Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Friday, August 10, 2007

Bad Movie Month flips us the bird,courtesy of Howard The Duck

Comic book based films have improved on their reputation over the years(nowadays,video game based movies get to sit in the corner with the dunce cap on),particularly Marvel with such great flicks as X-Men,Spiderman and recently,The Fantastic Four(hey,any movie that has Julian McMahon as the bad guy is aces in my book!). However,long before any of these films got the greenlight,we were given Howard the Duck.

Howard the Duck was first hatched during the 70's by a fella named Steve Gerber,who just added him in a Man-Thing story as a goof but fans wanted more and soon enough,Howard got his own comic book series. He was even popular enough to be considered President of the United States(giving a new meaning to the term "lame duck presidency" there).

The movie version of HTD came to us via George Lucas(Mr. Star Wars himself),who put up the do-re-mi to get this movie off the ground. It was released in 1986 and went on to become a four time winner of the Razzie awards(HTD tied with Under The Cherry Moon for Worst Picture,no mean feat there). Several stunt actors wore the Howard suit while actor Chip Zien(seen last in United 93) did the voice work.

So,what is the plot,you might ask? Well,it's alot like that old TV show,Alf-weird alien being accidently winds up on Earth and has to survive by taking shelter with humans and making wisecracks. We begin our story on Duckworld,where our leading mallard is just relaxing at home,when a mysterious force literally sucks him right out of his world:



Howard is naturally freaked out and gets even more nervous when he realizes the role that his kind plays on the Earth food chain:

Howard does find allies in Beverly,a rock n'roll singer played by Lea Thompson who sports some major league glam rock hair(that hole in the ozone layer could've been caused by the hairspray needed to keep her tresses aloft)and a geeky scientist type played by Tim "Susan Sarandon's Boy Toy" Robbins. In this scene,Howard earns Beverly's trust by taking on the creepy bozo who mismanages her band. "Space rabies" sounds pretty scary to me:

One of most notorious moments of the film is the bedroom bit between Howard and Beverly,which is not as naughty as it sounds but still a tad off putting nonetheless:

No time for love,Dr. Jones! Howard has to face off against the evil Dark Overlord,who also zapped in around the same time that our feathered friend did and wants to bring the rest of his buddies along for some conquering the human race action. Poor Jeffrey Jones,why does he wind up in clunkers like this?:



HTD recieved tons of bad reviews and truly awful box office returns,but like many comic book creations,he still holds a place in many a cult moviegoer's heart. HTD has lived on as the perfect pop culture punchline of many jokes(quite a few at Lucas' expense) and the film's soundtrack has become a highly sorted out collectable,especially since the likes of Thomas Dolby,Joe Walsh,George Clinton and Stevie Wonder added their talents to the album. Not bad for a duck from outer space,not bad at all:

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