Hardware Blu-Ray Review

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This is what you want and this is what you get.

When it comes to cult classic horror films, I am some what of an expert. At least, I thought I was before I was told about Hardware and to my amazement, I had never even heard of it. For years, Hardware was only available on VHS until it finally got the Blu-Ray treatment, which is what I now have a copy of. Owning the VHS copy would be a plus. You could say that Hardware is the red-headed step-child of The Terminator and the reason you never heard of it is because it faded into obscurity after the MPAA tried to slap on an NC-17 rating before cutting several minutes out of the film.

Richard Stanley focuses on our dependency of technology and annihilation of culture along with the predominance of mass media. The transporting themes are far too intricate for the average mainstream audience to grasp. Hardware is filled with religious imagery and unexpected politics. Some gentle viewers consider if to be an eye catching disorder of borrowed ideas. Some might even call it pretentious. It’s pretentious to find this movie pretentious.

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Hardware is an astonishing film that doesn’t get the respect it deserves. It may be because of its relatively thin plot. The story takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where a marine named Moses buys parts of a robot titled M.A.R.K.13, an exceptionally intelligent robot built by the government that’s virtually indestructible and can put itself back together, that was found in the post-apocalyptic wasteland by a nomad. Moses gives this find to his girlfriend Jill, a techno hermit who closes herself off from the world, so she could add it to her scrap sculpture. Soon the cyborg puts itself together and Jill is it’s main target. The majority of the film takes place in Jill’s apartment which is totally cool with me because Jill has the coolest apartment I have ever seen. The security system is tight with cameras and clearance codes, complete with a door strong enough to rip a man in half. The kitchen comes fully equip with all kinds of cool gadgets that I desperately need in my kitchen. The computer system is also a beast.

I cannot help but feel something is missing from the picture. Maybe it’s the lack of story. Some may say that it pales in comparison to The Terminator. That may be true but Hardware provides us with the goods that The Terminator is missing. The visuals and soundtrack are the two key ingredients that saved this film from completely vanishing off the face of the Earth. Well there’s that and the extremely HOT sex scene between our two protagonists with Public Image LTD playing in the back ground. The reds, blues, and greens in the computer graphics are so gorgeous for such a low-budget. If only this beautiful scene wasn’t interrupted by a disgusting fat man (William Hootkins from Star Wars) neighboring Jill and watching her every move. He even talks dirty while watching the two have sex. Saying things like, “You take that big dick.” This creep deserves to die. I hate sweaty, fat men trying to talk dirty.

The MARK13 gets its name from a biblical reference. Images of the multiple armed goddess Kali of Hindu mythology are also thrown in. The droid has a very powerful drill and its victims experience an acid trip before death when injected with the its poison. Stanley admits to no political connections with the robot. The MARK 13’s are merely for population control by the hands of the government. Today’s decaying environment is also a major point. In an interview with the Irish Gothic Horror Journal, he stated that the political elements were accidental and initially, the droid’s head was going to be night on one side and the face of day on the other. I prefer the American flag version because it represents how the United States of America is going to kill us.

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The performances are spectacular. Stacey Travis is gorgeous and somehow her talents didn’t get her too far. She stays involved with a lot of TV work. I even remember seeing her in the last two episodes of Angel as an evillllllll Senator. Dylan McDermott has also stayed active in the TV scene with shows like Practice and American Horror Story. AHS fans seem to carry a hatred for McDermott and I do not understand why. They seem to doubt his talents and argue that there’s nothing there. If you’re reading this, please take the time to see his performance in Hardware or even Steel Magnolias. The soundtrack has to be one of my new favorite horror soundtracks of all time with songs from Motorhead, Ministry, Iggy Pop, and PIL. It’s all perfectly fitting.  The death scenes are extremely gruesome. Gore fans will be pleased with the amount of bloodshed.

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The extras include:

•    Audio Commentary with Director Richard Stanley
•    No Flesh Shall Be Spared – All-New Documentary featuring interviews with Cast and Crew
•    ‘Incidents In An Expanding Universe’ – Early Super 8 Version of HARDWARE
•    ‘The Sea of Perdition’ – 2006 Richard Stanley Short Film
•    ‘Rites of Passage’ – Early Richard Stanley Short Film
•    Richard Stanley on Hardware 2
•    Theatrical Trailer Deleted, Extended & Behind-the-Scenes Footage