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Death Machine

Death Machine DVD Cover
Directed by Stephen Norrington
Produced by Dominic Anciano
Jim Beach
Ray Burdis
Written by Stephen Norrington
Starring Brad Dourif
Ely Pouget
William Hootkins
John Sharian
Martin McDougall
Andreas Wisniewski
Richard Brake
Music by Crispin Merrell
Distributed by Trimark Pictures
Release date(s) 1994
Running time 111 min.
Language English
Budget unannounced

Death Machine is a 1994 sci-fi action horror film written and directed by Stephen Norrington.



The film starts out with a scene at a demolished roadside diner, with everything inside slaughtered by a malfunctioned secret project by the codename Hardman, invented and manufactured by Chaank, a megacorporation producing various military hardware. Public outcry ensues, and Cale is introduced as the company's investigating Chief Executive. Ridley, head of the board of directors, tries to cover things up, but she gets the wind of all the illegal activity going on in the company. Cale demands immediate and full public disclosure, along with Dante, who works on numerous projects, including the Hardman, being fired. This doesn't seem to get much of a reaction from anyone besides Dante himself who takes an eerie interest in Cale, confronting her on a few occasions with knowledge about her finances, past life, and ID information.

Meanwhile Cale wants to know what project Dante is currently working on in vault 10 (apparently mechanical shops in the building are designated as vaults), as he never submits reports and is being less than cooperative. Ridley, scared, refuses to help, telling her outright that her recently deceased predecessor who took interest in Dante's work ethics soon met with a grisly death right in the corporate headquarters, most likely by the very project Dante is working on. During the conversation she steals his access card in order to investigate on her own.

At the same time a trio of stoner pacifist eco-warriors are planning an infiltration of the company's headquarters in order to destroy its digitally stored assets and put Chaank out of business.

Somehow, Dante finds out that Cale has the card now, and confronts Ridley on the issue, soon after killing him by what the viewer can assume is his invention. Carpenter calls up Cale the same night after finding Ridley's mutilated body by means of implanted life-sign transmitter that everyone in the corporation has. She arrives, and finds out that whatever it was that killed him came out of the infamous vault 10, and taking matters in her own hands, terminates Dante's employment and seals the vault. Dante is about to shoot her when the trio of eco-warriors show up and take them hostage. They need to gain access to the secure areas of the building in order to destroy the company's digitally stored bonds, but Cale refuses to cooperate. Raimi, apparent leader of the gang, goes to an alternate plan to cut through the doors and the bulkhead leading to the containment. Dante, sensing his chance, "helps" them by suggesting to cut through one of the vaults surrounding the containment instead, leading them to what is revealed to be vault 10.

Once the vault is open, he jumps in, activates his invention (he calls it the Warbeast, or Frontline Morale Destroyer as that seems to be its official designation and purpose), which promptly kills off one of the teammates, Weyland. Raimi flees for his life, meeting up with Yutani and subdued Cale and Carpenter, when Dante broadcasts his demands on the monitor, demanding his employment reinstated, and Cale "interfacing with him on a regular basis". Raimi and Yutani terminate the operation and attempt to get out of the building, with Carpenter and Cale tagging along.



  • The name of the fictional corporation is Chaank Armaments Corporation.
  • The Hardman suit does in fact have a real-world analog, it is very similar in looks and working principles to Tsukuba University's HAL 5, which is due to be in production by the end of 2005 in Japan.
  • The names of the members of the 'Humanist Alliance', Weyland and Yutani, are references to the fictional Weyland-Yutani corporation featured in the movie Aliens, and informally Alien as well.
  • The name of the character "Scott Ridley" is a reference to the director Ridley Scott who directed Alien.
  • The name of the character "Raimi" is a reference to the director Sam Raimi.
  • The name of the character "Jack Dante" is a reference to the director Joe Dante.
  • The name of the character "John Carpenter" is a reference to the director John Carpenter
  • The writing on the Hardman headgear Raimi wears reads "Cameron Unit 04", likely being a reference to the director James Cameron who directed The Terminator and Aliens.
  • Raimi and Yutani makes numerous references to movies, actors, and games such as Stallone's The Specialist, Scarface, Street Fighter II (Yutani yells out Sho-ryu-ken before opening fire), and mimics Arnold Schwarzenegger's "I'll be back" line from The Terminator complete with mock accent.
  • The sound effect for the swipe cards "Swipe now, swipe now" is a direct reference to Ridley Scotts "Bladerunner" where the cross walks say "Cross now, cross now" the voice sampling is nearly identical.

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