While the last installment of the storied Terminator franchise, Terminator: Genisys, failed to stir up much interest in continuing the cyborg-centric saga, a new rebooted Terminator sequel is on the way, with Linda Hamilton reprising her role as Sarah Connor.
This Tim Miller-directed sixth film in the series will apparently act as a sequel to 1991's Terminator 2: Judgment Day and will ignore the continuity of both Salvation and Genisys.
Until this new movie is in the can and ready for deployment in November 2019, let's satisfy our extreme Terminator love by examining a serious squad of non-profit, unauthorized fan films that embrace and expand on the mythology of one of the most profitable and imaginative sci-fi series in existence.
These zero-cash economical shorts come in all flavors and formulas, but all display an uncanny knack for recreating the Terminator magic we've come to expect in the halcyon glow of the silver screen, even if it's done on a shoestring budget.
Wrap your mind around the paradoxical entanglements of the following 10 time-traveling tribute films from the inspired ranks of dedicated amateur creators, then tell us which ones just might make Skynet a bit nervous.
Terminator: Ultimatum (2011)
Short but sweet, this humorous Terminator short comes to us via ShowPie Films and concerns an unflappable T-800 Terminator as it hunts down young John Connor and comes up against some unexpected resistance as the disgruntled cast asks for some impromptu script revisions. Dry British wit at its best with a Terminator twist!
Terminator Stop Motion (2013)
Some wonderful toys are on display in this well-done stop-motion Terminator confection taken from James Cameron's original The Terminator as action figures act out some memorable scenes. YouTube filmmakers going by the name of Retarded Racoon pull off a smart little flick with a skull-crushing finale complete with music from composer Brad Fiedel's awesome electronic score.
Terminator: Reborn (2015)
Check out this minimalist short starring Lyle Boden and Ryan Colsher, based off the Terminator source material with two cyborgs clashing and clanking in a simple urban setting. This film demonstrates the effectiveness of a well-planned, smartly-choreographed one-day shoot with a judicious use of digital special effects and some sweet synthesizer tracks by Lyle Boden.
Terminator Returns (2013)
Witness this solid effort by writer/director Michael Nicle that's inspired by the first pair of James Cameron-directed Terminator movies. Superb use of lighting and desaturated colors to give it a true dystopian flair. Here the killer cyborg deployed from the future attempts to enact his mission with deadly intent. Plenty of gunplay and gruesome special effects elevate this short above some of the simpler efforts.
RoboCop vs Terminator (2015)
A clever way to mash up this pair of famous franchises is to make Alex Murphy/RoboCop aware that his technology is responsible for the future development of Skynet. Directed and written by Daniele Spadoni with an obvious love of both iconic properties, RvT follows RoboCop as he time-travels to 2029 to try to prevent future calamities but discovers some shocking revelations about his past. Kudos for attempting a more ambitious and interesting storyline that makes for some serious contemplation.
The Terminator: Storm Wolf Battalion (2017)
Wow, does this excellent entry illustrated, edited, animated, and directed by Jason Cardona makes me want a feature-length anime-style Terminator film right now! Tightly crafted with the pulsing notes of Brad Fiedel's dynamic 1984 soundtrack to give this battle against the machines just the right tone and feel. Reminds us all of just how vital this franchise is to sci-fi cinema!
Extermination: A Terminator Fan Film (2016)
Bruce Stirling and John Knox concocted this crazy-cool proof-of-concept trailer for a Terminator film using some exceptional animated techniques. The kickass trailer takes place in 2047 after the War With The Machines has been won by humanity and now Mankind must face even greater horrors as pockets of adaptive AI are reforming to wage more war. I'd run to see an animated feature film using these absorbing colors and grim imagery. How about you?
Terminator: Final Transmission (2014)
Another stellar achievement in the realm of fan films, written and directed by Rick Kingerski and accented by fantastic SFX by Chris Bloomer. Here John Connor reflects on his life of suffering and battles against the machines as he rests on a sandy beach while bleeding to death. A sophisticated level of artistry is on display here, using all the effective components of high-level Hollywood moviemaking including cutaways, inserts, camera movement, subtle cinematography, music, and sound design. Watch it twice and realize this was done for peanuts!
Terminator: Resistance (2014)
Family and friends join in for this no-budget Terminator production with heart and a home-spun charm, produced by Jesse Scimeca and directed by John Riddle. Freedom fighters evade Hunter-Killer units and a hostile T-800 in a no man's land and fight for humanity's survival. This is an incredible achievement that should inspire countless other amateur filmmakers to get out there and shoot their own mini-movie today.
Batman vs The Terminator (2014)
It's amazing how well these two billion-dollar franchises mash up in Mitchell Hammond's pitch-perfect animated short bringing together the Dark Knight and the Cyberdyne System's most advanced cyborg assassin. This artistic endeavor took over three years to complete and takes place 30 years after the nuclear blasts of August '97. Bruce Wayne seeks shelter in the Batcave before making his way across the radiated wastelands of America to join forces with the legendary John Connor. Takes home the gold!