Heavy Metal

“Soft Landing”
Based on the comic of the same name by Dan O’Bannon and Thomas Warkentin.

The title sequence story opens with a space shuttle orbiting the Earth. The bay doors open, releasing a Corvette. An astronaut seated in the car then begins descending through Earth’s atmosphere, landing in a desert canyon.

“Grimaldi”
In the framing story, the astronaut Grimaldi arrives at home, where he is greeted by his daughter. He says he has something to show her. When he opens his case, a green, crystalline sphere rises out and melts him. It introduces itself to the terrified girl as “the sum of all evils”. Looking into the orb known as the Loc-Nar, the girl sees how it has influenced societies throughout time and space.

“Harry Canyon”
Original story by Daniel Goldberg and Len Blum; based on The Long Tomorrow by Moebius.

In a dystopian and crime ridden New York City in 2031, cynical taxicab driver Harry Canyon narrates his day in film noir style, grumbling about his fares and frequent robbery attempts he thwarts with a disintegrator installed in the back of his seat. He stumbles into an incident where he rescues a sexy young woman from Rudnick, a gangster who murdered her father. She explains that her father discovered the Loc-Nar, and they have been pursued relentlessly by people attempting to obtain it. Harry takes her to his apartment, where they have sex. She decides to sell the Loc-Nar to Rudnick and split the money with Harry. Rudnick is disintegrated by the Loc-Nar at the exchange, and she attempts to double-cross Harry to keep the money for herself. When she pulls out a gun, Harry uses the disintegrator on her. He keeps the money, and summarizes the incident as a “two-day ride with one hell of a tip”.

“Den”
Based on the character of the same name created by Richard Corben.

A nerdy teenager finds a “green meteorite” near his house and puts it in his rock collection. During a lightning experiment, the orb hurls the boy into the world of Neverwhere, where he transforms into a naked, bald-headed, well endowed, muscular man called Den, an acronym for his earth name, David Ellis Norman. After tying a nearby flag around him to keep everyone from seeing his “dork” hanging out, Den witnesses a strange rite, rescuing a beautiful young large breasted woman who was about to be sacrificed to Uhluhtc. Reaching safety, she introduces herself as Katherine Wells from the British colony of Gibraltar. While she demonstrates her gratitude with sexual favours, they are interrupted by the minions of Ard, an immortal man who wants to obtain the Loc-Nar for himself. When Den is taken to see Ard, Den demands to see the girl, but Ard orders his men to castrate Den. Den fights off Ard’s soldiers and shoots Ard, but since Ard is immortal he heals immediately. Den asks where the girl is located and Ard shows that she sleeping, encased in glass under a spell where only Ard can awaken her. He offers Den a deal; get the Loc-Nar from the Queen and bring it to him and he will release the girl to Den. Den agrees and infiltrates the palace along with Ard’s best soldier, Norl. Den and another minion of Ard’s are promptly caught by the Queen’s guards, but she offers leniency if Den has sex with her. He complies, thereby distracting the Queen while the raiding party steals the Loc-Nar. Den escapes and races back to rescue Katherine from Ard. Recreating the lightning incident that drew him to Neverwhere, he is able to banish Ard and the Queen. Den’s voice-over has him suspecting that they were teleported to Earth. Refusing the opportunity to take the Loc-Nar for himself, Den rides with Katherine into the sunset content to remain in Neverwhere. As for the Loc-Nar, it rises into the sky and lands on a space station where it is picked up by someone.

“Captain Sternn”
Based on the character of the same name created by Bernie Wrightson.

On a space station, crooked space captain Lincoln F. Sternn is on trial for numerous serious charges presented by the prosecutor consisting of 12 counts of murder on the first degree, 14 counts of armed theft of Federation property, 22 counts of piracy in high space, 18 counts of fraud, 37 counts of rape — and one moving violation. Pleading “not guilty” against the advice of his lawyer Charlie, Sternn explains that he expects to be acquitted because he bribed a witness named Hanover Fiste. Fiste takes the stand upon being called to by the prosecutor, but his perjury is subverted when the Loc-Nar, now the size of a marble, causes him to blurt out highly incriminating statements about Sternn (though whether or not any of them are true is unknown) before changing him into a hulking muscular form that chases Sternn throughout the station, breaking through bulkheads and wreaking havoc. Eventually, he corners Sternn, who gives him his promised payoff, and he promptly shrinks back to his gangly original form. Sternn opens a trap door under Fiste, ejecting him into space. The Loc-Nar enters Earth’s atmosphere with Fiste’s flaming severed hand still clinging to it.

“Neverwhere Land”
Because of time constraints, a segment called “Neverwhere Land”, which would have connected “Captain Sternn” to “B-17”, was cut.

The story follows the influence of the Loc-Nar upon the evolution of a planet, from the Loc-Nar landing in a body of water, influencing the rise of the industrial age, and a world war. This original story was created by Cornelius Cole III.

The original rough animatics are set to a loop of the beginning of Pink Floyd’s “Time”. The 1996 VHS release included this segment at the end of the tape. On the DVD release, this segment is included as a bonus feature. In both released versions, the sequence is set to the music of “Passacaglia” (from Magnificat), composed and conducted by Krzysztof Penderecki.

“B-17”
A World War II B-17 bomber nicknamed the Pacific Pearl makes a difficult bombing run with heavy damage and casualties. As the bomber limps home, the co-pilot goes back to check on the crew. Finding nothing but dead bodies, he notices the Loc-Nar trailing the plane. Informing the pilot, he heads back to the cockpit, when the Loc-Nar rams itself into the plane and reanimates the dead crew members as zombies. The co-pilot is killed, while the pilot parachutes away in time. He lands on an island where he finds a graveyard of airplanes from various times, along with the wrecked airplanes’ zombified airmen, who surround him, sealing the horrified pilot’s fate.

“So Beautiful & So Dangerous”
Based on the comic of the same name by Angus McKie.

Dr. Anrak, a prominent scientist, arrives at The Pentagon for a meeting regarding mysterious mutations that are plaguing the United States. At the meeting, the doctor tries to dismiss the occurrences. When he sees the Loc-Nar in the locket of Gloria, a beautiful buxom stenographer, he begins to behave erratically and sexually assaults her. A colossal starship drills through the roof and abducts the doctor and, by accident, Gloria. The ship’s robot is irritated at Anrak, who is actually a malfunctioning android, but its mood changes when it sees Gloria. With the help of the ship’s alien pilot Edsel and co-pilot Zeke, the robot convinces Gloria to stay on board and have “robot sex” (albeit off-screen). Meanwhile, Edsel and Zeke snort a huge amount of a powdered drug called Plutonian Nyborg before flying home, zoning out on the cosmos. Too intoxicated to fly straight, they crash-land unharmed in a huge space station.

“Taarna”
Original story by Daniel Goldberg and Len Blum; based on Arzach by Moebius.

The Loc-Nar, now the size of a giant meteor, crashes into a volcano on a peaceful world. It draws people. The volcano erupts, and green lava covers everyone, mutating the crowd into an evil army. The mutants attack a city. The city leaders, desperate, mentally summon the Taarakians, a (possibly extinct) warrior race, with whom the city had a pact. But the city falls.

Taarna, last of the Taarakians, answers the summons. She is strong, beautiful, and mute. Her hair is white and her neck has the Taarakian mark (a sword). She flies upon a large Taarakian bird, her loyal companion. At a deserted temple, she collects armor and sword. The temple releases great power onto the sword.

Taarna flies to the ruined, deserted city. Its people have already been massacred but they can be avenged. She travels in search of the culprits. She encounters a small band of mutants and realizes that she has found the city’s destroyers. They try to rape her but she slays them with ease. Now more informed, she travels towards the mutant camp but they are prepared. They surprise her and capture her and her mount. She is bound, stripped, whipped, and thrown into an open pit, unconscious.

Her mount escapes and rescues her. In the ensuing chase, it is seriously wounded and forced to land. The mutants catch up, and their leader faces Taarna, one-on-one. He wounds her but, with the assistance of her trusted companion, she kills him. Surrounded by the mutant army, Taarna and her companion, both bleeding profusely, make a death flight to the volcano. As they approach, the Loc-Nar warns her off, by saying that sacrificing herself would be futile. Ignoring the Loc-Nar, Taarna unleashes the full power of the sword, irradiating her and her mount with its supernatural energies and dives into the volcano, destroying the Loc-Nar.

“Epilogue”
As the final story ends, the Loc-Nar that was terrorizing the girl explodes, destroying the mansion in the process. Taarna’s reborn mount appears outside, and the girl happily flies away on it. It is then revealed that Taarna’s soul has been reincarnated in the girl. The girl’s hair color changes to white and we see a Taarakian mark on her neck.