What features Herve Villechaize as a horny King, a topless princess, a dancing frog, and Danny Elfman as Satan? If you're thinking a lost underground episode of "Fantasy Island", you're close but it's actually a glimpse into "The Forbidden Zone" the 1980 Cult Classic directed by Richard Elfman.
I first saw this movie in the early eighties partying with punk kids in New Hampshire, and it registered with me as one of the weirdest things I'd ever seen. Over a decade and several hairstyles later, "The Forbidden Zone" still holds its spot as one of the strangest and silly movies ever made. And is why I'm featuring it on my waiting for DVD list.
"The Forbidden Zone" is a rough and tumble 16 millimeter low budget black and white bonanza that showed the cult cinema world just what a back yard studio and a bunch of twisted creative Southern Californians can do.
In buzzword bingo lingo, "The Forbidden Zone" is like watching an uncensored Rocky Horror Picture Show starring the Three Stooges and directed by Zippy the Pinhead. It's surrealist underground commix brought to life. And like the adult-orientated funny papers, "The Forbidden Zone" is not for everyone. Its depraved delusions are easily as offensive in parts as they are funny, but if your sense of humor strays into the strange, then a trip to the Forbidden Zone will be for you.
The movie is an Elfman family production. Marie-Pascale Elfman provides the quirky art direction and stars as the perky heroine Frenchy. And long before Richard Elfnan's brother, Danny became the modern scoring machine that he is for movie music today - he created the modernized forties retro soundtrack for "The Forbidden Zone" with the original Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo lineup. His appearance as the Devil and The Hi-De-Ho scene steals the show.
You can enjoy "The Forbidden Zone's" demented show tunes on the soundtrack CD, easily available on Amazon, or even order an autographed VHS tape direct from richardelfman.com, but for us digital disc deviants we'll have to wait it out to see our fully featured DVD release, complete with commentary and behind the scenes production shots that us fiendish fans need and love.
While hunting for a copy of this movie to rent for to write this review, one video store clerk heard a rumor that "The Forbidden Zone" had already been released on DVD, although where you can actually get remains a mystery.
And if you happen to be in the Pacific Northwest at the end of this month, the Northwest Film Forum will be featuring a screening of "The Forbidden Zone" at Seattle's Grand Illusion Theatre, and according to Richard Elfman dot com, he will be speaking at the March 28th screening.
For Movie Magazine this is Purple.
© 2003 - Purple - Air Date: 3/5/03
USA - 1980