Forbidden Zone

November 8, 2015 at 8:13 pm (8 Heads, Forbidden Zone) (, , , , , , , )

Forbidden Zone – 1980 – United States

Some demented kids named Flash, Frenchy, and Squeezit discover a secret portal to the Forbidden Zone in their basement. In this surreal subterranean world, they are abused and sexually harassed by a kinky king and queen, a frog butler, mutant bodybuilders, and Satan.

Forbidden Zone’s absurd plot is irrelevant. Instead, the film is a showcase of outlandish style. Forbidden Zone combines animation, expressionistic sets, freakish costumes, and musical numbers. Shot in black and white, it is reminiscent of a 1930s cartoon, but adapted to live action. Its vintage aesthetic is reinforced by a soundtrack utilizing elements of swing music. But Forbidden Zone’s nostalgia is subverted by racist, sexist, puerile, and sexual humor. Characters swear profusely, shoot up, screw, vomit, and defecate. Also, some wear blackface makeup and perform minstrel show routines. This raunchy, tasteless humor evokes The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), or the films of John Waters and Troma.

Forbidden Zone is primarily a musical. Its strange and memorable musical numbers encompass an impressive variety of styles including jazz, rock, and Latin. There is also a cool locking dance sequence. The director Richard Elfman and composer Danny Elfman organized the Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo, a musical theater group. Forbidden Zone is based on their live performances. Danny Elfman went on to be an acclaimed Hollywood composer whose scores include Batman (1989), Edward Scissorhands (1990), and the theme to The Simpsons.

Rating: 8/10 Shrunken Heads. It is highly original and highly perverted.

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