A woman is reborn into a vengeful cyborg in this thriller sci-fi horror classic from effects artist Ernest Farino.
After being brutally raped by businessman Danny Emerson and his associates, Gally Morton awaits the result of the trail. With the associates pretending to be witnesses, Emerson is acquitted for the attack. Deciding there is nothing left to live for and despite her brother Albert’s pleas, Gally jumps off the roof of the courthouse and is dead. Meanwhile, Danny and his cohorts Craig, Toby, Oscar, and Norman celebrate the win.
Five years have passed. Now vice presidents of Emerson’s company, the four “witnesses” have reason to celebrate. However, when Craig loses control of his car and meets a young woman willing to give him a hand, he becomes shocked to learn the woman is actually Gally, who is back from the dead and is now a cyborg. Viciously murdering him, Gally has been reborn thanks to her brother Albert, an expert in robotics. As Emerson and his buddies are being targeted, former police sketch artist Alison Ruger and detective Clifford Dunn are attempting their own investigations to find out who is responsible for the deaths of Emerson’s men.
Visual effects artist Ernest Farino makes his directorial debut with this new variation of the rape-revenge thriller. With his expertise in the film and his work having been seen in films such as The Terminator, Farino makes a pretty good debut. The film’s effects are a well-made oil machine combining sci-fi effects and gore effects that are surprisingly good and not as over the top either compared to some of today’s films.
Bruce Davison gives an exciting performance as the heartbroken brother Albert Morton, who is determined to seek revenge on the five men who raped his sister by turning said sister into a cyborg. Kudos goes to Clare Wren for churning a fantastic performance as Gally, the dead woman turned revenge seeking android. She gives this amazingly evil stare before unleashing her revenge in various methods that will appease horror films. It is fair to see Albert and Gally more as anti-heroes and not really villains as our main villain is the unscrupulous Danny Emerson, played with such tenacity and spirit by Michael Cerveris.
David Naughton is great as Detective Dunn, who begins to investigate the deaths of Emerson’s entourage much to his own chagrin. This is evident when he meets an assistant DA who also wants to nail Emerson for using fraudulent means to ramp up properties. Stacy Haiduk is also great as an on-off love interest of Dunn’s a nosy former court sketch artist who has a chance to use the old Morton-Emerson case as a means to showcase her art for a book. These two do their own investigations into the case and for the latter it leads to direr consequences.
The special effects are really great for this era. One victim gets a hole drilled in his midsection in the bloodiest of the gore scenes. The rest are somewhat more subtle in terms of the crimson. There are a few off-screen deaths as well, downplaying the film as a full on horror film and make it more for its sci-fi elements. Even seeing Wren in android mode with her robotic skull is quite nicely done by the VFX crew and looks realistic as opposed to if the film were done in a CGI matter.
Steel and Lace is quite an underrated sci-fi take on the rape-revenge thriller. Clare Wren is aces as the revenge seeking android with some pretty nifty death scenes that are not over the top but still good. Definitely a 90’s gem today’s generation may want to check out.
WFG RATING: B+
A Fries Entertainment Corporation production. Director: Ernest Farino. Producers: David DeCouteau and John Schouweiler. Writers: Joseph Dougherty and Dave Edison. Cinematography: Thomas M. Callaway. Editing: Christopher Roth.
Cast: Clare Wren, Bruce Davison, David Naughton, Stacy Haiduk, Michael Cerveris, Brian Backer, Scott Burkholder, Paul Lieber, John J. York, Nick Tate, David L. Lander.