A man tries to uncover an unconventional psychologist's therapy techniques on his institutionalized wife, while a series of brutal attacks committed by a brood of mutant children coincides with the husband's investigation.
The residents of a suburban high-rise apartment building are being infected by a strain of parasites that turn them into mindless, sex-crazed fiends out to infect others by the slightest sexual contact.
A cop chases two hippies suspected of a series of Manson family-like murders; unbeknownst to him, the real culprits are the living dead, brought to life with a thirst for human flesh by chemical pesticides being used by area farmers.
A wandering soldier finds a robot head in the post-apocalyptic desert. He brings it back to his girlfriend for use in one of her sculptures. He investigates the origin of the head, and discovers it's from the Mark 13 project, canceled because of unreliability. His girlfriend, nay, society at large become endangered when the robot puts itself back together using the parts she has for her sculptures. Written by
Ed Sutton <email@example.com>
Fields of Nephilim (Carl McCoy's band) was in talks to contribute to the film's soundtrack. This didn't happen since the production company, Palace Pictures, was tied in with Virgin. They preferred the soundtrack to be made by 'in-house' artists. See more »
When the droid rebuilds itself, it picks up a circular saw. When it uses that circular saw as a weapon later, it is completely different design, with an all different cutting disk. See more »
How much for the other stuff?
Ten C's. That's as high as I go.
Yep, Alvy. You're as high as you're ever going to go.
[Mo hands the bills to Shades and they head for the door. Alvy sneers after them]
Very funny. Can i help it if my mother picked up a dose in the big one?
You just wait. All those years out in the zone? Your kids'll make me look like Narcissus!
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Hardware is a quintessential cult film. Project of a young, troublesome director that was soon to vanish from the movie-making horizon. An ambitious but low budget science fiction that taps into a particular zeitgeist. An overwrought, philosophical flick that is fascinating even if it fails to deliver any real thrills.
Based on a short 2000 AD comic strip Shock!, Hardware is low on narrative content but it exploits its post-apocalyptic setting with a confidence and fidelity. Stanley manages to work around the budget restraints and turns all London based, indoor locations into a believably devastated landscape of a civilization in retreat. Flesh is consumed by overwhelming rusting metal and slowly decays amidst the ubiquitous pollution. It's a bleak even if not entirely original vision that here is pushed to the limit of being almost unpleasantly nihilistic.
Together with work of cyberpunk literature- Gibson's Neuromancer and some defining achievements of Japanese animé like Otomo's Akira (1988) and Fukutomi's Battle Angel Alita (1993) Stanley's film is a product of its times- anxious about the state of the environment and our place in the technological civilization on the threshold of the new millennium. It perhaps couldn't be made with the same infectious desperation pouring out of the screen at any other time in the history.
What it also shares with defining it literate and cinematic contexts is the same tendency towards gratuitous symbolism. Religious connotations (both Christian and Buddhist) between characters of Moses Baxter and deadly M.A.R.K.-13 are at times heavy handed but rewarding in the scale of the whole because of the consistency with which they are used and, at times, their detailed intricacy.
Exactly because philosophical rather than the narrative layer of Hardware comes to dominate the entire feature, Stanley's film becomes so dense, impenetrable and therefore intriguing. Film's colour palette, dominated by oligochromatic browns and reds adds to the overwhelming sense of endangerment even if the script, time and time again postpones the actual danger and fails to build up any tension. Added, voyeuristic sub-plot is appropriately disturbing and intense but serves little dramatic purpose.
Film delivers gore and sex, as expected but it's nowhere near as captivating or resonant as the overarching art style. In the last third, Stanley without any moderation delivers hypnotic and grotesque imagery that leaves the viewer confused but with a dominant sense of being a witness to a wonderful and bedazzling vision.
Verdict: Hardware is best approached not as it was advertised- a sci-fi action movie but rather a complex mantra; film of unified stylistic and philosophical vision that comes close to encapsulating both entertaining and intellectual properties of a masterful sci-fi. It is too aware of its real intentions too be fully appreciated by the mainstream audience but nevertheless remains a work of an intriguing and skillful director. If you fall for its depressing tone and appreciate cyberpunk influenced issues that it tackles you might find yourself coming back to it several times, despite its shortcomings.
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