You gotta love a film that’s about a woman who falls into an insane underworld ruled by a horny little king and his jealous queen. It’s not a forbidden zone for film fans (enter through through a door in the house of the Hercules family), but it is Richard Elfman’s 1980 musical comedy treasure “Forbidden Zone” (MVD Entertainment), a forgotten oddball opus starring Herve Villechaize and Susan Tyrell and featuring original music by Danny Elfman. The film made its way in various forms including Digital, DVD, Blu-ray and soundtrack packages. Each edition contains the black and white and color transfers of the film.
You gotta love that Tyrell and Herve were once a real-life couple (a real-life “Fantasy Island”?) and in the film play Queen Doris of the Sixth Dimension and King Fausto of the Sixth Dimension. The movie is a maniacal menagerie, chock-full of Frog butlers; topless princesses; bald men in jock straps; rioting machine-gun toting school kids who duel with their teachers then sing and dance in unforgettable musical numbers by Richard’s brother Danny Elfman, Cab Calloway and Josephine Baker. The character of Chicken doesn’t cackle but he does have his head cut off by the soul-singing Devil himself–played by Danny. Oingo Boingo! This is one helluva ground-breaking, fun-filled wonder. One Los Angeles critics called the film “‘Three Stooges, part H.G. Wells; it’s what ‘Alice in Wonderland’ might have been were it written by Mister Rogers on severe hallucinogens in hell, with the Marks Brothers poking him with pitchforks.
“For the first time ever we include both the original black & white plus the new color version—all in sterling hi-def and state-of-the-art sound mix. There’s a terrific booklet and loads of bonus features, including an utterly insane introduction by some idiot who looks a lot like me. I’m very proud of this best ever ‘Forbidden Zone’ release. Officially Elfo-recommended!”
It took just 21 days, over 10 months, to make the film. Elfman’s wife, Marie-Pascale Elfman, designed and painted the paper sets, with help from Villechaize. Ask him how he got the idea for the film and he smiles. Elfman made it “just to make it. Gene Cunningham, the executive producer, used to live next to this drunken family from Arkansas. The father would always yell at there mother, the mother would yell at the son, who would hit the other sister, who would kick the dog. I thought this suggested that the human condition had regressed quite a bit.”
One of the DVD’s extras includes a teaser clip of Elfman’s upcoming “Forbidden Zone 2”, as well as audio commentary with Elfman and writer-actor Matthew Bright; “A Look into Forbidden Zone”, an extensive behind-the-scenes documentary featuring interviews and archive footage; outtakes and deleted scenes and the film’s original theatrical trailer.