Forbidden World Allan Holzman

Forbidden World Allan Holzman
Sometimes you have to take your silver linings where you can get them. Take Forbidden World, a low-budget, 1982 sci-fi obscurity. Knowing that this is a blatant knock-off of Alien doesn't exactly bode well for its prospects; the fact that the producer is legendary schlockmeister Roger Corman pretty much removes all hope. Anyone who has seen any of the hundreds of exploitation films Corman has produced after his '60s and '70s heyday knows what to expect: a little bit of gore and a lot of nudity strung together with a not-particularly-engrossing plot derived from whatever was popular a year or two prior. One of this film's writers is Corman's dependable hack Jim Wynorski (recent credits: The Devil Wears Nada and The Lusty Busty Babe-a-que), the tagline says, "Part Alien… Part Human… All Nightmare," and despite the DVD box's claim, the film has becomes something less than a "Roger Corman Cult Classic." Having seen Forbidden World, I can confirm that it doesn't surpass expectations: the familiar plot (a genetically-engineered life form runs loose on a station on a distant planet, growing into a destructive monster) is populated with hackneyed characters and overplayed by the entire cast. This is the type of film for which the world "ephemeral" was invented, but being re-released on DVD 28 years after its brief period of questionable relevancy expired is the best thing that could happen to Forbidden World. Silver lining number one: there is some mild charm for this 1982 version of the future, with Farrah hairdos, square plastic control panels, Star Wars droids and cleavage-bearing polyester. Silver lining number two: there are sensual pleasures to be had seeing the kitschy, day-glow colour scheme on DVD: the test-tube beakers with solid yellow, green and red liquids; the red and blue emergency lights that blink during crises; the buckets of human blood; and the gushing pink monster vomit. Still, for all its amusingly dated elements, Forbidden World is never as much fun as it should be, and those seeking "so bad it's good" laughs would be better off elsewhere. Corman and company are surely aware that the script is half-baked, the special effects so-so, the acting crude and the nudity gratuitous; they just don't care. Shout! Factory's insanely lavish two-disc DVD includes both the 77-minute theatrical version and the 82-minute director's cut, Mutant. In an interview, Corman admits he conceived the film to take advantage of existing spaceship sets from Galaxy of Terror (1981) that were set to be destroyed. In a making-of documentary, director Allan Holzman reveals he began shooting without a script with these directions from Corman: "You have four days to write, produce and direct a seven- to eight-minute opening of a space movie… I'll give you an astronaut and a robot, and if you need any inspiration, I've always wanted to do a version of Lawrence of Arabia in outer space." (Shout! Factory)