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Forbidden Zone (1980)

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


Richard Elfman


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





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)


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


A chaotic musical fantasy.


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

Official site




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 »

Did You Know?


In the film's commentary, Richard Elfman reveals that the dysfunctional Hercules family was said to be inspired by some "trailer park types" he had lived next door to in Venice: "the father would yell at the mother, the mother would yell at the son, the son would yell at the daughter, the daughter would kick the dog." See more »


Renee Henderson: The queen is a very important person. She hurts me a lot, but I respect her.
See more »

Alternate Versions

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


Featured in Monster Man: Forbidden Werewolf (2012) See more »


Forbidden Zone Theme
Music by Danny Elfman
Performed by Danny Elfman and Oingo Boingo
See more »

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User Reviews

Extremely Original
20 December 2005 | by aimless-46See all my reviews

Danny Elfman's outlandish 1980 film "Forbidden Zone" has to be seen to be believed, and if you are not at least slightly demented you should probably pass on the seeing part. Imagine a cross between "Alice in Wonderland" and "The Rocky Horror Picture Show", with lots of animation in the style Monty Python's Flying Circus and the rubbery Max Fleischer cartoons of the 1930's (which probably inspired much of the original Monty Python stuff anyway). Also deserving mention is the fact that this relatively low budget black and white film is a musical.

There are a lot of characters and the story is somewhat hard to follow so here is what I hope is a helpful summary. The Hercules family (father, mother, son, daughter, and grandfather) live in a house with a door to the Sixth Dimension a/k/a The Forbidden Zone (think Wonderland). Their daughter Frenchy (think Alice) and son Flash (who looks like third stooge Joe Besser in a cub scout uniform) go to school one day. When a gunfight erupts in the classroom Frenchy runs home.

Tripping on a roller skate she tumbles through the door into a large intestine and ends up in the sixth dimension, which is ruled by a King and Queen of dice-used instead of wonderland's playing cards. There are a lot of half-dressed wonderland type characters down there although only the Frog Footman looks the same. There is a shapely princess who runs around topless, a living chandelier that eventually decays into just a skeleton, a devil (Elfman) who is like Cab Calloway playing the Cheshire Cat, and a rival queen.

Frenchy's family and one of her classmates go into the Forbidden Zone to attempt a rescue. The film is a mix of live action and animation. The editor deserves a lot of credit because the whole thing is sequenced quite well and even has a strange unity. There are racist stereotypes (generally too silly to be offensive), lively swing music, and sets that look to have been painted and constructed by a third grade art class.

If this whole wacky concept sounds interesting you should check it out.

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