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Film / The Projected Man

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A scientist experimenting with matter transmission from place to place by means of a laser beam suddenly decides to use himself as a test specimen. But the process goes awry, and one side of his body becomes hideously deformed and instantly lethal to anyone it touches.

Has nothing to do with the Trope.

It was featured on this episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000.


Tropes:

  • Blessed with Suck: Paul can emit electricity, and can absorb massive amounts of energy. Unfortunately he needs to regularly absorb energy to survive and ease his excruciating pain, his electrical discharges drain that energy, and he can never touch anyone without gloves or he'll absorb all their bioelectricity. Also, he's severely deformed, with what appear to be burn scars, and unhinged from his experience.
  • Computer = Tapedrive: The computers in the film are large reel-to-reel machines. In order to use the teleporter, one of the scientists needs to 'program a reversal tape.'
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  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Although she's over their previous relationship, and in spite of his own words encouraging her to hook up with Dr. Mitchel, it's clear that Steiner still has strong feelings for Dr. Hill. Getting transformed brings his latent jealousy to the forefront.
  • Driven to Suicide: Steiner agrees to return to the laboratory allow Hill and Mitchel to try and restore him to normal. Once there, however, he forces them away from the consoles and starts using the altered teleporter ray to destroy everything within, including himself.
  • Fanservice: Sheila, Dr. Steiner's assistant, has to take off her clothes...because her eyes hurt.
  • Hidden Agenda Villain: Steiner's superiors at...wherever he works...want to discredit and hinder him because they plan to steal his invention and take all of the credit for themselves. Why they wouldn't already own the rights to a technology they funded is never explained.
    • It's not Steiner's superiors. It was whoever was blackmailing Steiner's superior Dr. L.G. Blanchard. Who they are is never explained, but they certainly don't own the rights to the technology and they obviously can't publicly take possession of the technology which might be for nefarious purposes.
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  • Horror Hunger: Paul is compelled to absorb energy to survive, whether it comes from electrical sources or living people.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: A plea, rather than a fight, but Hill manages to get through to the maddened Steiner and stop him from absorbing all the energy from a power plant and get back to the lab so so they can try to cure him. Though it turns out he has other plans.
  • Immune to Bullets: For some reason gaining an electrical discharge power also made Steiner produce sparks when he gets shot, but otherwise leaves him unharmed. Perhaps he's absorbing their kinetic energy?
  • Life Drinker: Steiner can absorb the energy he needs to live from anything with electricity, including bioelectricity.
  • Misapplied Phlebotinum: A device that can convert matter into energy would still be a tremendous breakthrough, even if it didn't have the capacity to reform it. Even if you couldn't build a transporter, the ability to convert useless matter like sand into energy would be a solid alternative energy source, since a major part of the plot involved a something called a "storage cell." And even if the process took more energy to produce than it made, you could still use to get rid of hazardous waste, making toxic waste dumps a thing of the past.
  • The Mole: Dr. Mitchell works for the Foundation and Blanchard, who expect him to keep tabs on Steiner and interfere with his work when necessary. However, and in spite of Steiner's suspicions, Mitchel proves more loyal and helpful to him in the end.
  • Monster Misogyny: Averted with Sheila and Dr Steiner. Despite being the one who bungled the operation (Sheila tried to turn off the machine in mid-teleport), Dr. Steiner only kidnaps her to learn about the blackmailing plot, and doesn't hold any ill will towards her because she helped him with the experiment. She's the only character that he doesn't immediately try to kill, and only puts her in danger when he leaves the apartment by setting it on fire with his electric touch, but it appears that he did that without thinking in his rush to leave.
  • Mugging the Monster: A weird variation. Instead of the monstrous Steiner being mugged on purpose, his teleporter accident dumps him near some crooks in the middle of a break-in and he fries them one at a time as they go into the alley in which he's hiding.
  • Mundane Utility: Steiner can use his hands like arc welders, burning/melting his way through doors, or just to destroy things.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: After he's transformed, the somewhat insane Steiner briefly considers that Mitchel may have deliberately sabotaged his teleportation attempt to get Hill all to himself.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: Steiner's notes for the teleporter are destroyed, leaving the device and the man himself as the only hope for making more. Neither survive the climax.
  • Pet the Dog: Blanchard is working for people who want to steal Paul's teleportation device, and apparently committed some sexual indiscretion in the past, but is quite gentle and kind to the terrified Sheila.
  • Psycho Electro: Dr. Steiner gains the ability to electrocute people with his hand after the teleporter mishap.
  • Shock and Awe: Steiner's got an electrical touch.
  • Teleporter Accident: As a "Hail Mary" effort to try and convince Lembach and Blanchard that his teleporter works, Steiner decides to teleport into Blanchard's house while Lembach is visiting him. Unfortunately, in his rush he puts an amateur at the controls and ends up both in the wrong place and monsterized.
  • That Poor Cat: A stray cat is the first victim of Dr. Steiner's electric mitts.
  • Touch of Death: Steiner's accident allows him to both discharge electricity from his body and absorb all the electrical energy from any source including living things, giving him two fun new ways to kill people.
  • Transhuman Treachery: Following his transformation, Steiner is a much harsher person, with few qualms about killing others in his quest for more energy and revenge.
  • Two-Faced: Steiner, post-transformation.
  • Working with the Ex: Heavily implied between Dr. Hill and Dr. Steiner.

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