Tuesday, August 28, 2012

ANI-MOVIES, *Heavy Metal


This was the very first full-length animated movie anthology based on a comic book. The French comic magazine of Metal Hurlant had been running since the mid-70s, and was brought over to America and printed in English by National Lampoon as part of their lineup. It was then retitled Heavy Metal, and had become such a strong subculture hit that Columbia Pictures hired several Canadian studios to put together this film adaptation, which has since become a stoner sci-fi legend.

The movie is broken up into several mostly non-sequential stories, although they are all tied together to a wandering sinister entity known as the Loc-Nar, which is a glowing green orb that changes size at different times on different worlds. The Loc-Nar appears as a small object that an astronaut brings his daughter from space(in his kickass sub-orbital Corvette!), which melts the poor trekker, and proceeds to terrify the girl with tales of his evilness throughout the cosmos. We are first sent to New York in the mid-21st Century where aliens are a common everyday thing(you gotta remember this film was made in the late 80s!), and taxi driver Harry Canyon gets roped into a caper with a sexy archeologist. She’s on the run from some mobsters who want the Loc-Nar from her, althought no one can touch the damn thing without turned into goo. The next story was based on the works of Richard Corban and his Den comic about a geeky kid who finds the Loc-Nar in his backyard, and it sends him to a totally different world where he’s transformed into a muscular bald guy called Den by the locals. He rescues a voluptuous babe meant for a sacrifice to some god, only to have go and take the Loc-Nar(which has somehow found its way to this world too)from a corrupt buxom queen. We’re then introduced to the slimy Captain Sternn who is on trial for several galactic offenses, but is sprung by his flunkie who “hulks out” and rips the space station apart. Following that is a grim war story about airmen that are turned into zombies by the Loc-Nar. This takes us into a more comedic(but slightly unrelated)segment where a secretary is accidently abducted by two alien cokeheads and their horny robot. The last chapter supposedly takes place in the past about the Loc-Nar morphs a nomad tribe into possessed mutants that ravage an entire city of scholars. The bikini-clad warrior woman Taarna is psychically called by the last of these scholars, and goes to avenge them. She kills the mutant leader, and uses her magic sword to destroy the Loc-Nar. This leads into the revelation that the girl that the Loc-Nar was confronting at the beginning is the next incarnation of Taarna’s warrior lineage, and somehow Taarna’s nixing the Loc-Nar in the past causes the one in the future to be finished too.

Ivan Reitman of Ghostbusters fame produced this movie at the same time he was doing his other film, Stripes, so it features quite a few actors from it doing voice overs in it, with weirdly enough John Candy as the beefy Den, plus some other Second City alumni like Eugene Levy as Captain Sternn. Heavy Metal had numerous studios behind it, including CineGroupe(who ironically later did Tripping The Rift), and Atkinson Film-Arts that did mostly family friendly stuff like Care Bears and The Racoons. There was a segment that wasn’t included in the theatrical release about how the the Loc-Nar influenced the evolution of life on Earth, but was dropped because it seemed to stop the flow of the movie, it did make it to the video release though. This movie has achieved a cult status, mostly due to its adult nature which made it one of the classic midnight movies of its time. There was a sequal made called Heavy Metal 2000(one of several films to come out at the time with “2000″ in the title), but is very skipable. If you want check out what old school comic book nerds got off on back in the day, or just wanna see a killer rock & roll/sci-fi epic filled with babes and blood in it, then spin this LP long into the night!

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