Cult Movie Review: Forbidden Zone


Forbidden Zone was an early ‘80s freakfest by the Brothers Elfman, then of the performance art musical group known as the Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo (later taken over by Danny Elfman and converted to the Oingo Boingo rock band. Little Herve, soon to be cast in TV's Fantasy Island, stars, which alone should tell you bunches...

Image It reminds me a lot of the early homemade movies by the '70s comedy troupe Firesign Theatre. If you’re familiar with them, they were making the brainiest '70s comedy records (my faves being the sci-fi I Think We're All Bozos on the Bus and the late-night TV spoof Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers).

Less known are the Firesign homemade movies, like Eat or Be Eaten and Nick Danger: Third Eye (they also used to overdub comedy dialogue over old movie serials for an 1980s Showtime series called Hot Shorts, and most of the Firesigns did the same for a feature called J Men Forever, which used to air on the USA Network's stoner show Night Flight) — Zone was a LOT like those weird old vids.

There was also an element of Sid & Marty Krofft to Zone, which seems about right since the Elfmans grew up on '70s TV shows such as HR Pufnstuff, Lidsville, et al. And, funnily, just as I was thinking the B&W and golly-gee-whiz acting reminded me of an old Mickey Mouse Club ep — but on acid — suddenly a girl in a Mouse ear hat showed up.

I bet anything, tho, that the Elfmans were MOST inspired by Frank Zappa's 200 Motels, for which Zone could practically serve as a sequel, if with more cabaret and less "classical" music. I especially liked Zone's Pythonesque animated sequences, and I'll never be able to hear the words "Pico" or "Sepulveda" without humming that bizarre little musical "Pico and Sepulveda" sequence.

Image When the flick ended, I felt like I'd just come off a dicey acid trip, but it was great fun to checkout!

Somebody should make a stand-alone video for Danny Elfman's devil sequence (which meticulously recreated the hijinks of several classic cartoons, even using some sound samples from the 'toons) — they could screen it on MTV tomorrow, and I bet few would ever guess it's a quarter century old and not a brand new video by the Killers or My Chemical Romance...

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