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Heavy Metal

1981       John Candy - voice

Heavy Metal opens with the "Soft Landing" sequence, based on art by Thomas Warkentin, from an idea of Alien scriptwriter Dan O'Bannon [originally published in the Sept. '79 Heavy Metal]. After this 2001: A Space Odyssey-like prologue, it shifts rather handily into the quasi-mystical "Grimaldi" story-the key linking device between sequences.
From this intro we jump into "Den," the adaptation of Richard Corben's brilliantly drawn quintessential hero fiction, which ran during NM's first year. It presented the greatest challenge to bring to the screen. Corben's spectacular color values were carefully maintained in the backgrounds, with bizarre expanses glowing in rich, fluorescent hues. The tale of young Dan's transformation into the hero Den, who's caught in the power struggle between the sorcerer Ard and the queen-priestess, is told with two near-explicit sex scenes amidst lots of solid, hand-to-hand combat.

From these staggering visuals, the film carries us into the galactic court where Captain Sternn is on trial. From comic-artist great Berni Wrightson's original story [published in the June '80 NM], Sternn is

the ultimate parody of every space-opera villain-hero. Says artist Wrightson, "I've always had trouble writing something serious.

So when Captain Sternn grew out of Star Wars-I was never an sf fan until I saw it-as a funny adventure, it degenerated into a broad farce. I was also inspired by Warner Bros. cartoons; hence I created his foil character, Hanover Fiste. "As the story leaves the conclusion of the trial, it moves into the "Never-where" world - master animator Cornelius Cole's personal vision of the history of evil as a basic force in history. Cole's visionary graphics (intricate ball-point renderings of lyric pastels) get most viewers to say, "Holy shit, this stuff is really coming to life!" Says Cole, "You reach a point in animation where you must have the opportunity not to cut corners."

On to "B-17" - the first true horror story to be animated, with all the savagery that makes great shockers. Will Eisner-trained film artist Mike Ploog did most of the conceptualizations. His background as a former Marvel Comics "Conan" and "Frankenstein" artist lends greater power to this 1950s E. C. Comics-style terror tale. A favorite of producer Reitman's since he was an E.C. collector as a kid, the story (based on an original idea of O'Bannon's) was given a twist of authenticity. They visited an aviation museum, and one of the last few flyable B-17s was flown in order to record actual sound effects of the plane. Coincidentally, the HM animation team includes three 'WWII bomber crewmen, several licensed pilots, an ex-RAF inductee, and a director who collects aviation memorabilia.

With the following sequence, "So Beautiful and So Dangerous," came the original artist, Angus McKie, who illustrated the serial in NM, which later became a book. He directly contributed seventy key background paintings of the most incredible animated sequences ever done. The contrast between McKie's high-tech environments and the three space jockeys (well, two, and one robot) are inspired by Cheech and Chong. There are lots of outer-space drug references and some interstellar sex.

Gimenez's "Harry Canyon" is an original depiction of a world half-familiar-New York City-in an unfamiliar time, 2031. The misadventures of a cynical cab driver caught in the middle of a battle for valuable stolen goods comes right out of a thirties detective story. "We sort of thought of it as an animated variation of Dashiell Hammett's Maltese Falcon, starring Humphrey Bogart".

Item Details:
b2 Japanese Hansai 20x28.5 single-sided rolled

Heavy Metal

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Production Designer .......................... Michael Gross
Music by ................................ Elmer Bernstein
Executive Producer .......................... Leonard Mogel
Screenplay by .......................... Dan Goldberg and Len Blum
Original Art and Stories by
Richard Vorben
Angus McKie
Dan O'Bannon
Thomas Warkentin
Berni Wrightson
Directed by ......................... Gerald Potterton
Produced by ...................... Ivan Reitman

Featuring Songs by
Black Sabbath
Cheap Trick
Donald Fagen
Stevie Nicks
Blue Oyster Cult
Sammy Hagar
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