it, and soon you will be watching films wondering if you can spot the scream coming from dying characters. You mean that’s not normal behavior?

The Wilhelm scream is the name of a sound effect that has been used in many films and TV shows to depict somebody getting hurt, dying or a bloody combination of the two. Usually dying does involve getting hurt or you wouldn’t be dying. I mean who dies when something about them isn’t hurt? This of course doesn’t count if it’s only your feelings that are hurt. If everybody dies when their feelings get hurt then humans would be extinct. Right? Anyway! It’s named after a character called Private Wilhelm, who gets shot in the leg with an arrow in the film The Charge At Feather River.  Look what I found, the actual clip!

Made in 1953 The Charge At Feather River is actually the third film to use the sound effect. The first movie to ever feature it is called Distant Drums, which was made in 1951. It features a soldier walking through a swamp in the Everglades in which he gets bitten by an alligator. I feel quite sad for that character because his death scream has been hijacked by some guy that only gets shot with an arrow through the leg! The injustice! According to some research, done by people way more patient than I am, the man who performed the song Purple People Eater, Sheb Wooley, is the man behind the original Wilhelm Scream. Neato! Who doesn’t like that song?

The Wilhelm scream has been used in over 200 films and TV shows including 30 Days Of Night, Hellboy, American Dad, and even Toy Story. The sound effect has become so iconic that it is now used by filmmakers as a type of ironic inside joke. You can be smug with the knowledge that now you’re in on the joke too! Below is a clip that a person with a lot of time on their hands cobbled together of instances in films and TV shows in which the Wilhelm scream is used. Enjoy!