Event Report: Rare, Uncut 35mm Screening of “HARDWARE” at Alamo Drafthouse Yonkers!Fearful Features,Movies/TV,News Ken W. Hanley
With the recent release of LOST SOUL, the documentary about troubled production behind 1996’s THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR MOREAU, the interest in the work of director Richard Stanley has experienced a revival among the genre community. And with said renewed interest are coming new opportunities to experience said work, including an impending Blu-ray rerelease of DUSTDEVILS and more projects on the horizon. But FANGORIA recently had the chance to experience one of Stanley’s most beloved works, HARDWARE, in a way very few U.S. audiences have as the Alamo Drafthouse in Yonkers presented a rare, uncut 35mm print of the film on the big screen!
Upon arriving at the Drafthouse, the fun atmosphere was already in the air, as a well-sized crowd made their way into the auditorium and were treated to a pre-show filled with clips from killer robot movies and much of Richard Stanley’s music video work. The film, which rarely screens at all, let alone in 35mm and in this special uncut treatment, attracted a diverse crowd of horror fans from all walks of life. And there were many FANGO friends in the building as well, including this writer, FANGORIA contributors Madeleine Koestner and Heather Buckley, former FANGO web editor (and current Shock Till You Drop editor) Sam Zimmerman and, of course, our host for the evening, FANGORIA managing editor Michael Gingold.
After a few previews for upcoming Drafthouse Yonkers events (including the trailer for the Mondo x Chiller screening of SCANNERS as well as Drafthouse Films’ insane looking ROAR), Gingold took the stage for an introduction to the world of HARDWARE. Of course, Gingold recapped the genesis of the film, including how the cast and crew became involved, Richard Stanley’s origins and the film’s inevitable battle with the MPAA. Perhaps the most interesting bit of trivia, at least according to this writer, was the number of musicians who had come and gone from the project thanks to Stanley’s long career as a music video director, including John Lydon (a/k/a THE SEX PISTOLS’ Johnny Rotten) as Angry Bob and Sinead O’Connor as the Cabbie, while Bill Paxton and Jeffrey Combs were at one point in talks for the roles of Mo and Shades. After reminding the audience how rare this screening would be and exactly why, Gingold returned to the crowd and the lights went down once more…
Before the film, however, were two vintage 35mm horror trailers, which were specially curated for this FANGORIA screening. The first was none other than Eric Red’s BODY PARTS, a sci-fi-tinged horror flick starring Jeff Fahey as a man who receives a murderous arm via transplant, and features an insane performance from Brad Dourif that earned him the inaugural Chainsaw Award for Best Supporting Actor. The second was FREEJACK, the cyberpunk sci-fi thriller featuring Emilio Estevez, Mick Jagger, Rene Russo, Jonathan Banks, David Johansen and Anthony Hopkins that looked like a mix between MINDWARP and THE RUNNING MAN. Following that small dose of insanity, a foreign classification symbol came up to scattered applause and HARDWARE began.
HARDWARE itself is a real trip from start to finish, mixing the visual and environmental aesthetics of a Terry Gilliam film through the psychedelic lens of Alejandro Jodorowksy, all compounded with the violent splatterpunk mentality of early ’90s horror. Stanley is clearly as interested in creating a visually engaging mood with HARDWARE as much as he is telling a satirically-bent story about man and machine, and even gives less-than-subtle nods to some of the sci-fi genre’s most terrifying titles such as ALIEN. But overall, HARDWARE in its complete, uncut form is an experience, one that’s as stunning and elegant as it is occasionally vile and visceral, and there’s truly never been anything like it since, which is a testament to Stanley’s unique cinematic voice.
As a whole, HARDWARE is definitely the kind of film worth seeing on the big screen, and to see something that is so representative of the artist who made it in the cut that he wanted to be seen is truly rewarding as a horror fan. It’s no surprise that the audience met the end credits with a surplus of applause, and thanks to a top-tier introduction from FANGORIA’s Michael Gingold, everyone there was able to add an extra layer of appreciation for the macabre madness that would hit the screen. And though an uncut and rare screening of HARDWARE is one hell of a get, at least Gingold has a FANGORIA favorite for his following curated screening, as he brings the evil angel epic THE PROPHECY to the Yonkers Drafthouse in May.