There I was, browsing the VHS selection at a pawn shop looking for exquisite 90s horror titles to review for the festive month of Halloween when my peripheral vision lay claim on a mint VHS of Howard the Duck. Scrambling, I snatched the film without a second glance. Paying for the bundle, I gave my first shot at Howard the Duck, but first I watched the trailer online just to get a glimpse of this "family" film. The future results left me shocked and horrified. Duck tits? This had to be the live-action equivalent of Fritz the Cat.
When I was watching the film, It took no time to jump right into a cataclysmic event with no explanation. I found myself visually excited to see duck references to "classic film" with little time to get comfy in his alternate mallard universe. I kept repeating the name Willard Huyck in my head. Suddenly, It hit me that the name Willard Huyck rhymes with Mallard Duck. It's been said that Huyck wrote the script with his wife, Gloria Katz. Perhaps this is a pseudonym created by George Lucas, or a fake name. But I won't hold my breath.
As we encounter the interactions between Howard and Beverly, the result is a bit of romantic chemistry between many dwarfs in a costume and a 80s vogue punk rocker. I was amazed with how cutting edge on adult humor this film was. Misplaced references to sex and alcohol are meticulously placed within the elongated running time of the film. Howard the Duck might be 10 minutes under 2 hours, but the film grants the illusion of it being twice as long. A bit near the end, the pacing seems to slowly chug, which ends my only fault with the film.
Howard the Duck captures the punk rock scene as well as Return of the Living Dead did. The flashy studded leather jackets and the rebellious hair. You walk outside and you encounter this everywhere. The charm's gone and the novelty is non-existent. Something that was so risque has become a necessity to become noticed. Howard the Duck was a pretty rad & sarcastic dude for being covered in feathers and only standing 3'something.
To even add to the charm that Howard the Duck had, I experienced the film with an amazing person. To relive that childhood feel with someone you care about is a flashback to end all nostalgia. Howard the Duck has accidentally became a film very close to my heart, and not even because of its own aesthetics. There's no doubt that the film can't touch the rudeness of the comic, but what was created in its place was a brash and very mature film for all ages. Children's films don't have many cult classics, and it feels like Howard the Duck was the first.