November 20, 2013

Movie Review: Forbidden World

Roger Corman is a legend. Of this there can be no question. It is a shame that most of the movies he is involved in these days are SyFy Channel monster movie things like Sharktopus, Camel Spiders, and Dinocroc vs Supergator. These things are barely watchable in my estimation. Fortunately, we can go back to his Edgar Allan Pow adaptations with Vincent Price and his cheesier exploitation and horror productions that carried him into the 1980's. One of the best things about his prolific career is that I have so many more movies to discover and hopefully enjoy. The latest discovery is 1982's Forbidden World.

Corman has said that he has never lost money on any of his movies. There is a reason for that, he had an eye for talent, worked fast and cheap, and knew how to make best use of resources. This included reusing sets and locations and making sure extra days in the schedule did not go to waste. Forbidden World was shot in just twenty days and reused sets from another Alien rip off film, Galaxy of Terror (I love that movie).

It does not take long for Forbidden World to get started. An android wakes up our hero from his hypersleep just in time to fend off an attack from a vicious enemy ship and learn that his retirement has been delayed and he is being rerouted to a remote scientific facility where things are going a little bit off the rails. So, our hero Mike Colby (Jesse Vint) heads off to see what is going on.

Colby arrives at the base and finds a small collection of scientists working on a solution to a food shortage. The latest experiment, dubbed Subject 20, is mutating into something kind of nasty. The scientists want to study it, Colby wants to kill it. After all, his motto is: If it moves and isn't one of us, kill it. Sounds about right.

There really isn't much to the plot The mutant alien thing keeps getting bigger and killing people, while the remaining people run around screaming. In between the running, the screaming, and the shooting, the movie takes a side turn into the sleazy. The characters make a point to mention that they do not get many new faces around there. The two ladies take immediate notice of Colby and begin to act like they are in a softcore movie. They throw him the “come hither” stare, say everything in hushed tones, and before you know it, Colby is hopping into bed with one of the women. A short time later, he does the same thing with the other. Afterwards, both ladies hope in the shower together. Nothing exploitative about this movie, nothing whatsoever. Move along, move along.

The actions all lead to the inevitable conclusion, ending with an expected hero shot. There is a lot of screaming. There are bad decisions. There are laser blasts. There is running through cheap sets. There are characters spouting bad dialogue. There are slimy aliens. There is some blood and gore. It has all the right elements to make for a fun, cheap time.

The movie has an interesting pedigree, aside from Roger Corman's presence. The story was co-written by Jim Wynorski before he took over the director's chair for such movies as Chopping Mall and Not of This Earth, not to mention a number of horror sequels like 976-Evil 2, Ghoulies IV, and The Return of Swamp Thing. Also, this was an early outing for John Carl Buechler, the director of Friday the 13th Pary VII: The New Blood and special effects guru on countless films, such as Hatchet, Halloween 4, A Nightmare on Elm Street 4, and Cellar Dweller. Those are the two most notable names, but it is interesting to see the pedigree some of these older films have.

Forbidden World is one of those great surprises that you can have fun with and be happy to revisit. No, it is not a great film, but it makes up for its shortcomings with personality and energy. This is a movie made by people who want to be there, who want to make an entertaining movie, and do all they can to deliver. It is silly, campy, over the top, and derivative, all things that add to its charm. This is a movie that makes no apologies for itself and just wants to be loved.


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