Saturday, January 1, 2011

Forbidden Zone (1982)

A mysterious door in the basement of the Hercules house leads to the Sixth Dimension by way of a gigantic set of intestine. When Frenchy slips through the door, King Fausto falls in love with her. The jealous Queen Doris takes Frenchy prisoner, and it is up to the Hercules family and friend Squeezit Henderson to rescue her. (Imdb rating 6.9)

I can already say, without any hesitation, that Forbidden Zone is the most bizarrely surreal movie you will ever see. I don't think it's entirely possible to accurately describe exactly what is going on.

Midget kings? Sixty year old schoolboys with Brooklyn accents and helicopter hats? Jewish wrestling grandpas with long beards and a lust for dry humping fat chicks eating bananas? Male transsexuals with Mickey Mouse Ears playing some weird board instrument? His/her brother, with his constant chicken arm flapping and bird noises getting liqueur poured on his face by his mother? I mean, what the hell is going on below?


It sounds weird, but even though I've seen Forbidden Zone a few times, I actually felt body-stoned watching it. I couldn't move. It's phenomenology in action; a movie physically affecting me in a tangible way. There is just so much going on at any one time, the short run time of around 72 minutes testament to that.

But is it actually any good?

The good news is, if you can stand weird randomness, and even better, revel in it, you will like Forbidden Zone. Bad news is, even if you like this type of thing, there is no guarantee you'll be able to stand it. Through trial and error, watching with different people, I can see the love towards this movie varies greatly. I love it, others don't; it's one of the more polarising films around.

I've neglected to mention so far that Forbidden Zone is also a musical. And the music is very, very good. Does the name Danny Elfman ring a bell? Yes, the composer of the Simpsons theme and all the faux-goth Richard Burton movie soundtracks. He, along with brother and director Richard Elfman formed New Wave act Oingo Boingo, and they together scored this movie, an eccentric mix of vaudeville, keyboards, blues and jazz.

Fine, this movie is not for everyone, but if you love it for it's awful slapstick, brilliant score, over the top acting and copious nudity like I do, you'll understand the fuss. Still, I never want to be confronted by something as terrifying as...

Definitely staying quiet now

Things I learnt:
  • Never go into a giant mouth in your basement.
  • Dancing around boxing scat singers will get you arrested by a frog.
  • Princesses are nude constantly.
  • The Devil will give you what you want for a pretty girl and your detached head.

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