Published Sep 12, 2014One of the strangest films we've ever seen is back. Neil Young's 1982 weird-out comedy Human Highway just premiered in retouched form at the Toronto International Film Festival last night (September 11), and a wider release is apparently on the way.
Billboard reports that Human Highway: The Director's Cut will come to New York's Film Forum theatre in January, and this will be followed by a proper wide release. TIFF notes that the 80-minute feature has been "recut and restored according to Young's own specifications" by Shakey Pictures.
Young co-wrote and co-directed the film, in addition to playing the starring role alongside Dennis Hopper, Dean Stockwell (who also co-wrote and co-directed), and Russ Tamblyn. Devo also appear prominently in the movie, along with their character Booji Boy.
"It was ridiculous to explain it and we had no script that we could point to to say, 'This is worth hundreds and thousands of dollars,' so finally we just made it, just rented the place for a month or so," Young told the TIFF audience after last night's screening, Billboard reports.
The flick features a number of songs from the songwriter's 1982 album Trans; there's also a collaborative version of "Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)" with Devo (and Booji Boy).
The apocalyptic film is set in a diner and concerns a nuclear holocaust. It's highly surreal and has received a decidedly mix response since its initial release. Needless to say, it's a very strange thing to watch in a dorm room as a stoned, impressionable 20-year-old (or so we would assume).
At the screening, Young also explained the film's story motivations, and said the following (but be warned, there's a big spoiler here):
There was a big picture of complacency, just how people saw everything but they just dealt with it as being reality and no one really questioned what was going on. So in these goofy people's lives in our little corner of Linear Valley — where they never left for the whole thing; nobody ever went anywhere; they never did anything — they just came and had lunch and left and fuelled up, had a little roadwork done, natural things going on, day to day.
But all through it, [there was] just a complacency of things that were weird they just lived with, that they just kept ignoring and ignoring until finally it just couldn't be ignored anymore. And they are all dead. It's not really about nuclear power or anything like that; it's more everything, all of those things. There are so many things that we all see and we just live with. So now I think it's time to not do that and start really making some noise.
Human Highway was released on VHS and LaserDisc in the '90s, but has never come out on DVD. We're guessing that this will finally change and the recut film will receive proper at-home distribution. Watch a trailer for the Director's Cut below.