Titles: Spirit of Destruction, Lord of Pollution
Featured In: FernGully: The Last Rainforest (1992)
Voiced By: Tim Curry
One of the first movies I had seen in an actual theater and not at home on VHS (a primitive form of DVD to my younger readers), Ferngully: The Last Rainforest’s chief villain was one tied with the comedic relief character in stealing the entirety of the production. Voiced by Tim Curry, the foul creature known simply as Hexxus was born some several thousand years ago and unleashed onto the world nothing but destruction and death.
It wasn’t until the efforts of Magi Lune, a then young but surprisingly powerful mage of a fairy, managed to seal Hexxus into a tree where he was to be imprisoned for all of time. Unfortunately, as what likely happened before, the Spirit of Destruction was broken free thanks to the inadvertent aid of humans.
Of course, this is achieved via a deforestation machine the likes of which I sincerely doubt could ever be made and affectionately named as “the Leveler” but that’s neither here nor there. No, wait, I’ve got to go on a bit about this thing. This machine is easily the size of a freaking mansion and actually has arms armed with crablike claws and/or chainsaws to grab trees and place them into its “mouth” where they are then converted into giant planks of wood.
This film was made in 1992, when home computers weighed more than the desks they sat on never mind giant forest eating machines. Still kudos to the animation companies for successfully creating a machine that ended up being almost as terrifying as the evil spirit trying to possess it literally and figuratively. Anyway, back to Hexxus…
I won’t lie, when you first see Hexxus, you can’t really consider him that much of a threat. He looks, for all intents and purposes, like a living ball of oil. It isn’t until he starts to literally drink the acrid smoke of the Leveller and starts to talk that you realize how much trouble FernGully is in. The way that he giggles like a delighted child and proclaims the smoke of the Leveller to be akin to mother’s milk… Geez, even writing that, I get a chill down my spine.
It gets especially bad when Hexxus manages to worm his way into the machine’s heart whilst singing his “villainous song” entitled simply as “Toxic Love.” A song that was so adult orientated that more than a few lyrics had to be cut in order for it to be included in the film at all. Even then, a good majority of the song is disgusting to hear, especially with how it sounds like Hexxus is literally… well… getting himself… excited… shall we say…
Yet, the one moment in the entirety of the film that sealed the deal for me as far as earning Hexxus a place on my own personal top Halloween Horrors list was what occurs in the film’s climax. When our heroes manage to successfully shut down the Leveler, it looks as though Hexxus has been defeated. For though he is the self-entitled Lord of Pollution, Hexxus still needs a ready supply of the stuff in order to at least maintain his monstrously large smoky form. However… our heroes are already too late and Hexxus reveals that he had eaten enough pollution from the Leveler that he no longer needs a ready supply to maintain his form.
In point of fact, Hexxus had devoured so much of the Leveler’s smoke and oil that he gained an actual physical body. A physical body that eerily resembles a charred human skeleton with organs of flame, a cloak of oil, and a laugh to make most children cry for their mommies.
While not the most terrifying sight I’ve seen in my life, Hexxus’ final form held the top spot for quite a while in my childhood though was later usurped by another… well, that’s for a later day. Hexxus is not an entirely new or even original character as far as being both a creature of destruction and pollution are concerned. Yet, for most beings that embody one or the other, it has been shown that they possess a limit to their capabilities, a weakness that can be exploited. The smog monster Hedorah was destroyed via excessive heat, the Firebird eventually cooled down and disappeared as ashes on the wind, and even Captain Pollution had been defeated by excessive exposure to clean elements of nature.
But Hexxus? He has never been killed or officially laid to rest. The first time, he was sealed into a tree when he was but a wraith of his full potential and the price of that had likely been the lives of the humans that had once lived in FernGully. The second time when the Leveler had been shut off and his source of pollution cut off, Hexxus reemerged several times stronger than before with an actual physical body. The third and final time it took the near sacrifice of the fairy Crysta going into his heart to encourage the growth of a single seed and the efforts of every fairy in FernGully together to again seal him into a tree.
If he should ever manage to break out again…
I dare not imagine.