Heavy Metal (1981)

Heavy Metal (1981), directed by Gerald Potterton and others.

First review

A fairly bold animated anthology targeted at the young male fantasy/swords and sorcery audience. Abundant violence, large breasted naked women, real fantasy sex and a generally goofy perspective on the whole thing. The hand-drawn art is not as photo-real as today's efforts, but reflects the vision of the creators as adapted from their printed work. It has enough variety to make the whole mix fun.

I think some people misunderstand the title: it doesn't refer to the music (which is mostly common pop/rock) but to the magazine of the same name. I read it from time to time back then but it was too brutal and sexually perverse for me.

I'd forgotten some of the segments. The loosely connected major stories are:

Available on Blu-ray. Nudity and passion scenes.

Second review

Additional thoughts and I've added thumbnails.

I only occasionally read Heavy Metal magazine when it was new. It seemed unpleasantly perverse and I didn't get the humor segments, probably meant for a younger audience. The film music was recognizable but not very important to me.

And yet my movie going gang and I saw it several times in the theater. Why? We were desperate for works of the imagination, anything that would break out of the familiar grooves and inspire a sense of wonder. They did that here: it might be lurid, often comical R-rated sex and violence fantasy for adolescent males, but still -- the artists cut loose and went where they wanted to go.

I look askance at the contemporary superhero films with their numbing Big Beat Down climaxes, but perhaps they feed the same need in young people today. I hope so.

I saw something new this time, a scene transition in the epic fantasy Taarna:



Available on Blu-ray. An alternate rough-cut of sketches and storyboards has a valuable commentary track. The amount of work that goes into something like this is boggling.