(This is an excerpt from my book Unsafe On Any Screen, which collects my review columns from The Weekly Alibi and Monsters At Play — hence the “Videodrome” reference. One of my favorite trashy movies, Forbidden World was recently released on DVD in two versions — the theatrical release, which is reviewed below, and the director’s cut (a.k.a. Mutant), which includes some interesting stuff that was chopped out at Corman’s request, and a commentary track by director Allan Holzman. The review pre-dates either DVD release.)
This Roger Corman-produced Alien rip-off not only delivers the groceries, it puts everything away and lays out a fine breakfast in the morning! Videodrome fave Jesse Vint (Macon County Line) stars as an intergalactic “trouble-shooter” summoned to the barren world of Xarbia by a group of scientists stationed there. Greeted by a creepy science-guy and his bootacious assistant, June Chadwick (and if you ever wanted to see the star of V get naked, here’s your chance), Vint is informed that one of their experiments has gotten a little out of hand and now seems ready to raise some hell within the tiny outpost.
Before Vint can do anything about it, however, the slimy creature leaps from its cocoon and tears the face off of Michael Bowen (Michael Keaton’s cop pal in Jackie Brown). Not one to go off half-cocked, Vint takes the opportunity to slip the space-age salami to June Chadwick (who fiddles with her open robe and sez “see any trouble?”), while Scott Paulin (The Right Stuff) peeps via security camera. In the science lab, withered weasel Fox Harris (Repo Man) gets in a lather as Bowen’s nearly-dead body begins to transform into a large heap of flavorful Jell-O. Bowen’s girlfriend, pouty kewpie-doll Dawn Dunlap, cries herself to sleep but quickly navigates the shallow waters of her mourning period and shucks her clothes for a little tanning-booth action. When Vint wanders in, she decides it might be time to replace the ever-more-gelatinous boyfriend and insists that the new fella doff his duds and prepare for re-entry (as it were). The two are interrupted as the nasty critter leaps in through the ceiling, snarling and drooling all over Ms. Dunlap.
Lots of cool “get the monster before it gets us” action follows, punctuated by truckloads of nudity and gore. I won’t tell you how the creature is dispatched, other than to say it’s extremely gruesome and involves surgery without anesthesia. Featuring surprisingly good special effects (Corman’s boys went on to do stuff like Aliens and Terminator 2), a supercheesy space-age freak-out score and thousands of McDonald’s Big Mac boxes glued to the walls, Forbidden World is one of my all-time favorites and a big ol’ must-see.
Read more sleazy movie reviews in Unsafe On Any Screen:
Unsafe On Any Screen (Kindle edition)
Unsafe On Any Screen (paperback edition)
Unsafe On Any Screen is also available for iPad.
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