Those Satanic Algorithms of Netflix caught me out last night, as I noticed in its recommendations the Heavy Metal movie, a film I first saw it on VHS, sadly on a regretted sell-through copy rather than a rental, many moons ago. I’d been curious of watching the film for years (it came out in cinemas back in 1981) and was expecting something quite special – I recall a glowing review in Starburst magazine when the film came out. I don’t know what they were watching (or what they were smoking) but goodness me that VHS was a shocking disappointment. I was somehow expecting something like the imagery of that picture above, which that damned Starburst review splashed across its pages as if that’s how the whole thing looked. I mean sure, in hindsight I was clearly an idiot- you could make that imagined movie that ran in my head look like that today, with CGI etc, but back in 1981, on the limited budget typical of any animation back then? Impossible. Instead we got jerky, flat and horrible animation, and even worse, crudely assembled and adapted stories with imagery that was just about sex and titillation.
Sure, the film obviously knew its audience, or at least assumed it knew the readership of the original magazine: as it turned out, I think they were proven wrong as the film deservedly flopped. Over the years, who knows, maybe young boys loved the movie, but I’m pretty certain women must have hated it, and rightly so: each female character is pretty much just a sex object and spends as little time as possible stripping off and having sex. Its like the very worst it could possibly be, and in this day and age would have the producers of the new mightily progressive Dr Who in hysterical fits.
So anyway, idiocy once again got the better of me and I pressed ‘play’ on the remote, wondering if that movie was really as bad as I remembered. Sometimes old films surprise you by being better than you recall; maybe its the familiar face of an old actor, or old styles of the time. Most of the time its as bad as you feared, but sometimes its even worse. This was the latter.
Such a shame. Even back in 1981, the magazine deserved better. I think the true Heavy Metal Movie would be an assembly of the best segments of Netflix’s own Love, Death + Robots that came out last year. Infact, it occurred to me that I would be much better off re-watching some of that than rekindling old horror-experiences of this movie. But it was late, it was a worknight, so I cursed those Netflix algorithms and stopped the regrettable play through of this terrible movie, hoping I’ll never have to suffer it again.