6.8/10
4,071
93 user 57 critic

Forbidden Zone (1980)

Trailer
0:47 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $3.99 (HD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
The bizarre and musical tale of a girl who travels to another dimension through the gateway found in her family's basement.

Director:

Richard Elfman

Writers:

Richard Elfman (story), Richard Elfman (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Hervé Villechaize ... King Fausto of the Sixth Dimension
Susan Tyrrell ... Queen Doris of the Sixth Dimension / Ruth Henderson
Gisele Lindley Gisele Lindley ... The Princess
Jan Stuart Schwartz ... Bust Rod, the Servant Frog
Marie-Pascale Elfman ... Susan B. 'Frenchy' Hercules
Virginia Rose Virginia Rose ... Ma Hercules
Gene Cunningham Gene Cunningham ... Huckleberry P. Jones / Pa Hercules (as Ugh-Fudge Bwana)
Phil Gordon Phil Gordon ... Flash Hercules
Hyman Diamond ... Grampa Hercules
Matthew Bright ... Squeezit & René Henderson (as Toshiro Boloney)
Danny Elfman ... Satan
Viva ... Ex-Queen
Joe Spinell ... Squeezit's Father
Brian Routh Brian Routh ... Harry Kipper (as The Kipper Kids)
Martin von Haselberg Martin von Haselberg ... Harry Kipper (as The Kipper Kids)
Edit

Storyline

A mysterious door in the basement of the Hercules house leads to the Sixth Dimension by way of a gigantic set of intestine. When Frenchy slips through the door, King Fausto falls in love with her. The jealous Queen Doris takes Frenchy prisoner, and it is up to the Hercules family and friend Squeezit Henderson to rescue her. Written by Scott Murdock <scottm@kc.grapevine.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A chaotic musical fantasy.


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French | German

Release Date:

21 March 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Tiltott zóna See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA

Company Credits

Production Co:

Hercules Films Ltd. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The alphabet song in the classroom scene is a mutated version of "Swinging the Alphabet," a classic number from the Three Stooges short _Violent is the Word for Curly (1938)_. See more »

Quotes

Ma: Flash, be sure and tie your grandfather up and check the knots real good. While he was sniffing around for food yesterday, he nearly wandered into the Forbidden Zone.
See more »

Alternate Versions

A colorized version of the film was authorized by director Richard Elfman in 2008. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Bim Bam Boom
Composed by Noro Morales, and Johnnie Camacho (as Johnny Comacho)
Vocal by Miguelito Valdés (as Miguelito Valdez)
Courtesy of M.C.A. Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Merry Lunacy
4 August 2006 | by TonyDoodSee all my reviews

I avoided this film for years even though I seek out movies that appear to have been created by people with "unstable" minds (Jodorowsky, Ken Russell, Lynch and Jess Franco). The problem was the box cover art. The cartoon of Susan Tyrrell is so lurid and 80's it was really off-putting. And the promise of "offensive" humor made it sound like a low-rent John Waters movie. I've gone beyond "it's fun to be shocked" movies and demand some quality.

How surprised I was when I finally gambled on this one! I had seen the last minutes on IFC or some cable station late one night while flipping channels. My first thoughts were probably like anyone's would be..."What. The. Hell?" There was "Tattoo" from "Fantasy Island," a bunch of tap-dancing bimbettes, dice, a French woman, a guy in drag, two bald-headed freaks in their jockstraps...and a guy in a gorilla suit (with a bra on, no less!) All jumping around singing, "The Forbidden Zone!" like they had drank about 6 quarts of caffeine! The image rivaled Fellini!

I finally rented the beautifully re-mastered DVD after still more concern about just what this movie WAS exactly. I was absolutely riveted for the entire running time. I can't think of a single movie in history like this one, and I've seen some real corkers! The opening musical number, using an old recording of the song "Some Of These Days" as a background track, is eye-poppingly brilliant. I still don't know how it was done, certainly not with the skills and technology of a low-budget filmmaker in 1980. But it speaks to me on an unconscious level, dark and brooding yet fanciful and jolly (the slick dancing butler who appears out of nowhere is one of the most delightfully ridiculous and satisfying surreal moments I've seen in years). I was very skeptical that the momentum and creativity could be sustained, and it never did reach that peak again (although the "Pico And Sepulveda," "Witche's Egg" and Alphabet numbers come close), but it couldn't have...I don't think it IS possible to sustain that level forever, it would drive the viewer away.

The plot, involving a family discovering a door that leads to the 6th dimension where a queen and king (the unbelievably game Ms. Tyrrell who deserves an award of some kind for her brave and perfect-pitch performance, and the charming Herve, who she was apparently dating at the time?), is absolutely superfluous, merely an excuse for the music and visuals, and I'd have it no other way personally. It's like "Alice In Wonderland." Any adaption that tries to assign a "story" to the proceedings has missed the point entirely; like a dream, there is an internal logic...but the rules and boundaries of reality are not welcome!

The film is creaky in places, of course...it shows it's no-budget roots frequently, the pace is so hectic as to be head-ache inducing in certain parts and most dismaying of all is the constant interruption of lewdness just for the sake of lewdness, as if the filmmaker's were all horny teens who wanted to get as much naughty sex and dirty humor in as possible (Hint: the probably were!) The acting is by-and-large, with the exception of the foul-mouthed, shrieking, Disney-queen-from-hell Ms. Tyrell, pretty amateurish, even though everyone throws themselves into the production full-force (the screen writer bravely spends the whole film running around in his underpants!) But what it lacks in maturity it makes up for in execution. I kept sitting there shaking my head...these are real dancers, the choreography is wonderful, the animation and effects are stunning...and you can't ignore the score!

I don't know how much tinkering has gone on with this re-master, but the things that Danny Elfman was doing with the film score, weaving it in and out with old 30's recordings and New Wave stylings, as well as his more familiar ska style of the 80's...it's just breathtaking. If you are any sort of fan of Elfman's work, soundtrack or otherwise, you probably already have this music. If you're still new to it as I was, you'll become an instant fan. You cannot deny it, Elfman is a genius.

Like anything that seems completely nonsensical at first (example, Fellini's Satyricon), a lot of things in this film probably make more sense the more you delve into it. The DVD features explain that the "tone" of the film is an attempt to capture the live performance style of Elfman and his early "Oingo Boingo" incarnation, as a theatrical troupe. There's the obvious reference to Fleischer/Betty Boop cartoons that don't get seen much anymore. I have no idea who "The Kipper Kids" were but I assume audiences at the time would have recognized them. Certainly Herve was recognizable, if hardly comforting, in the weird world of this film.

I take a great deal of comfort in knowing that the man at the helm of this film, Danny Elfman's brother, admits that he was not inspired to make this movie by the use of any drugs. All too often in today's world we are prone to assume that the only way someone can come up with something genuinely original, creative and surreal is to assume that chemicals are responsible. Certainly I can imagine the experience of watching this film in an altered state of mind would be a "trip." However, hats off to people who find and appreciate the merry lunacy and joyfully insane magic that can be found in the every day world...if you care to look! I'm sorry that the film didn't take the director anywhere, but not surprised...it's not something I would easily recommend to just anyone...but I'm glad Elfman seems to have enjoyed a revival of his project, and is getting some recognition


39 of 44 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 93 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed