Heavy Metal is a 1981 Canadian adult animated sci-fi-fantasy film directed by Gerald Potterton, produced by Ivan Reitman and Leonard Mogel, who also was the publisher of Heavy Metal magazine, which was the basis for the film, and starring the voices of Rodger Bumpass, Jackie Burroughs, John Candy, Joe Flaherty, Don Francks, Martin Lavut, Marilyn Lightstone, Eugene Levy, Alice Playten, Harold Ramis, Percy Rodriguez, Susan Roman, Richard Romanus, August Schellenberg, John Vernon, and Zal Yanovsky. The screenplay was written by Daniel Goldberg and Len Blum.
The film is an anthology of various science fiction and fantasy stories adapted from Heavy Metal magazine and original stories in the same spirit. Like the magazine, the film features a great deal of graphic violence, sexuality, and nudity. Its production was expedited by having several animation houses working simultaneously on different segments.
A sequel titled Heavy Metal 2000 was released in 2000.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Gerald Potterton|
|Produced by||Ivan Reitman|
|Music by||Elmer Bernstein|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Box office||$20.1 million|
The title sequence story opens with a space shuttle orbiting the Earth. The bay doors open, releasing a Corvette. An astronaut seated in the car then begins descending through Earth's atmosphere, landing in a desert canyon.
In the framing story, the astronaut Grimaldi arrives at home, where he is greeted by his daughter. He says he has something to show her. When he opens his case, a green, crystalline sphere rises out and melts him. It introduces itself to the terrified girl as "the sum of all evils". Looking into the orb known as the Loc-Nar, the girl sees how it has influenced societies throughout time and space.
In a dystopian New York City in 2031, cynical taxicab driver Harry Canyon narrates his day in film-noir-style, grumbling about his fares and occasional robbery attempts, which he thwarts with a disintegrator installed in the back of his seat. He stumbles into an incident where he rescues a girl from a gangster named Rudnick, who had murdered the girl's father. She tells him about her father's discovery: the Loc-Nar, an artifact over which people are killing each other. Harry takes the girl back to his apartment where she climbs into his bed and has sex with him. The next day, one of his fares is Rudnick, who threatens Harry if he does not cooperate. The girl decides to sell the Loc-Nar to Rudnick and split the proceeds with Harry. At the exchange, Rudnick takes the Loc-Nar out of its case and is disintegrated. Meanwhile, the girl informs Harry that she is keeping all the money for herself and pulls a gun on him. Harry is forced to use his disintegrator on her. He keeps all the money and writes it up as a "two-day ride with one hell of a tip".
A nerdy teenager finds a "green meteorite" near his house and puts it in his rock collection. During a lightning experiment, the orb hurls the boy into the world of Neverwhere, where he transforms into a naked, bald-headed muscular man called Den, an acronym for his earth name, David Ellis Norman. After getting a nearby flag around him to keep anyone from seeing his "dork" hanging out, Den witnesses a strange ritual, rescuing a nubile young topless woman who was about to be sacrificed to Uhluhtc. Reaching safety, she introduces herself as Katherine Wells from the British colony of Gibraltar. While she demonstrates her gratitude with sexual favors, they are interrupted by the minions of Ard, an immortal man who wants to obtain the Loc-Nar for himself. He orders Den to get the Loc-Nar from the Queen, who performed the ritual. Den agrees and infiltrates the palace, but is promptly caught by the Queen, who offers leniency if he has sex with her. He complies, thereby distracting the Queen while the raiding party steals the Loc-Nar. Den escapes and races back to rescue Katherine from Ard. Recreating the lightning incident that drew him to Neverwhere, he is able to banish Ard and the Queen. Den's voice-over has him suspecting that they were teleported to his mom's house and she will be surprised. Refusing the opportunity to take the Loc-Nar for himself, Den rides with Katherine into the sunset content to remain in Neverwhere. As for the Loc-Nar, it rises into the sky and lands on a space station where it is picked up by someone.
On a space station, crooked space captain Lincoln F. Sternn is on trial for numerous serious charges presented by the prosecutor consisting of 12 counts of murder on the first degree, 14 counts of armed theft of Federation property, 22 counts of piracy in high space, 18 counts of fraud, 37 counts of rape, . . . and one moving violation. Pleading "not guilty" against the advice of his lawyer Charlie, Sternn explains that he expects to be acquitted because he bribed a witness named Hanover Fiste. Fiste takes the stand upon being called to by the prosecutor, but his perjury is subverted when the Loc-Nar, now the size of a marble, causes him to blurt out highly incriminating statements about Sternn (though whether or not any of them are true is unknown) before changing him into a hulking muscular form that chases Sternn throughout the station, breaking through bulkheads and wreaking havoc. Eventually, he corners Sternn, who gives him his promised payoff, and he promptly shrinks back to his gangly original form. Sternn opens a trap door under Fiste, ejecting him into space. The Loc-Nar enters Earth's atmosphere with Fiste's flaming severed hand still clinging to it.
Because of time constraints, a segment called "Neverwhere Land", which would have connected "Captain Sternn" to "B-17", was cut.
The story follows the influence of the Loc-Nar upon the evolution of a planet, from the Loc-Nar landing in a body of water, influencing the rise of the industrial age, and a world war. This original story was created by Cornelius Cole III.
The original rough animatics are set to a loop of the beginning of Pink Floyd's "Time". The 1996 VHS release included this segment at the end of the tape. On the DVD release, this segment is included as a bonus feature. In both released versions, the sequence is set to the music of "Passacaglia" (from Magnificat), composed and conducted by Krzysztof Penderecki.
A World War II B-17 bomber nicknamed the Pacific Pearl makes a difficult bombing run with heavy damage and casualties. As the bomber limps home, the co-pilot goes back to check on the crew. Finding nothing but dead bodies, he notices the Loc-Nar trailing the plane. Informing the pilot, he heads back to the cockpit, when the Loc-Nar rams itself into the plane and reanimates the dead crew members as zombies. The co-pilot is killed, while the pilot parachutes away in time. He lands on an island where he finds a graveyard of airplanes from various times, along with the wrecked airplanes' zombified airmen, who surround him, sealing the horrified pilot's fate.
Dr. Anrak, a prominent scientist, arrives at the Pentagon for a meeting regarding mysterious mutations that are plaguing the United States. At the meeting, the doctor tries to dismiss the occurrences. When he sees the Loc-Nar in the locket of Gloria, a beautiful buxom stenographer, he begins to behave erratically and attempts to sexually assault her. A colossal starship drills through the roof and abducts the doctor and, by accident, Gloria. The ship's robot is irritated at Anrak, who is actually a malfunctioning android, but its mood changes when it sees Gloria. With the help of the ship's alien pilot Edsel and co-pilot Zeke, the robot convinces Gloria to stay on board and have "robot sex" (albeit off-screen). Meanwhile, Edsel and Zeke snort a massive amount of a powdered drug called Plutonian Nyborg before flying home, zoning out on the cosmos. Too intoxicated to fly straight, they crash land unharmed in a huge space station.
The Loc-Nar, now the size of a giant meteor, crashes into a volcano on an unnamed world, changing a tribe of human outcasts into mutated barbarians who ravage a peaceful city. The elders desperately try to summon the last of a warrior race, the Taarakians. Taarna, a strong, beautiful, and mute Taarakian warrior maiden, answers the call but was summoned too late to stop the massacre and resolves to avenge the city. Her search leads to the barbarians' stronghold, where she is captured, stripped of her clothing, tormented and left for dead. With the help of her Taarakian mount, she escapes, places her outfit back on, and confronts the barbarian leader. Though wounded, she defeats him. With Taarna readying her final attack on the Loc-Nar, it tells her not to sacrifice herself as she cannot destroy it. She does not relent, and her self-sacrifice destroys the Loc-Nar.
As the final story ends, the Loc-Nar terrorizing the girl is similarly destroyed, blowing the mansion to pieces. Taarna's reborn mount appears outside and the girl happily flies away on it. It is then revealed that Taarna's soul has been reincarnated in the girl. The girl's hair color changes to that of Taarna and she reveals a Taarakian mark on her neck.
The film uses the rotoscoping technique of animation in several shots. This process consists of shooting models and actors, then tracing the shot onto film for animation purposes. The B-17 bomber was shot using a 10-foot replica, which was then animated. Additionally, Taarna the Taarakian was rotoscoped, using Toronto model Carole Desbiens as a model for the animated character. The shot of the exploding house near the end of the movie was originally to be rotoscoped, but as the film's release date had been moved up from October/November to August 7, 1981, a lack of time prevented this. This remains as the only non-animated sequence in the film.
Fantasy illustrator Chris Achilléos designed and painted the iconic promotional poster image, commissioned in 1980, that features the central character Taarna on her birdlike steed. That artwork continues to be used for home video releases. Achelleos also did conceptual design work for the Taarna character.
The film was released on August 7, 1981. The release grossed nearly $20,000,000.
The film was met with mixed response. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 60% of critics have given the film a positive review based on 30 reviews, with an average rating of 5.7/10 and the critical consensus: "It's sexist, juvenile, and dated, but Heavy Metal makes up for its flaws with eye-popping animation and a classic, smartly-used soundtrack."
Janet Maslin of The New York Times wrote that "for anyone who doesn't think an hour and a half is a long time to spend with a comic book, 'Heavy Metal' is impressive," and noted that the film "was scored very well, with music much less ear-splitting than the title would suggest." Variety declared, "Initial segments have a boisterous blend of dynamic graphics, intriguing plot premises and sly wit that unfortunately slide gradually downhill ... Still, the net effect is an overridingly positive one and will likely find its way into upbeat word-of-mouth." Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune gave the film three stars, writing that it "isn't intended for close scrutiny on a literal level. The film clearly is intended as a trip, and on that level it works very nicely." He criticized the film as "blatantly sexist" and for having "wildly romanticized" violence. Sheila Benson of the Los Angeles Times wrote, "Somehow a great deal of the charm [of the magazine] leaked out on the way to the movie house, but all of the sadism stayed put. And then some. It's the most expensive adolescent fantasy revenge fulfillment wet dream ever to slither onto a screen." John Pym of The Monthly Film Bulletin found that it was "to put it mildly, something of a hodge-podge." Film historian and critic Leonard Maltin gave the film 3 stars out of 4 in his Movie Guide, calling the feature "...uneven, but great fun on a mindless, adolescent level."
Prior to official release on VHS and Laserdisc in 1996, the film was re-released to 54 theaters on March 8, 1996 taking in $550,000. The subsequent home video release moved over one million units.
|Soundtrack album by |
|Genre||Heavy metal, hard rock, pop rock|
|Heavy Metal film soundtracks chronology|
The soundtrack was released on LP in 1981, but for legal reasons, was not released on CD until 1995. The album peaked at number 12 on the Billboard 200 chart. The movie's theme song, "Heavy Metal (Takin' a Ride)" was sung by Don Felder. It was released as a single in the U.S. and reached number 43 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number five on the Mainstream Rock chart.
Blue Öyster Cult wrote and recorded a song called "Vengeance (The Pact)" for the film, but the producers declined to use the song because the lyrics provided a capsulized summary of the "Taarna" vignette. "Veteran of the Psychic Wars" was used instead. Both songs can be found on Blue Öyster Cult's album Fire of Unknown Origin. Though used in the film, the songs "Through Being Cool" by Devo and "E5150" by Black Sabbath were not included in the released soundtrack album. These songs are on New Traditionalists and Mob Rules, respectively.
The legal difficulties surrounding the use of some songs in the movie delayed its release to home video. The production company's use of some songs were limited solely to the theatrical release and soundtrack and did not include home video releases. It was not until 1996 that there was an official home video release on VHS when Kevin Eastman, who had bought the publishing rights of Heavy Metal magazine in 1992 and previously contributed to the magazine, reached a settlement with the music copyright holders.
|1.||"Heavy Metal" (Original Version)||Sammy Hagar||3:50|
|3.||"Working in the Coal Mine"||Devo||2:48|
|4.||"Veteran of the Psychic Wars"||Blue Öyster Cult||4:48|
|5.||"Reach Out"||Cheap Trick||3:35|
|6.||"Heavy Metal (Takin' a Ride)"||Don Felder||5:00|
|7.||"True Companion"||Donald Fagen||5:02|
|8.||"Crazy (A Suitable Case for Treatment)"||Nazareth||3:24|
|11.||"Queen Bee"||Grand Funk Railroad||3:11|
|12.||"I Must Be Dreamin'"||Cheap Trick||5:37|
|13.||"The Mob Rules" (alternate version)||Black Sabbath||3:16|
|14.||"All of You"||Don Felder||4:18|
|16.||"Blue Lamp"||Stevie Nicks||3:48|
Unusual for the time, an LP recording of Elmer Bernstein's score was released alongside the soundtrack in 1981, and it featured the composer's first use of the ondes Martenot, an instrument which became a trademark of Bernstein's later career. On March 13, 2008, Film Score Monthly released an official, expanded CD release of Bernstein's score, which he conducted. The score was performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with the London Voices and Jeanne Loriod on the ondes Martenot.
Original track listing:
Re-release track listing:
The first sequel, titled Heavy Metal 2000, was released in 2000. A second sequel has been in various stages of development since.
In March 2008, Variety reported that Paramount Pictures was set to make another animated film with David Fincher "spearheading the project". Kevin Eastman, who is the current owner and publisher of Heavy Metal, will direct a segment, as will Tim Miller, "whose Blur Studio will handle the animation for what is being conceived as an R-rated, adult-themed feature".
Entertainment website IGN announced, on July 14, 2008, "David Fincher's edgy new project has suffered a serious setback after it was dropped by Paramount, according to Entertainment Weekly." Entertainment Weekly quoted Tim Miller as saying "David really believes in the project. It's just a matter of time."
In September 2008, Eastman was quoted as saying "Fincher is directing one, Guillermo del Toro wants to direct one, Zack Snyder wants to direct one, Gore Verbinski wants to direct one". It was reported that the film had been moved to Sony division Columbia Pictures (which had released the original) and had a budget of $50 million.
In June 2009, Eastman said "I've got breaking news that Fincher and James Cameron are going to be co-executive producers on the film, Cameron will direct one. Mark Osborne and Jack Black from Tenacious D were going to do a comedy segment for the film."
Production is stalled indefinitely, as no film distributor or production company has shown interest in distributing or producing the remake since Paramount Pictures decided to forgo being the film's distributor, who purportedly thought such a film was "too risqué for mainstream audiences".
In July 2011, filmmaker Robert Rodriguez announced at the Comic-Con that he had purchased the film rights to Heavy Metal and planned to develop a new animated film at the new Quick Draw Studios. On March 11, 2014, with the formation of his very own television network, El Rey, Rodriguez considered switching gears and bringing it to TV.
Alex Niño (born May 1, 1940) is a Filipino comics artist best known for his work for the American publishers DC Comics, Marvel Comics, and Warren Publishing, and in Heavy Metal magazine.Atkinson Film-Arts
Atkinson Film-Arts was an animation studio based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The company is best known for producing the first two Care Bears television specials – The Care Bears in the Land Without Feelings and The Care Bears Battle the Freeze Machine – and the four syndicated specials that inspired The Raccoons (as well as first-season episodes of the show itself). Atkinson also produced the Christmas specials The Little Brown Burro, Tukiki and His Search for a Merry Christmas and The Trolls and the Christmas Express and the 1986–87 series The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin (with DIC Entertainment).They also worked on the 1981 science fiction anthology movie Heavy Metal and The Body Electric, an animated movie featuring music composed by the Canadian rock band Rush.The company acquired one of Canada's oldest film studios, Crawley Films (and its Graphic Films subsidiary), in 1982 for the price of just C$1.
In 1987, the company was renamed Crawleys Animation. It produced the special The Nightingale (with Shanghai Animation Film Studio) and 13 episodes of Dennis the Menace along with 11 episodes of COPS for DIC, and worked with French studio Belokapi on a series Y's the Magnificent (which was cancelled during production and never broadcast), before shutting down in 1989.
Because of debt problems, Atkinson Film-Arts was officially shut down in 1989.Bernie Wrightson
Bernard Albert Wrightson (October 27, 1948 – March 18, 2017), sometimes credited as Berni Wrightson, was an American artist, known for co-creating the Swamp Thing, his adaptation of the novel Frankenstein illustration work, and for his other horror comics and illustrations, which feature his trademark intricate pen and brushwork.Captain Sternn
Captain Sternn is a comic book character created by Bernie Wrightson.Donald Fagen
Donald Jay Fagen (born January 10, 1948) is an American musician best known as the co-founder, lead singer, co-songwriter, and keyboardist of the band Steely Dan, formed in the early 1970s. He has also released four albums as a solo artist and in 2001 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The 2017 death of Steely Dan's co-founder Walter Becker leaves Fagen as the band's sole member.Doug Moench
Douglas Moench (; born February 23, 1948) is an American comic book writer notable for his Batman work and as the creator of Moon Knight, Deathlok, Black Mask, Electric Warrior and Six From Sirius. He is also known for his critically acclaimed eight year run on Master of Kung Fu.Ghosts of Mars
Ghosts of Mars is a 2001 American science fiction action horror film written, directed and scored by John Carpenter. The film stars Natasha Henstridge, Ice Cube, Jason Statham, Pam Grier, Clea DuVall, and Joanna Cassidy. The film received negative reviews and was a box office bomb, scoring just a 21% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and earning $14 million at the box office, against a $28 million production budget.Ghosts of Mars (soundtrack)
Ghosts of Mars is a soundtrack by John Carpenter for the film of the same name. It was released in 2001 through Varèse Sarabande.Gray Morrow
Dwight Graydon "Gray" Morrow (March 7, 1934 – November 6, 2001) was an American illustrator of comics and paperback books. He is co-creator of the Marvel Comics muck-monster the Man-Thing and of DC Comics Old West vigilante El Diablo.Heavy Metal 2000
Heavy Metal 2000 (also known as Heavy Metal: F.A.K.K.² outside North America) is a 2000 Canadian-German adult animated science fiction film produced by Jacques Pettigrew and Michel Lemire, and directed by Michael Coldewey and Lemire. Starring the voices of Michael Ironside, Julie Strain, and Billy Idol, the film is the follow-up to the 1981 animated cult film Heavy Metal, which is based on the fantasy magazine of the same name. The story is based on the graphic novel, The Melting Pot, written by Kevin Eastman, Simon Bisley and Eric Talbot. The film was made by CinéGroupe, a studio based in Montreal, Quebec.Heavy metal
Heavy metal may refer to:
Heavy metals, a loose category of relatively dense metals and metalloids
Toxic heavy metal, any heavy metal chemical element of environmental concern
Heavy metal music
Heavy metal genres
Heavy Metal (magazine), an American fantasy comic book magazineKrister Linder
Krister Linder is a New York-based Swedish electronic musician.
Krister started his music career in 1987 as the vocalist of the Swedish band Grace. Under the name Chris Lancelot, he was the vocalist of the Swedish band Dive from 1990 to 1994.
Linder went on to compose and produce experimental electronic music until he released his first solo album as a vocalist, Songs from the Silent Years in 2006. He is also the lead vocalist in the Swedish heavy metal band Enter the Hunt. Other musical efforts include scoring for TV commercials, short movies and feature films. His score in the documentary film Gitmo: The New Rules of War (directed by Erik Gandini and Tarik Saleh) won the first prize in the category Music For TV at the Festival international Musique et Cinéma in Auxerre, France in 2006. In November 2008 he won first prize in the category Best Music at the Stockholm International Film Festival for his score to the feature film Downloading Nancy (directed by Johan Renck). In 2009, he won the Jameson Film Music Award at the Stockholm International Film Festival for the score to the animated feature film Metropia (directed by Tarik Saleh) and that same year, he did co-vocals on the song "Departer" on the album Night Is the New Day by Katatonia. He also did vocals for Omnimotion's remix of the song Tierra Azul, originally by Vibrasphere. His recent credits include the score for the 2013 documentary feature, While No One Is Watching. He composed an exclusive track used for the 2016 Chanel N°5 perfume television advertisement.Michael Kaluta
Michael William Kaluta, sometimes credited as Mike Kaluta or Michael Wm. Kaluta (born August 25, 1947), is an American comics artist and writer best known for his acclaimed 1970s adaptation of the pulp magazine hero, The Shadow with writer Dennis O'Neil.Michaël Dudok de Wit
Michaël Dudok de Wit (Dutch pronunciation: [miɣaːɛl dydɔk də ʋɪt]; born 15 July 1953) is a Dutch animator, director and illustrator based in London. He won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film for Father and Daughter (2000) and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature for The Red Turtle (2016).Stephen R. Bissette
Stephen R. "Steve" Bissette (born March 14, 1955) is an American comics artist, editor, and publisher with a focus on the horror genre. He is known for working with writer Alan Moore and inker John Totleben on the DC Comics series Swamp Thing in the 1980s.TCM Underground
TCM Underground is a weekly late-night cult film showcase airing on Turner Classic Movies. Developed by former TCM marketing director Eric Weber, it was originally hosted by industrial rock/heavy metal musician and independent filmmaker Rob Zombie. The movies were programmed by Eric Weber until 2007 when TCM programmer Millie De Chirico took over the role.
The series was launched in an attempt to attract more young viewers to Turner's older-skewing audience. TCM began airing a new program titled Friday Night Spotlight and, in effect, TCM Underground was moved from its Friday time slot to Saturdays beginning April 6, 2013 (a TCM broadcast day runs from 6am-5:59am EST the following day, making Underground, in fact, airing on Sunday), but as of March 10, 2018, the series has returned to its original Friday night time slot. Promotional bumper material and opening credit sequences were created by Raygun. The series is periodically pre-empted by special month-long or seasonal scheduling themes, such as February's "31 Days of Oscar" film series and the month-long "Summer Under the Stars". When it does not conflict with a special theme, TCM Underground airs in its usual slot early on Saturday morning.
The cult films featured in TCM Underground belong to a number of genres, including but not limited to blaxploitation films (Coffy, Darktown Strutters, The Mack), horror, slasher, and giallo films (Let's Scare Jessica to Death, Black Christmas, Hatchet for the Honeymoon), and counterculture films (An American Hippie in Israel, Ciao! Manhattan, Blue Sunshine).Tim Miller (director)
Timothy Miller (born February 28, 1970), is an American film director and visual effects artist. He made his feature-film directing debut with Deadpool (2016). He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film as co-story writer and executive producer of the short animated film Gopher Broke (2004). Miller also designed the title sequences of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Thor: The Dark World.