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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "M.A.R.K. 13" )

 

directed by Richard Stanley
UK 1989

 

In your requisite eighties MTV-look post-apocalyptic wasteland, Mo (Dylan McDermott, THE MESSENGERS) hopes to score with his shut-in, sculptress girlfriend Jill (Stacey Travis, GHOST WORLD) by gifting her a disembodied robot head found in the desert by a "Zone Tripper." Little do they know that the robotic head belongs to a M.A.R.K. 13 killing machine that is still aware. In Jill's labyrinthine apartment, M.A.R.K. 13 reassembles itself using spare parts from Jill's metal sculptures (and several of her sharp power tools) and resumes its prime directive of killing all humans. Meanwhile Mo has discovered that the M.A.R.K. 13 project was put on hold because the drones (which could power themselves from any source including the sun) were defective and dangerous. With his pal Shades (John Lynch, ISOLATION) - who self-medicates with LSD to recapture the feel of zero gravity from his long stays in outer space - too tripped out to be of much help, Mo hurries back to Jill's apartment but M.A.R.K. 13 has taken over the apartment's computer system and Jill is trapped with the killing machine.

The feature debut of music video director Richard Stanley is at once impressive and shopworn. Stanley revisits concepts from his Super 8 short INCIDENTS IN AN EXPANDING UNIVERSE (available on both current DVD and Blu-ray editions of the feature) but works them into a plot that vaguely recalls DEMON SEED and a handful of earlier eighties sci-fi movies equally glutted with MTV visuals (all the more impressive-looking here due to Steven Chivers' cinematography and the low budget). Stanley does, however, steer away from James Cameron-isms and instead looks to Bava, Argento (and Argento protege Michele Soavi) for visual and aural inspiration (composer Simon Boswell - who also scored Stanley's DUST DEVIL - worked with Argento and Soavi and would go on to score Jodorowsky's SANTA SANGRE). More specifically, he cites Lars Van Trier's THE ELEMENT OF CRIME as another visual inspiration (although not Paul Schrader's CAT PEOPLE which seems like the inspiration for the Moroccan red desert opening and the use of Public Image Limited's "The Order of Death" which recalls Giorgio Moroder's music at times; Stanley also used Moroder's instrumental theme from the Schrader film to score his 8mm short RITES OF PASSAGE). Iggy Pop cameos as a radio DJ and rocker Lemmy as a watercab driver.

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 14 September 1990 (USA)

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DVD Comparison:

Severin Films - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Optimum Entertainment - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for all the Screen Caps!

(Severin Films - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Optimum Entertainment - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Severin Films

Region 1 - NTSC

Optimum Entertainment
Region 2 - PAL
Runtime 1:33:42 1:30:18 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.84:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 8.63 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.84:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 4.88 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 

Severin Films

 

Bitrate:

 

Optimum Entertainment

 

Audio English Dolby Digital 5.1; English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo

English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo

Subtitles none none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Severin Films

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.84:1

Edition Details:
• DISC 1:
• Audio Commentary by director Richard Stanley, moderated by Norman Hill
• DISC 2:
• INCIDENTS IN AN EXPANDING UNIVERSE short (4:3; 44:30)
• RITES OF PASSAGE short (4:3; 9:50)
• SEA OF PERDITION short (16:9; 8:33)
• NO FLESH SHALL BE SPARED documentary (16:9; 53:59)
• Deleted and extended scenes (4:3; 25:02)
• Richard Stanley on HARDWARE 2 (7:40)
• HARDWARE promo reel (4:3; 3:22)
• German Theatrical Trailer (4:3; 2:03)

DVD Release Date: 13 October 2009
Amaray

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio: Optimum Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.84:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary by director Richard Stanley and producer Paul Trybits
• RITES OF PASSAGE short (4:3; 9:48)
• INCIDENTS IN AN EXPANDING UNIVERSE short (4:3; 44:27)
• VOICES OF THE MOON documentary (4:3; 32:24)
• THE SEA OF PERDITION short (16:9; 8:31)
• 3 Deleted and Extended Scenes (4:3; 17:45)
• Lincoln's Death: Behind the Scenes (4:3; 1:37)
• The Kids Get Theirs Scene: Rough Cut (4:3; 1:36)
• HARDWARE promo reel (4:3; 3:22)
• Booklet: 2000 A.D. story SHOK! and liner notes by kim Newman
• Art Cards

 

DVD Release Date: 22 June 2009
Amaray

Chapters 12

 

Comments

While DUST DEVIL was not only hacked to ribbons and restructured by Miramax, HARDWARE merely suffered MPAA cuts for an R-rating and has been available in its uncut form abroad under its alternate MARK 13 title (even the lesser quality non-anamorphic German import that had been making the rounds for years was uncut). Clearly the Severin disc is the winner in terms of picture quality (a Blu-ray is also available HERE). Both are sourced from the same uncut high definition master but the Severin 2 disc set devotes the first DVD9 disc entirely to the feature while the Optimum release features the feature and all of the extras on a single DVD9 (with a bitrate nearly half that of the Severin); presumably Optimum's Blu-ray HERE looks better.

The Severin release also features a 5.1 remix in addition to the original Dolby Stereo mix. Diehard Stanley fans may want the Optimum additionally because of the alternate commentary track (Stanley's DUST DEVIL also has exclusive US and UK commentary tracks). Both commentaries are worthwhile. There is some overlap but the director/producer commentary is more anecdotal (among other things, we learn that star McDermott pointed out the Mark 13 biblical quote and producer Trybits also relates a rather backhanded compliment James Cameron gave to Stanley) while the Severin director commentary moderated by Norman Hill is more analytical. While the Severin set does not feature the VOICE OF THE MOON documentary (which Stanley was shooting with the Mujahidin while deals were being secured for HARDWARE), it can also be found on Subversive's out of print 5-disc 9,999 copy limited edition of DUST DEVIL on which it shares its own disc with the voodoo documentary THE WHITE DARKNESS. Severin includes a substantial exclusive extra in the 50+ minute documentary NO FLESH SHALL BE SPARED featuring Stanley, Trybits, executive producer Stephen Wooley, producer JoAnne Sellar, storyboard artist Graham Humphreys, Lemmy, DP Steven Chivers, composer Simon Boswell, and star Travis (some UK commentary-exclusive info is imparted here). The documentary features a lot of behind-the-scenes footage (including some from the partially-completed Morocco shoot). Stanley also contributes a short piece discussing HARDWARE 2 which never got off the ground (the full script is up at his website along with the scripts for DUST DEVIL and HARDWARE).

 - Eric Cotenas

 



DVD Menus
(
Severin Films - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Optimum Entertainment - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)
 

 

 


 

Screen Captures

(Severin Films - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Optimum Entertainment - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(Severin Films - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Optimum Entertainment - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(Severin Films - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Optimum Entertainment - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(Severin Films - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Optimum Entertainment - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(Severin Films - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Optimum Entertainment - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(Severin Films - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Optimum Entertainment - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(Severin Films - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Optimum Entertainment - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Severin

Sound:

Severin

Extras: Severin
Menu: Optimum

 
DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Severin Films

Region 1 - NTSC

Optimum Entertainment
Region 2 - PAL

 

 

 




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