It's insane, and I laughed my ass off. (Several times I guffawed out loud. Yup. A genuine guffaw). With shades of John Waters and allusions to many different old film genres, this movie never holds back. It's also quite short which turns out to be the perfect length for this craziness. That classroom scene. Dude. Laughed so much. Pure, unbridled insanity.
In the bizarre ‘80’s flick Forbidden Zone, director Richard Elfman pushes the boundaries of 20th c. film. The musical adventure explores common tropes such as love, lust, infidelity, and the classic efforts of a group who will stop at nothing to save one of their own; but the sci-fi musical is far from typical. Sexual taboos, black-face, random sight gags, and oddities make the film unique and delightfully shocking.
A vibrantly vulgar exercise in artisanally beautiful nonsense. The lushness of its colors, the exuberance of its performers, and the crudeness of its production exert a charm that can only come from the distance of time. (An earlier reviewer called it kitsch, which is absurd. Whatever label might be given to this movie, it is about as far from "kitsch" as movies can get.)
I could care less about this crap. 1980's camp cinema and music was a defining moment when white art and culture had one big self-indulgent, narcissistic, irreverent and irrelevant masquerade party. This generation performed a burlesque they tried to pass off as some kind of neo-Brechtian modernism without taking any kind of radical stand on anything of substance whatsoever. Boring and offensive.
A love letter to Max Fleischer, Brecht, Flash Gordon, Spike Jones, Satie, and tons of other things.* Juvenile in truly great and less great ways, which is all good. 1980 was a crazy time and being vaporized was at the front of many minds, so why not? Pleur! I have a total crush on Frenchy. Marie-Pascale Elfman is a very smart and talented physical comedian, I wish she were in loads of movies. Thank you, Mubi!
The demonic knights of the Oingo Boingo are a high point of the film - reminescent of 'Dead Man's Party'. Punk rock fun - a midget king of the sixth dimension painting a picture of Bettie Page, the French as part of the master race and a yiddish dictionary, all make up a core of greatness. A core that carries brown throw pillows and broken paper window theory - it had to be fun to make this film. Fun to watch.
I did like the musical numbers, it was the stuff in between that was hard to take. A higher budget or a more creative art director (and a better script) would have helped. I'm thinking of Peewee's Playhouse which has a similar aesthetic and how silly and wonderful that set was.