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Heavy Metal

Catalog Number
74653
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Heavy Metal (1981)

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Additional Information
Columbia Pictures takes you beyond the future into a universe you've never seen before...... A universe of mystery. A universe of magic. A universe of sexual fantasies. A universe of awesome good. A universe of terrifying evil.


A Step Beyond Science Fiction


Inspired by stories from the fantasy graphics magazine Heavy Metal, this five-part animated feature combines the talents of hundreds of artists and animators from 17 different countries. A glowing green orb called Loc-Nar that contains the sum total of all evil in the universe travels through space and time, spreading violence and discord in its wake. The stories that follow demonstrate Loc-Nar's malevolent presence throughout the universe. In New York in the year 2023, cabbie Harry Canyon picks up a fare who turns out to have Loc-Nar in her possession, and it turns out to be one trip he wishes that he had never made. In contemporary suburban America, a nerdy high school kid finds the orb in his backyard and is transported to a comic-book universe where he's a mighty warrior and famous spoiler of women. A robot created by an alien race falls in love with a secretary from Earth who was kidnapped by his masters, while she is at once fascinated and repelled by his sexual talents. And finally, Loc-Nar crashes into a mountain, and a world of fantasy and danger spontaneously appears in its wake, ruled by The Defender, a beautiful amazon who rides on a giant bird. The voice cast for Heavy Metal includes John Candy, Harold Ramis, Joe Flaherty, Eugene Levy, Richard Romanus, and John Vernon. The sound track features selections by Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult, Nazareth, Cheap Trick, Devo, and Grand Funk Railroad.


Heavy Metal is a 1981 Canadian fantasy-animated film directed by Gerald Potterton and produced by Ivan Reitman and Leonard Mogel, who also was the publisher of Heavy Metal magazine, the basis for the film. The screenplay was written by Daniel Goldberg and Len Blum.
The film is an anthology of various science fiction and fantasy stories adapted from Heavy Metal magazine and original stories in the same spirit. Like the magazine, it has a great deal of graphic violence, nudity and sexuality. Its production was expedited by having several animation houses working simultaneously on different segments, including CinéGroupe and Atkinson Film-Arts.
A stand-alone homage titled Heavy Metal 2000 was released in 2000.


The film was released on August 7, 1981. The release grossed nearly $20,000,000.[1]
Prior to official release on VHS and Laserdisc in 1996, the film was re-released to select theaters on March 8, 1996 taking in $550,000.[2] The subsequent home video release moved over one million units.[4] The film was released on Blu-ray Disc on February 1, 2011 as a Best Buy exclusive and it was later released everywhere on June 14, 2011


Critical response to the film was generally dismissive with some reviewers making positive comments; review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 58% of critics have given the film a positive review based on 26 reviews, with an average rating of 5.6/10 and the critical consensus: "It's sexist, juvenile and dated, but Heavy Metal makes up for its flaws with eye-popping animation and a classic, smartly-used soundtrack."[6] Janet Maslin of The New York Times noted that the film "was scored very well, with music much less ear-splitting than the title would suggest."[7] Film historian and critic Leonard Maltin gave the film 3 stars out of 4 in his Movie Guide, calling the feature "...uneven, but great fun on a mindless, adolescent level."[8]
The film enjoyed only limited appeal in its initial run, but became a popular cult attraction for midnight theatrical showings, much like The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Legal problems with the copyrights for some of the music used in the film prevented a commercial home video release for 15 years, although the film was in rotation on some cable channels, including Cinemax, HBO and TBS, which allowed fans to record it and circulate bootleg copies. Heavy Metal may be the canonical example of a popular film or album that was unavailable to consumers for a long time for obscure reasons, despite popular acclaim or success.


Release Date: August 7, 1981

Distrib: Columbia Pictures


Boxoffice: $18,977,689 2014: 53,579,820

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Heavy Metal (1981)
Release Year
Catalog Number
10158
Primary Distributor (If not listed, select "OTHER")
Catalog Number
10158
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N/A (PAL)
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