Let's say your sister was raped by the biggest piece of yuppie scum the late 1980s ever produced, and, after said yuppie scum is acquitted by an all-mullet jury, she kills herself by jumping off the roof of the courthouse. Do you: A) Shrug your shoulders and say, "Them's the breaks." B) Hire another lawyer and demand a retrial C) Track down the yuppie scum and his yuppie scum accomplices and murder their yuppie scum asses. Or D) Transform your dead sister into a killer cyborg and have her hunt down the yuppie offenders one by one. Well, you can forget about 'A.' I mean, no-one wants to watch that movie. As for 'B.' What is this, a John Grisham novel? Pass. While I like the premise of 'C,' I'm afraid I've seen that movie before (in fact, I've seen it multiple times). No, the only logical choice is 'D.' And, as luck would have it, that's exactly the direction the makers of Steel and Lace (a.k.a. Čelik i čipka and Seducción asesina) decide to go.
Now, you're probably thinking to yourself: "Steel and Lace," "Cyborgs," "1991"? This sounds like a total cheese fest. While, yes, it does sound a tad on the cheesy side. The film is actually quite intelligent in places. Wait. Who am I kidding? It's not only intelligent in places, it's intelligent from start to finish. But get this, it's sleazy, too.
In order to exact revenge on yuppie scum in a manner that is sufficiently satisfying, you must utilize the ancient art of seduction. Sure, you could simply lift them up off the ground while their standing underneath a running helicopter, but what you really want to do is to make them suffer. And in the case two of the fellas, the best way to do this is to have them think they just won the poontang sweepstakes.
How, you might be thinking, is your sister going to seduce the yuppies? Aren't they going to recognize her if she walks up to them looking like that woman who killed herself after they were acquitted for her rape?
It helps that Albert Morton (Bruce Davison) is a cyborg expert (duh). It also helps that Albert's cyborgs are masters of disguise.
Feeling guilty after his sister, Gaily Morton (Clare Wren), commits suicide moments after her rapist, Daniel Emerson (Michael Cerveris) and his four accomplices, are found not guilty, Albert decides to put his cyborg expertise to good use. Well, I don't know if it's exactly "good use." I suppose it is if you're in favour of killing yuppie scum who getaway with rape. Either way, Albert has clearly put a lot of effort into avenging his dead sister. And, thanks to this movie, we get to see each yuppie death in gory detail.
Did anyone else find it odd that when we jump forward five years after his acquittal that Daniel Emerson was still sporting a ponytail? I don't want to analyze this too deeply, but I doubt he would still be rocking a ponytail after five years. I mean, hairstyles changed rapidly during the late 1980s/early '90s. One day you're wearing your hair like Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me-era Robert Smith, the next your do is done up like Irv Weinstein.
Anyway, Emerson, who inherited Emerson Realty from his family, and his "partners," represent the dark side of the 1980s.
We get a taste of this so-called "dark side" almost immediately, as we see them trying to evict an elderly gentlemen from his home so they can build a mini-mall. The sign out front reads: Another Emerson Mini-Mall Coming Soon. Their actions in this scene kind of reminded me of what the corporations did to Queen St. West in Toronto. Haven't you heard? Goth and freak central has been slowly transformed into a bland, corporate cesspool, filled with nothing but chain stores.
It sucks, man. Seriously, what does a brother have to do to get some pointy skull buckle boots up in this bitch? (Um, travel back in time to 1987.) Fuck you, dick-munch.
Sorry about that. Now, where was I? Ah, yes. Emerson and his band of shiftless sycophants are busy ruining society, one mini-mall at a time.
After telling the old dude that he's got twelve hours to pack up and leave before the wrecking ball starts swinging, Emerson and the gang get in their cars. It's here that we begin to follow Craig (John J. York), a bolo-tie/curly mullet enthusiast, as he makes his through the Hollywood Hills. Experiencing car trouble, Craig looks like he's in for a rough night. Hold on, what's this? It's a leggy blonde (J. Cynthia Brooks) in a T-Bird. When she's finished flirting with him, the leggy blonde (in the pink mini-skirt) offers Craig to "climb in... my car."
I liked the way she paused before saying "my car," as it made it sound like she was talking about her vagina.
Instead of driving him home, the leggy blonde takes him to a motel, one that offers hourly rates (maybe she was talking about her vagina after all). Just as Craig is starting to plant kisses all over her neck and chin, the leggy blonde pulls off her face to reveal her true identity. (Well, who is she?) It's Gaily Morton, the rape victim from five years ago. However, instead of pulling out a gun and shooting Craig in the head, Gaily deploys a large drill from her cyborg chest cavity and proceeds to penetrate Craig's non-cyborg chest cavity with it. This, as you might expect, causes Craig much discomfort.
Meanwhile, the frumpy courtroom sketch artist from Emerson's trial is now vivacious artist who lives in a cool loft. The way her character, Alison (Stacy Haiduk), gets involved with the Emerson murders is sort of contrived. But after a few awkward moments, I said, screw it, and just went along with it. Told to compile a book made up of courtroom sketches by her manager, Alison finds herself working alongside a cop named Clifford "Don't Call Me Cliffy" Dunn (David Naughton). A cop, by the way, who just happens to be Alison's ex-boyfriend and the detective in charge of solving Craig's murder.
While I would have loved to have seen the leggy blonde cyborg motif used for all the yuppie killings, to keep things interesting, they have Gaily use a number of different guises to entrap her yuppie prey. The weirdest being when Gaily pretends to be an FBI agent named Spoon (John DeMita) in order to wreak vengeance on Toby (Scott Burkholder) in the alleyway of a local bar.
My favourite non-leggy blonde cyborg yuppie killing has to be the one where cyborg Gaily poses as Miss Fairweather (Brenda Swanson), a bosomy secretary. Of course, the scene is not exactly perfect (there are no clear shots of Miss Fairweather's black nylons). But the way they edited the sound of Gaily's cyborg drill penis piercing the fleshy, non-cyborg penis that belongs to Oscar (Paul Lieber) with the sound of Alison's manager finishing off a Big Gulp in the building parking garage was pretty awesome.
With the authorities closing in, and there being only two yuppies left (including Emerson himself) to dispatch, will cyborg Gaily and Albert be able to get to them in time? Personally, I'm surprised the guy from Fast Times at Ridgemont High (Brian Backer) was able to last this long (I figured he was going to be the first to buy it). At any rate, what looks like your standard cyborg rape revenge flick, is actually a well acted movie about loss. (Did you say, "well acted"?) I did. And it should come as no surprise, as both Clare Wren and Bruce Davison are excellent actors, who bring an air of respectability to the proceedings that I did not expect.
In closing, if you thought I Spit On Your Grave had too much rape and not enough cyborgs, Steel and Lace is the movie for you.