Forgotten Fridays: Hardware

Thanks for checking out our Forgotten Fridays feature. This is a feature to review some older films that maybe you have forgotten about or maybe never got around to seeing that we just want to share. They may not be old, maybe not forgotten, but they are not new. Just fun to share.

Today, we review HARDWARE

Genre:Science Fiction/Horror
Directed by:Richard Stanley
Starring: Dylan McDermott, Stacey Travis, John Lynch and William Hootkins
Released: September 14, 1990


In a post-apocalyptic future, Moses (McDermott) buys a destroyed cyborg off a nomadic scavenger. He visits his girlfriend Jill (Travis) and offers the scrap metal to her, thinking she could use it for her expressionist works of art. The cyborg, named the Mark 13, is discovered by one of Moses’ friends to be designed for infiltration and combat, and that the prototypes had a defect that caused them to go berserk when exposed to high levels of moisture.. Mark 13 repairs itself, and comes back to life. Mark 13 with buzz saws, power drills and a set of toxic stingers built into it, seals the automated doors and proceeds to terrorize Jill around her apartment.

THE GOOD There are many things to appreciate and admire about ‘Hardware’, from the voyeurism of the robot to the claustrophobic effect in the second half. Hardware’s biggest strength are in these sequences, because the Mark 13 has to be threatening. In order to achieve this, writer-director Richard Stanley did something really smart and disturbing: the robot, in essence, is an intruder who infiltrates by deception, (playing dead) and waits for the opportunity to strike. Given the notion that it also becomes a voyeur, attacks Jill only when Moses leaves, and hides when Jill’s neighbor attempts to help her. Mention is made of a “population control bill”- a character comments that the Mark 13 might as well be connected to it, for it attacks (and attempts to rape and kill) women while killing men only in self-defense.

Jill, despite getting cut up and pushed to the edge, is not a victim. She fights back and there is the final act of the film where Mark 13 has found its voice by “replacing” Moses who it has drugged- where she has to fight her attacker directly.

The film’s production design has a color palette of all shades of reds and blacks, with whites and deep blues flashing everywhere in the backgrounds. One notable sequence is when Moses gets drugged, and has to cut himself to get the poison out while tripping out.
(also “bad”- see below)

Iggy Pop in voiceover as DJ Angry Bob, who plays a lot of Ministry and Motorhead. Lemmy from Motorhead also cameos in the film,but we never see Iggy, just hear his rants.

Of course, an added treat since the film’s release wasn’t that much of a good thing on the film’s theatrical run. Richard Stanley expanded his ideas by using someone else’s without permission. Hardware is now considered by many to be the first theatrical adaptation of 2000 AD, not ‘Judge Dredd’ (1996), although unofficial. Hence, Steve MacManus and Kevin O’Neill have since gotten story credits for the film.

A shout out to Radiation Free Reindeer steaks, Public Image Ltd. and cockroach tea.


The late William Hootkins does a great job as Lincoln, Jill’s neighbor. Why is that bad? Because the character of Lincoln is one of those characters who is someone so disgustingly slimy that you don’t shed a tear when the Mark 13 rips him to pieces. Lincoln is not only an obsessive stalker, he’s extremely annoying. As much as I dig Hardware, I wished that Lincoln would not have this kind of personality defect. An argument could be made that Lincoln and the Mark 13 share this glitch, and that’s the reason Mark 13 mutilates him (to get rid of competition) but the robot has more personality than Lincoln.

In fact, I think this character was such a turn off that it may have hurt the film more than it should have. I know and understand that the world (and possibly future ones) that there are sickos out there. But the robot filled that role. Having a character who you feel either indifferent to or disgusted by isn’t building suspense or fear if the viewer just wants the fool to D-I-E.

I mentioned that one of the best things in the film is the acid trip scene. However, it’s also one of the worst due to two things: yes, the “hero” has to beat Mark 13 on a cerebral level while paralyzed (as one expects a protagonist to be more “mobile”) and as much as I don’t mind strobe lights, some folks will grow to hate them.

OVERALL Hardware is a near terrific end of the world/ end times/ apocalypse movie with a killer soundtrack. It’s not for everyone’s tastes (as one character is a big turnoff) because it is a sci-fi horror that when stripped down, it’s a film about invasion.

Since all of these Forgotten Friday reviews are going to be what I would already give a high rating to, I had a Tv, Rent or Buy scale going on, but it would seem that an overwhelming majority of my picks get a BUY rating.

So with every Forgotten Friday you see from now on, you get to rate your anticipation for yourself!

TV If you are at least a little curious, catch it if it comes on TV.

Rent If it is something you have heard of and forgotten, or just remember enjoying this as much as I did once upon a time, go rent it.

Buy But if you are like me, and you agree with my review you should go buy it. If its featured here, I already have.

Comment with Facebook

About Darren

"Revenge is sweet and not fattening." Alfred Hitchcock

2 thoughts on “Forgotten Fridays: Hardware

  1. this movie is a must buy for sci-fi fans, i loved the design of the robot after jill paints its head like the american flag, its a scary, surreal movie with a great cast and a awsome soundtrack.

    does anybody know where to find this movie on dvd, had a vhs copy but its trashed from watching it too much.

Leave a Reply