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 sequal Heavy Metal 2000 was released in 2000.
The film's title sequence story (based on the original story by Dan O'Bannon and art by Thomas Warkentin) opens with a space shuttle flying in orbit over Earth. The bay doors (on the belly of the shuttle) open, releasing a 1958 Corvette. An astronaut seated in the Corvette then begins descending through Earth's atmosphere, landing in a desert canyon.
- Jimmy T. Murakami - Director
- John Coates - Producer
- Dan O'Bannon - Writer
- Radar Rider by Riggs
Leading directly from the title sequence, the film's framing story has the astronaut, named Grimaldi, arriving at home where he is greeted by his daughter. He shows her something he brought back: a crystalline green sphere about the size of a basketball. When he opens the case, the orb rises out of it and melts the astronaut. It introduces itself to the terrified girl as "The sum of all evils." Looking into it, the girl sees how it has influenced societies through time and space. The orb, known as the Loc-Nar, forces her to watch the remaining stories.
- Harold Whitaker – Director
- John Halas – Producer
Original story by Daniel Goldberg and Len Blum. In a dystopian New York City in the year 2031, cynical taxicab driver Harry Canyon narrates his day in film noir style, grumbling about his fares and the occasional robbery attempt (which he thwarts with a disintegrator installed behind his seat). He stumbles into an incident where a fat gangster named Rudnick and his cyborg henchmen murder an archaeologist on the front steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Harry grudgingly allows the murdered man's daughter into his cab, and she tells him about her father's discovery: the Loc-Nar, an artifact over which people are killing each other. Harry cannot afford to pay for a police investigation, so he takes the girl back to his apartment. That night, the girl strips, climbs into his bed, and they have sex. Harry awakens alone the next morning when the cops bust into the apartment looking for the girl, whose existence he denies because she disappeared. One of his fares that day is Rudnick, who threatens Harry if he does not cooperate. Later, the girl contacts Harry and offers to sell the Loc-Nar and split the proceeds with him. He agrees to take her to the exchange. When Rudnick gets the Loc-Nar, he takes it out of its isolation case, and he disintegrates. Meanwhile, the girl claims that she's keeping the money for herself and pulls a gun on Harry, who is forced to use his self-defense ray, which disintegrates her clothing before disintegrating the now naked girl herself. He keeps the money and writes it up as a "two day ride with one hell of a tip".
Based on original art and story by Richard Corben. A nerdy teenager finds a round "green meteorite" and puts it in his rock collection at home. Weeks later, during a lightning experiment, the orb hurls the boy into the world ofNeverwhere, where he changes into an initially naked (though he quickly dons a loincloth), bald muscle man called Den. Landing on a giant idol, he witnesses a strange ritual and rescues a nubile young woman who was about to be sacrificed to "Uhluhtc" (// oo-lə-tek; "Cthulhu" spelled backwards). Reaching safety, she tells him that she is from the British colony of Gibraltar, on Earth, and that her name is Katherine Wells. While she demonstrates her gratitude with attempting sexual favors, they are interrupted by the minions of Ard, an immortal man who wants to obtain the Loc-Nar and use it to rule the world. He puts Katherine in suspended animation and orders Den to get the Loc-Nar from the Queen (the woman who performed the ritual). Den agrees, and infiltrates the Queen's palace with some of Ard's warriors. He is promptly caught by the Queen, but she offers leniency if he has sex with her. He complies, while the raiding party steals the Loc-Nar. Den escapes and, with the Queen and her forces in pursuit, races back to the idol. Ard is attempting to recreate the sacrifice himself so Den rescues Katherine, and the Queen's arrival sparks a bloody battle between her and Ard (backed by their respective armies). Den ends the battle by recreating the incident that drew him to Neverwhere, banishing Ard and the Queen, apparently back to Earth. Refusing the opportunity to rule, Den rides with Katherine into the sunset, content to remain in Neverwhere as "Den".
Based on original art and story by Bernie Wrightson. On a space station, a square-jawed space captain named Lincoln F. Sternn is on trial on numerous serious charges (and one moving violation) presented by the prosecutor. Pleading "not guilty" against the advice of his rat-faced lawyer, Sternn explains to his astonished lawyer that he expects to be acquitted because he bribed a witness, Hanover Fiste, to praise his character. Fiste takes the stand, but his perjury is subverted when the Loc-Nar, now the size of a marble, causes him to blurt out the truth about Sternn's evil deeds until he angrily denounces Sternn. Fiste rants with such fury that he changes into a muscled giant, and chases Sternn throughout the station, breaking through bulkheads and wreaking havoc. Eventually, he corners Sternn, receives his promised payoff for his part in the escape plan, and promptly shrinks back to his gangly original form. Sternn then pulls a lever opening a trapdoor under Fiste, and the Loc-Nar reenters an atmosphere with Fiste's bodiless flaming hand still clinging to it.
- Julian Harris – Director
- Paul Sabella – Director
- Bernie Wrightson – Writer
Based on original story by Dan O'Bannon. A World War II B-17 bomber nicknamed the "Pacific Pearl" makes a difficult bombing run with heavy damage and casualties. As the bomber limps home, the Co-Pilot goes back to check on the crew. Finding nothing but dead bodies, he notices the Loc-Nar trailing the plane. Informing the pilot, he heads back to the cockpit, when the Loc-Nar rams itself into the plane and raises the dead crew members as zombies. The co-pilot is killed by the zombie ball turret-gunner leaving only the pilot – who barely escapes in time, only to land on an island where he finds wreckage of airplanes, along with the wrecked airplanes' zombified airmen.
- Barrie Nelson – Director
- W.H. Stevens, Jr. – Producer
- Dan O'Bannon – Writer
- Rusty Gilligan – sketch artist
- "Heavy Metal (Takin' a Ride)" by Don Felder
Based on original art and story by Angus McKie. A scientist (Dr. Anrack) arrives at the Pentagon for a meeting about mysterious mutations that are plaguing the United States. At the meeting, the doctor tries to dismiss the occurrences, but when he sees a green stone (the Loc-Nar, reduced again in size) in the locket of Gloria, a buxom stenographer, he behaves erratically and attempts to sexually assault her. A colossal starship shaped like a smiley facebursts through the roof and abducts the berserk doctor and, by accident, Gloria. The ship's robot is irritated at Anrack, who is actually a malfunctioning android, but his mood changes when he sees Gloria. Instead of being shocked by her abduction, Gloria is merely annoyed and asks "Who is going to pay for my dry cleaning?" With the help of the ship's alien pilot and co-pilot, the robot convinces Gloria to stay on board and talks her into having "robot" sex. She reluctantly agrees to marry him (provided they have a Jewish wedding). Meanwhile, the crew inhale a massive amount of plutonian nyborg (a powdered substance resembling cocaine) and fly home completely stoned, zoning out on the cosmos and passing space junk (which includes a model of the refurbished USS Enterprise from Star Trek: The Motion Picture). Too stoned to fly straight, they crash into a huge space station, though they think it was a "nice landing".
Original story by Daniel Goldberg & Len Blum; inspired by Moebius' Arzach stories. The Loc-Nar, now the size of a giant meteor, crashes into a volcano, changing a tribe of human outcasts into mutated barbarians who ravage a peaceful city. The elders desperately try to summon the last of a warrior race, the Taarakians. Taarna, a strong, beautiful warrior maiden, arrives too late to stop the massacre and resolves to avenge the city. Her search leads to the barbarians' stronghold, where she is captured, tortured and left for dead. With the help of her Taarakian mount, she escapes and confronts the barbarian leader. Though wounded, she defeats him. With Taarna readying her final attack on the Loc-Nar, it pleads to her mount not to "sacrifice" herself. She does not relent, and her self-sacrifice destroys the Loc-Nar.
- Percy Rodriguez ... voice of the Loc-Nar (uncredited)
- Don Francks ... Barbarian
- August Schellenberg ... Taarak
- Zal Yanovsky ... Barbarian
- George Touliatos ... Barbarian
- Vlasta Vrana ... Barbarian Leader
- Mavor Moore ... Elder
- Thor Bishopric ... Boy
- Len Doncheff ... Barbarian
- Cedric Smith ... Bartender
- Joseph Golland ... Councilman
- Charles Joliffe ... Councilman
- Ned Conlon ... Councilman
- John Bruno - Director
As the final story ends, the Loc-Nar terrorizing the girl is similarly destroyed, blowing the mansion to pieces. Taarna's mount, reborn, appears outside and the girl happily flies away on it. It is then revealed that Taarna's soul has been transferred across the universe and through time to her. This is further signified by the change in hair color the girl now exhibits and the appearance of the Taarakian crest on her skin. Thus the girl is revealed to be the next Taarakian rider herself.