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Heavy Metal (1981) Poster

(1981)

Trivia

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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.
The home video was removed from circulation for several years because of problems with music licensing.
When the aliens are stoned and flying through space, one of the damaged starships they pass is the USS Enterprise.
In the original Den storyline, Catherine is an 80-year-old woman on Earth.
Elmer Bernstein's theme for Taarna was actually written for the character Alex in Saturn 3 (1980). The theme was never heard in the film, so Bernstein used this for this film.
The film was inspired by a long-running science fiction magazine of the same title, which began in Europe as Metal Hurlant. Most of the story segments are based on stories or characters featured in the magazine.
The graffiti on the side of the space-going party palace reads "Martians are people too".
Actors John Candy, Joe Flaherty, Eugene Levy and Harold Ramis all starred on the ensemble comedy series SCTV (1976). Like this movie, "SCTV" was a Canadian production.
The robot that sells Harry Canyon the hot dog is Robby the Robot.
This film is made up of eight segments.
  • Soft Landing: A 1959 fiberglass-bodied Chevy Corvette is deployed from a space shuttle, lands on Earth, and drives up to a house.
  • Grimaldi: The astronaut goes into the house and shows his daughter what he found. When he opens his case, a green glowing orb rises out and melts him.
  • Harry Canyon: A 21st-century New York taxicab driver gets caught between a covetous gangster, the beautiful daughter of an archaeologist, and a green gem called the Loc-Nar.
  • Den: A nerdish teenager's consciousness is translated through space and time to another world into the body of a muscular warrior named DEN.
  • Captain Sternn: A square-jawed antihero is on trial for numerous serious charges and only his character witness can save him.
  • [Neverwhere Land]: Cut segment about how the Loc-Nar guided the evolution of life on Earth through violence and anger.
  • B-17: The remaining crew of a damaged B-17 bomber must survive the machinations of the Loc-Nar.
  • So Beautiful, So Dangerous: An Earthwoman is accidentally taken onboard a starship when it tries to retrieve its android.
  • Taarna: The Loc-Nar is corrupting an army of followers and will overwhelm the world with its cold, murderous violence. The last scion of a warrior race, seeking to avenge the deaths of the people she was sworn to protect, is the only thing in its way.


The Grimaldi segment is the link device that ties this movie together. The Loc-Nar features in some way in the six stories that follow. It narrates to the captive girl tales about its great power before it begins to devour her.
The Taarna storyline was illustrated by the acclaimed artist, Moebius. He's concerned about the environment, which is why the background has a great deal of randomly-placed water pipes.
In the stoned aliens in space scene, there's a ship that is made of two "Ever Ready" batteries.
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According to his creator, Richard Corben, Den's name is an acronym for David Ellis Norman.
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The storyline that connected the various tales was dubbed the "Grimaldi Segment". Austin Grimaldi and Joe Grimaldi were part of the sound crew on the film.
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In the Taarna sequence, as the Barbarian hordes overrun Kraan, a bunny pops out of a barbarian's bedroll for one or two frames.
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Elmer Bernstein worked on the scores for both this and the John Landis film An American Werewolf in London (1981) at the same time.
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As the barbarians overrun the city of Kraan, the structure where the council chamber is located resembles the helmets worn by the two men on the cover of Black Sabbath's album "Never Say Die!" - the last album the band recorded with lead singer Ozzy Osbourne before he left to start his successful solo career in. Black Sabbath, with Ronnie James Dio singing, are featured on the soundtrack with their songs "E5150" and the title track from their album "The Mob Rules".
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The small floating egg-shaped one-eyed robot in the Captain Sternn segment is named Beezer. In the original story, he had four arms and was larger.
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This Canadian film's soundtrack has no Canadian artists.
The late Harold Ramis, the voice of Zeke in "So Beautiful, So Dangerous", went on to direct both John Candy and Eugene Levy in the film National Lampoon's Vacation (1983).
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In the "So Beautiful, So Dangerous" segment, the two Plutonian Nyborg snorting aliens are named Zeke and Edsel.
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This movie was released on Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment on June 14, 2011.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

In the original Captain Sternn story that appeared in Heavy Metal magazine, Hanover Fiste lives at the story's ending. The story as seen in this film, has Fiste finding the Loc-Nar and dying at the story's ending. Those two changes were made for the movie to facilitate the connecting thread of the Loc-Nar in this film, and the final scene of Fiste's hand burning up in the atmosphere while holding the Loc-Nar was the scene that connected Captain Sternn with the excised "Neverwhere Land" sequence.
If I calculated correctly, the body count is 69.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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