20 Things You Didn't Know About The Terminator

18. The Screenplay Was Subject To A Lawsuit

Terminator Arnie
Orion Pictures

James Cameron credits the idea of The Terminator to a nightmare he had whilst in Rome during the release of Piranha 2: The Spawning. In the nightmare, a metal endoskeleton was dragging its destroyed body towards him, whilst holding a kitchen knife. The horrifying image became the basis for the film (and you can find the unsettling concept art of this nightmare online).

Science fiction writer Harlan Ellison claimed otherwise. Ellison commented that he loved the film, but was convinced that the screenplay was a direct copy of a TV episode called ‘Solider’ he wrote for the series The Outer Limits. Ellison eventually brought it to court and he now has a credit on every new copy of the film released, including the version on Netflix.

Cameron was apparently unhappy with this outcome, as he didn’t see the lawsuit having much basis. Eventually Cameron would say that he was unable to comment because of a gag order, and that he no longer cares, although he does still disagree with the decision.


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