Strange Days 20th Anniversary: 1995-2015


Another of the spate of mid-90’s sci-fi / cyberpunk flicks (Hackers, Johnny Mnemonic, The Net, Strange Days, Virtuosity, etc), notable for it’s ‘borrowing’ of William Gibson’s sim-stim concept, the acronym SQUID (superconducting quantum interference detectors), prop design work by Syd Mead, quality casting, cool props and unusual POV camera work.

Pics & secrets below the break!

Let’s talk about the props: the sim-stim / SQUID decks and disks. The disks are simply repurposed TDK Minidiscs, for the now obsolete Sony Minidisc system. Unfortunately, the film is pathologically low-lit, so these are heavily lightened caps:

There may be a couple better shots of the discs, there are some OK shots of Lenny’s labeled discs:

Lenny’s California driver’s license:

Driver's Lic

Syd Mead’s concept art for the sim-stim deck / SQUID:


According to Syd’s ex post facto recollection, the decks were built by Stan Winston Studios (likely), however it is also possible that All Effects Company / Eric Allard was involved.

The hero deck seems to be quite faithful to Mead’s sketch(es?). The discs are loaded flat into a pop-up panel on the top of the deck, like an old top-loading VCR. At least one hero deck survived the filming and made it into private hands, though not without some damage:

Video of disc spinning mechanism and lights:

And that is all I have. Did I mention the film is very darkly lit, and frequently lit with colored light? Hard to get good screencaps.


Author: Staff Writer

Thirty-something graphic designer trapped in a boring part of Florida.

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