Heavy Metal (1981) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • A glowing green orb - which embodies ultimate evil - terrorizes a young girl with an anthology of bizarre and fantastic stories of dark fantasy, eroticism and horror.

  • An astronaut brings home a glowing green orb for his daughter. However, the green orb wipes him out and corners the girl for its purposes. Claiming to embody ultimate evil, the malevolent sphere, known as the Loc-Nar, terrorizes the little girl by showing a series of bizarre and fantastic stories it has influenced. The first is "Harry Canyon", a cynical taxi driver in a squalid futuristic New York who finds himself involved with a damsel in distress who is relentlessly pursued by murderous thugs who desire the Loc-Nar her archaeologist father found. The second is "Den", which chronicles the adventures of a nerdish teenager who is thrown into the fantasy world of Neverwhere, where he is transformed into a handsome muscleman, desired by beautiful women, who must get involved in a conflict revolving around possession of the Loc-Nar. The third is "Captain Sternn", where the title character is a handsome but irredeemable scoundrel who stands accused in a trial that the Loc-Nar throws into chaos. The fourth is "B-17", where a World War II bomber plane limps home after a bombing run, only to have the Loc-Nar ram into it and revive the dead crew members as murderous zombies. The next is "So Beautiful, So Dangerous", where a voluptuous secretary at the Pentagon is abducted by stoned alien wastrels and an oversexed robot. The final story is "Taarna", where the Loc-Nar has to come to a future Earth and changes a peaceful people into a horde of murderous barbarians who rampage with genocidal zeal. Only the last Tarrakian, a silent warrior woman known as Taarna, can avenge the victims and stop the Loc-Nar.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • This movie is divided into a series of animated vignettes dealing with science fiction themes. All the stories are connected by a green glowing orb meant to represent "the sum of all evils", which is first seen floating through space before the movie's title appears.

    Soft Landing/Grimaldi

    Out in deep space, near Earth, a space shuttle opens its cargo doors and a 1959 Corvette drops out and races toward Earth. The 1959 Corvette lands in a crop field and races toward a remote mansion. The pilot, Grimaldi, enters the mansion, carrying a container. His daughter greets him and the man opens the container; inside is a glowing green orb. Suddenly, Grimaldi's body melts and the orb moves toward the terrified girl. It announces itself as the "the sum of all evils" in the Universe, and tells her that she possesses powers she doesn't understand. The orb begins to tell her various stories of its existence and influence.

    Harry Canyon

    At a desert excavation, a scientist working with several alien creatures uncovers a glowing green sphere. When one of the aliens picks up the sphere, he instantly melts. The segment then changes course to settle in a dystopian New York City in year 2031. A taxicab driver named Harry Canyon picks up a punk as a fare. Moments after they leave, the punk pulls a gun on Canyon, demanding all his cash and taxicab, and implies that he's going to kill him anyway. Harry pushes a secret button with his foot near the firewall of his taxicab, activating a beam on the back of the front seat that disintegrates the punk. Canyon takes the punk's pistol and puts it in the glove compartment, piling with several other weapons he has collected from similar incidents.

    At a nearby museum advertising an exhibit for the Loc-Nar (the glowing green orb from the opening story), gunshots are heard and a man stumbles out of the front door and collapses on the street. A pretty woman with red hair, the man's daughter, runs from the museum, chased by a man named Rudnick and his two thugs. She finds Harry and he lets her in his taxicab. Harry remarks that his conscience tells him not to get involved but he takes her to a police station anyway. By then, she's passed out and he carries her inside to report a murder. The police are little help, quoting Harry an expensive $1,000 fee to conduct an investigation. Harry leaves and takes the woman home with him to his seedy apartment building.

    At Harry's apartment, the woman wakes up. She tells him that Rudnick and his men were after the Loc-Nar. With her father dead, she is the only person who knows where it is. She also mentions that Venutians want it, believing it to possess magical powers. Harry offers his couch for her to sleep on and goes to bed. The woman strips naked and gets into bed with him and they have sex. The next morning, she's gone and a couple of thuggish cops suddenly enter his apartment, demanding to know where she is. He tells them he doesn't know and they threaten him if he doesn't report her return to them.

    As Harry preps his taxicab for another day at work, another punk, one of Rudnick's goons, pops up in the backseat and threatens Harry with a knife. Harry is about to press the button for his death ray and Rudnick appears, warning him not to. Rudnick tells Harry that he wants the Loc-Nar for a group of interested buyers from a nearby planet (likely the Venutians). Later, in gridlock traffic, Harry gets a message from the woman telling him to meet her at the Statue of Liberty. Harry notices he's being followed by two of Rudnick's goons riding in hover pods. Harry races off, using a cannon on his taxicab to dispatch the goons. At the Statue on Liberty Island, he meets the woman, who tells him she's going to sell the Loc-Nar to Rudnick. Harry agrees to accompany her for half of the money.

    At an abandoned bridge with Harry covering her, the woman takes the case with the Loc-Nar to Rudnick, who gives her the money. She leaves with Harry and Rudnick opens the case, grabbing the Loc-Nar. Seconds later, Rudnick melts. As Harry and the woman drive away, with her in the backseat, she pulls a pistol on him, telling him she's going to keep all the money for herself and that she only used him. After confirming she's serious, Harry pushes the death ray button, killing her. Harry winds up with all the money for himself. Back at the bridge, the Loc-Nar begins to glow again and flies away.


    Den is a present-day teenager with a penchant for scientific experiments who finds the Loc-Nar in his backyard, assuming it's a meteor and puts it in his room. While performing an experiment with lightning, the sphere harnesses the energy and propels the teenager through outer space to a distant planet. As he travels, his body changes and he becomes much larger and more muscular.

    When Den arrives on the planet, he's a witness to a human sacrifice being conducted by a nude female priestess wearing an elaborate mask. The woman recites a benediction to a god called Ulatec which calls for the Green Ball, again referred to as the Loc-Nar to be placed in the idol's hands. The priestess then orders another young nude woman to be thrown into the large pool of water where the ritual is conducted. Den dives after the woman and rescues her. The woman, Katherine, who is British and from Gibraltar, is very grateful and offers her body to Den. The two begin to have sex but are interrupted by a group of humanoid creatures. Both are taken to the palace of the young and foppish Ard, rival of the priestess who is also queen of the strange planet. Both are competing for possession of the Loc-Nar to perform the ritual to Ulatec. Ard orders Den to go to the Queen's palace and steal the Loc-Nar. If Den completes the task, he will give Den Katherine, who has been placed in suspended animation.

    Ard's greatest warrior, Norl, accompanies Den with a small unit of other guards. They infiltrate the Queen's palace and separate to find the Loc-Nar. Den sees it in a darkened room and reaches for it, grabbing the bare breasts of the Queen instead. She orders him to be executed, then changes her mind and takes him to her bedchamber. She tells Den that if he can please her, she may let him live; he agrees and after an energetic sexual tryst, the Queen is most satisfied. Unfortunately, a few guards soon enter the room and tell the Queen that the Loc-Nar has been stolen - Norl had taken it and escaped. Believing Den was a distraction so the Loc-Nar could be stolen, the enraged Queen tries to kill Den herself but he escapes on an alien horse.

    The Queen flies after him to the statue of Ulatec where Ard has already begun the ritual; Katherine will again be the human sacrifice. Den once again rescues Katherine by posing as a priest. When Den sees the Queen and Ard fighting over the Loc-Nar, he gets an idea. Wrapping a chain to a spear, he throws the spear at them and embeds it in the rock above them. He then flips the other end in the pool. When lightning strikes the pool, the energy is carried on the chain to the Loc-Nar, recreating the accident that transported Den to this world, causing Ard and the Queen to vanish, presumably sending them back to Earth. The Loc-Nar itself falls down the steps of the statue. Katherine suggests that Den use it to rule the planet, but Den refuses, choosing instead to fly off with Katherine. The Loc-Nar breaks free of the staff that it had been fashioned into and once again flies off into space.

    Captain Sternn

    The Loc-Nar flies through space to a large space station near Jupiter. It lands on a floor inside, much smaller than before, about the size of a large marble. It is picked up by a strange looking man. In a room filled with humans and alien beings alike, a trial is being held. The accused, Captain Lincoln Sternn, is charged by the Prosecutor with a long list of crimes including murder, piracy in space, rape and one moving violation. The Prosecutor asks for Sternn's plea and, much to the surprise of the attendees and judge, he pleads not guilty, with a haughty attitude. Sternn's attorney, Charlie, begs Sternn to change his plea but Sternn refuses, saying he has an angle for his defense.

    The Prosecutor calls a witness named Hanover Fiste, to whom Sternn has promised a huge payoff if he testifies as a character witness for Sternn. Fiste is the man who had picked up the Loc-Nar in the hallway when it had landed on the space station. While on the stand, Fiste begins to play with the marble sized Loc-Nar. As he testifies to Sternn's good character, he begins to spout more crimes that Sternn has committed. Sternn and the courtroom are shocked and Fiste becomes more hostile and angry and begins to grow into a huge, monstrous humanoid bent on killing Sternn himself. Sternn runs out of the courtroom and Fiste, after effortlessly slapping the Prosecutor aside, destructively chases Sternn throughout the station. When he finally catches Sternn, Sternn offers him the money he had promised for his fraudulent testimony. Fiste instantly changes back to his normal gangly form and thanks his boss. Sternn suddenly bids Fiste goodbye and pulls a lever, opening a trap door under Fiste, dropping him into space. Fiste burns up, the only part of him left is one of his hands, still clutching the green marble.


    A squadron of World War II B-17 bombers are flying in formation over Europe in 1943. The lead bomber takes heavy anti-aircraft fire and the two cargo gunners are killed. The bombardier himself is also killed, but the plane drops its load successfully. As they fly back to their home airfield, the co-pilot climbs into the cargo bay to check on the crew. All are dead. He also finds the tail-gunner dead. When he looks out the back window of the plane he sees a glowing green sphere following them in the air. The Loc-Nar flies under the plane and thrusts itself up into the fuselage, lodging in the bomb bay rails and knocking the co-pilot unconscious. The entire plane glows green for a few moments. The co-pilot wakes up and walks back through the fuselage, stopping briefly when he sees the cargo gunners' bodies have disappeared. He checks on the ball gunner's perch, knocking on the hatch. When he gets no answer, he opens the hatch and two clawed hands suddenly grab him and pull him inside. The man screams as an unseen beast kills him and blood splatters on the inside of the turret.

    In the cockpit, the pilot calls the co-pilot on the plane's radio. When he gets no answer, he flips on the auto-pilot and walks back into the cargo area. When he opens the door, he sees that the dead crew members have been transformed into skeletal monsters with clawed fingers. He fires his pistol at them uselessly and jumps out of the plane. His parachute opens and he lands safely on a desert island. He notices that many other war planes have crashed landed on the island and the crews of them have been transformed into monsters like the ones he saw on his own plane. The man screams, doomed.

    So Beautiful and So Dangerous

    The B-17 pilot's image appears on the scope of a massive spaceship hovering over Earth. The image changes to the Pentagon near Washington, D.C. A black limousine arrives and a prominent scientist, Dr. Anrak, gets out. He is accosted by several reporters asking him about strange occurrences around the globe. He dismisses the reporters and walks into the Pentagon. In a large meeting room, a group of military officials, senators, representatives and other scientists are frantically discussing the occurrences Anrak was asked about. People are turning green and becoming increasingly hostile. Anrak explains that the phenomena are probably scattered and pose no threat to the world. The rest of the group sighs in relief. As he speaks, Anrak's voice begins to slur and he attacks a voluptuous secretary across the table. While he ravishes her, a massive spaceship appears over the Pentagon, lowering a giant tube that saws into the roof of the building. It penetrates to the meeting room and sucks up Anrak and the woman he had attacked.

    The two are whisked through a long series of tubes; Anrak lands hard and breaks into several pieces, suggesting he is probably some sort of android. The woman, Gloria, lands softly and is met by a short robot. The short robot tells her he can't return her to Earth ("instability zone around the ship") and leads her away. The ship's pilots, Zeke and Edsel, remark about how the short robot always makes a play for Earth women. Zeke and Edsel snort a huge quantity of a drug called Plutonian Nyborg and experience hallucinatory visions while they pilot the ship. In a bedroom, the short robot and Gloria lay in bed after having sex and she feels guilty. The short robot begs her to go steady with him then asks her to marry him. She agrees, but only if he is circumcised and if they can have a Jewish wedding. Zeke and Edsel land the ship in a huge outer space colony - it is a crash landing, but the intoxicated pair are satisfied.


    The Loc-Nar confronts Grimaldi's daughter for one last story. One night, now the size of a giant meteor, the Loc-Nar appears in the sky of an alien planet. It then crash lands and embeds itself inside a dormant volcano. The local tribe of human outcasts witness the event and decide to travel to the site of the volcano. When they arrive at the volcano, it suddenly erupts and all there are covered in a deluge of green lava. The first man that the lava covers arises, much larger, green-skinned and with clawed hands, an abomination of the man he once was (known from this point onward as the barbarian leader), and declares a death sentence on all who oppose him and his followers.

    At another city, the barbarian leader and his cohort of marauders break through the city gates and massacre the weaker population living there. Many people are killed and the city council meets in a large chamber, unsure of what to do. Their leader realizes that the only being that can save them is a Taarakian, an ancient warrior that protected their race throughout its history. The council joins together to call the warrior, Taarna, from within. As they finish the ritual, the barbarians arrive at the chamber, easily breaks the door down, and slaughter everyone inside. Far away, a rider in a hooded cloak on the back of an alien bird touches down at the temple of Taarna. The rider enters, stopping at a large pool. The rider is revealed to be a beautiful young woman with silver-colored hair, who strips and swims across the pool. At the base of a massive idol, she finds her armor and dons it. The last item she receives is a golden sword. She flies off on her bird as a narrator intones that she seeks revenge.

    She arrives at the devastated city and investigates. The council have all been killed and their leader beheaded. The man holds an amulet with a strange symbol in a death grip. She takes it and flies off, stopping at a nearby oasis that has a tavern. Outside the tavern are three flying bats that have been tied to a hitching post. On one of them, she finds an emblem that matches the one on the amulet she found in the council chamber. Inside the tavern, she orders a drink (she is mute and communicates only in hand jesters) and draws the attention of three thugs; they are barbarians like the ones that destroyed the city. The thugs mean to get rough with her when she hits one with her tankard, provoking a fight. She kills them all easily with her golden sword. Placing the amulet on the bar, she grabs the bartender, who tells her she will find their camp near the mountain where the green meteor landed.

    Flying through a canyon, to the location where the Loc-Nar is bedded, Taarna is suddenly ambushed by the barbarians, who capture her using a large net. She is hauled up to the top of the canyon where she is met by the barbarian leader. Doubtful of her origin, the leader inspects her and finds a mark identifying her as a Taarakian. The leader orders her washed and brought to his chambers where he ties her down and whips her. She is later cast into a deep pit where the marauders throw their prisoners. Above, her bird is being used for target practice by some of the barbarians. The bird manages to pull one of its captors in front of an arrow shot at him and flies off looking for her master. She rescues Taarna and they fly off. The leader declares that he wants the warrior woman dead and flies after her.

    In another canyon, Taarna's mount is shot out of the air. The barbarian leader finds her and the two fight to the death. Using his mechanical hand, he is able to seize her golden sword and throw it away. Moving closer to kill her, he is suddenly bitten on the leg by Taarna's mount. Momentarily distracted, he is bashed in the head by Taarna, who wields a pipe. This gives her enough time to grab his mechanical arm and use it to gash his throat, and as a finishing touch, she yanks off his helmet and kills him by plunging her fist into his face. Wounded and weakened by the battle, she climbs on her mount and heads for the volcano. The Loc-Nar tells her not to sacrifice herself as she cannot destroy it, she does not relent. Using the energy from her warrior lineage and her golden sword, her self-sacrifice destroys the Loc-Nar.

    Grimaldi (Coda)

    Taarna's self-sacrifice was so powerful, it transcends time and space, destroying the Loc-Nar in the present. As the Loc-Nar begins to shatter and break, Grimaldi's daughter begins to flee from the mansion in sheer terror and reaches a safe point outside just as the mansion explodes and is destroyed. Outside in the crop field, Grimaldi's daughter sees Taarna's mount materialize out of thin air. She happily goes over to pet him, then climbs on the mount and flies off. We then find out the main reason why the Loc-Nar wanted to destroy her. She has been chosen by the spirit of Taarna to become the new Taarakian, to defend and protect against the evil of the Loc-Nar that will arise again in the next generation.

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