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Forbidden Adventure
Forbidden Adventure in Angkor / The Gorilla Woman / Beyond Shanghai

USA 1935
directed by L.C. Cook, George M.Merrick

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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This film is framed by a lecture in front of the "Adventurer Club", where hte lecturer claims the film the audience is about to see is a documentary shot by two explorers between 1912 and 1914 in Cambodia, where they set out to find the forbidden city of Angkor and find out why the once biggest city of the world had been abandoned a few centuries ago. On their journey, our explorers encounter all sorts of jungle animals, which they usually shoot of adopt. One thing that catches their attention is the monkey cult all Cambodians seem to foster to some degree.

Finally, our explorers make it to the village closest to Angkor - where a weird native claims to be the king of Angkor, and he forbids all the men to work for our heroes. So the explorers hire a dozen of topless women as porters, then make it to Angkor, under the watchful eye of the "king of Angkor" and ... a gorilla. At night, some of the girls sneak away from camp to feed the gorilla, even.

In Angkor, a bunch of frescoes show humans interacting with monkeys, sometimes feeding and sometimes fighting them - which leads our heroes to the conclusion that there must have been a slave revolt in Angkor where the slaves dressed up as monkeys and overthrew their masters - which apparently led to the mass exodus from Angkor. Eventually, the gorilla attacks, and the explorers want to shoot him, but their female porters are getting in their way to save the gorilla they worship as some sort of god, obviously, and refuse to work for them anymore - which causes our heroes to leave Angkor for good ...


Basically, this film is actually shot around a documentary shot in Cambodia, including Angkor, footage that might have been filmed before World War I, actually, and these shots are quite interesting ... however, that's not the main attraction of the film, the main attraction is the footage that was shot in 1935 in California to add some drama to the old footage, featuring two ridiculous-looking explorers, twelve topless girls who according to all reports were actually prostitutes from a nearby brothel, and a man in a less-than-convincing gorilla costume. The new shot footage doesn't gel too well with the old footage, and some weird and failed experiments of superimposing jungle plants over the footage as well as less-than-great backprojection shots only add to the fake look of the new footage.

And that's exactly why the film is so much fun: It pretends to be a serious documentary, but its main selling points are probably its topless women and its pulp plot. And the narration that tries to hold things together only adds to the entertainment value in its crude (mis-)understanding of other cultures and its insistence on white supremacy - which might not be politically correct, but so what.

In all, watch this one, it's a hoot!!!


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
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to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD