Year: 1990

Production: Palace / Millimeter / A Wicked Films Production

Director: Richard Stanley

Starring: Stacey Travis, Dylan McDermott, John Lynch, William Hootkins

Screenwriter: Richard Stanley

Based (it was admitted after a threatened lawsuit) on a 1980 Judge Dredd story

94 minutes, but many prints shortened to avoid adults-only rating; Color

In a radioactive city in an apparently post-holocaust near future, a dope-smoking sculptress is given a military robot's head to incorporate into a steel sculpture. It reincorporates itself using pieces of the sculpture, thereby taking the film from the technopunk-dystopia genre into the Luddite killer-robot genre. The 24-year-old director, Stanley, had a track record in so-called Industrial Music rock videos, and the eclectic, pack-rat junk sensibility which this suggests (a bit Andrei Tarkovsky here, a bit Dario Argento there, a bit of cyberpunk everywhere) suprisingly transcends cliche in the images if not the script. Though Hardware is basically a simple low-budget splatter movie, it is unusually inventive in its design and in several of the characters, notably Hootkins as a rotund sadistic voyeur. The crazed robot is a Mark 13, and the film's epigraph is adapted from (where else?) the Gospel According to St Mark, Chapter 13: "No flesh shall be spared."

The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

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