Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Howard the Duck [1986]

(vt Howard . . . A New Breed of Hero UK) US movie (1986). Universal/Lucasfilm. Pr Gloria Katz. Exec pr George Lucas. Dir Willard Huyck. Spfx Bob MacDonald Jr. Vfx Industrial Light & Magic. Screenplay Huyck, Katz. Based on Howard the Duck. Novelization Howard the Duck * (1986) by Ellis Weiner (1951-    ). Starring Jeffrey Jones (Dr Jenning), Tim Robbins (Phil Blumburtt), Lea Thompson (Beverly Switzler), with Howard T Duck played variously by Peter Baird, Ed Gale, Jordan Prentice, Tim Rose, Steve Sleap, Lisa Sturz, Mary Wells, Chip Zien. Voice actors Mel Blanc (Daffy Duck), Ed Gale (Howard), Richard Kiley (Voice of the Cosmos). 111 mins. Colour.

Howard, from an Alternate-World-type planet where ducks, not humans, reached the top of the evolutionary tree, is accidentally sucked to Earth by Dr Jenning's super-laser. Singer Beverly and ex-boyfriend Phil befriend him and try to use the laser to return him, but a second accident with the laser enables a Dark Overlord of the Universe to possess Jenning. This entity draws others of its kind, which can gain physical reality only through Possession of mortal bodies; but Howard defies it and, for safety's sake, destroys the laser. Beverly beds him, which must have been confusing for both.

HTD is one of the great disasters of the modern Cinema: expensive and hyped mercilessly, with countless merchandising deals signed, it flopped. Yet it has some interest, notably in its depiction of the Dark Overlords, which render themselves visible as Cthulhoid monsters (> Cthulhu Mythos): the blending of id-born images with sf-style hardware produces an intriguing Technofantasy effect. [JG]

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.