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Forbidden Zone (1980)

Hervé Villechaize , Susan Tyrrell  |  R |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)

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Blu-ray 1-Disc Version $29.95  
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Product Details

  • Actors: Hervé Villechaize, Susan Tyrrell, Giselle Lindley, Jan Stewart Schwartz, Marie-Pascale Elfman
  • Format: Anamorphic, Black & White, Subtitled, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Fantoma
  • DVD Release Date: August 31, 2004
  • Run Time: 74 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002LE9QS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #217,208 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Forbidden Zone" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Isolated music track, featuring Danny Elfman's songs and music in Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Audio commentary by Richard Elfman and Matthew Bright
  • An extensive behind the scenes documentary, including scenes from Elfman's lost film The Hercules Family and a history of the Mystic Knights of Oingo Boingo that follows their transformation from theatrical stage of troupe to legendary rock band
  • Oingo Boingo music video Private Life directed by Richard Elfman
  • Two complete scenes from The Hercules Family
  • A collection of deleted scenes and outtakes
  • Song lyrics, collectible booklet and much more!

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Prepare to enter the Sixth Dimension, a deliriously insane world of frog butlers, topless princesses, machine-gun toting school teachers, chicken boys and the devil himself (Danny Elfman), all ruled by the lascivious midget King Fausto (Herve Villechaize - Tattoo on FANTASY ISLAND) and his deranged Queen (Susan Tyrrell). A feast of visual and aural delights, reaching new found heights of insanity, invention and questionable taste. Propelled by the incredible songs of the one and only Danny Elfman, FORBIDDEN ZONE is an experience like no other. The all time cult classic returns with an eye popping new high definition widescreen transfer and restored and remastered in 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround.

Words like "delirious" and "bizarre" simply don't suffice to describe Forbidden Zone, director Richard Elfman's 1980 musical fantasy that makes its DVD debut after two decades as a cult favorite. Conceived as an extension of the avant-garde theater troupe/music group the Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo (later just Oingo Boingo, which counted Elfman, his brother Danny, and co-scripter Matthew Bright--later the director of Freeway--among its members), Forbidden Zone tells the story of Frenchy (production designer Marie-Pascal Elfman, Richard's then-wife), who accidentally enters the phantasmagorical Sixth Dimension through a door in her basement. There, her waifish good looks catch the eye of King Fausto (Herve Villechaize), much to the consternation of Queen Doris (the indomitable Susan Tyrell). A frantic, funny, and occasionally profane blend of Fleischer Brothers cartoons, German Expressionism, Depression-era musicals, and '60s underground movies, Forbidden Zone is definitely not for all viewers, but cult aficionados will be delighted by the sheer energy and imagination of this long-unavailable classic. Supplemental features include commentary by Elfman and Bright, interviews with Danny Elfman, Pascal, and Tyrell; deleted scenes and outtakes; clips from an aborted early attempt, The Hercules Family. (with Danny tearing up "Minnie the Moocher"), and Richard's video for Oingo Boingo's "Private Life." --Paul Gaita

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
55 of 60 people found the following review helpful
This movie is weird, period. It's got an Eraserhead vibe (probably from the black/white), and I pick up Un Chien Andalou, probably from having no idea what's coming next. The dark frame corners of the B/W stock also evoke the early parts of The Wizard of Oz, conjuring dread and foreboding. Other than that, leave your film references behind, and set your mind for new experience.

You've got to watch this film at least twice, ideally a couple weeks apart, before you decide that it's the worst film you've ever seen (a typical first reaction). Now, the weirdest movie you've ever seen--yeah, that's a spot-on description-but it's not the worst, by far. Save that crucial tag for Madonna's desecration of Swept Away, John Wayne in The Conqueror, Caddyshack 2.

I saw this B/W classic for the first time in a 1984 university film class. The prof warned us that it was racist, misogynistic, anti-Semitic, violent, vulgar and scatological (her words). And she was and remains exactly right. I sat through the 73-odd minutes of this thing (shown on film, no less), and when it was over I wasn't quite sure what I'd seen. I remember a strange and heavy feeling of dread and confusion that hung with me for a few days, like I'd seen something deeply disturbing but couldn't yet make sense of it.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
It's a good day when "Forbidden Zone" gets a DVD release! Better yet, this is a valuable addition to the Fantoma disc, and not really a substitution.

I don't normally purchase or even watch colorized versions of black and white films, but Richard Elfman seemed to make a compelling case that he intended "Forbidden Zone" to be released in color. I certainly do not begrudge the man for making a living, and he honors our pocketbooks by making the new release different enough to warrant a look.

In the color version, one notices details that aren't as readily apparent as in the original black and white version. The sets seem to be made of cardboard and butcher block paper - that is clear in the original version, but is blazingly obvious in the colorized version.

Colorization aside, how is this version different? This DVD is lacking the commentary of the original release, the documentary and the isolated score (this is bad.) On the plus side, the new DVD has a DTS 5.1 track, and a promo for a Japanese audience. However, the deal-maker is the pop-up trivia - that is truly interesting although somewhat redundant of the previous DVD director's commentary.

The colorization is quite good (who knew French's bathrobe was yellow), and adds to the surreal quality of the picture instead of being a distraction.

I don't normally like double DVD releases, but in this case I will make a strong exception. Recommended!
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The coolest movie you've never seen... July 12, 2004
Once upon a time, way back in the 1970?s, there was a magical land called Southern California. It was in this place that two brothers, Richard and Danny Elfman, devised an avant-garde musical comedy troupe, called The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo. In 1980, they decided to form a loose story based around some of their performance pieces and make a movie. That movie is the legendary Forbidden Zone. Since my fourteen-year old vhs tape of this movie is rotting on the shelf as I write this, I couldn?t be happier to see its release on dvd.
Okay, the film is a certified nut case of a movie, filmed over the course of maybe a week in and around the LA area. It?s in black and white, not because of any artistic vision ? it was just cheaper that way. But it works ? the film is a (tribute, send up?) of 1930?s era musicals, with standout music by Josephine Baker and Cab Calloway and centers around the Hercules family and the strange portal to the 6th Dimension that exists in their basement. The world this takes place in is filled with strange imagery, amazing music, and more oddities than a sane person could hope to count. We have a human-size dancing frog, jockstrap-clad Kipper Kids, Herv? Villechaize as the king of the 6th Dimension, a chicken-boy who is able to communicate telepathically with his transvestite brother, Joe Spinell as a drunker sailor, classroom violence, a Jewish wrestler fighting a guy in an ape suit, and Danny Elfman playing Satan while singing ?Minnie the Moocher.? You get the idea; this is not a normal film. Although it borrows from the works of Olsen & Johnson (Hellzapoppin? & Crazy House), this is still a truly unique cinema experience.
The advance word from Richard Elfman is that this dvd will have a re-mastered print of the film, deleted scenes, interviews, and archival footage! For any fan of Danny Elfman, Oingo Boingo, or just incredibly strange films made by talented people, you simply can?t miss this one.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing cult classic February 26, 2005
By G. Laur
Forbidden Zone could be the most eye-openingly bizarre film ever made, surpassing even Eraserhead. The fact that it is cheaply made and often inept is most definitely an asset - in a world this surreal conventional filmmaking techniques would seem out of place. In any case, there is no question that anyone interested in underground movies needs to purchase this. Its dismissal by critics and its unpopularity have both been unfair hamperings on its reputation. In actuality, its artistic vision is as singular and imaginative as Eraserhead's, or any cult classic for that matter. Rarely has cardboard been the vehicle for such a visionary production design.

There is so much to take note of - but I would single out the 'Bim bam boom' musical number with the mumbling boxers, the inexplicable antics in the classroom, and Danny Elfman's totally suave appearance as Satan towards the end as truly classic moments in the world of cult movies. They manage to be disturbingly surreal and amusingly silly and cartoonish at the same time. I want to extend my recommendation beyond the intellectuals and outsiders; even more conventionally-minded people may be taken in by Forbidden Zone's utter loopiness and triumphant imagination.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars will not play on any of my players. got ...
will not play on any of my players. got mine from Amazon because it clamed it was for all regains, but not so.
Published 1 month ago by Oscar Ward Jr
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by Michael
4.0 out of 5 stars Not great art, but it's weird
This is a movie that is very, very strange. The strangest part is that this movie will stay with you and you will want to see it more than once. Read more
Published 1 month ago by timothy morgan
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 months ago by George King
1.0 out of 5 stars Bad Info
The product details say "all regions" while the editorial review specifies this as "region 2" only, meaning I wasted my money on a European DVD that won't work on... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Aaron Avis
5.0 out of 5 stars Cult Movie Fan
I am a huge cult movie fan and this is one of the best cult movies i have seen and is in my top 5 favorites
Published 3 months ago by Autum Milburn
5.0 out of 5 stars How many times have I watched this?
Major fan. I have seen this so many times. I'd watch it again if I get a chance to show it to anyone. Amazing, wonderful and for goodness sake, where is part two, Richard?
Published 4 months ago by David Ledferd
1.0 out of 5 stars PAL!!!!
Why PAL? PS3 won't play it so now i'm stuck watching it on my laptop rather than my awesome 65' TV w/surround :'(
Published 5 months ago by devilsnight
4.0 out of 5 stars Goin' down, down, down to the forbidden zone
What a trip! Imagine Rocky Horror on acid. This movie is one that has rightly earned it's title. Watch at your own risk. You might find out that you like it more than you want.
Published 5 months ago by John Greg McAninch
5.0 out of 5 stars Film noir classic
I went to jr high school with Danny Elfman.I love this quirky movie...too cool...a must for any Noir collector, yep
Published 6 months ago by ABRDDS
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