Heavy Metal

Heavy Metal ★★★★½

Seven short interconnected science fiction, dark fantasy, eroticism, horror, steampunk tales joined by a glowing green orb known as the Loc-nar. It spreads death and destruction in this quirky very adult animated movie based at least in part on stories from the magazine Heavy Metal.

This 1981 sci-fi anthology is a dream come true for later 70s, early 80s rock fans with music by Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult, Sammy Hagar, Don Felder, Stevie Nicks, Journey, Devo and more. Besides Adam Sandler, I don't know another person making movies so literally with awesome music from this time period. The music bits are expertly timed and paced.

Voice acting includes the late, great John Candy and Harold Ramis. The animation is jerky at times and has a classic grim and grit to it. The animation seemed a bit like a low budget, less colorful version of Beavis & Butthead Do America meets Futurama.

As for the adult part, expect to see plenty of naked animated women. Big breasts with hard nipples and sex are definitely worked into several stories. At one point the Journey song "Open Arms" plays when a taxi driver named Harry Canyon (yes, lol) goes at it with a disturbed woman he picks up off the street.

I saw this once in the 80s and seeing it again 35+ years later reminds me fondly of my high school years. It wasn't uncommon to see people wearing Heavy Metal t-shirts back then. This movie really sings to the early part of this era, before glam rock took over. I've never bought or read the magazine, but have seen it. It has changed ownership and still is publishing in 2020, albeit six issues per year. I tried to find a digital version somewhere, but could not locate one. In 2014 the magazine sold by Kevin Eastman to current owners, David Boxenbaum and film producer Jeff Krelitz. Eastman, still owning a minority share, is the same guy who created the much more kid-friendly Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with Peter Laird.

It's a bummer that this movie isn't available on any of the streaming sites. It might be considered a bit too adult to make the rounds. So, if you want to see, you'll need to run down the blu-ray or buy it digitally like I did ($13 USD roughly). I chose to make this my first movie ever purchased through Google Play instead of Vudu where I normally buy movies. Recently, Vudu was bought by Fandango, so a little unsure what the plan will be there (see: Fandango Buys Vudu from Walmart – What Does This Mean For Both Services?).

There is a sequel called Heavy Metal 2000. I haven't seen that one as of this writing yet, but ratings I've seen on that one are not as high. Also, there is a TV series on Netflix by Deadpool director Tim Miller and other Heavy Metal fans called Love, Death and Robots which was heavily inspired. At one point, some of the stories featured were planned for a third Heavy Metal movie.

So, how good overall is this original adult, animated film? It's a classic and not quite as awesome as Yellow Submarine (I mean, how do you top The Beatles musically?), there are parts of it to love like the story "B-17", which reminds me of vintage horror comics come to life. The language and sex is more graphic than some might like, but in line with what the 80s horror live action slashers would have in them. Some might consider this juvenile (it is, in retrospect, but that doesn't have to be a negative), feeding into horny youthful male audience (the target demographic of the magazine, perhaps?). This a very stoner-friendly film, with Harold Ramis' character referencing getting high in one of the stories.

If you haven't seen this, it's well worth hunting down and taking, as the Don Felder song sings, "...a ride, ride, ride ... on Heavy Metal." Recommended.

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