Den sequence in
Heavy Metal the Movie (1981)

Den, Animation vs. Comic Story
Den Model Sheet

Heavy Metal the Movie (1981, 1996). Director: Gerald Potterton. Story: Corny Cole. Voices: Dan/Den - John Candy (rather big guy for a muscular hero, I must say). Queen - Marilyn Lightstone. Katherine - Jackie Burroughs. Ard - Martin Lavut. Nort - August Schellenberg. 14 min sequence from complete 86 min full-animation movie.

Movie is an animation in separate sequences combined with a loose leading story. Stories are taken straightly from the pages of Heavy Metal the Magazine, from the most famous artists. Richard Corben was asked to collaborate with the movie but he declined, he did model sheet for Den character though. Animation is made without his touch, and it is unfortunately evident. Characters are clumsy and the leading character simple-minded. The story is taken from the original comic story, "Den [I]", though they consider also for the Movie an alternative story, "Arabian Nights" - first story won and latter one was only test animated. The story in the animation is kind of the entire "Den [I]", but they simplyfied it to fit into 14 minutes!

Spoiler: Because this is not the story as Richard Corben intented it, it will be interesting to compare the differences between two:

Story starts with the green meteorite that lands the backyard of the main character, who is a teenage, skiny, boy with glases as in the ogirinal story. They mention him to be an 18 yrs old boy. Green meteorite is actually a green, glowing orb that runs in leading story to combine separate sequences. Boy, unnamed in sequence (in ending titles as "Dan"), picks up the ball and puts it into his stone collection. During his natural electronics test the lightning activates the ball and the boy will be transported to Neverwhere, the planet far away from ours. Boy files through space, through our solar system and further away to the remote planet called "Neverwhere" (mentioned once during sequence). A boy goes through the same transformation to the muscular adonis as in the comic story.

Den lands to the statue's head, you can find from the beginning of the comic story. He likes changes on his body, but loin cloathes himself immediately! He does not question anything, this is an action story. He resques right away Kath from the hands of the Queen, but he dives rather long time underwater to have time for inner talk. Kath has no bra, but tiny strings. The Queen has got the same with a red cloak on her soulders; remember that the Queen was not called as the Red Queen until "Den II"!

Katherine Wells from Gibraltar, the British colony and Den from the Earth make love, but Gel interrupts them. Gel separates our couple and brings them to Ard.

Kang, Uncle Den, and the lizarad and the girl with the bells are enitrely ruled out from this version!

Ard is immortal (shooting scene repeated as it was in the comic story) and he has casted Kath already into her glass coffin. One can wonder when he did it, since he was talking with Den all the time. Maybe he'd got help or did it quckly before Den entered to his company. But in the end he talks Den over to steal Loc-Nar staff from the Queen. Ard keeps Kath inprisoned for the time.

Den, joined with a group of non-talking "gorillas" who are leaded by talking-one Nort, goes to the Queen's castle through a secret underwater way (follows in details comic story version, even beast in catacombs is there). Den will be separated from the group and catched by the Queen. He realizes that Loc-Nar contains a green, glowing orb, similar to his green meteorite! The Queen's guards are disappointed that this muscular guy can join the Queen's bed on the roof top, "Not again" (!), one says, but the other answers, "She's the boss", what to do. Den and the Queen make love and the Queen almost kills him (as we learned in the comic story version). Den escapes and the story jumps straightly to the end. Den rides with horse and the Queen flies with insect flyer. Everything inbetween is deleted from this version.

Ard is going to sacrifice Kath like the Queen was doing in the beginning of the story. Even the place is the very same. Den rescues Kath, again, and Ard and the Queen fight for Loc-Nar staff. Den throws a spear with an attached metal chain above fighting couple. The lightning (again) fries fighters. Maybe the lightning was Uluhtc, because it came from the water through chain up to spear and fighters. Uluhtc gets it's sacrifice anyway. This version does not show anything for sure, but lets us believe that both Ard and the Queen are dead.

"Boy, mum will be surprised", Den replies! Loc-Nar staff fells down the stairs but Den refuses to take it. Kath and Den fly away with the Queen's insect flyer. Kath proposes Den to use Loc-Nar to go back to the Earth, but he prefers to stay, because in the Earth he's nobody but here in Neverwhere totally different (muscular hero, though they do not mention a word "hero" in this version). And they sound like to forget that Kath also was from the Earth. Why she does not want to go back to Earth. Why she does not want to talk that kind of possibility... Probably because the script writer forgot that detail. Anyway, when everybody are gone, the Loc-Nar (i.e. the green, glowing orb) files away to space and leads us to the next sequence.

This story is more straight forewards than the comic story version. They skip all complications and make story as a run through. They focus in this version more scenes where Den fights, makes love or travels to the Queen's castle. Also diving in the very beginning has got rather long period. There is no glory of the comic story version, because they have to do everything in quite short time. Instead of taking an interesting excerpt they try to fit in the whole story. Shame. Richard Corben's own Neverwhere the Movie (1968) was much more interesting version of the story.

Copyright © 2003 Heart-Attack-Series, Ink!,
Created: Dec. 28, 2003. Modified: December 30, 2018.