Friday, January 25, 2013

The Atrocious Files: Howard The Duck

The Atrocious Files are a celebration of the some of the best worst movies ever made.

Howard the Duck, for better or worse, is the only movie to ever make me think: Holy fuck, did I just see duck tits?!?!

That moment occurs before the opening title as Howard is being propelled through the walls of his apartment building as he clings to his TV chair, which eventually shoots him up into outer space, before he lands on Earth for no discernible reason that I was able to catch.

Fuck me!

There he spends an hour of an ungodly two hour running time just, ya know, being a duck that talks. Is he a hero? Is he a bad guy? Does he have special powers? Am I supposed to like him, because I don't?

What the hell is this movie supposed to be about?

He meets a girl (Lea Thompson) who takes him to a scientist (Tim Robbins) blah blah blah until the principal from Ferris Bueller's Day Off starts talking real funny and glowing purple in a cafe before blowing the holy fuck out of the place with crazy video-game fireball thingers he shoots out of his hands.

Look, I couldn't make this shit up even if I wanted to.

Why does any of this happen? Your guess is as good as mine. But that doesn't prevent Howard from saving the day with a big ass laser gun.

Fuck me!

Why did anyone in their right mind put a script about absolutely nothing with a duck for a main character into production with a budget of thirty-five million dollars? In 1986!!!!

Who did executive producer George Lucas and co. really think this was going to appeal to? Although good for longevity, you can't recoup 35 mill off of stoned teenagers alone.

I hope one of Steve Jobs' final phone calls was to George Lucas, thanking him for this train wreck.

Oh, by the way, did I mention this movie has lasers?

On the bright side, nine midgets found work because of this movie.

That's worth something, no?


  1. What's sad is that the original comics that this dead duck was supposedly based on are actually quite good and interesting to read. They hold up surprisingly well, despite being packed to the gills with 1970s political and pop-culture references... the general themes and big picture politics are pretty much exactly now as they were then.

    I'm not sure if that is a result on how good a writer Steve Gerber was (and he was very, very good) or a result of what a sad state of affairs the world was and is in.

  2. Steve - Ironically enough isn't the movie industry in a bit of the same shape now as it was then?

    Last summer after all did see the worst opening for a movie with a 200 mil+ budget ever (Battleship) plus John Carter, etc. The movies are getting too bad for people just to simply buy any crap.

    Maybe better days are soon ahead?

  3. I watched Howard the Duck for the first time last year, and while it's such a mess, I didn't mind it so much. I'd never claim that it's good, but it's so ridiculous and odd that it isn't dull. I agree with you about the lack of an audience. The budget for this was up there with the biggest movies of the year. I can't see how any studio thought this would make money.

  4. It's for the chance to watch movies like this that makes me love watching movies.

    I am forever in awe of movies that fail every single litmus test a studio would apply to them in order to decide if they were worthy of a greenlight. Clearly, Howard the Duck should have failed every test.

    If you are interested in reading my own piece on it, you can find it here: