10,000 Bullets   Exploring the world of Cinema from the Arthouse to the Grindhouse™

Forbidden Zone 
Written by: on September 22nd, 2008

Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1980
Director: Richard Elfman
Writers: Matthew Bright, Richard Elfman, Nicholas James, Nick L. Martinson
Cast: Hervé Villechaize, Susan Tyrrell, Gisele Lindley, Jan Stuart, Marie-Pascale Elfman, Virginia Rose, Gene Cunningham, Phil Gordon, Hyman Diamond, Matthew Bright, Danny Elfman, Viva, Joe Spinell, Brian Routh, Martin von Haselberg

DVD released: July 29th, 2008
Approximate running time: 74 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: NR
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
Subtitles: N/A
DVD Release: Legend Films/Paramount Pictures
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $14.95

Synopsis: Alice goes down the rabbit hole and comes out on the planet Transylvania. Or something.

This is a film that will only appeal to a small but fervent minority. Since most of the ‘humor’ is insider Yiddish and gay, being a member of those demographics might help. It’s most certainly to be appreciated by Spanish midgets, as well.

Start with a foundation of production values and makeup effects from Flesh Gordon (first removing all Jim Danforth stop motion). Take the Rocky Horror Picture Show, Alice in Wonderland (R version of the X-rated film), the entire Monty Python TV series, and mix well.

The icing on the cake are the homages to 1930’s Fleischer cartoons. In the best sequence Danny Elfman performs a number as Satan that’s straight out of a Cab Calloway Betty Boop Cartoon. Some of the abstract cartoon animation and much of the Yiddish humor is reminiscent of the early Talk-A-Toons as well. There’s also frequent animation in the Monty Python style, and some of it is quite inventive.

This is, however, primarily a live action film. The director’s wife does pretty good as the main protagonist. Gisele Lindley spends the entire film jumping around topless and Hervé Villechaize is irresistible to all women. Susan Tyrrell looks exactly like Sensational Sheri (aka Queen Sheri, Scary Sherri), and even wrestles! She lets it all hang out, as well. But, it’s just about all downhill from there.

This is the most butt sex toilet humor obsessed movie ever made. Therefore, the highest praise possible is to call this movie a big pile of shit (if you see it you’ll understand).

The DVD:

The director had always intended to have the B&W film hand tinted, so this colorized release is basically a director’s cut. Since there isn’t a smidgen of reality in the entire film, the surreal colors are actually an asset. The small details are vibrant, there is no background gray scale, and the flesh tones are remarkably dead on – very important with the abundance of flesh on display. Deleted scenes, theatrical trailer, and an introduction by the director make this a special edition. Overall an  outstanding presentation by Legend.

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