Doc Of The Dead

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Dvd & Blu-Ray -

Re­lease Date: OUT NOW!

1990 | 18 | Blu- ray/ DVD Direc­tor: Richard Stan­ley Cast: Stacey Travis, Dy­lan McDer­mott, John Lynch, Wil­liam Hootkins, Iggy Pop

The plot of

this cult robo- thriller is noth­ing to write home about. In a post- apoc­a­lyp­tic land­scape, a scav­enger finds the bro­ken re­mains of a robot. He sells them to a junk dealer and the knack­ered droid ends up in the hands of artist Jill. It’s not long, how­ever, be­fore it re­pairs it­self and ram­pages through her flat.

It’s a clas­sic B- movie syn­op­sis, with more than a dash of The Ter­mi­na­tor in its DNA. Fe­male pro­tag­o­nist? Deadly droid? Not much of a bud­get? All check.

What is re­mark­able is how good the film looks. Re­port­edly made for $ 1.5 mil­lion, it’s in­cred­i­bly stylish. Ev­ery­thing is suf­fused in a chem­i­cal or­ange. Steel works line the hori­zon. The tech­nol­ogy is chunky and ba­sic, and you can prac­ti­cally feel the lay­ers of dust. Cru­cially, the droid it­self is a men­ace of whirring drills and prob­ing wires.

The de­ci­sion to set the film largely in one apart­ment, while surely down to eco­nomics, only aids the claus­tro­pho­bic at­mos­phere. Cameos by Iggy Pop and Lemmy ( as a taxi driver lis­ten­ing to Motör­head!) and a puls­ing sound­track add to the industrial punk vibe.

It’s not quite the lost clas­sic that its most ar­dent fans would have you be­lieve – it’s pre­dictable, and some of the act­ing is iffy – but there’s a lot to love in Hard­ware’s bar­ren fu­ture.

Dis­ap­point­ingly, given that this is a 25th An­niver­sary Edi­tion, just two art cards by 2000 AD artist Clint Lan­g­ley. Will Salmon Writer Steve McManus and artist Kevin O’Neill later won a case which found that the film drew on their 2000 AD story “Shok!”

Re­lease Date: 23 Fe­bru­ary

2014 | E | DVD


il­lus­trated with co­pi­ous clips, this zom­bie doc­u­men­tary ticks all the boxes, not only pro­vid­ing an over­view of the devel­op­ment of the genre but ex­plor­ing the un­dead’s broader cul­tural as­cen­dancy – zom­bie- themed ads, flash mobs, porn spoofs and so on. Mat­ters such as the “slow vs fast” de­bate are also tack­led.

The roll­call of in­ter­vie­wees is im­pres­sive, en­com­pass­ing the likes of Ge­orge Romero, Simon Pegg and Robert Kirk­man – although only the re­li­ably con­trar­ian Alex Cox has any­thing par­tic­u­larly orig­i­nal to say. Hard­core Z- heads are un­likely to learn much, but there’s enough fun ma­te­rial in- be­tween the talk­ing heads – footage of a zom­bie wed­ding; dra­matic se­quences which poke fun at the genre’s ab­sur­di­ties – to en­sure even know- it- alls are en­ter­tained.

None. Ian Ber­ri­man

“Alas, poor Yorick… he was a killer robot.”

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