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Forbidden Zone (1980)

Cast: Herve Villechaize, Herve Villechaize, Susan Tyrrell, more...
Director: Richard Elfman, Richard Elfman
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Studio: Fantoma
Genre: Comedies, Parodies
Running Time: 73 min.
Languages: English
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Oingo Boingo fans and midnight movie mavens will love this bizarre black-and-white feature packed with music, madness, and members of the Elfman clan. The story revolves around the Hercules family, who live in a house that just happens to hide a secret entrance to the Sixth Dimension in the basement. When daughter Frenchy (Marie-Pascale Elfman) skips school one afternoon, she finds herself irresistibly drawn to the forbidden door, and winds up a prisoner in this alternate world. King Fausto (Herve Villechaize), the diminutive leader of the Sixth Dimension, is enamored with the beautiful young Frenchy and keeps her in the same cell as his favorite concubines, despite the disapproval of Queen Doris (Susan Tyrrell). Frenchy's brother, Flash (Phil Gordon), follows her into the Forbidden Zone with Gramps (Hyman Diamond) in tow, intending to save her, but they too are captured and must call school chum Squeezit (Toshiro Baloney, aka Matthew Bright) for help. Squeezit tries to assist, but ends up captured and decapitated by Satan (Danny Elfman), though this development doesn't keep his disembodied noggin from flying about and informing King Fausto that the Queen is planning to dispose of his beloved Frenchy. The appearance of the King's first wife and the kidnapping of his topless daughter further confuse matters, but everything is wrapped up neatly with an elaborate song and dance number at the conclusion. ~ Fred Beldin, All Movie Guide

Who named the Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo? Who's that red-haired guy on a leash? And what could the French possibly have to do with the cult classic Forbidden Zone? Director Richard Elfman explains all to Jonathan Marlow. Full article >>

GreenCine Member Reviews

One Of The Funniest and Creative B movies! by RGrimsinger November 3, 2006 - 5:19 PM PST
1 out of 2 members found this review helpful
I loved this movie from beginning to end. It's fun, bizarre, funny and nothing short of fabulous. The soundtrack is fantastic. The characters are hilarious. The storyline is simple but that's not what makes this movie, it's the art, characters and the music that makes this one of my favorite movies of all time. A true cult classic!

its not called the Forbiden Zone for nothing.... by markh January 24, 2005 - 2:10 PM PST
3 out of 10 members found this review helpful
Achtung zany, underground, art-fart movie on the horizon. Load torpedos, and close your eyes its going to get ugly. Actually it was interesting for the first few minutes, however the poor overdubbing, mis-direction, lack of script, lousy camera work, rotten acting, and awful original score made this unbearable after the initial curiosity had worn off. Best seen sedated or comatose; wake up for the 1930's Cab Calloway numbers but dont bother to look. At times revealing Burtonesque moments but if he had made a film this bad I very much doubt he would be the director he is now. If you're into LA, gay, art student, musical comedies rent this movie, otherwise stick to ANYTHING from John Walters; or go and see Hairspray the musical for somthing more original and stimulating.

Meet Cab Caligari! by ZenBones September 10, 2004 - 1:04 AM PDT
9 out of 9 members found this review helpful
Back in 1980, director Richard Elfman got together with a bunch of friends in a large garage in Venice California, and created this incredible, cinematic funhouse of magic mayhem in cartoonish B&W. Think of Ed Wood and Max Fleischer getting together to direct "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" starring The Three Stooges and Cab Calloway, and MAYBE you can get an idea of how utterly weird and loony and silly and inventive and FUN this movie is. Richard's brother Danny Elfman now composes overbloated scores for even more overbloated Hollywood movies, but back in the 70s he was the leader of the freakishly innovative new wave band "The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo". With what looks like a budget of just a few thousand dollars, Richard took their energized pseudo-spooky sound and melded it with a Max Fleischer world of cartoon buffoonery called "The Sixth Dimension"; a sort of B&W Alice in Wonderland with John Watersish depravity. The movie's fun is in the characters (particularly the king and queen, played by Herve Villechaize and Susan Tyrell) and in the cartoonish funhouse sets that occasionally become animated. But what I really love most are the musical numbers, which include original scratchy recordings by Cab Calloway and Josephine Baker, and a marvelous cover of "St. James Infirmary" sung by Danny Elfman himself with the Knights of the Oingo Boingo. I must warn sensitive viewers about some of the film's humor, which as mentioned is occasionally depraved - and also politically incorrect - but the film lampoons everything and everybody. It also has surprising moments of pathos and sophistication (like the king and queen's lovemaking under an acrobatic human chandelier). The choreography is terrific too!

As for the DVD, I saw this film when it was first released and it didn't look half as good as this print! There's lots of good extras on it too, including a 30 minute documentary, lots of Oingo Boingo footage, and fun audio commentary with Richard Elfman and writer/actor Matthew Bright (who has since gone on to write and direct the movie "Freeway", which I love!).

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.12)
86 Votes
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