Heavy Metal (the movie)

Perhaps one of the most influential cult movies, at least in the scifi space. EVER.

Saw this at twelve and I'm certain my brain melted and oozed from my ears. In the nine-story animated anthology (inspired by Heavy Metal magazine), an evil green orb narrates the tales, extolling to a frightened girl its history of wrecking havoc throughout the galaxy. I never fathomed so much awesomeness might exist in one serving: Wicked animation. Thundering metal music. Irreverent anti-heroes. Galactic drugs. Sex. Swords. Lasers. A lanky teen sucked through a wormhole lands on a strange planet as a brawny hero. A badass female warrior rides a winged dinosaur. Green-eyed zombies.

What sets Heavy Metal apart are not only the amazing characters, but how the psychedelia and sexuality mix with the Game-of-Thrones-level-violence and the cerebral-yet-low-brow humor. The Guardians of the Galaxy films and Thor Ragnarok borrow heavily from this formula, but hamstrung by Disney and PG-13 ratings they only scratch the surface. 

As far as influencing other works, Korbin Dallas from The Fifth Element is based on the taxi cab driver in the film, and Ego's spaceship in Guardians of the Galaxy II bears a more-than striking resemblance to the ship in the HM segment, 'So Beautiful So Dangerous.'

For a spell David Fincher pressed forward on an anthology sequel (there was a subsequent film in 2000, but mirroring the magazine's decline, the sequel sucked). James Cameron even committed to directing one of the stories, as did Zack Snyder and Guillermo del Toro. For whatever reason the rights lapsed and now Robert Rodriguez aims to a direct the next iteration.

Over the years I've watched this film hundreds of times. During that stretch the magazine fell hard, the content nothing like what it was. But just a few years ago a new publisher bought the magazine and lured Grant Morrison into the editor-in-chief's chair, and now the turn-around deserves an ovation. Plus, my buddy Duncan Trussel even penned a great story!

Check it out.

Nick Gullo