Highlander : Highlander = Corny Terminator with Swords?

Highlander = Corny Terminator with Swords?

Just watched Highlander for the first time, and the biggest surprise was how much of the visuals that seem borrowed from The Terminator (1984). I'm referring to everything from the resemblance between the main characters, locations and scenes such as parking garages, alleys and the police interrogation scene to small things like the blue electrical effect creeping across cars [1]. Seriously, it's even pretty hard to tell MacLeod and Reese apart [2], although the big guy with cold eyes and deep voice dressed in leather who's immune against gunfire they fight comes across as a lot more cackling and silly in Highlander.

The second surprise was just how corny and goofy much of it was; I could take maybe 25% of the movie seriously, but I was often laughing out loud at supposedly dramatic scenes. Highlander feels like it was written and directed by high school students who had seen The Terminator and convinced some investors that with triple the budget and Sean Connery involved, they could replicate its success.

Obviously the plots aren't very similar, but I'd find it hard to believe that The Terminator wasn't an influence on Highlander.

[1] https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com:443/data.filmboards/images/upload/uhW3FCa.jpg
[2] https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com:443/data.filmboards/images/upload/DxKBJ5h.jpg

Re: Highlander = Corny Terminator with Swords?

Not sure if you liked it or not from that comment, but glad you enjoyed the writing enough to get a good time or not.

But more seriously.....scratching my head at how you can compare Terminator to Highlander so strongly other than the production values of when they were made and an "out of reality" fantastical theme. Love both movies but never thought to put them in the same category.

If you just watched it for the first time, I'm guessing you didn't see either in theater. Could it be that they both just have that "80's feel" for you?

Re: Highlander = Corny Terminator with Swords?

I like both movies, but I definitely see what you are saying about the visuals. I actually saw Highlander first. When I eventually saw the original Terminator, the similarities immediately jumped out at me. Glad to see I'm not the only one who noticed this.

"Don't conform, be like us...."

Re: Highlander = Corny Terminator with Swords?


Obviously the plots aren't very similar


Really?
A battle across time leading to a fight where only one can remain?
Kurgan Vs Conner.
T-800 Vs Kyle.

The plots are very similar.
They even both suffer from badly written sequels.
Highlander and Terminator have a lot more in common than you first realise.


but I'd find it hard to believe that The Terminator wasn't an influence on Highlander.


Well The Terminator is pretty much a "copy" of John Carpenter's Halloween.
Everything is "influenced" by something.

And so, God came forth and proclaimed widescreen is the best.
Sony 16:9

Re: Highlander = Corny Terminator with Swords?


Well The Terminator is pretty much a "copy" of John Carpenter's Halloween.

How so?

Re: Highlander = Corny Terminator with Swords?

Halloween is often cited (wrongly) of being the first "slasher flick".
One can argue it was not the first. However, it's quite clear Halloween certainly made the horror sub-genre of "the slasher flick" popular and put in place many of the staples we now see in a slasher film.

I'll just give some examples...

Timid, quiet female lead that becomes stronger at the end and stands up to the "stalker", becoming the hero.

The nobody believes the female lead there is a stalker on the loose until it's too late.

A "masked" killer that is not all it appears to be.

A seemingly "invincible" killer, that even bullets can not stop.

The have sex and die cliché.

That slow/stalking killer.

The staple of the killer "dying" at the end...only to come back for a final scare.

The ambiguous end hinting at there is more to come.


Now, which film was I talking about there. The Terminator, or Halloween...or both?

And so, God came forth and proclaimed widescreen is the best.
Sony 16:9

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This message has been deleted.

Re: Highlander = Corny Terminator with Swords?



I'll just give some examples...

Timid, quiet female lead that becomes stronger at the end and stands up to the "stalker", becoming the hero.

The nobody believes the female lead there is a stalker on the loose until it's too late.

A "masked" killer that is not all it appears to be.

A seemingly "invincible" killer, that even bullets can not stop.

The have sex and die cliché.

That slow/stalking killer.

The staple of the killer "dying" at the end...only to come back for a final scare.

The ambiguous end hinting at there is more to come.


Now, which film was I talking about there. The Terminator, or Halloween...or both?


Very good observations. The first Terminator has always been more of a horror film than a sci-fi film.

So yes, I would say The Terminator was a definite influence on Highlander. But then Blade Runner was a big influence on The Terminator.

Re: Highlander = Corny Terminator with Swords?

Though as we know, the complete and full "reverse Terminator" so to speak is Warlock from 1989.

Re: Highlander = Corny Terminator with Swords?

I could see your points until you say that T2 judgment day is a poorly written sequel. There all your credibility went down the drain!

Re: Highlander = Corny Terminator with Swords?


I could see your points until you say that T2 judgment day is a poorly written sequel. There all your credibility went down the drain!


I would agree with him. The main draw of T2 was the huge budget and special effects. Not the script! LOL In fact some of the jokes and humorous interaction between Arnie and Edward Furlong in particular makes me cringe now. I preferred Arnie in the first film when he said almost nothing and was just there to look scary.

I was pleased to see Mark Kermode say recently much the same thing, that the first Terminator was the best written.

Re: Highlander = Corny Terminator with Swords?

Highlander had a horrible sequel, T2 is a good movie if not as well written as the first, huge difference.

Re: Highlander = Corny Terminator with Swords?

The screenplay certainly could not afford the freedom of an indie script and as a sequel lacks the originality (like *every* sequel), but compare it any AAA-franchise movie of today: T2 has layers, it is coherent, sets up a concept of rules and is capable to creating tension beyond mere eye candy. It is from a time when telling story still mattered and which got replaced by event cinema entirely.

Re: Highlander = Corny Terminator with Swords?


Just watched Highlander for the first time, and the biggest surprise was how much of the visuals that seem borrowed from The Terminator (1984)


Watch "Soldier" (Outer Limits) and the biggest surprise will be how much of the Terminator visuals...

It is a good point though (Alien vs Outlander ect), and I never even thought of putting the Terminator and Highlander together. I also missed the Bill & Ted vs Dr. Who connection for years. I guess when something works, it is easier to go along with the flow and retain suspension of disbelief.

Re: Highlander = Corny Terminator with Swords?

The Bill and Ted thing seems like a parody, since the phone booth is obviously not bigger on the inside and Bill and Ted and the historical figures all have to squeeze in there together.

Re: Highlander = Corny Terminator with Swords?

The only parts that reminded me of Terminator were the scenes with the Kurgan in the hotel, namely the way he walked and his interactions with the clerk.

Thit and thpin!

Re: Highlander = Corny Terminator with Swords?

The only parts that reminded me of Terminator were the scenes with the Kurgan in the hotel, namely the way he walked and his interactions with the clerk. He was like a machine. A brutal machine.

Thit and thpin!

Re: Highlander = Corny Terminator with Swords?

In the German dub Connor has the same voice as Kyle Reese in T1 and the Kurgan has the same as the Terminator.

Re: Highlander = Corny Terminator with Swords?

Interesting. I never really made that connection before. I suppose they do kind of have similar stories, in a loose way.

Also kudos on the way you referenced those images in your post.

“When I split an infinitive, God damn it, I split it so it will stay split.” - Raymond Chandler

Re: Highlander = Corny Terminator with Swords?

I don't really see that much of a connection. I mean, it's possible that Terminator influenced Highlander to a degree, but a lot of the things mentioned were pretty ubiquitous in 80's/90's cinema: leather jacketed villains, creepy parking garages, animated lightning/electricity, time travely plots, etc. Plus, the high concept in Highlander seems pretty dang original to me. And even if it was somehow influenced by Terminator, I would say that Highlander's high concept is far, far better.

Re: Highlander = Corny Terminator with Swords?

You probably have a point about the visuals, but I frankly never thought the 2 movies were very similar. The Terminator is obviously the better "film", but still both movies are very entertaining and re-watchable to this day. I guess you could say they are both "B movies", yet Terminator has been elevated to a very A-list status, while Highlander still feels more like a B-movie, even though it's very much a cult classic.

There are certainly some general comparisons, like Connor (ironic name) and Sarah both being essentially tasked with "saving the world". Also, Connor and Kurgan kind of come from "the past" while Reese and Terminator come from the future and both sets of men are somewhat fishes out of water in the present.

Neither film ever drags for me, yet I'd say Highlander has moments of "taking a breath" and there is a lot of levity, while Terminator is a relentless, nonstop experience. Also I would say the endings are vastly different, with Highlander's ending being a lot more hopeful and bright and Terminator being more downbeat and pessimistic. Back to visuals, I think a lot movies of that time "borrowed" visuals from each other.

Re: Highlander = Corny Terminator with Swords?

Highlander definitely has a Terminator feel. The plot of a battle across time good vs evil. Then the first dang scene of teleportion to mid eighties New York...of course it was LA in Terminator.

Both films stand on their own, but can't deny the influences when coming up with the original plot, as well as production values. The gritty shots and leather jackets are trademarks of the 80s, but this film does have a Terminator vibe more than most from that era.
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