Review Index



Fact: this movie sucks, even though it has an enthusiastic following. It was the second of Roger Corman’s early eighties ALIEN rip-offs, and makes the first, 1981’s middling GALAXY OF TERROR, look like a masterpiece in comparison.

The Package
     1982’s 77 minute FORBIDDEN WORLD was made by first-time director Allan Holzman in just 20 days, on sets left over from the aforementioned GALAXY OF TERROR (whose giant maggot also furnished the skeleton for FORBIDDEN WORLD’S mutant creature), and utilizing special effects footage from Roger Corman’s 1980 opus BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS (as for that matter did several other Corman productions from the eighties)--which made sense, as Alan Holzman was the editor of BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS.
     The initial title of this film was MUTANT, but that was changed at the behest of Corman, who also cut four minutes of intentional comedy (restored on the DVD) from the film’s initial release.

The Story
     After nearly getting himself blown up in an outer space scuffle, the mercenary troubleshooter Mike Colby heads to a research station on the planet Zarbia. There an experimental life form known as Subject 20 has been developed to combat a galaxy-wide food shortage by a band of scientists, whose ranks include a robot and two scantily clad babes. Unfortunately it seems Subject 20 has gotten out of hand, reproducing at a horrific rate and constantly changing its molecular structure. By the time Colby arrives the thing has already devoured several animals, and moves onto humans when a lab technician unwisely sticks his head into Subject 20’s cage.
     The randy Colby demonstrates some decidedly un-scientific skills on the two chicks while Cal, the lab’s cancer-ridden physician, figures out subject 20’s ultimate goal: quite simply, the critter is looking to devour the shipmates to further its own existence.
     By this point Subject 20 has grown into a goopy monstrosity with a mouth-full of fangs. The two gals unwisely attempt to communicate with it, resulting in one of them becoming the creature’s dinner.
     Eventually a way of killing Subject 20 is proposed by Cal, after he’s mortally wounded by the creature: he advises his comrades to surgically remove his cancerous liver (with a box cutter!) and feed it to the creature. This the protagonists do, with interesting results…

The Direction
     This is a movie quite a few sleaze fans seem to love, although I haven’t heard too many passionate defenses of it. The reason? No defense can be made for this mess, which is cheap and derivative even by Roger Corman standards. The narrative has some interesting concepts, but was closely modeled on that of ALIEN, whose script, you’ll recall, was that film’s weakest element. Allan Holzman, an editor by trade, attempts some potentially interesting music video-esque cutting in spots, which comes off like exactly what it is: a desperate attempt to liven up a perilously clichéd and inert product. As for the performances, they’re notable only for the gratuitous T&A displayed by the lead actresses Dawn Dunlap and June Chadwick.
     At least the elaborate gore/mutation effects, which look forward to John Carpenter’s THE THING (released a little over a month after FORBIDDEN WORLD), are fairly impressive given the low budget and truncated shooting schedule, with the climactic vomiting creature scene--conceived, apparently, by Roger Corman himself--being the undoubted standout.

Vital Statistics

New World Pictures

Director: Allan Holzman
Producer: Roger Corman
Screenplay: Tim Curnen
Cinematography: Tim Suhrstedt
Editing: Allan Holzman
Cast: Jesse Vint, Dawn Dunlap, June Chadwick, Linden Chiles, Fox Harris, Raymond Oliver, Scott Paulin, Michael Bowen, Don Olivera