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The Making of Rock and Rule

In the late seventies and early eighties there was a slew of animated films made for an “adult audience”.

I put the adult in quotes because despite the nudity and violence in films like Heavy Metal and Wizards, the subject matter was still pretty juvenile. 1982’s Rock and Rule was part of this trend. Although it’s pretty tame if you’re going to compare it to something like Heavy Metal, the influence that of that film is pretty apparent. Set in a futuristic post-apocalyptic world populated by talking rats, the story centers around a rock band whose lead singer is kidnapped by Mok, an aging rock star intent of summoning an inter-dimensional demon through the power of music. It features a pretty insane soundtrack that includes Iggy Pop, Cheap Trick Lou Reed and Debby Harry.

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Rock and Rule was made by the Canadian production company Nelvana, who actually turned down the opportunity to work on Heavy Metal in favor of concentrating their efforts on this story. In the end they poured nearly all of their financial resources into the film. It would make or break them. And it broke them. When the film was released it got almost no play, either from the media or from audiences and it was quickly out of theaters. Nelvana would have been ruined if it hadn’t quickly scored with a bunch of live action shows that went on to become staples of Canadian television including the Edison Twins (check out the theme song below) and the 20 Minute Workout (which featured some of the hottest women on television circa 1985).

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