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Forbidden Zone

4.0 out of 5 stars 145 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A mysterious door leads to the Sixth Dimension--get ready for a wild ride--in the greatest cult classic of all time. Beautiful young "Frenchy" slides through cosmic intestines into a subterranean world ruled by horny midget King Fausto and his jealous Queen Doris. "Chicken-boy" comes to the rescue, only to have his head cut off by the soul-singing Devil himself--played by Danny Elfman and the original Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo. Frog butlers, topless princesses, and rioting school kids sing and dance in unforgettable musical numbers by Danny Elfman, Cab Calloway, Josephine Baker and others. An experience guaranteed you will never forget!


During the late 70 s Richard Elfman and his younger brother Danny got together with fellow musician friends and formed a theater group known as The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo . They performed in very inventive and bizarre avant-guarde stage shows, written by Danny and featuring twisted versions of Cab Callaway music and original compositions (also written by Danny). Richard wanted to capture the energy of the stage shows on film, and the end result is Forbidden Zone, released in 1980 and featuring Danny s music with the Mystic Knights, and one of the most twisted stories you ll ever see in a motion picture. The theater troup eventually broke up, and the rock group Oingo Boingo was formed by members of the show (remember the Weird Science theme?). Danny Elfman would go on to become one of Hollywood s most sought-after composers (Tim Burton s Batman). Forbidden Zone was originally shot in black and white, and was supposed to be colorized afterwards, but funding fell through. Now the film is presented on DVD in color for the first time, as Richard Elfman intended.

As for the plot of Forbidden Zone, it involves the kooky Hercules family, who live in a house that has a basement, which leads into the mysterious Sixth Dimension. What follows features nearly constant musical numbers, a dwarf king (Herve DA PLANE! Villechaize), a giant frog butler, the freaky introvert Chicken Boy , and a crooning Danny Elfman as the devil himself. Take The Rocky Horror Picture Show as imagined by David Lynch and John Waters, while smoking LSD and listening to an Oingo Boingo record. Shake well. Forbidden Zone is the flashy trashy freaky result.

Having learned that Forbidden Zone was originally shown in black and white, I can almost see how it would be an even better movie devoid of color. It has the feel of a fever dream, and I think B&W would have captured that feeling even better. I don t know what these boys were smokin but DAMN this is one wild ride! Still, I had a ball with Forbidden Zone. The musical numbers are catchy, and the film has such a manic energy, it s hard not to get caught up in the madness. The whole thing doesn t make one lick of sense, but I can see why the film is highly regarded among cult and Midnight Movie fans. It s a constant barrage of music, Terry Gillian style animation, cardboard sets and a flamboyantly-dressed cast that look like they re having the time of their lives. And you get naked t***ies to boot! If you enjoy Cult Cinema and the Midnight Movie scene, Forbidden Zone comes highly recommended. Others stay FAR AWAY! --Jay Reel of DeadPit.com

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Herve Villechaize, Susan Tyrell, Gisele Lindley, Jan Stuart Schwartz, Marie-Pascale Elfman
  • Directors: Richard Elfman
  • Format: Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Studio: Legend Films, Inc.
  • DVD Release Date: July 29, 2008
  • Run Time: 74 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (145 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #132,402 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Forbidden Zone" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Sir Charles Panther VINE VOICE on February 2, 2006
Format: DVD
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.
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Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Hi, Richard Elfman here! -- Apparently brain juice got on the boxes containing the Forbidden Zone DVD booklets and the zombies who work in the mail room ate them all. So anyone who purchased an MVD Forbidden Zone can receive a free booklet at: MVDENTERTAINMENT.COM/ALIENGATE. Booklet has original posters, Elfman family photos, an essay by yours truly plus other fun stuff. I’m very proud of this best-ever release and want everyone to get the killer booklet that goes with it! Have fun watching Forbidden Zone—but watch out for those zombies! —RICHARD ELFMAN
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