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Heavy Metal Review

Did you know a corvette could fly down from space and land smoothly? In August 1981, Heavy Metal showed me it could happen, along with a lot of of other weird stuff.

Directing this 86 minute animation/adventure/fantasy is Gerald Potterton. 

Some of the voice cast is: Grimaldi - Don Francks as Grimaldi and Caroline Semple as Girl and Percy Rodriguez as Loc-Nar. 

Harry Canyon - Richard Romanus as Harry Canyon, Susan Roman as Girl, John Candy as Desk Sergeant, Al Waxman as Rudnick and Percy Rodriguez as Loc-Nar. 

Den - John Candy as Den, Jackie Burroughs as Katherine, Marilyn Lightstone as Queen, August Schellenberg as Norl and Percy Rodriguez as Loc-Nar. 

Captain Sternn - Eugene Levy as Captain Lincoln F. Sternn, Rodger Bumpass as Hanover Fiste and Percy Rodriguez as Loc-Nar. 

B-17 - George Touliatos as Pilot, Don Francks as Co-Pilot and Percy Rodriguez as Loc-Nar.

So Beautiful and So Dangerous - John Candy as Robot, Alice Playten as Gloria, Harold Ramis as Zeke, Eugene Levy as Edsel and Percy Rodriguez as Loc-Nar.

Taarna - Mavor Moore as Elder, August Schellenberg as Taarak, Vlasta Vrana as Barbarian Leader and Percy Rodriguez as Loc-Nar.  

Grimaldi - A man brings home a glowing orb. Eagerly, he shows his new find to his daughter and that's when things go horribly wrong for them. 

Harry Canyon - A red-headed stranger needing a ride turns Harry's next couple of days upside down. 

Den - A nerdy teenager finds a glowing orb that transports him to another world, and that's not even the weirdest part. 

Captain Sternn - Strenn tries to bribe his way out of some legal trouble. As it turns out, that bribe brought him even bigger troubles. 

B-17 - Surviving the dangerous bombing run they just made turns out the be the easiest part of their flight.

So Beautiful and So Dangerous - What looked like just another day for Alice quickly spins out of control... and out of this world. 

Taarna - A meteor crash changes a tribe of humans into mutated barbarians. When the barbarians begin attacking a peaceful city, the elders summon a warrior in hopes of saving themselves. 

First off, yeah, I know this has no-th-ing to do with horror. Even though it has some "horror like" qualities, it's still a fantasy flick. However, this is one of my favorite animations, even after all these years, so I thought I would share it. 

This Canadian-American animated anthology was adapted from stories originally in Heavy Metal magazine. It took about three years to get the film done. Each segment was done by a different animation house, while another house was working on the frame story that would tie it all together. There's a sequel called Heavy Metal 2000, also known as  Heavy Metal: F.A.K.K.² that was released in 2000, and went straight to video. Unlike the first Heavy Metal, the sequel wasn't based on stories from the magazine. Instead, the sequel was based on the graphic novel The Melting Pot by Kevin Eastman. 

The screenplay that Daniel Goldberg and Len Blum came up with was based on the original stories that were written by Dan O'Bannon (Soft Landing), Daniel Goldbreg and Len Blum (Harry Canyon), Richard Corban (Den), Bernie Wrightson (Captain Sternn), Dan O'Bannon (B-17), Angus McKie (So Beautiful & So Dangerous) and Daniel Goldberg and Len Blum (Tarrna).

I liked this movie because it was different, it wasn't something you saw a lot of films trying to do back then and it has stood the test of time while continuing to build a cult following. One of the things that helps this one work is the mix of stories they used. It has a good mix of scary, funny and serious(-ish) stories that blend together pretty good overall when telling the main story. Something else I thought helped the story was that the segments they picked were from different time periods. The time thing helped transform a simple glowy little ball into a menacing evil, and showing how far it could reach (time wise) and influence others helped build how dangerous it truly was. 

Here's something I didn't know about this one. There's a segment that wasn't included when it was released in theaters. Due to time restrictions the missing segment, called Neverwhere Land, would go in between the Captain Sternn and B-17 segments. If you have or can find the 96' VHS release then you'll see it right off because it's at the beginning of the tape. Now, since it's getting harder and harder to find a VHS player, no stress, the DVD release has the missing segment as a bonus feature. 

The play-through is cool and it continues to hold my attention every time I watch it. With the mix of story telling style (comedy or scary) you never know what you're in for next. Between the story style and the animation, something is always going on to keep your eyes glued to the screen, and if that doesn't do it, the constant flash of animated boobs just might. Also, there's some funny humor,  gory fight scenes and good music throughout the flick. 

Speaking of the music, you'll hear some great songs from Sammy Hagar, Riggs, Devo, Blue Oyster Cult, Cheap Trick, Don Fagen, Donale Fagen, Nazareth, Journey, Grand Funk Railroad, Black Sabbath, Don Felder, Trust, and Stevie Nicks popping up throughout the flick. 

The animation, for its time period, was good and as smooth as could be. It's not grand by any means, especially compared to today's animation, but was still pretty solid for back then. The animators built some awesome background scenery and showed some wild imagination in the worlds they built to tell the stories. 

Now, there was talk about a remake back in 2008, and over time word would pop up about it here and there, but nothing solid ever became of it. Unfortunately, one of the problems the film has is no distributor or production company has shown interest since Paramount Pictures decided to pass on the project. Apparently, Paramount thought the film was "too risque for mainstream audiences." Last anyone heard about the project was in 2014 when Robert Rodriguez, who had bought the rights to Heavy Metal, said he might be switching gears and bringing it to television, which is pretty convenient since he has his very own television network called El Rey. 

Overall, this is one of those that has a cult following and for good reason... it's freaking cool. If you haven't caught this one yet, change that and give it a spin because you're missing out on a metal filled classic. 

It's rated R for violence, language and nudity.

4 stars