Heavy Metal/Review

From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

< Heavy Metal

As a cult movie enthusiast, there's one movie that I repeatedly hear about all the time. The name itself is NOT derived from a music genre but from a magazine that published sci-fi/horror comics (and nowadays you can download them for free at the Internet Archive website. Some of the stories published in the magazine were later developed into this 1981 film that shares the same name: Heavy Metal.


My facebook friend Josh Hadley (who hosts great movie podcasts like Radiodrome) keeps telling me about how great Heavy Metal is. Plus, there's a really wonderful episode of South Park called "Major Boobage" which is basically a tribute to this flick. These two factors are the main reasons I had to track down this movie and watch it. To be honest, it's now one of my favorite animated films of all time. It represents something that you don't see regularly. We'll focus on each of those aspects of the movie.

First, let's start with the plot. Technically, Heavy Metal is an anthology film that has 6-7 stories in one so it's pretty hard to explain, but I'll try. After the kick-ass opening credits, a mysterious green object called Loc-Nar kills an old guy and then approaches his daughter to tell her that "You are in my control...I am the sum of all evils". Then, Loc-Nar tells its adventures through different stories. These stories are totally different in tone (neo-noir, fantasy, black comedy/sci-fi, horror, comedy, and dystopia) and Loc-Nar has a different context in each one. For instance, in one story the Loc-Nar is an object that everybody wants so much they begin killing each other to conquer it. In another story Loc-Nar has the power to turn dead people into scary creatures. My favorite story is called "Harry Canyon". It's about a taxi driver named Harry who accidentally meets a girl who has Loc-Nar and tries to escape from gangsters. This leads Harry into a mysterious adventure (just like in a neo-noir novel) and has a twisted conclusion.


As it tells you in the beginning, the Loc-Nar represents sin and evil things that turns people into maniacs one way or another. So we all know what the ending is right, but who cares? That's not the thing that most people remember about Heavy Metal. We remember it because of the cool visual effects and the soundtrack. Let's talk about these visual effects first. The animation is created by using the rotoscoping technique that creates a totally unique feeling and blurs the line between "reality" and the world of fantasy. It isn't as gorgeous as Disney, but it's raw and sleazy which represents the attitude of magazine really well. Also, it has lots of nudity and sexual scenes. This is really unusual for its time and proves to us that cartoons aren't always for kids.

What about the music? Let me tell you a few of the artists who composed the soundtrack: Sammy Hagar, Riggs, Devo, Blue Öyster Cult, Cheap Trick, Black Sabbath, etc. It fits right into the movie since most of these are rock songs that pumps up your excitement to the max...just like the movie.

Words can't describe how exciting and awesome this film is. DON'T trust the score on Rotten Tomatoes website, just watch it for whatever's sake! I guarantee it will be one of your best movie experiences.


Nuttawut Permpithak hails from Thailand. He spends his free time watching exploitation films (or any films from the past) writing articles, taking photos and reviewing films for GCDb.

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