The Film (4.5/5)
Forbidden World is Roger Corman’s third post-Alien/Star Wars high action/low budget sci-fi film. It is also arguably the best of the 3. The first Battle Beyond the Stars was good, but a little too wholesome, and the second Galaxy of Terror was trying a little bit too hard to be a quasi-metaphysical sci-fi art film. Forbidden World on the other hand is pure Sci-Fi exploitation gold. It is high on action, heavy on gratuitous nudity, and is chock full of excessive violence inflicted on people by an awesome looking monster!
Forbidden World is simply one of those low budget exploitation films that subverts its budgetary expectations, and creates something truly great. The film is a roller coaster ride of pop science fiction fun. The direction by Allan Holzman is really tight, and keeps the movie flowing smoothly from one scene to the next. Of course in a film such as Forbidden World the effects are the main attraction, and here they are done exceptionally well from the gore, to Subject 20 itself. The acting is a bit wooden, but that is only a minor complaint, and rarely detracts from the film.
The film stars Jesse Vint as space hero Mike Colby. As the film opens Mike is awakened from his cryogenic sleep to help fight in an epic space battle (footage leftover from Battle Beyond the Stars). After the battle ends, he receives word that his help is needed on the planet Xarbia, being the space hero that he is, he goes immediately. Upon arrival it is discovered that the scientists on this planet while, working on a renewable food source have accidentally created a shape shifting alien monster. The alien, Subject 20, has recently escaped, and is now killing off the crew one by one. It is up to Mike to put a stop to subject 20, and save the crew.
Shout Factory has presented Forbidden World in its original 1:78:1 aspect ratio with an anamorphic widescreen transfer. The transfer continues the tradition of excellence set by Shout Factory on their prior Corman Classics releases. The detail is good, flesh tones appear accurate, and the and the color is good. The only negatives are slight traces of grain throughout the film, and a few of the darker scenes are difficult to see.
Shout Factory has also included the uncut director’s cut version of the film on this set. The alternate cut titled Mutant, is presented with a 1:33:1 full frame transfer taken from a VHS source tape. While the transfer here will not win any awards, it is still nice to have this as an extra on the disc.
Shout Factory has presented Forbidden World with its original mono track in English. This track is quite suitable for the film. The dialogue is quite clear, and audible, as are the effects and music. In a few sequences some of the effects are quite a bit louder than the dialogue, but those are very few sequences, and don’t really take away too much from the quality of the track.
It needs to be said, that Shout is doing an extremely detailed and amazing job with many of these Corman Classics releases. The extras kick off with the hour long documentary The Making of Forbidden World which interviews almost all of the primary crew and cast of the film. There is a also an interesting 6 minutes interview with produced Roger Corman discussing the origin of the film. This is followed up with an interview with Friday the 13th VII director, Forbidden World FX artist John Carl Buechler. The first disc ends with a few photo galleries, and trailers for other Corman Classics releases. The primary extra on Disc 2 is the director’s cut of the film under the alternate title Mutant. This cut also features a commentary by director Alan Holzman.
Forbidden World is a BLAST! As I said this film is a roller coaster ride of pop science fiction goodness. The film features wall to wall action, gore, and nudity, and as such never has a boring moment. The transfer presented here is completely solid, and is the best the film has ever looked on home video (except for the BD). The extras are Criterion worthy, and covers every aspect of the film, and it’s production that a fan could hope for. If that wasn’t enough the director’s preferred cut of the film is situated as the primary extra on Disc 2. Forbidden World comes highly recommended to fans of sci-fi trash cinema, and the films of producer Roger Corman.
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