Forbidden Zone (1982)
Directed by: Richard Elfman
Written by: Matthew Bright, Nicholas James, Nick L. Martinson, Richard Elfman
Starring: Danny Elfman, Gisele Lindley, Hervé Villechaize, Susan Tyrrell
Forbidden Zone (1982)
Directed by Richard Elfman
The Hercules family move into a house that holds a portal gateway into the 6th Dimension, known as the Forbidden Zone, in it’s basement. After neighbourhood ‘girl’ Rene Henderson goes missing after entering the portal, a curious Frenchy Hercules decides to take a venture herself. She falls into the bizarre world where a randy dwarf King rules the roost with his psychotic jealous queen, their topless princess daughter and a frog butler. Not to mention the Cab Calloway-styled Devil (played by Danny Elfman) who holds his Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo jazz band down there whilst lusting over the dominating princess. Her brother Flash, Grandpa and Squeezit Henderson must rescue Frenchy and Rene from the madness before it’s too late.
Think the League of Gentleman but on helium and not as funny. Then you have Forbidden Zone. I’m guessing the The League of Gentlemen took inspiration from this film that was a way of showcasing Richard Elfman’s performing arts group, Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo, that later became new wave band, Oingo Boingo. A couple of the characters in the school classroom in the early scenes of the film have their noses fixed up with elastic, a look which The League‘s Tubbs and Edward have mimicked. The film even features a drug dealing blackface pimp, again blackface has been used for Papa Lazarou in The League of Gentlemen. Forbidden Zone struggles as it’s not really got a solid or interesting story and instead invests all it’s energy on being kooky and zany, but just ends up being irritating. The only thing that I did enjoy was the Gilliam-esque animation that ran throughout the film. The grotesque characters were unfunny and had a demented obsession with sticking their tongue out or blowing raspberries all the time, like little children despite being played by adults. A painful 1 hour and 14 mins late I was put out of my misery as the credits rolled. I am sure this will appeal to some people with it’s stupid humour and it’s crazy musical numbers but I felt it was a bit too self conscious and trying to hard to be quirky.
The Arrow blu-ray release, which is what I watched, includes the longer colour version, as well as the restored black and white version, which is a first for the UK
– Audio commentary with director Richard Elfman and writer-actor Matthew Bright
– A Look into Forbidden Zone – extensive behind the scenes documentary featuring interviews and archive footage, including scenes from Elfman’s lost film The Hercules Family
– Two complete scenes from The Hercules Family
– Japanese Promo
– Deleted Scenes
– Oingo Boingo Music Video Private Life
– Original Theatrical Trailer
The Blu-Ray edition is packaged with four artwork covers including the original poster artowrk from the US and Japan and a new illustration by artist Jeff Zornow,a double sided artwork poster and a collector’s booklet featuring writing on the film by journalist David Hayle’s and director Richard Elfman as well as photos from the Elfman family album and behind the scenes images.