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Heavy Metal (1981)

6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 20,156 users  
Reviews: 142 user | 58 critic

A glowing orb terrorizes a young girl with a collection of stories of dark fantasy, eroticism and horror.

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(screenplay), (screenplay), 10 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Grimaldi (segment "Grimaldi") / Co-Pilot (segment "B-17") / Barbarian (segment "Taarna") (voice)
Caroline Semple ...
Girl (segment "Grimaldi") (voice)
...
...
Girl (segment "Harry Canyon") / Satellite (segment "Harry Canyon") (voice)
Al Waxman ...
...
Alien (segment "Harry Canyon") / Henchman (segment "Harry Canyon") (voice)
...
Desk Sergeant (segment "Harry Canyon") / Dan (segment "Den") / Den (segment "Den") / Robot (segment "So Beautiful and So Dangerous") (voice)
Glenis Wootton Gross ...
...
Whore (segment "Harry Canyon") / Queen (segment "Den") (voice)
...
Katherine (segment "Den") (voice)
Martin Lavut ...
...
Norl (segment "Den") / Taarak (segment "Taarna") (voice)
...
Prosecutor (segment "Captain Sternn") (voice)
...
Sternn (segment "Captain Sternn") / Male Reporter (segment "So Beautiful and So Dangerous") / Edsel (segment "So Beautiful and So Dangerous") (voice)
...
Lawyer (segment "Captain Sternn") / General (segment "So Beautiful and So Dangerous") (voice)
Edit

Storyline

A sweeping story of the battle of good against evil is told through an anthology of short animated films about a glowing green orb (the Loc-Nar) that is the personification of ultimate evil in the universe. Based loosely on the American magazine "Heavy Metal," and the French magazine "Métal Hurlant". Written by Christopher E. Meadows <cmeadows@nyx.cs.du.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Columbia Pictures takes you beyond the future into a universe you've never seen before...... A universe of mystery. A universe of magic. A universe of sexual fantasies. A universe of awesome good. A universe of terrifying evil. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

7 August 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Heavy Metal: Universo em Fantasia  »

Box Office

Budget:

$9,300,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (premiere)

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

As in the magazine, the evil emanation Den battles is called Ulultc. That is Cthulu spelled backwards, a reference to the God of Chaos in the mythology of H.P. Lovecraft. See more »

Goofs

In the Den segment, when Katherine is first going to be sacrificed, she goes from being tied up to untied and struggling to tied up again. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: A shadow shall fall over the universe, and evil will grow in its path, and death will come from the skies.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The rolling text of the credits stutter upwards in rhythm with the machine sound that opens the song "Working In A Coal Mine" performed by Devo. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985) See more »

Soundtracks

Passachaglia
composed by Krzysztof Penderecki
Original recording #1 performed by Andrés Segovia
Produced by Lawrence Collingwood
Original recording #2 performed by the Krakow Chamber Orchestra and Chorus
Produced by Stanislaw Gaflowski
Recordings remixed and compiled for this film and score cue performed by Ross Bagdasarian Jr. and Roger Waters
Produced by Steve Vining, Howard Pfeifer and John McClure
(Neverwhere Land sequence in 1996 reissue version)
(reissue version only)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Fine showcase of a great magazine.
25 February 2003 | by (Xanadu) – See all my reviews

Heavy Metal, the movie, is great encapsulation of Heavy Metal, the magazine. Heavy Metal was and is an anthology of the best of American and European comic writers and artists. It has carried the work of such masters as Moebius, Druillet, Liberatore, Bernie Wrightson, Howard Chaykin, Walt Simonson, Arthur Sydam, Enki Bilal, Richard Corben and Simon Bisley. The movie adapts some of the great stories from the glory days of the magazine.

The movie is much like the magazine: a mixed bag of sci-fi, fantasy, horror, comedy, and erotica. Some of it is good, some not. My personal favorites are Harry Canyon, Den, Captain Sternn, B-17, and Tarna. Harry Canyon is a sci-fi tale of thugs, femme fatales, and cynics ala Dashell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, transported to the future. It has been cited as an inspiration for The Fifth Element, by some; but it bears some resemblance to the works of French artist, Moebius, who created designs for The Fifth Element. Moebius also factors into Tarna, as the entire look of this sequence is almost xeroxed from Moebius' Arzach stories.

Captain Sternn is the anti-hero/criminal from Bernie Wrightson, co-creator of Swamp Thing and illustrator of a beautiful edition of Frankenstein. This is a fun sequence, full of comedy and chaos, much like the Sternn stories. Sternn has more than a slight resemblance to a certain Kryptonian.

B-17 captures the flavor of the old EC horror comics, like Tales from the Crypt and the Vault of Horror. The sequence features design work from Mike Ploog, a horror comics master and artist of Marvel's Man-Thing. It has a nice creepy, decayed atmosphere and lets the visuals tell the story.

Den is adapted from Richard Corben's tales. The melon-breasted women that Corben is known for are on fine display here. We also get the humor that also permeates Corben's work. John Candy was quite good here, giving Den the perfect adolescent voice.

Tarna is the most lush sequence, with sweeping vistas and the use of rotoscoping for the character. It is also quite violent. Again, it owes a great deal to Moebius' Arzach.

So Beautiful, So Dangerous is pretty forgettable, with juvenile humor and boring animation. Soft Landing is fairly pointless, except to serve as a title sequence. The whole linking device is unnecessary, as the segments bear little relation to one another and are stronger as separate entities. The soundtrack is great, with most pieces capturing the flavor of the animation.

Ultimately, the uneven stories and lower budget animation holds this movie back. The movie is best viewed as an anthology, rather than a complete story, and with a forgiving eye to the budget. With that said, it's still entertaining and an important work of adult animation.


30 of 36 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Recent Posts
B-17 segment... the lost script that became Alien barbieri_f
I'd love a full on Pixar quality CG animation of the original movie... eheard-3
Who would you pick for a new Heavy Metal? knowledgefiend
I really love this movie, but... petekrug17
How was the film originally promoted at the time it was released? scubadivergeek
Harry Canyon remind anyone else of... It_Is_Minus_9
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