It doesn’t look like I’ve posted about Hardware, which I find surprising. This underrated little post-apocalyptic slasher flick is normally one of the first films I recommend to people. It’s inspired by a short story from 2000 AD about a robot that goes on the rampage in a post-nuclear wasteland, and is chiefly notable for its killer soundtrack and on-screen appearances by luminaries such as Lemmy and Iggy Pop.
Carl McCoy is a lone wanderer who sells the robot debris he finds in the desert to a junk dealer. Customer Moses Baxter (Dylan McDermott) overhears and buys the scrap for his sculptor girlfriend, Jill (Stacey Travis). Jill welds the parts together into a sculpture in her apartment, which she never leaves. Meanwhile, Moses takes a call from the junk dealer, who advises him that the robot is a military model M.A.R.K.-13 – a deadly self-repairing, self-fuelling, self-aware killing machine. Curious, Moses looks up Mark 13:20 in his Bible: “no flesh shall be spared”, and figures that the robot was intended for a government programme of genocide. This doesn’t surprise him greatly: the government is already forcing sterilization on its overcrowded, radiation-mutated populace. He spends the rest of the film frantically trying to reach his girlfriend while she takes on the classic survival role as the one trapped alone in the house with the psycho toaster.
Apparently, the film’s theatrical release failed to mention its many references to SHOK! Walter’s Robo-Tale in the Judge Dredd Annual 1981, though this was corrected following a very polite letter with lots of long words from intimidating people in expensive suits.
It’s not like Hardware was ever going to trouble the Oscars, but it stands up confidently amongst both post-apocalyptic exploitation flicks and low budget sci-fi scarers. It’s a good enough movie to go with the soundtrack.