- Also known as Mutant and Subject 20
- Co-Edited and Directed by Allan Holzman
- May 7, 1982
On the distant planet of Xarbia an experimental lifeform known as Subject 20 gets out control.
Forbidden World is one of numerous Alien knock offs (several of which were produced by Roger Corman). It’s a mishmash of ideas with uneven acting and cheesy special effects that despite being undeniably bad has a certain charm about all of it. There are two versions of the film out there-one serious and one with much more humor. I watched the more serious version.
I’m not calling it great but most assuredly it is a guilty pleasure. I have used this analogy before but this is a late night frozen burrito of movies. You enjoy it when you have it because it goes down so smoothly but once you’re finished you may feel a little bad. Yet you’ll still go back for another one again at some point in the future once the guilt fades and you only recall the pleasure.
At 77 minutes Forbidden World is barely a movie by even the standards of the day. And there’s a good chunk of that 77 minutes that is just sex and nudity. Coming from the house of Corman I’d be shocked if it didn’t have some kind of sexual situation in it. If it was not for that nudity padding it probably would have been much closer to an hour. And it seems to come out of the blue. For example June “Lydia from V: The Series” Chadwick as Dr. Barbara Glaser spends a lot of time sans clothing because…
Truthfully Chadwick is the best performer in this film and perhaps the second most famous person here. I was just stoked to see her in this. Her scientist is one of several vaguely defined scientists at the research station who thought it would be a good idea to implant a fertilized embryo with homemade DNA into a human being. Chadwick doesn’t rock the house or anything, but she gives a little bit more weight to her performance than the other people do. Even the hero of the film Mike Colby (Jesse Vint) is rather tepid. I can’t think of a physical or personality trait about him that makes him stand out. And he saves the day more or less!
Themes of galactic hunger along with other vague ideas and some bad science give the basis for this whole movie. And let’s not forget scientists charging headlong despite knowing how terrible of an idea what they’re doing is. That’s a cliché going back to the 1950s that produces guilty pleasures.
The space shots are questionable at best with a few of them being recycled elements from the great Battle Beyond the Stars which is a very good movie by the way. But I’m getting off track. The gory elements are fantastic. Not in a seriously gross way but rather in a cheesy horror way.
Speaking of gore Dr. Cal Timbergen (Fox Harris), the scientist dying of cancer, spends the whole movie wearing a bloody lab coat. That bothered me. It’s one thing to get blood on a lab coat in a scene but to keep the same lab coat on throughout the movie was really weird. That’s noting that the blood looks like strawberry syrup.
Despite its flaws, there’s something enjoyable about Forbidden World. It puts on a veneer of trying to act like quality but it is most assuredly not. It just goes full force into its trashy nature. Alien was a good meal. This is a decadent dessert.
Maybe it’s because they made the most of what they had and didn’t grasp higher than they could. This is a low budget film so shots are tight and keeping with that most of the sets are narrow with the excuse that they’re in a facility. While the acting is uneven with some performers taking it seriously and others just hamming it up, somehow it’s appropriate for the part though perhaps a mistake for an entire film. They put their all into this and that somehow translates to an entertaining watch.
One of the outstanding elements of this is the music. Just amazing stuff really. Susan Justin gives the movie an electronic score that adds something special to it all. It highlights the oddness of it all and dresses up what is otherwise bargain-basement.
Forbidden World is an enjoyably bad movie. It’s trashy and just straight up fun. If you’re looking for something high-quality skip this, but if you just want junk this is for you. As guilty pleasures go, I highly recommend this one.