Forbidden World (1982) – By Duane L. Martin

Planet Xarbia.  It’s essentially a barren rock in the middle of space, except for a research facility that was located there so they could perform their research without having to adhere to the ethical limitations they’d have back home.  Their research is based in genetics with the goal of creating a nearly unlimited food supply.  When one of their experiments turns into a monster that’s constantly evolving killing the team members one after another, intergalactic troubleshooter Mike Colby (Jesse Vint) is awakened from his stasis by his trusty robot companion Sam-104.  After receiving his orders, he heads off to Xarbia to kill the monster, rescue the crew and salvage the project if possible.   Once he gets there though, he finds that he’s not only facing a brutal killing machine, but also a science team that’s keeping the monster’s true origins a secret.

The year was 1982, and this is a Roger Corman (produced) film, so even if you’ve never seen it, you can pretty much guess what it’s like.  Cheesy sets, a cheesy, yet rather creative monster, cheesy acting, a cheesy plot, etc…, with the common thread throughout it all being the cheese.  This isn’t a bad thing, but if you’ve seen these kinds of sci-fi films from the early 80’s, this one fits right into that mold.

Now people will probably have one of two reactions to this film.  They’ll either enjoy it, or they’ll hate it.  Sounds pretty black and white doesn’t it?  Honestly, knowing people the way I do and after having reviewed films for so many years now, I have a pretty good idea of what will appeal to the average viewer.  People nowadays have become spoiled by fancy effects and CGI.  This is all well and good, but I think it’s diminished people’s ability to appreciate these older films, dismissing them out of hand because they’re not snazzy enough or full of fancy effects.  They just see it as being "cheap".  These are the people who probably won’t enjoy the film, because they’re not open minded enough to take it for what it is instead of comparing it to a standard they’ve become used to almost three decades later.

For those of you who are generally unable to appreciate films like this, let me give you a few reasons you should give this one a chance.  First, the monster is great, in all of its incarnations, its final one being seriously fun, and rather funny as well.  It’s like a giant, tentacled spider / octopus / alien thing that infects people, causing their bodies to turn into this gelatinous protein goo that self replicates, and they’re alive through the entire process, which in and of itself is rather creepy, and the gore effects are about as gooey and slimy as you could possibly want.  If that’s not enough, there’s also the expected female hotness that comes in the form of Dr. Barbara Glaser (June Chadwick of "V" fame) and Tracy Baxter (Dawn Dunlap).  I don’t know what what point it went out of fashion to have gorgeous women get nekkid in these kinds of films, but it was obvious after this one, because we get to see both of them in them nekkid in this film…several times.  I don’t know about you all, but I always enjoyed the nudity in films like this.  Pointless?  Yes it often is.  Gratuitous?  Yep, but so what?  Necessary to the plot?  Almost never, but who cares?  Seriously, things have become so uptight nowadays since the PC police got a stranglehold on our society.  What ever happened to having pointless nudity in a film just because?  I’m so sick of living in a world that’s no longer any fun.  Things were so much more loose, free and relaxed in the 70’s and early 80’s.  That’s largely been lost nowadays, and it’s a terrible loss.  Anyway, I’ll get off my soap box now.  Suffice it to say, this movie has everything a b-movie fan could want.

Now, in saying that, I don’t mean to imply the film is perfect.  Personally, I wouldn’t have cast Jesse Vint in the lead role.  He just didn’t have a tough enough image to be this awesome intergalactic troubleshooter.  He was too skinny and just didn’t look like the kind of a badass you’d expect to see in a role like that.  That’s not to say he did a bad job in playing the role.  He played it fine.  He just didn’t have the right image for the character.  He’d have been better suited to be one of the scientists.  Actually, I was planning to mention a few more things that didn’t work in this film, but honestly, I can’t think of anything else that really stands out.  That was really my only complaint.  Is the film Oscar material?  No, absolutely not, but for a cheesy, early 80’s sci-fi flick, it was actually pretty damn good!

Shout Factory has released this film as part of their Roger Corman Cult Classics release series, which is awesome, because it’s the first time this film’s been released on DVD, and boy did they go all out with the release!  It’s two DVDs, one of the theatrical version, and the other has the director’s cut, which goes under the name Mutant and is five minutes longer.  The theatrical version is 1:85:1 re-mastered widescreen, but sadly the director’s cut is only 4:3 full frame.  It comes with a reversable DVD cover that has the covers of both versions of the film, a great booklet full of all kinds of interesting info about the film, commentary, featurettes, interviews, trailers and more.  Shout Factory just does a phenomenal job with all of its releases, and you definitely get your money’s worth and more with each and every one of them.

Forbidden World reminds me of the kinds of films we used to watch on TV when I was a kid.  I could totally envision seeing this film in a drive-in as well.  Man I miss those days.  Oh well, at least the film has an excellent DVD release now that totally does it justice, and if you have that gut feeling of nostalgia like I do when you watch films like this, then this is one you’ll definitely want to add to your collection.

If you’d like to pick up a DVD or Blu-Ray combo copy of this film You can order them from Shout Factory here:

Forbidden World (DVD)

Forbidden World (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)