Horror Review: Hardware (1990)

The head of a cyborg reactivates and rebuilds itself and goes on a violent rampage in a space marine’s girlfriend’s apartment.

As we know the 90’s was a weird time for Horror films, this film is evident of that.

Welcome to the dark, claustrophobic and murky world of the year 2000, it’s a place that’s become a post apocalyptic wasteland. I have to say that the films colouring really helps set the films tone and you really feel like you’re being drawn into a futuristic desolate world full of danger.

The feature is actually based on a “2000AD” story called “Shok”, as a fan of this comic myself  it’s interesting to see the similarities played out on screen. Some may be put off now by it’s admittedly badly aged futuristic dystopian setting but in all honesty it adds to it’s charm.

Writer/Director Richard Stanley does an amazing job with this film, he makes you patiently wait as the story builds but your patient is rewarded, especially if you’re a fan of gratuitous violence. The film can be a challenge to watch but seriously, give it a chance.

Richard Stanley actually wrote a sequel to the film, titled “Hardware II: Ground Zero”, and tried to get the project off the ground for a few years. The project stalled because the rights to the original are split between several parties.

“Hardware” is admittedly a strange film but one that I think deserves a bit more credit, especially when you think what else was released in the 90’s.

If you want to see the “Hardware” trailer then just click on the video below:


Miscellaneous facts about the film:

Richard Stanley originally wanted Bill Paxton as Mo and Jeffrey Combs as Shades. Paxton was enthusiastic about the script, but Miramax and Palace Pictures did not know anything about him, so they didn’t contact his agent, and Paxton signed on for Navy Seals (1990) instead. Combs couldn’t be cast because British union rules allowed them to hire only two Americans.

For his appearance as the cabbie, Lemmy was equipped with a bottle of Scotch and a genuine Magnum revolver. He emptied the bottle and drew the gun out from his shoulder holster. It slipped his hand and sank to the river. Divers were sent to recover it, but they were unsuccessful.
The band that Jill watches on TV while she makes the sculpture is Gwar, though the music is Ministry’s “Stigmata”.
The nomad who unearths the MARK-13 robot is played by Carl McCoy, lead singer of the goth rock band Fields of the Nephilim, for whom Richard Stanley had previously directed two music videos and designed an album cover. According to him, McCoy’s character in “Hardware” is basically the same as it was in the Nephilim work. The character, then titled Preacher Man, had a prosthetic hand, yellow contact lenses and wore an old black coat with a cowboy hat.
In the original theatrical release, the 2000AD magazine short story “Shok”, was not given a “Based on” credit, as the story of the film was based on the short story. On the 2009 DVD release, “Shok” was credited, after the end of the end credits, acknowledging the original story that inspired the film.
The boat-cab driver is actually Lemmy of the band Motörhead. The band he plays Moses and Shades is, you guessed it, Motörhead.
Richard Stanley wanted to use stop-motion animation for the Mark-13, but was unable to do so because there wasn’t enough time and money to use this particular technique.
William Hootkins improvised a lot of the foulest and most obscene lines of his character.
Sinéad O’Connor was originally supposed to play the riverboat cab driver.
This film was originally given an X rating by the MPAA in America because of its graphic scenes of extreme violence. Significant cuts had to be made in these scenes in order to secure an R rating.
When Jill turns on the television after looking in the fridge, the first channel she is on shows a black and white video that is actual footage from World War 2 of German soldiers shooting Jewish prisoners inside a pit.
The storm in the opening sequence in the desert was real.
Mo says to Alvy “You use to be an elf, didn’t you?” Mark Northover (Alvy) once tried to get a job as an elf at Santa’s workshop at a mall. But, the mall’s owners didn’t give him the job, because they felt he would scare the children.
John Lydon, the frontman of Public Image Limited, was rumored to be in talks to provide the nasal squeak for Angry Bob, the insane DJ of W.A.R. Radio Channel. The part eventually went to Iggy Pop, yet Lydon is still heard in the film’s soundtrack in the PIL track “Order of Death”. Ironically enough, the cast listing in the back cover of the Japanese laserdisc credits Lydon for the part.
The Nomad, played by Carl McCoy, was originally scripted to appear in Jill’s dream sequence in the middle of the film. The scene wasn’t shot because of the actress’ illness during the filming in the desert.
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.
The sound of the apartment “door bell” is that of a BBC Micro (computer) being turned on. It is used several times in the film.
The song the riverboat cab driver (Lemmy) plays is “Ace of Spades” by Motorhead. Lemmy is the lead singer of the Motorhead band.
When Shades is preparing to jump past the malfunctioning slide doors, a flyer of Mona Lisa (1986) can be seen in the background. Both this movie and Mona Lisa were produced by Stephen Woolley and Nik Powell.
The song that Lincoln Wineberg sings and claims to have made up himself is actually based on the 1912 song “They all walk the wibbly-wobbly walk” written and composed by Paul Pelham and J.P.Long, and originally performed by music hall comedian Mark Sheridan.
The hair stylist was also the person who worked with and designed the distinctive ‘big hair’ look for singer Howard Jones in the 1980s.
In the original script Moses Baxter was unemployed and dying of cancer.
Dylan McDermott came up with the idea to have Moses Baxter read the Bible.
The text Mo supposedly reads from the Bible, including “No flesh shall be spared”, is made up. However, a phrase similar to that quote does appears in Mark 13:20 – “there should no flesh be saved”.
Stacey Travis did most of her own stunts.
Stacey Travis dyed her hair red to play Jill in the movie.
Stacey Travis’ character Jill spends most of her screen time in her bare feet.
Mac McDonald makes a cameo as a newsreader.
When the film was released in New Zealand on the big screen and on VHS in 1990, it was given the R18 rating for it’s graphic violence, sex and bad language. But, when the film was released on DVD in 2011, it was re-rated R16.
In the original screenplay, Jill’s name was Jill Monroe. In the film, it’s Jill Grakowski.
In the show The Office, Gabe offers this movie as a solution because it is in his words, a combination of Wall-E and horror movies
The film takes place in 2000.
The song “The Order of Death” by Public Image Ltd was also used for a music video for the movie The Blair Witch Project (1999)

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