Before there was Rick and Morty, or anything on Adult Swim, North America was under the impression that cartoons were reserved for children. You had a few outliers like Fritz the Cat, but Disney ruled the animation landscape and wouldn’t be caught dead with zombies in their narratives about sleeping princesses and Prince Charming. Enter Heavy Metal, unflinchingly raising it’s fist at every convention in animation, this sci-fi epic was a freshly pubescent boy’s dream film. It’s been called sexist, misogynist, mindless, juvenile, gratuitous…the list could go on.
“Animated or not, this isn’t a movie to take children to, unless you’d like them to develop an early interest in bondage.” – Janet Maslin, New York Times
Adapted from the popular fantasy magazine of the same name, Heavy Metal has a strong Canadian connection including the voices of John Candy and Eugene Levy, among others, with production by Ivan Reitman, who brought us Ghostbusters. The soundtrack features bands that many might not associate with the category of heavy metal, but it works well for the picture – especially Sammy Hagar’s titular track “Heavy Metal” (what else?)
“If live actors were seen doing what drawn figures occasionally do here, the picture might have been rated X.” – Time Magazine
If you were to combine Conan the Barbarian, Total Recall, and Terminator, you might get something close to resembling Heavy Metal. Although each of the stories woven throughout the film brings their own unique take on sci-fi, fantasy, horror and action, the one constant is Loc-nar the evil green glowing entity. Something to note about all of those comparisons however; they all feature Arnold Schwarzengger and they all came after Heavy Metal’s initial release. The influence of this picture has been felt decades following it’s release and has even sparked rumors of high-profile directors like David Fincher, Guillermo Del Toro and James Cameron banding together to bring a reboot to this generation.
A sequel called Heavy Metal 2000 was released but it wasn’t as well received by fans. It would be interesting to see how modern audiences would react to a new Heavy Metal in 2018. A lot has changed in 40 years, and it might be difficult to imagine people gathering together to watch animations of scantily-clad women fighting stylized demons and cabbies carrying a death-ray for their own protection. Given that the initial release was nearly 40 years ago, the film’s earliest enthusiasts are probably parents now themselves. Makes you wonder what they would have to say about their kids getting a chance to see Heavy Metal for the first time.
Heavy Metal screens Saturday 28 April at 9pm in The Film House located in the lowest
level of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre
GENERAL ADMISSION SEATING
$9 – general admission
$7 – film house member
For information about becoming a Film House member and enjoying more cinema in
downtown St. Catharines, follow this link: https://bit.ly/2ErfJ3c