Heavy Metal (1981) Movie Review

Heavy Metal (1981)

1981 | Horror, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Adventure, Animation, Music
86 minutes /

User Score: 57/100

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Heavy Metal Review


A glowing orb terrorizes a young girl with a collection of stories of dark fantasy, eroticism and horror.

Heavy Metal (1981) a 1h 26 min Canadian-American adult fantasy animation anthology that contains many science fictions and fantasy stories that were adapted from Heavy Metal magazine. Director Gerald Potterton (The Railrodder (1965), The Smoggies (1989), George and the Christmas Star (1985)) did an exceptional job executing this film. The movie contains graphic violence, sexual jokes, drug humor (aliens snorting what looks like cocaine), graphic sexual scenes, nudity, violence, blood and gore, drug use, bad language, disturbing, and frightening scenes.

Heavy Metal is several stories/segments about good vs. evil that is told through animated short films about a glowing green orb which is an ultimate evil in the universe. The eye-popping animation was visually appealing and pleasing to the eyes except for the sexual scenes. The soundtrack was phenomenal and smartly used as it flowed well with the movie and was heard at the right moments. The film flourished because it did not take itself seriously for the most of it.

Soft Landing

Soft Landing starts by showing us Earth with a space shuttle flying in an orbit. An astronaut in the Corvette began to descend through Earth’s atmosphere and later lands in a desert canyon where we see the car and driver/astronaut not hurt or touched/bruised.


Astronaut, Grimaldi (Don Francks - La Femme Nikita (1997-2001), I’m Not There. (2007), Inspector Gadget (1983)) is greeted by his daughter upon his arrival home. Grimaldi shows his daughter the crystalline green sphere he brought back, but he was melted as he opened the case and the orb rises out. The girl is scared out of her mind but shortly after understands the orb/Loc-Nar can influence societies through time and space and is evil of all sorts.

Harry Canyon

Harry Canyon takes place in the year 2031 in a dystopian New York City where taxicab driver Harry Canyon (Richard Romanus - Mean Streets (1973), Point of No Return (1993), Wizards (1977)) tells/narrates his story. Harry is not a pleasant person as he is grumpy while telling us about his average day which includes the occasional robbery attempts and fares. Harry rescued a girl from Rudnick (Al Waxman - King of Kensington (1975-1980), Cagney & Lacey (1981-1988), The Hurricane (1999)) who is gang member that murdered the girl’s father.

The girl (Susan Roman - The Adventures of Tintin (1991-1992), Rabid (1977), The Raccoons (1987-1991)) told him about her father’s discovery of the artifact, orc/Loc-Nar that have people killing each other to get their hands on it. I did not see what happens next coming, but he took the girl back to his apartment where they became sexually intimate. Rudnick threatened Harry the next day leading the girl to sell the orc to Rudnick and split the money with Harry doing something that I once again did not see coming.


Den revolves around a teenager finding a green meteorite/rock and takes it to add to his rock collection, but something disastrous happened to him during a lightning experiment. The orb took the boy into a world of Neverwhere where he was known as Den which is the acronym for his earth name, David Ellis Norman and he was also transformed into a naked bald man with muscles.

Den (John Candy - SCTV (1976-1979), Spaceballs (1987), Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987), Uncle Buck (1989)) rescued a young female that was about to be sacrificed in a strange ritual. The female, Katherine (Jackie Burroughs - Avonlea (1990-1996), Lost and Delirious (2001), The Dead Zone (1983), Willard (2003)) introduces herself to him and thanks his sexual favors. Ard (Martin Lavut - Remembering Arthur (2006), The Marriage Bed (1986), Smokescreen (1988)) is an immortal man who orders Den to get him the Loc-Nar. The queen caught Den and offers him leniency if he has sexual intimacy with her. The segment progresses to being something worthy of seeing as Den tries to get rid of ...

Captain Sternn

Captain Sternn takes place on a space station where space captain Lincoln F. Sternn (Eugene Levy - Best in Show (2000), SCTV (1976-1981), A Mighty Wind (2003), Waiting for Guffman (1996)) is on trial for numerous charges. Stern pleaded not guilty because he bribed Hanover Fiste (Rodger Bumpass - SpongeBob SquarePants (1999-2016), Monsters, Inc. (2001), The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (2004), Toy Story 2 (1999)) to testify on his behalf. Hanover wanted to set Sternn free, but the orb which had grown as big as a marble has forced Hanover to tell the truth about Sternn’s evil deeds. I was in total “what just happened” as Hanover transformed into a giant muscled something chasing Sternn While wreaking havoc.

Neverwhere Land

Neverwhere Land was a segment that was cut because of time restraints, but this segment would have connected Captain Sternn to B-17. Neverwhere Land focuses on the Loc-Nar and how it influenced the evolution of a planet, the rise of industrial age a world war amongst other things.


B-17 was a World War II bomber that was nicknamed the Pacific Pearl, which had made a dangerous bombing run that resulted in devastating damage and casualties. The co-pilot leaves his station to check on the crew as the bomber heads home and found all of them dead and also discovered the Loc-Nar following the plane. He made his way back to the c**kpit as the
Loc-Nar hits the plane while the dead crew turns into zombies. What will happen to the pilot and co-pilot?

So Beautiful and So Dangerous

Scientist Dr. Anrak is having a meeting at the Pentagon to discuss the mysterious mutations plaguing the United States. Dr. Anrak dismiss the occurrences until he sees Gloria (Alice (1985), The Rebound (2009), I.Q. (1994)) wearing the Loc-Nar in her locket. Dr. Anrak immediately started behaving inappropriately with Gloria and tries to assault her sexually. Dr. Anrak was shortly after kidnapped by a colossal starship that ripped through the roof and accidentally captured Gloria also. Why was Anrak kidnapped? You would want to see why.


Taarna revolves around a young female name Taarna avenging her city after the Loc-Nar which has grown to the size of a giant meteor has crashed into a volcano resulting in a tribe of human outcasts turning into mutated barbarians. The mutated barbarians wreaked havoc on a peaceful city leading the elders to summon the Tarrakians who is the last of a warrior race. Taarna is a beautiful Taarakian warrior maiden that is strong. She arrived a little too late to save anyone and seeks revenge for the city resulting her to being captured and tortured not too long after. Will Taarna survive and be able to avenge her city? What will happen to the orc/Loc-Nar?


We see the mansion blown up into pieces. We learn what happens to the orc amongst more information about Taarna and a little girl whose hair color changes to that of Taarna and has a Taarakian mark on her neck.

Heavy Metal was an average watch for me because it contains way too much sexual scenes with nudity for my liking resulting in receiving a score of five from me. The movie was almost flawless with its design, animation style, dialogue, and characters. I enjoyed the film but thought I would have had a better experience if it was not overfilled with sexual material. Overall, I would recommend this movie to fantasy fans.

About Heavy Metal (1981)

Title: Heavy Metal
Year: 1981
Runtime: 86 minutes
Type: Movie
Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Adventure, Animation, Music
Score: 2.5 / 5 stars
Avg. Rating: 2.85/5 stars from 7 users.
Total Avg. Votes: 7
Starring: Vlasta Vrana, Rodger Bumpass, Don Francks, Alice Playten, Harold Ramis, Jackie Burroughs, Patty Dworkin, Warren Munson, Al Waxman, John Candy, Cedric Smith, August Schellenberg, Mavor Moore, John Vernon, George Touliatos, Zal Yanovsky, Caroline Semple, Richard Romanus, Susan Roman, Harvey Atkin, Thor Bishopric, Len Doncheff, Glenis Wootton Gross, Marilyn Lightstone, Joseph Golland, Martin Lavut, Charles Jolliffe, Ned Conlon, Eugene Levy, Percy Rodrigues
Writers: Daniel Goldberg, Len Blum, Dan O'Bannon, Richard Corben, Bernie Wrightson, Angus McKie, Jean Giraud
Director: Gerald Potterton

Heavy Metal Cover Poster Art