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Forbidden Zone

USA 1980
produced by
Marie-Pascale Elfman, Richard Elfman, Gene Cunnignham (executive) for Hercules Films
directed by Richard Elfman
starring Hervé Villechaize, Susan Tyrrell, Marie-Pascale Elfman, Matthew Bright, Virginia Rose, Gene Cunningham, Phil Gordon, Hyman Diamond, Viva, Joe Spinell, Sugar Bear, Jan Stuart Schwartz, Herman Bernstein, Danny Elfman, Ken Corrone, Richard Elfman, David Erikson, Nicholas James, Gisele Lindley, Joe Munro, Kedric Wolfe
written by Richard Elfman, Matthew Bright, Nicholas James, Nick L. Martinson, music by Danny Elfman, performed by The Oingo-Boingo, additional vocals supplied by Cab Calloway, Josephine Baker, Miguelito Valdez, The Boulevard Stoppers, animation by John Muto

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Fed up with life and school, and driven by curiosity, young Frenchy Hercules (Marie-Pascale Elfman) enters the Forbidden Zone/Sixth Dimension through a door that curiously enough can be found in the basement of the Hercules-home. In the Forbidden Zone, she soon attracts the attention of the King (Hervé Villechaize), who makes her his favourite concubine ... much to the dismay of the Queen (Susan Tyrrell), naturally.

Meanwhile back on earth, Frenchy's brother Flash (Phil Gordon) and Grampa (Hyman Diamond) start worrying about the girl and go after her ... but are promptly captured by the evil Queen and thrown into a septic tank ... but somehow survive, get out of the tank and on their way to save Frenchy again, they meet the Forbidden Zone's ex-Queen (Viva). In the meantime, the Queen has captured /and imprisoned Frenchy, and when the King eventually helps her to escape, she is promptly recaptured.

Eventually, more and more people from normal earth get sucked into the Forbidden Zone, like Frenchy's dad (Gene Cunningham), who has just accidently blown up the tar factory he works at, and now prefers being imprisoned in the Zone to leading a meaningless life on earth, nerdy Squeezit (Matthew Bright), who desperately wants to save Frenchy, but this only results in getting his head cut off by the devil (Danny Elfman), and of course Frenchy's mom (Virginia Rose), who comes to the rescue without the first idea what's going on ...


This film is pretty much madness! Sure, its plot is feeble as can be and the resolution is pretty much drawn out of a hat rather than worked towards, but that's totally besides the point as Forbidden Zone is a wild blend of mainstays from vintage musicals, 1930's cartoons, pulp and serial mainstays, rather contemporary Monty Python-esque irreverent humour (though you'll have to excuse some low brow fart jokes), a healthy touch of surrealism, and of course a rather non-sensical approach to it all ... and it's all done in cardboard sets somewhat reminiscent of those seen in The Cabinet of Dr Caligari and accompanied by a musical mix somewhere in between jazz classics and chansons of yesteryear from all around the world and new wave pop of a pre-bombast Danny Elfman and his Oingo Boingo.

Well, that description alone should convince you the film is a very wild melange, and expecting anything but a highly unlikely movie/cinematic experiment will probably leave you disappointed - but if you can accept utter weirdness, then this one was tailor-made for you!!!


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




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directed by
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written by
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