Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Diamonds and Lust

This is my entry in the Cary Grant blogathon hosted by Phyllis Loves Classic Movies.

This is the one with the famous Mae West line "Why don't you come up sometime and see me?"  To paraphrase a comment made by Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson) in Ghostbusters, when Mae West invites you up to her room, you say YES!

She Done Him Wrong (1933)

This movie was based on a hit Broadway production called Diamond Lil, which had been written by West herself.  The play was full of double entendres and risque and bawdy language.  The fairly new Hays Production Code committee told West and the production crew in no uncertain terms that the play could and would not be accepted. The Hays code committee made demands for many changes to the play before it would be approved, including having the main character's name changed from Lil to Lou.  I have no idea how bawdy the original play was, but it must have been something to see.

Even so, the movie is still quite risque for it's time.  One line early in the movie has one woman saying that Lou (Mae West) is "a fine woman", to which Lou's insouciant reply is "the finest woman to ever walk the streets."  (If you need that one explained, go home, your mama's calling you.)

The movie takes place in New York in the 1890's.  Lou is currently the love interest of a bar owner Gus (Noah Beery).  Gus gives her diamonds and does his best to keep her happy.  He is so infatuated with her he has a full length portrait of her put over the bar.  (Cover the kids' eyes for the brief moment the painting is shown, or you'll be up all night explaining it).

Gus has a rival who also wants a piece of Lou.  Dan (David Landau) keeps trying to lure Lou away from Gus and tells her Gus is into some crooked stuff.  To his credit, he is right.  Gus is behind a counterfeit ring which includes a Russian woman, Rita  (Raffaela Ottiano) and her lover, Sergei (Gilbert Rowland).  Sergei also has the hots for Lou.

About the only one who doesn't seem to be after Lou is Capt. Cummings (Cary Grant), the leader of a mission next door to the saloon (something like the Salvation Army, but it isn't called that in the movie).  Cummings keeps showing up and,  although his mission seems to be to try to reform some of the patrons of the bar, he doesn't seem very active in trying to do so.

Gus is also wrapped up in the prostitution business. A girl named Sally (Rochelle Hudson) is hustled off to learn the trade, but this being 1933 (the time the movie was made) you have to extrapolate what is being done with her.

Dan warns that an undercover police detective code named 'the Hawk" is snooping around the district looking for illegal activity.  (And if you don't immediately figure out who the Hawk is, then what kind of movies have you been watching up til now???)

There's still some story left to interest you.  For one thing, Lou's former boyfriend Chick (Owen Moore), who was in jail, has escaped and is looking for her because he thinks she betrayed him.  Meanwhile Lou is still trying to get Cummings to come up to her room.  (You say YES here, Cap...)

In 1933, movies always had happy endings.  This one doesn't fail.  Although we still don't get to see the Captain up in Lou's room...

Although the star is, of course, West, Cary Grant makes a pretty impressive debut. Grant had been on Broadway before this, and did appear in a few films, including once with Marlene Dietrich in Blonde Venus and with Sylvia Sidney in Madame Butterfly.  West, in her typical self-promoting style, always claimed to have discovered Grant, saying that the previous work had just been some "screen tests".

Well, I've just been invited up to Mae West's room, and I have no time to dilly-dally.  Have a safe ride home folks.


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Do the 'du

It's August of 1980.  I have, just earlier that year, graduated from high school, and I now have the freedom to go to whatever movies I want without having to have my parents' permission.  (Understand that I was brought up in a remote location, so even if I had a mind to do it, I couldn't just sneak out and go to one on my own. The nearest movie theater was 10 miles away.  I had to wait until I had my driver's license and some semblance of autonomy.)

I was still an idealistic young 18-year-old then.  I hadn't been jaded by years of observation of the reality of life.  Life still had the potential of being idyllic.  So one of the first movies I went to see on my own was Xanadu.  The plot itself did not draw me, however.  I had no clue what the movie was about.  I went because I had a carefree spirit, and the music of Electric Light Orchestra, also known by their initials, ELO , which was used in the movie, was one of my favorite bands of the time.

Even now I can recall being thrilled by the "feel good" theme of the movie, and the hope for a life somewhat like the main character Sonny achieved.  Reviews at the time didn't dissuade me from my initial reaction.  (One particular reviewer summed it up, rather snarkily, "In a word---Xana-don't")

I didn't see it again until one Saturday afternoon 10 years later, when I was stuck in the apartment where I was living and nothing else that was on TV appealed to me.  So I watched it.  And I was astounded.  This was a piece of crap!  How could I have possibly liked this movie?  Then came the scene within the movie where the characters Sonny and Danny envision two separate bandstands, one featuring a 40's swing band, the other an 80's  new wave rock band.  Both bands are playing separate tunes, but eventually blend together so that at the end, both are, while still playing their separate tunes, blend together so seamlessly that it seems to fit.  And I thought, well, that must have been the reason I liked it.

It was another 10 years before I finally broke down and watched it again.  My reaction was much the same as the one I had 10 years before.  It is definitely one of the worst movies ever made, I thought.  But, of course, when it got to the dual bands scene, I found I still liked that part.  By this time I had run across the Golden Raspberry Awards, an award that is given out for the worst movies of the year (done  just prior to the day they give out the Oscars).  And I found out that John Wilson, the founder of the "Razzies", had watched a 99 cents  double feature that had Xanadu paired with Can't Stop the Music, the faux-biographical movie on the origin of the disco group The Village People (still haven't seen that one), which was the genesis for his inspired award.

Xanadu had it's detractors, but it also had a cult following of people who thoroughly enjoyed it and still enjoy it.  I know, because a few years after that third viewing, someone created and put on Broadway a stage musical version of Xanadu: The Musical.  (Which seems to me to be redundant since the original movie was a musical in its own right.)  Anyway, on the heels of the Broadway show, Universal Studios, the producers of the original, released a 30th anniversary edition, complete with a special feature interviewing some of the avid enthusiasts for the original movie.  By this time I have grown to appreciate crappy movies, just for their crappiness, so I bought a copy.

Lo and behold, something has changed!  Not only do I still enjoy the dual band scene, I actually liked the whole movie (or at least most of it.  I still think the overall optimism is a bit cheesy, but it has taken less of a level of importance in my opinion.)  So without further ado, I'll give you a rundown of the movie.  If you haven't seen it, and feel brave, go ahead and check it out.  Or maybe you are one of those who holds it near and dear to your heart, here even 36 years later.  That's OK, to each his own.

Xanadu (1980)

The original movie is really essentially a remake, reworked with some nods to modern times.  The movie was Down to Earth (1947), which starred Rita Hayworth and Larry Parks, a movie which itself was a sequel to Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941).  There are a lot of parallels across the board, and I won't detail them all, but you might find this webpage interesting (20 Facts about Xanadu)  [Mel Gibson as Sonny??]

Sonny (Michael Beck) is a struggling artist as the opening credits run.  He has quit his job to become freelance, but it's not working out.  He rips up his final try and throws the shreds out the window, admitting defeat.  As the strains of ELO's song "I'm Alive" play, the shreds float across town and fall to the Earth in front of a painting of the nine Muses of mythology.  They come to life and dance.

Eight of the muses disappear into shining lights into the heavens but one remains.  Kira (Olivia Newton-John) remains and turns this movie into the beginnings of a roller-disco movie, as she roller skates through the park and bumps into Sonny and kisses him then disappears.  Sonny goes back to his old job, that of painting enlarged reproductions of album covers for a company owned by a half jovial-half tyrannical owner named Simpson (James Sloyan)

Sonny sees, on the album he is supposed to reproduce, the elusive girl who kissed him and begins a systematic search to find out who she is, but no one seems to know.  Sonny ends up finding her at the abandoned auditorium from the same album cover.  She talks to him as she skates but disappears again just as she has given him her names as "Kira".

Later, Sonny is on the beach where he strikes up a friendship with Danny McGuire (Gene Kelly), a jazz clarinetist who has long since retired to take up a job as the boss of a construction company, but still retains his love of the music of his past.  He tells Sonny of his dream to start up a new club, and Sonny encourages him.

Danny makes Sonny his partner in the endeavor.  Kira, who has become more available to Sonny over this time, encourages Sonny to bring Danny to the abandoned auditorium.  While the two are discussing options, this is where the great scene I mentioned above occurs.

There is some background that reveals that Kira was also a Muse for Danny in an earlier time.  Eventually Kira has to reveal the truth about herself to Danny, that she is a Muse, not a real girl, and that she must return to heaven.  Sonny has fallen in love and does not want to lose her.  His love takes on the form of a cartoon (drawn by Don Bluth, an acclaimed animation artist of the day, and this is one of the parts of the movie I find unbearably cheesy...)

Sonny eventually finds the wall where the Muses were drawn and his determination ends up catapulting him through the wall into the heavenly dimension, where he argues with Zeus (voiced by Wilfred Hyde-White) about the efficacy of true love.

After sending Sonny back to reality Kira pleads with Zeus to allow her to return with him.   Zeus, with the determined encouraging of his wife, allows Kira to return to Earth "just for a moment.  Or maybe forever... I keep getting them mixed up..."   The finale involves every kind of extravagant show imaginable, with mimes and dancers and trapeze artists and tightrope walkers and God knows what else.  Newton-John performs the title track "Xanadu", appearing in, alternating, a tight tiger-skin mini skirt, a fringe heavy western outfit and a Roman goddess headdress.

This movie is a lot more fun these days.  I couldn't begin to explain why my attitude has changed, but it has.  Now if only I could have my very own personal muse to fall in love with me and make it heaven here on Earth.


Saturday, November 19, 2016

Period? Period! Period.

Rachel @ Hamelette's Soliloquy tagged me for this Period Drama series of questions.  As always I like talking about me and my interests, but this one threw me for a loop.

First I had to define just what the heck is meant by a "period drama".  My initial thought was only in terms of Victorian romances, which I would have had to wholeheartedly decline participation if that was the case.  My romance movie catalog begins and ends with The Princess Bride.  Not that I don't appreciate the Victorian novel, but even then, most of my Victorian literature reading is of the kind that shocked the average Victorian housewife.  (Dracula, The Woman in White, etc.)

Wikipedia, however, in its introduction to the article on historical period drama states that period drama "covers all countries, all periods and all genres".  The basic gist is that it involves an earlier time period, sometimes halcyon (but not always).  As I understand it, a period drama is one that takes place in a different time than the present, and not necessarily a Victorian time period.  Thus, concerning my favorite genre, film noir, none of the classic film noir movies would be considered period dramas because they took place in the same time period as the one in which the movies were filmed.  But Chinatown, which portrayed life ca. 1938, but was filmed in 1974, could fit in the category.

If the only criteria were to be a historical setting for the movie, it does open up a wide array of possibilities.  I particularly enjoyed Around the World in 80 Days, which fits the category by the criteria we established.  However, one thing I left out in the description above is that, according to the same wikipedia article, the costumes are as much a draw to the viewer as the plot or setting.  Not that I've EVER watched a movie just to see the costumes, but I guess there are people who would.  (The questionnaire that Rachel gave me has a decidedly feminine slant to it, so I can assume that that group of people would be predominantly women).

Because I am not limited to just Victorian or Edwardian era movies, I tended to gravitate to more manly historical epochs.  I did avoid writing strictly about war movies, though towards those it would be my major natural inclination to gravitate.  (I like the fact that Rachel picked a couple of classic Westerns for a couple of the categories, which gives me leave to indulge in another of my favorite genres).

So, now on with the questionnaire:

1. What's your favorite Period Drama movie?

How about Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid?

2. What's your favorite Period Drama series?

Penny Dreadful.  I only got to see this after they released the series on DVD, since I don't have cable,  but I found the series to be extremely entertaining.  And you could binge watch them over the Thanksgiving holiday (since the whole series only encompasses 27 episodes).

3.  Which Period Drama do you dislike the most?

I was not entirely impressed with Gangs of New York (and I am a devotee of Scorsese...)

4.  Anne of Green Gables or Little Dorrit?

Never seen either, but I imagine, being the Dickens fan that I am, I'd probably choose Little Dorrit.

5. Your favorite Period Drama dresses?

Most of the dresses in Gone With the Wind were pretty elegant, as far as dresses go.

6.  Who's your favorite Period Drama character (Okay, pick at least five)

Alan Quartermain:  Whether played as a younger dashing adventurer by Richard Chamberlain or Patrick Swayze,  or as an elderly, but still active man by Sean Connery, you just gotta love his panache.  (Stewart Granger played him, too, but I like this couplet of pics...)

Sherlock Holmes:  Preferably the ones that put him in his proper timeline.  The fact that some studios appropriated him to combat the Nazis, while entertaining, just irked me slightly.  The only time that taking him out of his normal milieu has been OK, is the new BBC Benedict Cumberbatch series.

Phileas Fogg:  If David Niven is playing him.  Please, oh please, don't make me watch the Jackie Chan remake again.

Henry Jones, Jr.:  But don't call him "junior".  He prefers the name "Indiana" (after the family dog)

John Bernard Books:  A man who has reached the end of his life, but will not go silently into that good night.

7. If you could join a royal ball, which dress would you wear? (Pick a Period Drama dress)

Looks like it would be hard as hell to dance in, but I like the dress Elsa Lanchester is wearing at the beginning of The Bride of Frankenstein.

8. What's your favorite Jane Austen movie?

Does "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" count?  (You knew I couldn't go the whole blog entry without an oddball entry, didn't you, Rachel...?)

9. Downton Abbey or Call the Midwife?

Haven't seen any episodes of the first and never even heard of the second.

10.  Sybil Crawley, Jenny Lee, Emma Woodhouse or Marian of Knighton?

Have not seen any of these characters in action, and thus based solely on my opinion of which actress is the most attractive I'd choose Marian (Lucy Griffiths).

11. Which couples of a Period Drama do you like the most? (Pick at least four)

"Pip" and Estella (Note: if you still haven't seen David Lean's adaptation of "Great Expectations" stop reading this post and go find a copy and watch it.

Bonnie and Clyde

Count Dracula and Lucy Seward (from the 1979 film version of Dracula with Frank Langella and Kate Nelligan)

Oh, what the hell, OK.... Rhett Butler and Scarlett O'Hara.

12. And last, which Period Drama villain do you like the most?

I'm going to go with "the Fantom" from League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

Hope it was enjoyable, if not educational.


Sunday, November 13, 2016

Murder is not Funny

This is my entry in the Imaginary Film blogathon hosted by Silver Scenes.

Note on this movie:  I took great care to find actors and actresses who were active in Hollywood in 1951, and who would be the appropriate approximate age for the characters for whom they were cast  Nothing annoys me more than someone who is only a year or two older than the person playing their son or daughter or, as in the case of  William Frawley and Vivian Vance from "I Love Lucy", being so disproportionate in age as to make a marriage highly unlikely.  Each character therefore, is reasonably cast, using only age and their active status in 1951.  Whether or not it's likely they'd take on their respective roles is therefore only a matter of taste or opinion.   -Quiggy 

Murder Is Not Funny (1951)

Robert Mitchum plays Jeff Davis, a private detective who is put upon by everybody, but battles his detractors like he battles his own demons.  He has a girlfriend, Valerie (played by newcomer Barbara Rush), who doesn't approve of his lifestyle or his attitude in general.  He has a racist father, Jack, played by Edward G. Robinson, who has an opinion on everything and is not shy about voicing it.  (Jeff's real name, given to him by his father, by the way, is Robert E. Lee Jefferson Davis) He has a deceased former partner, Spencer (Richard Widmark),  whose ghost shows up to give him advice, sometimes at the most inopportune times.  And, worst of all, he has a client who only comes up to his kneecaps.

Jeff  begins the movie with a voice-over monologue, delivered in the classic style with just enough nonchalance and ennui to tweak the average viewer:

"It was after midnight on a hot sultry summer day in Chicago.  I was finishing up some paperwork on my last case, a skip-trace for some punk eight-year-old who had absconded with my client's milk money. Hey in my line of work, you take the jobs when you get them.  Anyway, so it was after midnight, and the phone rings.  I usually don't answer the phone after midnight.  After all, who calls after midnight anyway?  Usually it's some drunk miss-dialing the number of an old girlfriend whom he is convinced is, at that moment, pining away for him and his overrated libido. Besides, usually after midnight, I'm drunk and trying to call old girlfriends that I KNOW are pining away for me and my more than ample libido."

The phone call is not from a drunk however.  It is from a potential client.  Billy Barty (in his first headlining role) plays Corky, a dwarf who is working in a circus that is currently on an extended stay in Chicago (Jeff's home base).  It seems that Corky's  pal,  Dinky, a circus clown, played by Fred Gwynne, has been arrested for the murder of  Shirley, the circus' bearded lady (in flashbacks played by Rita Moreno).  Corky is convinced that Dinky has been framed, but by whom he does not know.  He claims that Dinky and Shirley were an item, and that Dinky was in love with Shirley.  He hires Jeff to investigate and clear his friend.

Jeff begins his initial investigation by snooping around in the circus.  It turns out that Dinky was seeing Roberta, the elastic woman (played by French actress Corinne Calvet), on the side, and had had strong words with Shirley that ended in a shouting match and Dinky storming out of Shirley's tent.  According to Henry (Werner Klemperer), the circus boss, Dinky was overheard in a fit of anger threatening to kill Shirley if she didn't leave him alone.  But when Jeff goes to talk to Dinky, he admits to arguing, but denies threatening her.

Jeff is followed from the prison and waylaid and left for dead by a mysterious cloaked figure.  Someone is desperately trying to get him off the case.  His girlfriend, afraid for his life, wants him to give up on the case, and in fact the profession altogether.  But being adamant that something sinister is going on behind the scenes at the circus, Jeff refuses.

Spencer, Jeff's deceased partner, clues Jeff in on something shady going on in the circus' front office.  Henry observes Jeff talking to himself and thinks he is a bit nuts, and so lets his guard down, slightly.  Jeff snoops around the head office tent and discovers some strange letters written in a language that, although Jeff cannot read, he determines is in German.

The crap hits the fan when Jeff discovers that Henry's real name is Heinrich.  And that Heinrich was a Kommandant in the Third Reich during World War II.  And that he was in charge of a P.O.W. camp.  Dinky had inadvertently discovered this, and was, in the process with Roberta, planning to expose him, Roberta having recognized him because she had seen him on one occasion in Occupied Paris.  Dinky, trying to be surreptitious, had intentionally argued with Shirley in order to cover his tracks, because he thought Heinrich was onto him.  Little did he know, Heinrich was.  In fact it was Heinrich who killed Shirley and tried to frame Dinky to get him discredited and hopefully, executed before Dinky could expose him.

Jeff  eventually exposes Heinrich and gets Dinky released.   Dinky and Corky thank him by giving him lifetime passes to the circus, and Jeff has to find another way to pay his bills.  Luckily for him, a new client awaits in his office when he gets back, a goat farmer who wants to hire him because his prize goat was goat-napped, he thinks, by a renegade Chicago Cubs fan in an effort to somehow break the "goat curse" that has shadowed the team for years.

Folks, this one is for the record books.  I finally did something I've wanted to do for a long time, and I can thank the Metzinger sisters for allowing me the opportunity, that of ad-libbing an entire movie from scratch.  Does it work or does it suck?  Don't be shy about telling me.


Saturday, November 12, 2016

A Case for Coulrophobia

This is my entry in the At the Circus Blogathon, hosted by Crìtica Retrô and Serendipitous Anachronisms.

"In Space No One Can Eat Ice Cream"
Tagline for Killer Klowns from Outer Space

Coulrophobia:  (n) an abnormal fear of clowns.

Some people are afraid of spiders (arachnophobia).  Some are afraid of snakes (ophidiophobia; So am I.  I mean it could be a poisonous one so why take chances? )  Some people have a fear of being touched (haphephobia).  But why would anyone be afraid of clowns?  How about because deep in our pre-history the origin of what we call clowns comes from an alien race that invades Earth periodically  and are here looking for their favorite exotic delicacy, human flesh?

This movie was the brainchild of three brothers; Stephen, Edward and Charles Chiodo.   It was made on the cheap (less than 2 million, and probably most of that was spent on the clown costumes.)  It stars no one you have ever heard of before, with the exception of John Vernon as a police officer who so much reminds you of Dean Wormer from Animal House, that you almost are ready to cheer when the clowns give him his comeuppance.

The script is reminiscent of Ed Wood movies, and the acting is laughable, but that may be part of the point.  This film is nothing so much as a parody of sci-fi/horror movies, or so it seems to me.  It seems so intent at having fun with itself, even the props that crop up in the movie are mostly for laughs.  The aliens ray gun shoots popcorn.  A balloon dog comes to life and is a bloodhound seeking the escaping kids.  All the humans are wrapped up in cotton candy (via a different ray gun).   And many other references to our own conception of clowns, but in a more horrific way.

Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)

One night a shooting star passes overhead. Some kids at a make-out point see it and Mike (Grant Cramer) takes his girlfriend, Debbie (Suzanne Snyder) to check it out.  At the same time, an old farmer (Royal Dano), with dollar signs in his eyes about the money he can get for retrieving the comet, (reminiscent of Jordy Verrill in a segment of Creepshow [previously reviewed]) goes looking for it.  Instead of finding a comet, he finds a circus tent.  While investigating it in curiosity, he is encased in cotton candy by the klowns.

Meanwhile, Mike and Debbie finally stumble upon the strange tent.  They find their way inside and find out it is unlike any circus tent they have ever seen before.  Lots of weird spaceship like stuff and doors that lead to other parts of the ship, and at one point a reactor room that resembles the Krell laboratories from Forbidden Planet.  They also find the farmer and other victims the klowns have already encased in cotton candy.  They escape, but not before being spotted by one of the klowns, who fires a popcorn gun at them, some of which attaches to their clothing.

The pair try to tell the police.  Officer Dave (John Allan Nelson) is willing to believe their story initially, possibly because he and Debbie were an item once, and he still cares for her.  Officer Mooney (John Vernon), however, is dubious, even downright antagonistic.  Mooney, as a character, takes up where Dean Wormer in Animal House left off.  Mooney hates almost everyone, and is suspicious of everything.  He also thinks that everyone is out to get him and make him quit the force.

When Dave and Mike go to investigate, they drop Debbie off at her house.  The popcorn  becomes animated while she takes a shower, turning into little popcorn klownettes.

Meanwhile, Mike and Dave get to the site, but the circus tent is gone.  Dave, thinking he has been hoodwinked, cuffs Mike.  On the way back into town however, they encounter one of the klowns, who captures a group of people waiting for a bus.  Dave is finally convinced.   The klowns become more and more overt as the night goes on, primarily due to the success they have in capturing the citizens.  Mooney has his own encounter with a klown, and if you always wanted to see Dean Wormer get what's coming to him, you finally will.

And hold out till the end of this flick to see the final joke as the klown spaceship lifts off.

The klowns ultimately are defeated of sorts.  But they would have gotten away with it, if it hadn't been for those meddling kids... Whoops wrong movie...

Well kiddies, time to pack up and head home.  Help yourself to the free leftover popcorn at the concession stand.


Friday, November 11, 2016

Cartoons for Adults

This is my entry One of My All-Time Favorite Cartoons blogathon hosted by MovieMovieBlogBlog

"Get you one way ticket to midnight
Call it Heavy Metal"
-Sammy Hagar

In 1977 the publishers of National Lampoon launched a comic book geared towards adults.  It contained science fiction and fantasy stories written by and drawn by some of the most popular authors and artists of the day.  It also contained some highly erotically charged material.  (Remember I said it was a comic book for "adults".  However, it was not pornographic in nature even if it did sometimes have half naked or fully naked women in some of the panels.)

It was, by design, written mostly for young male readers, the same market that frequently snapped up the newest sci-fi and fantasy novels on the market.  It was originally inspired by a French publication, and in fact a few of the early issues were just English language reprints of stories from the French publication.  But by 1980, it had soared in popularity with its young male market and thought was given to producing a movie based on the style of stories presented in the comic.

The film, like the comic book, had, variously, scenes of graphic violence and nudity (cartoon violence and nudity, but still...)  The producers used several different animation houses, and the stories themselves were sometimes continuations of stories already being published in the magazine.  I obviously don't have to tell you at this point that its not one to watch with the kids....  Reading this entry should be OK, though.  I left out  using any of the graphic violence and nudity for illustrations in the pictures...

Heavy Metal (1981)

The film is in an anthology form, but it has a connecting theme that begins with the first story.  An astronaut brings home a gift for his daughter, a green globe, which immediately comes to life and kills her father.  Then it begins to tell the girl tales of its evil influence down through the ages.  The globe, calling itself the Loc-nar, has apparently been around since the dawn of time.

The first internal story involves a woman who is running from a mob boss that has just killed her father, a scientist.  The scientist had been studying the Loc-nar.  She teams up with a NYC cabbie who drives a flying cab (a newspaper claims the year is 2031, and of course, since the movie was made in 1981, the Twin Towers still stand).  The Loc-nar kills a bunch of people.

The second story is a bit more fun but a bit more intricate.  The Loc-nar causes a modern dweeb to be transported to a sword and sorcery world, where not only does he get a muscular virile body, but he gets the attention of at least two women who have the hots for him, one a priestess and the other a woman who was to be a sacrifice in the priestess' rites.  He also gets the attention of an obviously fey man who wants him to steal the Loc-nar from the rival priestess.  The Loc-nar kills a lot of people.

The third story takes place on a space station.  A smarmy captain is up on charges of murder and mayhem before a judge.  The smug captain claims he has an out, a witness whom he has supposedly bribed to testify on his behalf.  The Loc-nar doesn't kill a lot of people, but it causes the witness to become enlarged and chase the captain, and ultimately the influence of the Loc-nar causes someone to be killed. (See, and you were feeling disappointed...)

The fourth story takes place aboard a B-17 in WWII.  The plane takes on heavy damage and all but the pilot and co-pilot are killed by enemy fire.  The Loc-nar appears, but instead of killing off people, it causes the dead soldiers to become zombies, which do kill off the remaining members of the crew.

The fifth story has an event in which a lot of bigwigs and a scientist appear at a meeting at the Pentagon.  An alien spaceship appears and kidnaps the scientist and a stenographer.  The stenographer becomes the paramour of one of the occupants of the spaceship, a robot.  All of which was caused by the Loc-nar which the stenographer was wearing in a locket.  Oh, and the pilots snort a carload of Plutonian nyborg (which bears an uncanny resemblance to cocaine).

The final story involves the Loc-nar crashing into a volcano on a planet.  It grows to immense proportions and erupts from the volcano in a green lava.  This stuff flows down the side of the volcano, causing an entire group of people to become rampaging barbarians, who then lay siege to a peaceful city.  The peaceful citizens call upon the last surviving member of a race of warriors, called Taarna, who comes to the rescue, but is too late.  So instead, she seeks to avenge the citizens by finding the barbarians and killing them.   Eventually she takes on the Loc-nar itself.

 The movie is augmented with lots of songs by heavy metal bands of the day including Sammy Hagar, Black Sabbath, Nazareth, Cheap Trick, Journey and former Eagles member Don Felder.  It also contained some pretty decent orchestral music written by Elmer Bernstein and performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.  It was followed in 2000 by a sequel, Heavy Metal 2000, and there are rumors that another sequel is in the works.

Among the cast of voice actors used in the film, you will immediately recognize John Candy in several roles.  You may (or may not) recognize some of the other voices:  Harold Ramis, Joe Flaherty and Eugene Levy, all SCTV alums.  (if you are unfamiliar with Second City TV, you really should look for it.  It was a Canadian counterpart to Saturday Night Live).

Others in the cast included Percy Rodriguez (as the voice of the Loc-nar), a fellow Canadian who, among other things, did the voice-overs for quite a few movie trailers. John Vernon (famous as Dean Wormer in Animal House) is here as the prosecutor in the trial scene.   Doug Kenney (also in Animal House as Stork) in what was his final appearance before his untimely death.

Among the writers, Dan O'Bannion, who wrote or co-wrote the screenplays for, among others, Alien, Total Recall, and the Tobe Hooper remake of Invaders from Mars (previously reviewed).  Bernie Wrightson, mostly known as an illustrator and comic book artist, who did the illustrations you see in the Stephen King book The Stand: Complete and Un-Cut.  Dan Goldberg, who had previously written the Bill Murray films Meatballs and Stripes, and went on to produce, among others, The Hangover series of comedies.

Well, kiddies, its about time to go home.  If you see a green globe following you, it's probably already too late for you, but....good luck!