Heavy Metal (1981)

Heavy Metal (1981)

“Wow! 18 years of nothing and now twice in one day. What a place!”

A glowing green ball of evil affects all those across the galaxy who come across its path.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Animated Features
  • Episodic Films
  • Fantasy
  • Science Fiction

Based on the American comic magazine of the same name, this animated sci-fi film (kept out of video circulation for years given music licensing issues) has a cult following, but is most definitely not for all tastes. In fact, given the ample presence of cartoonish violence, over-sized bosoms, and gratuitous sex, its target demographic seems to be exclusively horny teenage geek-boys. None of the episodic vignettes are especially noteworthy or memorable, and the animation itself — despite being the result of “1,000 artists working in five cities simultaneously” — looks pretty much like what you’d see on Saturday morning television. Feel free to skip this one.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Occasional snippets of reasonably impressive animation

Must See?
No, though I’m slightly torn, given its undeniable cult status.


One thought on “Heavy Metal (1981)

  1. A must – but I’ll qualify that:

    It’s not exactly to my personal taste – but, though problematic as well (a product of its era, it doesn’t completely pack the punch that animation of this sort should), it does represent what cult film is all about. It has a genuine stamp of ‘midnight movie’ (which it apparently was at the time) all over it.

    It’s pure fantasy for guys – though the film’s final, showcase sequence does feature a kick-ass, Amazon woman that female watchers can admire, at least as an action-hero role model. (Perhaps at its release, girls may have finally perked up at this point and thought, ‘Gee…pretty cool date movie after all!’)

    I was never much of a heavy metal music enthusiast (though I kind of liked it when regular rock performers included heavy metal among their work; i.e., Todd Rundgren, with his ‘Heavy Metal Kids’). It seems to me, though, that Elmer Bernstein’s fine supplementary score gets main focus, and the actual band music in the film is used rather peripherally. The bands aren’t highlighted all that successfully – compared to Giorgio Moroder’s dynamic use of rock bands to augment his restoration re-issue of ‘Metropolis’ in 1984.

    Fave sequence: ‘Harry Canyon’; just cause I can kind of relate to the cynical, jaded cabbie – and can more than appreciate the noir/pulp fiction aspect of this segment.

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