Forbidden World: Roger Corman’s Cult Classics – DVD Review

Major studios spend years developing movie projects. A decade can elapse from when an executive buys a script to the night of the big premiere at Mann’s Chinese Theater. This is not the norm in the world of Roger Corman.

A filmmaker might get green lit in less than an hour for an idea that reuses existing sets under Corman, who has been called the “King of the B-movies.” Such was the creation of Forbidden World. Editor Allan Holzman had an idea of what could be done with the sets of Galaxy of Terror and Corman gave him a day to prove it. After shooting the first six minutes of the film in a single day, Holzman was told to finish it up. Forbidden World: Roger Corman’s Cult Classics gives this speedy sci-fi flick an epic release.

Federation Marshal Mike Colby (Jesse Vint) arrives on the planet Xarbia to help a group of scientists. The remote lab is searching for a new food source. Trouble is Subject 20, their most successful experiment, has decided that it would rather eat than be eaten. Colby needs to take care of business although first he needs to take care of the female scientists. Even in the middle of the terror racing around the lab, there’s time for gratuitous nudity and superfluous sex with Tracy Baxter (Dawn Dunlap) and Dr. Barbara Glaser (June Chadwick). Even in the midst of the largest crisis, the ladies take time to shower each other. This is the perfect melding of Cinemax After Dark and the Syfy channel’s monster movies.

The film doesn’t take itself too seriously, but it doesn’t reduce itself to a spoof of Alien. This isn’t Not Another Chestbuster Movie movie, though. Dr. Cal Timbergen (Fox Harris of Repo Man) roams around the set in a blood covered lab coat, but doesn’t look too comical. There could be laughs form merely noticing they created futuristic hallways by gluing Styrofoam takeout containers and dinner trays on the wall. Yet in a cheesy universe, Forbidden World still has plenty of shock and disgust moments. The editing amps up the tension and confusion during chase scenes. The serious gel lighting, extreme violence and Goblin-esque soundtrack makes this feel like a sci-fi film from Dario Argento. While Holzman made a film using the spare parts of Galaxy of Terror, Forbidden World is a better movie.

The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The restored transfer brings out the detail in the frame. You can tell the various Styrofoam containers glued to the walls. The sets look extra icky when covered in goo. The audio is 2.0. The score brings out the tension even in the shower scene.

Mutant: The Unrated Directors Cut (81:59) has more humor than the released version. Allan Holzman provides a commentary on this version. Corman didn’t like to mix comedy with horror. He felt that it was box office poison as proved by the disappointing returns for An American Werewolf in London. The comic moments don’t get too screwball. Holzman talks about how his stutter nearly cost him a chance to step up as a director. He resented Corman slicing out the comic moments since the test audiences laughed at them. This was transferred from a videotape so it’s a little fuzzy and in full frame.

The Making of Forbidden World (34:12) talks about the speed of the production.

Interview With Producer Roger Corman (6:24) lets him discuss how he liked to reuse sci-fi sets to save on budgets.

Interview with Special Makeup FX Artist: John Carl Beuchler (14:19) revisits his marathon session to make the movie. Memories are a bit of a haze to him since he was sleep deprived.

The Skotek Gallery (1:20) are sketches and production photos from the Oscar winning brothers.

Poster And Stills Gallery (3:40) covers all the promotional material for the film.

Theatrical Trailer (2:32) promises plenty of shock and nudity in space.

Galaxy of Terror: Roger Corman’s Cult Classics serves up both takes of the movie. The reworking of Alien has all the sizzling qualities of an exploitation film with extra helpings of violence and nudity. There’s also a Blu-ray release for those wanting the hi-def experience.

Shout! Factory presents Forbidden Planet: Roger Corman’s Cult Classics. Directed by Allan Holzman. Starring: Jesse Vint, Dawn Dunlap, June Chadwick, Fox Harris and Linden Chiles. Rated R. Running Time: 77 minutes. Released on DVD: July 20, 2010.

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