Saturn 3


There are bad movies and there are tantalizingly bad movies, and Saturn 3 is the latter–the type of bad movie that tickles the imagination and demands an explanation. On first blush, there’s nothing unusual about it. Released in 1980, it was clearly trading on the post-Star Wars mania for sci-fi movies. The casting of Farrah Fawcett, at the time a big star, was a reasonable commercial gambit. And the release of Alien a year earlier certainly explained the idea of a monster movie set in space. If you look at the credits, you simply get a sense of older Hollywood types–director Stanley Donen, actor Kirk Douglas–striving to keep up with the prevailing trends.

But then you watch the movie, and you wonder: what the hell happened here?


They say all you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun. But if you’ve got a girl and a killer robot, then you’re really onto something. One of the joys of low-budget horror movies is that the stakes are low enough that filmmakers can get away with a lot of crazy shit, and there’s crazy shit aplenty in Hardware, the post-apocalyptic SF/horror feature debut of South African director Richard Stanley. The film takes its visual and thematic cues from Alien and Blade Runner, with a few ideas from The Terminator and Demon Seed thrown into the mix. But when you boil it down, Hardware is just a gritty, crudely fashioned cyberpunk monster movie. If that sounds like your idea of a good time, boy do you need to see this.

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