Certainly, today's generation, perhaps even, the generation that came before the current is familiar with the idea of adult themes in feature-length animated films. It's not a idea that came to fruition in the last 20 years after all. And while, American film distributors have steered away from such, at least when it comes to what shows up each week at your local movie theater, the idea of the X-rated cartoon has been something that other countries have embraced. Certainly, fans of anime or manga are very familiar with this idea, as for the last twenty-years anime has been steeped in it, not shying away from showcasing the naked female form via a cartoon figure. In fact, some anime have been released, through the guises of a horror or sci-fi feature-length manga or anime, that are more or less just basic pornography, but in disguise.
While the X-rated animated feature isn't likely to pop up anytime soon on the shelves of your last-surviving video stories, in a Redbox, or at your local multiplex, we thought we'd remind those with such interests that back in the day--the glorious 1970's and 1980's--such did exist in the United States. In fact, not only did such exist (not to the tune what is showing up in anime or manga, however), but for many of an earlier generation, these movies were cult classics. They were late-night, midnight showing staples that represented the American counter-culture of the era.
What follows are 5 adult-oriented animated movies that you've never seen (but probably should). In no particular order:
Heavy Metal (1981)
Released into theaters in the United States and Canada in 1981, Ivan Reitman's Heavy Metal was a science fiction and horror anthology feature-length movie that was based on stories that appeared for the adult-oriented fantasy/science fiction comic magazine Heavy Metal. The three stories, book-ended around the rise of a female warrior, featured a hodgepodge of weird creature-like humans set in the future or in a fantasy land. The film-makers were not shy about showcasing the naked female form in the movie, and many of the sequences feature a buxom, voluptuous, femme fatale in the glee of sexual passion with the stories protagonist. Definitely, a movie that wasn't for kids when it first came out. The film has developed a cult following, even airing on late night television in the late 80's and early '90s, but with all the nudity censored.
Fritz the Cat (1972)
Released into movie houses in April of 1972, and written and animated by US adult-animation forerunner Ralph Bakshi, Fritz The Cat is a hipster beatnik horny cat that set out to rack up as many sexual conquests as he could amongst the counter-culture climate of 1960's New York City. The character of Fritz The Cat was based on the work of legendary comic book artist Robert Crumb aka R. Crumb, who gained a following through his work in the San Francisco underground comic scene of the 60's as well as for his work designing the album cover for the Janis Joplin and Big Brother and the Holding Company LP, Cheap Thrills. Fritz also serves as a landmark as it was the first animated-film to ever release an "X-Rating" from the MPAA. The film was a major box office success, playing around the country in its era as a midnight movie. Today, there are t-shirts that adorn Fritz's cat face, even. A sequel was made in the following years too, The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat.
Heavy Traffic (1973)
Following on the heels of the success of Fritz the Cat, animator Ralph Bakshi teamed up with Z-movie producer Samuel Z. Arkoff to produce and release through American International Pictures, Heavy Traffic. As a kind of return to Disney of sorts, Bakshi, instead of keeping Heavy Traffic completely animated decided to mix live-action film with animation. Bakshi would do the same thing at various times in the aftermath of Heavy Traffic, but it first appeared her. The film is a scuzzy, sleazy, foray into the fantasy life of a NYC cartoonist. It is layered with sex and drug references, and whereas Fritz the Cat was marked with an X-Rating, Heavy Traffic too, received the same rating via the MPAA, but perhaps for it's adult-themed toilet content, not so much for its pure sexual escapades.
Cool World (1992)
With the release of 1992's Cool World, animator Ralph Bakshi marked his return to form. In the wake of his successes of the 70's and '80's, Rakshi dropped out of the movie business to focus on being a full-time painter. And whereas Heavy Traffic marked the invention of the mix of live-action film with animation, Bakshi's time as a painter inspired with under-rated gem of early 90's cinema. Starring a pre-Angelina Brad Pitt, Bakshi teams up the star-on-the-rise with actress Kim Basinger, and whereas Bakshi has once mixed live-action with animation in one movie, here in Cold World he combined them. He made the world of animation collide with live action, perhaps, in the wake of the success of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? But, whereas Who Framed Roger Rabbit? devils in sexual innuendos and the rumored/secret Disney animators pornographic tinkering of Jessica Rabbit's flash-frame private parts, Cool World oozes sexual tension and is one hell of a sexually-charged detective story. The film, while a failure at the box office, has grown a cult following in the years that have followed.
Released onto VHS during the video store boom, Evil Toons was, no doubt, produced with the idea of capitalizing on the success of the live-action/animation infusion that made Who Framed Roger Rabbit? the success that it was. However, leave it up to the twisted, movie-maker-turned-wrestler-turned movie-maker Fred Olen Ray to produce a hybrid live-action meets animation movie about a evil wolf cartoon figure that enters into the live-action realm to terrorize and sex some skimpily-dressed Penthouse models via the old dark house motif. It's a cheese-fest of the funniest kind! With the highlight of the movie, naturally, being when the wolf sexes the lingerie-loving babes who one-by-one succumb to his tricks, where when he's not an evil toon hell-bent on sex and destruction, he possesses their sexy bodies and pits them against each other in fights. Pure exploitation, but that ain't a bad thing.