By Todd Gilchrist
Despite their self-appointed pedigree as "The Criterion of Smut," Severin Films has carved a comfortable niche for themselves over the past few years as a reliable distributor of cult classics and obscure, overlooked gems. Unquestionably, their highest-profile release to date was a domestic DVD (and later Blu-ray) for Enzo Castellari's Inglorious Bastards, which inspired Tarantino's film of the same name (albeit different spelling). But they've released and reissued a number of terrific, highly-anticipated movies, almost all of which appeal to a unique and specific audience, even if they don't always register to mainstream viewers with the same excitement or awareness.
All of which brings us to Hardware, one of the company's latest releases. Though I hadn't seen it since it was first released on home video in the early 1990s, Richard Stanley's science fiction-horror film has been celebrated over the last two-plus decades as a modest masterpiece and a true cult classic, thanks in no small part to its small budget, even smaller distribution and minuscule but fervent fan base. Unfortunately, with mainstream "cult" movies like Paranormal Activity and District 9 occupying the head-space of contemporary genre fans, not to mention a great wealth of superior films throughout movie history that explore the same ideas, Hardware is a worth film to revisit primarily to see how well it fueled our feverish imaginations before it fell to the wayside.
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