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M.A.R.K. 13

UK 1990
produced by
JoAnne Sellar, Paul Trijbits, Bob Weinstein (executive), Harvey Weinstein (executive), Nik Powell (executive), Stephen Woolley (executive), Trix Worrell (executive) for Wicked Films, BSB, British Screen Productions, Palace Pictures
directed by Richard Stanley
starring Dylan McDermott, Stacey Travis, John Lynch, William Hootkins, Iggy Pop (voice), Carl McCoy, Mark Northover, Paul McKenzie, Lemmy, Mac McDonald, Chris McHallem, Barbara Yu Ling, Oscar James, Arnold Lee, Susie Savage, Fred Leeown, Mimi Cheung, Sebastian Chee
screenplay by Richard Stanley, bsed on the story SHOK! by Kevin O'Neill, Steve MacManus, music by Simon Boswell, special effects by Barney Jeffrey/Image Animation

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Post doomsday: Large parts of the world have become a barren wasteland, while those who have survived whatever has destroyed the world and can afford it live in ultra-high security apppartments - like Jill (Stacey Travis), an artist who builds sculptures out of robot spareparts and who hardly ever leaves her appartment. Her boyfriend Moe (Dylan McDermott) however often spends months on end in the wasteland, going through the rubble of an once great civilisation looking for robot spareparts he either sells to local fence Alvy (Mark Northover) or brings home to his girl - like the head of the MARK 13, which now is the centerpiece of Jill's latest work of art.

Thing is that Moe soon learns that the MARK 13 is a terribly dangerous robot, and its head might not be dead at all, and it has the capability of repairing itself - and considering that Jill's appartment is full of robot spareparts, it shouldn't take MARK 13 long to be whole again ... thing is, Moe is not at home when he learns this, and while he still only begins to fully comprehend, MARK 13 is already back to full force and starts attacking Jill - and Jill has to learn her high security appartment has become a death trap now that the doors are jammed because MARK 13 drains too much energy from the system. The only guy who could help is Lincoln (William Hootkins), a security expert, who even somehow makes it inside Jill's appartment - but then he's actually more interested in her, his wet dream for a long time now, than actually helping her ... and soon enough, he falls prey to the robot.

Somehow, Jill manages to make it out of the appartment, while Moe manages to make it into it, but macho Moe proves to be no match for the robot - but finds its achilles heel, whichhe manages to mutter onto the appartments surveillance system just before dying. And armed with that knowledge, Jill returns to the appartment, lures the robot into the shower ... and kills MARK 13 using mere water.

But don't worry, the gouvernment has already greenlighted a plan to mass produce the MARK 13-model for the citizens' safety ...


Based on the mere synopsis, Hardware might sound like an a-dime-a-dozen sci-fi/horror film, exactly of the kind that populates the shelves of your local video rental - but actually, the film is almost amazing: Made on a tight budget, Hardware demonstrates how a skillful, tight direction, expert pacing and carefully planned suspense sequences can make high production values obsolete, and that shock sequences don't necessarily need tons of gore to work. The film might not be perfect and especially some of the political allegories seem to be a bit heavy handed, but at least director Richard Stanley is clever enough to not let them take over the film's narrative and rather keep them as a backdrop, so as a genre movie the film works perfectly without insulting the viewer's intelligence.

Recommeded, actually.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD