Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Forbidden World (1982, Allan Holzman)
Continuing on with Shout! Factory's exquisite new releases of Roger Corman's Cult Classics, we have a film that I had actually never heard of until its announced release. The film's poster/DVD cover actually made me think it was one of those 50s Sci Fi/ B movies. When I found out it was an 80s Sci Fi/ B movie, I was sold. I knew it would be chock full of what Corman's films are known for - low budget sets, a little T & A, some blood & gore and a whole lot of over acting. Just the way I like it! Shout! Factory's DVD release comes with the original theatrical cut of the film as well as an uncut version, under the title Mutant (plus a whole slew of Criterion-worthy bonus features). This review is for the uncut Mutant version.
Mike Colby (Jesse Vint) and his robot pal Sam 104 (who looks eerily reminiscent of a Stormtrooper) are sent to the planet Xarbia to help out with a scientific experiment gone wrong. The small group of scientists on Xarbia created something called Subject 20, which ended up killing all of the test animals in their lab. When Colby arrives on Xarbia, Subject 20 has coccooned itself and begins mutating. As expected, Project 20 escapes the confines of its holding tank and begins killing the crew members one by one. Colby, in between seducing (or being seduced by) the research facility's two women, has to find a way to destroy the project, despite the scientists' pleas to keep it alive for some mysterious reason.
Forbidden World (or Mutant, whichever) is a wonderful, silly, sleazy, gory thrill-ride. The film's short running time allows for rapid pacing and despite a miniscule budget, recycling of sets (particularly James Cameron's Galaxy of Terror set) and a talented crew of upcoming FX artists managed to create a neat little sci-fi/horror shocker. Jesse Vint is adequate as Mike Colby, though I must commend his character's sly ways with women. What other character (besides maybe James Bond) could go from bedding one female crew member to having a naked steam bath with another (before being rudely interupted by the alien, what nerve!). The rest of the actors range from ok to over the top, though the women (June Chadwick from the 80s TV series V and Dawn Dunlap from one of my favorite movies of all time, Night Shift) are both very sexable (love the random shower/hair brushing scene between the two). The alien designs are kind of silly but the ooey, gooey deaths of the crew members are well done and pretty nasty. Some scenes are reminiscent to Alien (one is almost identical) but the film still works as an original, fun piece of B movie goodness.