At a narrative level the Terminator films—The Terminator (Cameron, 1984), Terminator 2: Judgment Day (Cameron, 1991), both with James Cameron at the directorial helm; Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (Mostow, 2003), directed by Jonathon Mostow; and the most recent addition, Terminator Salvation (McG, 2009)—are ardently technophobic in that these films chronicle a dystopian future where Artificial Intelligences are at war with humanity en masse. However, in direct contrast, these films are mainly constructed using state-of-the-art special effects and, except for the first Terminator, use computer-generated imagery, showcasing the latest and most spectacular digital technologies (Feng, 2002; Fisher, 2000). While this contradiction may appear problematic at first glance, as Brooks Landon argues, it is these very ambiguities which characterise memorable science fiction cinema:

Put simply, thematic and symbolic ambivalence is neither accidental in the SF movie, nor only a reflection of culturally inadequate response; it is in fact the basic or distinguishing structural pattern of those SF movies we most cherish and discuss.

(Landon, 1992, p. 22) The four films are replete with ambiguities, and this chapter explores these seeming contradictions to illuminate the relationship between Artificial Intelligences and human subjects. Before commencing, two issues need to be addressed: ‘Is the question of AI’s desire for embodiment moot?’, and ‘are the thinking machines featured in these film actually AIs?’ In the Terminator series, the question of embodiment is, to some extent, settled: the terminators are embodied creatures, with the various Schwarzenegger T-101s, and other terminators, humanoid in appearance and functionally embodied entities, suggesting that even the machines recognise the value of bodies. 1 As to whether these films actually feature AIs, there are three main reasons to argue that they do: firstly, in the Terminator films, the thinking machines are explicitly referred to, and refer to themselves, as Artificial Intelligences; secondly, these AIs are the logical next step in the trajectories mapped from early AI cinema into the 1980s; and thirdly, these often humanoid AIs emerge in film, just as the discipline of Artificial Intelligence design in large part refocused on ‘neural network’ models with which the cinematic AIs are consistent. 2 Those qualifications made, this chapter begins with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s terminal masculinity.