Posted: Wed Sep 01, 2021 9:46 pm
Moses Baxter, an ex-soldier and current salvager struggling to survive in a post-apocalyptic world, acquires the remains of a security droid through a shady business transaction. After selling the body, Baxter retains the droid's head and gifts it to his girlfriend Jill for Christmas. Jill, a reclusive artist, uses the head in a sculpture. With a new source of power, the droid begins rebuilding its old body with one goal in mind: death to humans!
Hardware was the first feature film directed by Richard Stanley. As such, the film is dripping (saturated) with style, but light on substance. Visually, the film looks like a cross between a horror film and one long industrial music video. The lighting is harsh -- mostly red -- and there are long periods filled with interesting visuals but lacking dialog or any plot advancement. The videoesque feeling is backed up with songs from Ministry, Public Image Limited, and Motorhead, among others.
The film's biggest problem is that what little happens, happens slowly. Hardware feels like The Terminator, except that's a bit of an insult to the latter; there's no back story, or story at all. It's a story about a robot's head that rebuilds itself and tries to kill the other four people in a single apartment. It's not really a plot. It's just kind of an idea that never gets flushed out. Robert Stanley lobbied for a sequel for years and it's no surprise that nobody wanted one.
Robert Stanley went on to do The Island of Dr. Moreau (or at least start it, before he was canned), and by all accounts what he brought to that film was a lot of artistic design and mood, the same types of things he cut his teeth on during Hardware.