Jan 25 2012
By Remy Carreiro
What would you think if I told you there was going to be a movie about a cigar smoking, anthropomorphic duck who played electric guitar and had sex with Lea Thompson? Stoked, right? Well then, how would you feel if I told you the guy who made Star Wars was helping to make it? You would think that this is probably going to be the most incredible movie that has even been put on film, right? But you, just like me, would be very, very wrong.
This was back in the year 1986. I was the tender age of nine years old when I found out George Lucas was producing a movie about a talking duck from outer space and it was a moment of pure elation. It was like God cracked my brain open, let all my creative juices pour onto a piece of lined paper, and then someone looked at that paper and tried to make a movie out of it. I thought there was no possible way this film could possibly suck. God, I was so naïve back then. Or was I? *Dramatic music cue*
So according to Howard the Duck theory, which I believe as now taught at all accredited colleges, there is an alternate dimension somewhere up in space. In that alternate dimension, ducks live just like humans. They work jobs and they wear human clothes ( or is it the humans who are actually wearing space duck clothes.? Mind blown). They walk upright and talk with sass. I imagine it to be a pretty splendid place, and it’s where Howard lives at the start of the film. Something sci-fi happens and he is somehow pulled through from his duck dimension to Earth. Before this however, though, two things happen that immediately traumatize any small child watching this film. Howard looks at a Playduck magazine, which is, of course, a magazine full of naked ducks. Now I want you to try to think about this from the perspective of a small child. Ducks do not wear clothes. Ducks are always naked. So what is a magazine full of naked ducks? Is it just a magazine full of pictures of ducks, hanging out? How do other ducks even find that sexual? My small, underdeveloped, child mind was already being warped by what was ultimately just a stupid, low brow joke about duck tits. But it gets worse. Oh God, does it get worse.
As Howard is being pulled through his apartment complex toward Earth by some space ray, he breaks through the walls of his surrounding neighbors. One such neighbor is a female duck taking a bath. And she has nipples. She sort of looks just like Howard, but she has a towel wrapped around her head and pink, human-esque nipples. Sorry I keep bringing that up, but come on, I was a nine year old and this is still the first ten minutes of the film. And someone sold this as a film aimed at children? I would later grow up to get erections every time I was at duck ponds, and I did not understand it until just this year, when I willingly re-watched Howard the Duck. What a mistake that was. Or was it? * Cue dramatic music again*
So now Howard has landed on Earth and immediately has to protect a human woman against some thugs, because, well, that’s how movies in the 80’s worked. Apparently, the 80’s was so thug riddled, you couldn’t walk down a dark alley without someone wearing a headband pulling a switchblade on you. Howard decides to use his Quack-Fu skills( I have no idea why I just capitalized that). Just in case you need me to hold your hand, Quack Fu is apparently the duck version of Kung Fu. And it works. I know this because Howard saves Lea from these thugs by using it, and movies don’t lie. This is the part of the film where we are introduced to a young, nubile punk rocker named Beverly, as played by Lea Thompson. Howard saves her, and the sexual chemistry begins. I wish I was kidding. I’m not kidding. *Shudders* It sort of just dawned on me that if I were to spend the entirety of this article running over every bat-shit-crazy moment in this film with a fine tooth comb, this piece would be 70,000 words. Again, I wish I was kidding. Or do I? * Cue…ah forget it.
I think I can skip a lot of the middle filler of the movie and trim some fat here with a few fine points. This is the first time most of America was introduced to the comic genius that is Tim Robbins (I can’t even tell when I am being sarcastic in this article anymore). Also, Lea Thompson is in an all-girl punk rock band in the movie called Cherry Bomb ( who happen to have some breathtakingly atrocious fake 80’s songs on display here ). Oh, and how could I forget? The principal from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is in this film as a scientist who gets possessed and has to tongue-f*ck a car lighter to stay alive. That is an actual scene. Do you see what I am dealing with here? Oh, and he eventually turns into a giant demon who is beamed down from space through the same portal that Howard was at the start of the film. It is at this point in the movie that overstimulation happens to any normal child. A young mind cannot possibly grasp all the things being thrown at it. And truthfully, I’ve left out the biggest bomb of all. The beastiality.
So this is the part where I tell you Howard and Beverly have sex, and honestly, I don’t even know how to approach it. I mean, they don’t show the actual sex scene, but they show the weirdness leading up to it ( an on screen kiss and weird shadow silhouettes melding as one ) and it is disturbing. It is not played for laughs, and it is not played fully serious (probably because of stringent animal laws), so the scene is just weird. Like that one Uncle who kind of hugs you a little too long, but you don’t say anything to anyone about it. Wait, did I just say that out loud? Also, come to think of it, a few years later Lea Thompson would make a huge impression on me while trying to seduce her son in Back to the Future. So incest and beastiality, huh Lea? Sort of makes sense to me in hindsight. That set me on my own dark timeline of being attracted to obviously damaged women. A dark timeline that was set into motion by a little Lucas produced film called Howard the Duck. Gee, thanks guys. Duck pond erections and damaged women. You guys really set me up for a smooth transition into young adulthood.
Alright, I can’t keep this charade up anymore. This is the ‘confession’ part of the article. The part where I tell you, for some reason, that this was my favorite movie after I saw it.Yes, I once loved Howard the Duck. I know, I know. What kind of a monster crucifies his childhood love ( that is the name of my heavy metal album I may make one day ), but I had to do it. I distinctly recall my own Father making fun of me after I saw this film because I loved it so much. And honestly, I can’t really blame him ( but I could beat him up now if I wanted, because I am physically superior so HA!).
Howard the Duck has often been called one of the worst movies ever made, and after watching it as an adult, I can see why. But I also see a woman screwing a duck. I see a duck get into a bar fight. I see a nerd character rise up as a friend of the duck and become a hero. I see demonic possession and I see Lea Thompson in undies. In other words, I see a ton of things that are absolutely amazing to a nine year old boy. A ton of things that you are taught ‘just shouldn’t be’ that seem to happen in the span of 90 minutes while watching this shining turd of a film. I also look back now fondly, and can totally see why I loved it back then. Cigar smoking, anthropomorphic ducks who know Quack Fu and can somehow land a hot, punk rocker and save the Earth from demon overlords. Yeah, to a nine year old that is about as awesome as it gets.
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