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Karl Hochman

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Ghost of Karl Hochman

Karl Hochman

Guess again, Einstein. I'm dead already!
~ Karl Hochman
You can't run, you can't hide, you can't win.
~ Karl Hochman

Karl Hochman, also once known as "The Address-Book Killer", is a dangerous serial killer and the main antagonist of the 1993 horror/sci-fi movie Ghost in the Machine (also known as Deadly Terror and Killer Machine). Karl, a technician in a computer shop, is also the "Address Book Killer," who obtains the names of his victims from stolen address books. Terry and her son Josh come into the store to price software, and a salesman uses Terry's address book to demonstrate a hand-held scanner. Karl obtains the file, and while driving to Terry's house that night in a heavy rainstorm, his car runs off the road and lands upside down in a cemetery. While Karl is undergoing a CAT scan at the hospital, a surge of lightning courses through the building, and Karl's soul is transformed into electrical energy. Karl uses the electrical grid and computer networks to continue his killing spree.

He was portrayed by Ted Marcoux.


A serial killer, named Karl Hochman, is known as "The Address-Book Killer", due to his habit of stealing address-books and choosing his victims from them. While he's working at a computer store, he gets hold of the address-book of Terry Munroe, after another employee, demonstrating a scanner, and copies a page of her address-book into the computer. While heading home that evening, Karl is nearly killed by a collision with a truck.

When he has been placed in a MRI-machine in the emergency room, a surge from an electrical storm manages to transfer his own mind into a computer. Now as a network-based entity, Karl continues to plot his killing-spree, using the electrical grid, various appliances and computer networks.

Karl opens the scanned page from Terry's address-book and begins killing the names that are on her list. Her co-worker, Frank Mallory (Richard McKenzie), becomes the first victim when he dies in an electrical fire. Another friend, Elliot Kastner (Jack Laufer) gets burned to death when a hand-dryer turns into a flame-thrower. Terry's babysitter, Carol Maibaum, becomes the third victim when she gets caught between an exploding TV-set and a dishwasher in her kitchen.

When the police don't believe the theory that Karl is on a killing-spree after his death, then Terry's son, Josh, realizes the order in the list of victims. Terry lets – with computer-hacker Bram Walker – anything electrical in her house get un-plugged.

The police receive anonymous reports of an armed robbery, hostage situation, domestic violence, and a murder in progress, all at Terry's house. The police open fire on the home after having mistaken an exploding generator for gunfire. When they realize their mistake, they cease fire. Terry's mother was shot during the siege and she goes to hospital. Aided by Bram, Terry and Josh manage to defeat Karl by introducing a computer virus that traps him in a physics laboratory. They activate an atom smasher located in the lab, which draws Karl in and destroys him.

Bram later tells Terry to turn off a heart-rate monitor in an ambulance.

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