Heavy Metal (1981)

R | 90 mins | Science fiction | 7 August 1981

Director:

Gerald Potterton

Producer:

Ivan Reitman

Production Designer:

Michael Gross

Production Company:

Heavy Metal Animation
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HISTORY

According to articles in the 3 Apr 1981 DV, the 23 Jul 1981 DV and the 7 Aug 1981 LAHExam, Leonard Mogel, co-founder of National Lampoon magazine, liked the French magazine Metal Hurlant, and began publishing the U.S. version, Heavy Metal, in 1976. A deal with Universal to make an animated feature based on the fantasy stories was put into turnaround. Twentieth Century-Fox developed the project under studio head Alan Ladd, Jr. , with half of the stories to be licensed from Metal Hurlant, and a planned shoot at the Halas-Batchelor Studios in England. During this time the budget escalated from $2.5 million to $10 million. Although Mogel’s deal with Fox included four French stories, Metal Hurlant became involved with another animation project and refused to release the stories. By Sep 1979, Ladd had left Fox and the studio passed on the film. Producer and National Lampoon editor, Matty Simmons, approached Ivan Reitman regarding independent Canadian financing. Reitman had just begun directing Stripes (1981, see entry), but agreed to produce the animated feature if he could “totally take over the project and hire new writers.” Reitman and Mogel found stories in the issues of Heavy Metal magazine and hired new writers to create original works. The separate adventures were to be connected with a unifying story-line.
       Reitman obtained financing for the film through Canadian tax shelter money raised from investors, with a stipulation that “three-quarters of the film’s expenditures must be made in Canada.” ... More Less

According to articles in the 3 Apr 1981 DV, the 23 Jul 1981 DV and the 7 Aug 1981 LAHExam, Leonard Mogel, co-founder of National Lampoon magazine, liked the French magazine Metal Hurlant, and began publishing the U.S. version, Heavy Metal, in 1976. A deal with Universal to make an animated feature based on the fantasy stories was put into turnaround. Twentieth Century-Fox developed the project under studio head Alan Ladd, Jr. , with half of the stories to be licensed from Metal Hurlant, and a planned shoot at the Halas-Batchelor Studios in England. During this time the budget escalated from $2.5 million to $10 million. Although Mogel’s deal with Fox included four French stories, Metal Hurlant became involved with another animation project and refused to release the stories. By Sep 1979, Ladd had left Fox and the studio passed on the film. Producer and National Lampoon editor, Matty Simmons, approached Ivan Reitman regarding independent Canadian financing. Reitman had just begun directing Stripes (1981, see entry), but agreed to produce the animated feature if he could “totally take over the project and hire new writers.” Reitman and Mogel found stories in the issues of Heavy Metal magazine and hired new writers to create original works. The separate adventures were to be connected with a unifying story-line.
       Reitman obtained financing for the film through Canadian tax shelter money raised from investors, with a stipulation that “three-quarters of the film’s expenditures must be made in Canada.” Reitman chose Montreal, Canada, for the film’s animation studio, and the 8 Apr 1980 DV noted the film, with the tentative title Heavy Metal Presents, would involve seventy to eighty percent of Canada’s animation firms. The 7 Aug 1981 LAHExam reported “a whole new operation” was assembled for the film, and “with 500 personnel, it became the largest animation studio outside of Japan ever put together.” Artists, animators and technicians from seventeen countries were assembled to work in five cities: Montreal, New York City, Los Angeles, CA, London, England, and Ottawa, Canada. The 14 Aug 1980 DV reported that animation work commenced on 13 Aug 1980.
       An item in the 27 Aug 1980 Var reported the film’s budget was $7 million. However, in the 3 Apr 1981 DV, Reitman stated that due to some “production problems,” the film was still shooting and had gone over budget. Reitman estimated the final cost to be $8.5 million. The 16 Jun 1981 HR reported the film’s final cost was $10 million. However, items in the 23 Jun 1981 HR and the 23 Jul 1981 DV stated the film came in at $7.5 million. The 11 Feb 1981 HR announced Columbia Pictures acquired worldwide distribution, and the 7 Aug 1981 LAHExam noted that upon receipt of the film, Columbia paid $8 million, which amounted to eighty percent of the film’s production costs. Columbia also spent approximately $6 million to advertise the film as one of “its big summer releases.”
       The 23 Jul 1981 DV reported that Irving Azoff was packaging the film’s soundtrack and had lined up several rock bands, including Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult, Cheap Trick, Devo, Journey, and Nazareth. Elmer Bernstein’s “symphonic soundtrack score” would be released separately. In conjunction with the film, the 16 Sep 1981 Var reported that New York Zoetrope would publish The Art of Heavy Metal: The Movie, with illustrations from the film’s production and text written by Carl Macek.
       Heavy Metal was released on 7 Aug 1981. The 18 Aug 1981 HR noted it grossed $7,967,081 in its first week and three days of release. According to the 16 Sep 1981 HR, the box-office gross was $17,291,701 after six weeks and three days of release. The 19 Aug 1981 Var announced the film was selected for the Edinburgh International Film Festival. That screening was held on 20 Aug 1981 and included an appearance by the film’s British animators.
       An item in the 15 Feb 1996 DV noted that Heavy Metal had become a “cult classic” and was the “most requested film” of the Columbia Pictures library. However, disputes over soundtrack rights delayed the film’s video release. Columbia planned the first video release of Heavy Metal for later in 1996, pending resolution of the rights issue. In anticipation of the video release, Columbia re-mastered the film with Sony digital sound for an 8 Mar 1996 theatrical reissue in thirty-nine cities.
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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
8 Apr 1980
p. 1, 14.
Daily Variety
14 Aug 1980.
---
Daily Variety
3 Apr 1981
p. 2.
Daily Variety
23 Jul 1981
p. 10.
Daily Variety
15 Feb 1996.
---
Hollywood Reporter
11 Feb 1981.
---
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jun 1981.
---
Hollywood Reporter
23 Jun 1981.
---
Hollywood Reporter
18 Aug 1981.
---
Hollywood Reporter
16 Sep 1981.
---
LAHExam
7 Aug 1981
Section D, p. 4, 6.
Los Angeles Times
7 Aug 1981
p. 9.
New York Times
7 Aug 1981.
---
Variety
27 Aug 1980.
---
Variety
5 Aug 1981
p. 18, 22.
Variety
19 Aug 1981.
---
Variety
16 Sep 1981.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Columbia Pictures Presents
An Ivan Reitman-Leonard Mogel Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Seq dir, Soft Landing
Seq and anim dir, Grimaldi
Prod mgr, Grimaldi
Prod mgr, Grimaldi
Seq dir, Harry Canyon
Asst dir & Prod mgr, Harry Canyon
Seq dir, Den
Seq dir, Captain Sternn
Seq dir, Captain Sternn
Prod mgr, Captain Sternn
Seq dir - Anim, B-17
Seq dir - Storyboard, B-17
Asst dir & Prod mgr, B-17
Seq dir, So Beautiful & So Dangerous
Anim dir, So Beautiful & So Dangerous
Prod mgr, So Beautiful & So Dangerous
Seq dir, Taarna
Prod mgr, Taarna
Prod mgr, Taarna
Prod mgr, Live action shoot, Taarna
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
Seq prod, Soft Landing
Seq prod, Soft Landing
Seq prod, Halas & Batchelor Animation Ltd., Grimal
Seq prod, Atkinson Film Arts Ltd., Harry Canyon
Seq prod, Atkinson Film Arts Ltd., Harry Canyon
Seq prod, Harry Canyon
Seq prod, Den
Seq prod, Den
Seq prod, Den
Seq prod, Captain Sternn
Seq prod, B-17
Seq prod, Atkinson Film-Arts Ltd., B-17
Seq prod, Atkinson Film-Arts Ltd., B-17
Seq prod, So Beautiful & So Dangerous
Exec prod
WRITERS
Scr
Based on orig art and stories by
Based on orig art and stories by
Based on orig art and stories by
Based on orig art and stories by
Based on orig art and stories by
Based on orig story by, Soft Landing
And art by, Soft Landing
Orig story by, Harry Canyon
Orig story by, Harry Canyon
Based on orig art and story by, Den
Based on orig art and story by, Captain Sternn
Based on orig story by, B-17
Based on orig art and story by, So Beautiful & So
Orig story by, Taarna
Orig story by, Taarna
PHOTOGRAPHY
Anim cam, Soft Landing
Cam, Grimaldi
Model photog, Grimaldi
Anim cam, Harry Canyon
Cam, Den
Cam, Den
Cam, Den
Cam, Den
Cam, Captain Sternn
Anim cam, B-17
Stop-motion photog, B-17
Cam, So Beautiful & So Dangerous
Cam, Taarna
Cam, Taarna
Cam, Taarna
Cam, Taarna
Cam, Taarna
Video cam, Taarna
Cam, Live action shoot, Taarna
Asst cam, Live action shoot, Taarna
Still photog, Live action shoot, Taarna
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Tech artwork, Grimaldi
Storyboard & des, Harry Canyon
Art dir, Den
Des, B-17
Des, B-17
Des, So Beautiful & So Dangerous
Des, So Beautiful & So Dangerous
Storyboards, So Beautiful & So Dangerous
Storyboards, So Beautiful & So Dangerous
Tech artwork, So Beautiful & So Dangerous
Des, Taarna
Des, Taarna
Des, Taarna
Des, Taarna
Des, Taarna
Des, Taarna
Des, Taarna
Des, Taarna
Des, Taarna
Des, Taarna
Des, Taarna
Storyboards, Taarna
Storyboards, Taarna
Storyboards, Taarna
Storyboards, Taarna
Storyboards, Taarna
FILM EDITORS
Supv ed
Ed, Soft Landing
Ed, Harry Canyon
Ed, Den
Ed, B-17
Asst ed
Ed consultant
Ed consultant
Ed assistance
Ed assistance
Ed assistance
Ed assistance
MUSIC
Conducting, Music by Elmer Bernstein
Songs by
Songs by
Songs by
Songs by
Songs by
Songs by
Songs by
Songs by
Songs by
Songs by
Songs by
Songs by
Mus ed
Cond, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
With, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
And, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
on the Ondes Martenot
Album exec prod
Album prod
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Synthesized sd eff
Sd re-rec
Sd re-rec
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Post sync sd eff
Post sync sd eff
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Dial ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff, Soft Landing
Spec eff, Grimaldi
Model const, Grimaldi
Spec eff, Harry Canyon
Spec eff, Den
Spec eff, B-17
Spec eff, B-17
Spec eff, So Beautiful & So Dangerous
Travelling shot, Spec eff, Taarna
Travelling shot, Spec eff, Taarna
Travelling shot, Spec eff, Taarna
Background painting, Spec eff, Taarna
Background painting, Spec eff, Taarna
Background painting, Spec eff, Taarna
Background painting, Spec eff, Taarna
Multiplane, Spec eff, Taarna
Multiplane, Spec eff, Taarna
Multiplane, Spec eff, Taarna
Cam eff, Spec eff, Taarna
Cam eff, Spec eff, Taarna
Asst, Spec eff, Taarna
Asst, Spec eff, Taarna
Asst, Spec eff, Taarna
Eff anim, Spec eff, Taarna
Model const, Spec eff, Taarna
Model const, Spec eff, Taarna
Model const, Spec eff, Taarna
Model const, Spec eff, Taarna
Model const, Spec eff, Taarna
Model const, Spec eff, Taarna
Dir of spec eff
Titles des by
Titls des by, MGM Title
PRODUCTION MISC
Post prod supv
Prod supv
Prod coord
Prod coord, Soft Landing
Models, Soft Landing
Prod asst, Harry Canyon
Coord, Den
Prod asst, B-17
Asst prod mgr, Taarna
Unit mgr, Live action shoot, Taarna
Model, Live action shoot, Taarna
Prod asst, Live action shoot, Taarna
Prod asst, Live action shoot, Taarna
Prod asst, Live action shoot, Taarna
Prod asst, Live action shoot, Taarna
Prod asst, Live action shoot, Taarna
Tech adv, Live action shoot, Taarna
Asst prod supv
Asst to Gerald Potterton
Prod secy
Prod secy
Prod asst
Prod asst
Script asst
ANIMATION
Anim, Soft Landing
Anim, Soft Landing
Asst anim, Soft Landing
Asst anim, Soft Landing
Backgrounds, Soft Landing
Air brush artist, Soft Landing
Air brush artist, Soft Landing
Layouts, Grimaldi
Layouts, Grimaldi
Layouts, Grimaldi
Anim, Grimaldi
Anim, Grimaldi
Anim, Grimaldi
Anim, Grimaldi
Asst anim, Grimaldi
Asst anim, Grimaldi
Asst anim, Grimaldi
Backgrounds, Grimaldi
Paint & trace coord, Grimaldi
Layouts, Harry Canyon
Anim, Harry Canyon
Anim, Harry Canyon
Anim, Harry Canyon
Anim, Harry Canyon
Anim, Harry Canyon
Anim, Harry Canyon
Anim, Harry Canyon
Anim, Harry Canyon
Anim, Harry Canyon
Anim, Harry Canyon
Asst anim, Harry Canyon
Asst anim, Harry Canyon
Asst anim, Harry Canyon
Asst anim, Harry Canyon
Asst anim, Harry Canyon
Asst anim, Harry Canyon
Backgrounds, Harry Canyon
Xerox and paint & trace supv, Harry Canyon
Xerox and paint & trace supv, Harry Canyon
Xerox and paint & trace supv, Harry Canyon
Layouts, Den
Layouts, Den
Layouts, Den
Anim, Den
Anim, Den
Anim, Den
Anim, Den
Anim, Den
Anim, Den
Anim, Den
Anim, Den
Anim, Den
Anim, Den
Anim, Den
Anim, Den
Anim, Den
Anim, Den
Anim, Den
Anim, Den
Anim, Den
Asst anim, Den
Asst anim, Den
Asst anim, Den
Asst anim, Den
Asst anim, Den
Asst anim, Den
Asst anim, Den
Asst anim, Den
Asst anim, Den
Asst anim, Den
Asst anim, Den
Backgrounds, Den
Backgrounds, Den
Backgrounds, Den
Backgrounds, Den
Backgrounds, Den
Backgrounds, Den
Backgrounds, Den
Backgrounds, Den
Backgrounds, Den
Paint & trace supv, Den
Layouts, Captain Sternn
Layouts, Captain Sternn
Key anim, Captain Sternn
Key anim, Captain Sternn
Key anim, Captain Sternn
Asst anim, Captain Sternn
Asst anim, Captain Sternn
Backgrounds, Captain Sternn
Paint & trace supv, Captain Sternn
Layouts, B-17
Layouts, B-17
Layouts, B-17
Anim, B-17
Anim, B-17
Anim, B-17
Anim, B-17
Anim, B-17
Anim, B-17
Anim, B-17
Anim, B-17
Asst anim, B-17
Asst anim, B-17
Asst anim, B-17
Asst anim, B-17
Backgrounds, B-17
Backgrounds, B-17
Xerox and paint & trace supv, B-17
Xerox and paint & trace supv, B-17
Xerox and paint & trace supv, B-17
Layouts, So Beautiful & So Dangerous
Layouts, So Beautiful & So Dangerous
Anim, So Beautiful & So Dangerous
Anim, So Beautiful & So Dangerous
Anim, So Beautiful & So Dangerous
Anim, So Beautiful & So Dangerous
Anim, So Beautiful & So Dangerous
Asst anim, So Beautiful & So Dangerous
Asst anim, So Beautiful & So Dangerous
Asst anim, So Beautiful & So Dangerous
Asst anim, So Beautiful & So Dangerous
Asst anim, So Beautiful & So Dangerous
Asst anim, So Beautiful & So Dangerous
Backgrounds, So Beautiful & So Dangerous
Backgrounds, So Beautiful & So Dangerous
Backgrounds, So Beautiful & So Dangerous
Paint & trace coord, So Beautiful & So Dangerous
Paint & trace coord, So Beautiful & So Dangerous
Computer anim, So Beautiful & So Dangerous
Layout supv, Taarna
Layouts, Taarna
Layouts, Taarna
Layouts, Taarna
Layouts, Taarna
Layouts, Taarna
Layouts, Taarna
Layouts, Taarna
Key anim, Taarna
Key anim, Taarna
Key anim, Taarna
Key anim, Taarna
Key anim, Taarna
Key anim, Taarna
Key anim, Taarna
Key anim, Taarna
Anim, Taarna
Anim, Taarna
Anim, Taarna
Anim, Taarna
Anim, Taarna
Anim, Taarna
Anim, Taarna
Anim, Taarna
Anim, Taarna
Anim, Taarna
Anim, Taarna
Anim, Taarna
Anim, Taarna
Anim, Taarna
Anim, Taarna
Anim, Taarna
Anim, Taarna
Anim, Taarna
Anim, Taarna
Anim, Taarna
Anim, Taarna
Anim, Taarna
Asst anim unit supv, Taarna
Asst anim unit supv, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Asst anim, Taarna
Background supv, Taarna
Backgrounds, Taarna
Backgrounds, Taarna
Backgrounds, Taarna
Backgrounds, Taarna
Backgrounds, Taarna
Backgrounds, Taarna
Backgrounds, Taarna
Backgrounds, Taarna
Backgrounds, Taarna
Backgrounds, Taarna
Backgrounds, Taarna
Backgrounds, Taarna
Backgrounds, Taarna
Backgrounds, Taarna
Paint & trace supv, Taarna
Asst paint & trace supv, Taarna
Asst paint & trace supv, Taarna
Checking supv, Taarna
Main title anim
Main title anim
Main title anim
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col coord, Harry Canyon
Col coord, Den
Col coord, B-17
Col coord, B-17
Processing by
SOURCES
SONGS
“Radar Rider,” performed by Riggs, written by Jerry Riggs, Marc Jordan, publisher: Mr. Sunshine Inc., BMI
“Veteran Of The Psychic Wars,” performed by Blue Oyster Cult, written by Eric Bloom, Michael Moorecock, publisher: B.O. Cult Songs, ASCAP
“True Companion,” performed by Donald Fagen, composed & arranged by Donald Fagen, publisher: Freejunket Music, ASCAP
+
SONGS
“Radar Rider,” performed by Riggs, written by Jerry Riggs, Marc Jordan, publisher: Mr. Sunshine Inc., BMI
“Veteran Of The Psychic Wars,” performed by Blue Oyster Cult, written by Eric Bloom, Michael Moorecock, publisher: B.O. Cult Songs, ASCAP
“True Companion,” performed by Donald Fagen, composed & arranged by Donald Fagen, publisher: Freejunket Music, ASCAP
“Heartbeat,” performed by Riggs, written by Jerry Riggs, publisher: Mr. Sunshine Inc., BMI
“Blue Lamp,” performed by Stevie Nicks, written by Stevie Nicks, publisher: Welsh Witch Music, BMI
“Open Arms,” performed by Journey, written by Stephen Perry/Jonathan Cain, publisher: WeedHigh/Nightmare Music, BMI
“Reach Out,” performed by Cheap Trick, written by Robert James, Pete Comita, publisher: Adult Music, BMI
“Takin’ A Ride (On Heavy Metal),” performed by Don Felder, written by Don Felder, publisher: Fingers Music, ASCAP
“Queen Bee,” performed by Grand Funk Railroad, written by Mark Farner, publisher: Cram Renraff Co., BMI
“I Must Be Dreamin’,” performed by Cheap Trick, written by Rick Nielsen, publisher: Adult Music, BMI
“Crazy? (A Suitable Case For Treatment),” performed by Nazareth, written by D. McCafferty, P. Agnew, M. Charlton, D. Sweet, publisher: Panache Music Inc., ASCAP
“All Of You,” performed by Don Felder, written by Don Felder, publisher: Fingers Music, ASCAP
“Heavy Metal,” performed by Sammy Hagar, written by Sammy Hagar, Jim Peterik, publisher: Nine Music/Warner Bros. Music, ASCAP, Bald Medusa/Warner Bros. Music, ASCAP
“Prefabricated,” performed by Trust, written by Bernard Bonvoisin, Norbert Krief, Jimmy Pursey (English Version), publisher: April Music℗
CBS Disques
“The Mob Rules,” performed by Black Sabbath, written by Butler, Dio, Iommi, publisher: TRD-Essex ASCAP/Muggins Music Inc., BMI
“Through Being Cool,” performed by Devo, written by M. Mothersbaugh, G.V. Casale, R. Mothersbaugh, publisher: Devo Music/Nymph Music, BMI
“Workin’ In A Coal Mine,” performed by Devo, written by Allen Toussaint, publisher: Marsaint Music/Warner Bros. Music, BMI.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Heavy Metal Presents
Release Date:
7 August 1981
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 7 August 1981
Production Date:
began 13 August 1980
Copyright Claimant:
Guardian Trust Company
Copyright Date:
7 August 1981
Copyright Number:
PA116304
Physical Properties:
Sound
Recorded in Dolby Stereo®
Color
Prints
Prints by Metrocolor®
Duration(in mins):
90
MPAA Rating:
R
Countries:
Canada, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
26394
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

A convertible automobile leaves a spaceship, descends to Earth, and the astronaut drives to his remote Victorian-style home. When he shows his daughter a glowing green globe from space, the orb turns him into a skeleton and he crumbles into a pile of ash. The globe claims it is the sum of all evil and shows the girl how it destroys the lives of people in multiple dimensions. In 2031 New York City, Harry Canyon, a taxi driver, complains it is the “scum center” of the world. A passenger tries to rob Harry, but he flips an emergency switch that shoots a yellow beam at the robber, who dies and disappears. Harry reads a newspaper article about the “Loc Nar,” an ancient relic on display at the Metropolitan museum. As Harry drives past the museum, the professor who discovered the Loc Nar races outside after being shot. His daughter follows, but the professor insists she run away from the gunmen chasing them. Harry lets the girl into his cab, although he prefers not to get involved. She tells him the gunmen want the Loc Nar, but her father would not reveal its location. She loses consciousness, and Harry carries her into the police station. The officer wants $1,000 for an investigation, so Harry leaves and takes the girl to his apartment. When she regains consciousness, she reveals the Loc Nar is worth a fortune, especially to the Venutians who believe it has spiritual power. She worries that they will kill her, but Harry insists she is safe with him, and they make love. In ... +


A convertible automobile leaves a spaceship, descends to Earth, and the astronaut drives to his remote Victorian-style home. When he shows his daughter a glowing green globe from space, the orb turns him into a skeleton and he crumbles into a pile of ash. The globe claims it is the sum of all evil and shows the girl how it destroys the lives of people in multiple dimensions. In 2031 New York City, Harry Canyon, a taxi driver, complains it is the “scum center” of the world. A passenger tries to rob Harry, but he flips an emergency switch that shoots a yellow beam at the robber, who dies and disappears. Harry reads a newspaper article about the “Loc Nar,” an ancient relic on display at the Metropolitan museum. As Harry drives past the museum, the professor who discovered the Loc Nar races outside after being shot. His daughter follows, but the professor insists she run away from the gunmen chasing them. Harry lets the girl into his cab, although he prefers not to get involved. She tells him the gunmen want the Loc Nar, but her father would not reveal its location. She loses consciousness, and Harry carries her into the police station. The officer wants $1,000 for an investigation, so Harry leaves and takes the girl to his apartment. When she regains consciousness, she reveals the Loc Nar is worth a fortune, especially to the Venutians who believe it has spiritual power. She worries that they will kill her, but Harry insists she is safe with him, and they make love. In the morning, he awakens alone and is questioned by two police officers about the girl, but he has no information to give them. Harry’s first taxi passenger of the day is Rudnick, who wants to purchase the Loc Nar and warns that he is impatient. Harry receives a message to meet the girl at the Statue of Liberty. He is followed by two vehicles. He shoots at the first car and it explodes, and his maneuvers cause the other vehicle to crash. Harry meets the girl and she shows him the Loc Nar, a green globe inside a case. She tells him Rudnick will pay a fortune for it, but she is afraid to meet him alone. Harry agrees to help for fifty percent of the money and they make the exchange with Rudnick. However, when Rudnick picks up the globe, he turns green and melts. In the taxi, Harry is excited about the money, but the girl wants it for herself and plans to shoot him. He ignites the yellow emergency beam, killing her and leaving Harry with all the cash. Back in the dead astronaut’s Victorian home, the orb orders the astronaut’s daughter to look into the globe again and learn of a world where it is worshipped. On Earth, Dan finds the globe and believes it to be a green meteorite. However, Dan’s experiments with lightning ignite the globe’s power, and it sends him flying through space, transforming him into Den, a bald, muscular man. He lands near a temple as the Queen tosses a woman named Katherine into a pool as a sacrifice. Den dives into the water, rescues Katherine and carries her through underwater caves to a shore, marveling at his newfound strength and abilities. Katherine reveals she is also from Earth and offers to make love to Den as a reward, but they are interrupted by soldiers who take them to Ard, the Queen’s rival. Ard desires to be the next ruler of their world and needs the Queen’s glowing spear in order to take over. He places Katherine in an enchanted sleep and will only awaken her when Den returns with the spear. Den travels with several guards to the Queen’s palace, but the guards are killed. When Den meets the Queen, he notes the Loc Nar on her spear looks like his green meteorite. Instead of killing Den, the Queen makes love to him. However, when they are finished, she discovers the sphere is gone and blames Den for allowing Ard to steal it. Den escapes and rushes to the temple where Ard is sacrificing Katherine. As Den saves Katherine, Ard and the Queen fight for the sphere. An electrical storm brews overhead, so Den wraps a chain around the orb, tosses it into the storm, and the resulting green glow kills the two rivals. The orb falls to Den’s feet and Katherine suggests he could rule this world but he does not want the power. But when she suggests they could return to Earth, Den prefers his newfound abilities on this planet. The globe launches itself into space and lands at a space station where it is discovered by Fiste, a low-level employee. The corrupt Captain Sternn is on trial and bribes Fiste to lie on the stand. However, as Fiste testifies, the green orb causes him to tell the truth. Under the sphere’s influence, Fiste’s anger erupts and he bulks up to a giant size. Sternn runs away and Fiste destroys part of the space station as he chases the captain. When Sternn is cornered, he pays Fiste the bribe money and Fiste shrinks to normal size. Sternn pulls a lever, ejecting Fiste into space and killing him. Fiste’s decapitated hand, still clutching the green globe, flies through space and time into the Pacific Pearl, a B-17 airplane in the midst of a World War II battle. Most of the crew was killed when the plane was hit, but the green orb reanimates the dead servicemen. As they head toward the cockpit, the pilot parachutes out of the plane. He lands on a remote island covered with crashed airplanes and inhabited by monsters and reanimated skeletal crewmen. The orb explains that from one war to another, its influence is always present. In another world, Dr. Anrak briefs the President’s team about green radiation from space. During the meeting, a happy face spaceship hovers over the building. Gloria, a secretary, wears a green pin, and when it glows, Anrak dives across the table to accost her. A tube from the spaceship drills into the room, sucking Anrak and Gloria up to the ship. Anrak is broken apart, but Gloria arrives intact. She wants to return to Earth but a robot pretends that molecular instability prohibits it. Gloria and the robot have sex, and the alien pilots, Zeke and Edsel, blast off into space while snorting drugs. Back at the Victorian home, the orb informs the astronaut’s daughter that she could destroy it, but her death will break the chain forever. She is forced to look into the sphere one final time to watch it destroy her race. The orb lands on a mountain and its green glow spreads over barbarians, making them even more vicious. As the barbarian leader slaughters citizens in a nearby town, the council of elders summons the last of the Taarak, a legendary warrior race sworn to defend them. As the elders chant, barbarians kill them and leave. The female Taarak warrior, bearing the sacred sword symbol and silver hair, flies on her bird into the temple and obtains the legendary sword that ignites the ancient pact. She is sworn to defend the villagers, but when innocents are killed, the pact is to avenge. She battles several barbarians to learn the whereabouts of their leader. She finds the barbarian encampment near the glowing mountain, but is captured. The barbarian leader laughs at the ease of her capture and tosses her into a deep pit. He orders her bird killed, but the animal escapes and dives into the pit to rescue her. When they fly out of the pit, barbarians shoot the bird down, and the last Taarak warrior crashes to the ground. She is badly wounded and the barbarian leader prepares to kill her. However, the bird bites his leg, and she kills the barbarian. As smoke spills from the mountain, she crawls onto her wounded bird and flies to the summit. Raising her sword to channel lightning, the warrior flies into the green globe and sacrifices herself to destroy the evil. As the globe cracks, the astronaut’s daughter in the Victorian house runs outside as the house explodes. A flying bird descends to pick the girl up and she transforms into the new female Taarakian warrior destined to protect the next generation from evil. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.