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On the remote planet of Xarbia, a scientific experiment has gone horrifically wrong. An experimental life-form known as Subject 20,” created by an elite group of scientists to prevent a major galactic food crisis, has instead mutated into a man-eating organism. It’s getting bigger, it has the ability to change its genetic structure at will and, worst of all, it’s hungry. Very, very hungry!
For more about Forbidden World and the Forbidden World Blu-ray release, see Forbidden World Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on July 17, 2010 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.5 out of 5.
Starring: Jesse Vint, Dawn Dunlap, June Chadwick, Linden Chiles
Director: Allan Holzman
» See full cast & crew
Forbidden World Blu-ray Review
The definition of cinematic rubbish.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, July 17, 2010
If it moves, and it's not one of us, shoot it.
Could there be a movie better suited to playing the part of Poster Child for exploitation cinema? Forbidden World -- also known as Mutant and Subject 20 -- is a monument to the lowest rung of the cinematic ladder, a shining example of cheap thrills, excessive gore, and pointless sex and nudity. A Sci-Fi/Horror movie built on a flimsy plot for what was undoubtedly a microscopic budget, Forbidden World features a consistently dank and unwelcoming atmosphere; it's the sort of movie that can almost give off a nasty stench just by watching it, thanks in large part to some pretty grotesque visuals that include, but are not limited to, holes in heads, slowly-decaying bodies, yanked-out organs, ripped-off limbs, and spraying blood. That's all well and good -- Forbidden World is pretty effective in that area -- but it otherwise plays out as a laughably bad smorgasbord of all things low rent, including some terrible special effects, a lousy electronic score, middling acting, and a whole lot of nudity that serves no real purpose other than as an added enticement to see the movie through some X-rated trailer. Still, flaws and all, Forbidden World is in a way a fun little diversion for those that can stomach its nastiness and don't mind that everything else is about as on-the-cheap as moviemaking comes.
Space jock Mike Colby (Jesse Vint) and his robot companion SAM-104 are redirected to the planet Xarbia to help contain a deadly creature. Xarbia is a desolate world that's home to a high-priority, high-security genetic engineering research facility, but as they tend to do in such places, something has gone terribly awry. The scientists' noble goal of creating a new source of food has yielded a creature known as "Subject 20," a violent metamorphic beast with an empty belly and a compound full of scientists to eat. Opinions vary on whether the creature should be killed or not; Colby's vote is to exterminate with extreme prejudice, and though he meets with some resistance, 20's rapidly-increasing body count leaves Xarbia's holdouts without much choice. As 20's victims mount, their mangled and decaying bodies yield some clues as to what it is 20 has in store for the rest of the people, and it's going to take more than some well-placed laser blasts to eliminate the menace once and for all.
At least it's short. Forbidden World clocks in at a healthy 77 minutes, but it still manages to cram in quite a few superfluous scenes that mostly involve sex, nudity, strange editing, headache-inducing music, poor special effects, and some chitchat meant to build up the story. Even in those scenes that add nothing to the plot (wait, there's a plot? Yes, barely.), Forbidden World still moves along at a nice clip and does just enough to keep genre fans watching, if only to see how low the movie can go next. Fortunately, Forbidden World sticks to its bread-and-butter far more often than not. Scientific mumbo-jumbo is kept to a bare minimum, and, yes, go ahead and gloss over those scenes. They don't make sense, and they don't need to. Director Allan Holzman does just enough to establish the semblance of a story so there's something to point to as a "reason" for all of the breasts and rotting bodies, but even then, some of it just doesn't add up. No matter, Forbidden World is best enjoyed in short spurts when there's naked bodies and gore up on the screen, certainly not when it's trying to play the part of a legitimate movie.
Forbidden World is perhaps best described as Alien meets The Thing with some two-bit soft-core erotica-type elements tossed in for good measure. Even though there's a nasty murderous creature on the loose, there's always time for some copulation; nothing like having one's priorities in order. In that vein, a collection mentally-challenged characters make Forbidden World even worse than it needs to be. Not only do they seem to forget what's going on in the name of messing around and taking showers with one another, but they're all in some way potential Darwin Award candidates. One character is charged with cleaning up the bloody remnants of slaughtered animals that were recently killed by the creature. The creature's "contained" in a clear plastic box with a loose-fitting cover that a hamster could shove its way out of, and what does this guy do? He opens it and sticks his face up inside of it, right next to the monster. Genius. Then there's the girl who tries to communicate with the alien, only to suddenly find a big hole torn in her back while it thinks about whether it and the human can co-exist. Oops. Fortunately, the stupidity pays off, and viewers are treated to some pretty hardcore gore. Indeed, Forbidden World is some kind of gross; it's clear much of the budget went into some effects that Re-Animator and Day of the Dead would be proud of. It's the kind of stuff the requires an iron stomach, but fans of low-rent graphic cinema will eat this one up like a delicious lump of deformed protein.
Forbidden World Blu-ray, Video Quality
Forbidden World blasts onto Blu-ray with a 1080p transfer that, all things considered, isn't too bad. Some scenes are awash in speckles, scratches, and other forms of print damage, but most of the elements are in decent enough shape. Colors are mostly drab, but acceptable. Fine details don't impress, but the transfer remains suitably sharp but somewhat flat. The 1080p resolution does reveal some of the haphazardly-constructed set pieces; paint is clearly thin and chipped here and there, scratches and dents visible in places, and costumes look rather cheap. Fortunately, the gore effects look great; there's some nasty stuff here, and the Blu-ray captures every last ounce of rotting flesh, gelatinous goo, and sinew very well. A fairly thick layer of grain is retained over the image, but there's also some distracting banding and pixelation in low-light scenes. Blacks vary between stable and overpowering, but flesh tones retain an honest hue. There's not much here to get excited about, but for a low-budget Sci-Fi/Horror title from the early 80s, Forbidden World looks about as good as one should reasonably expect.
Forbidden World Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Forbidden World arrives on Blu-ray with a paltry and problematic DTS-HD MA 2.0 lossless soundtrack. The picture's budget is the biggest obstacle facing this track; there's virtually nothing that extends beyond the center channel, and what's here often sounds like it was recorded on a Fisher Price tape recorder. Dialogue is plenty harsh, coming across as unbalanced but never lacking to the point that words become unintelligible. Sound effects are loud but absent clarity; for instance, explosions and laser blasts sound jumbled but not wholly indistinct. There's plenty of screaming in the movie, and honestly, it sounds like one scream was recorded and played back every time it was needed. The picture's annoying electronic score, like the sound effects, plays as clunky and unrefined. There's also an audible hiss accompanying parts of the track. Basically, Forbidden World sounds just good enough so that it's possible to make out what's going on, but as for a more engaging, yea even pleasant, experience, forget it.
Forbidden World Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Forbidden World scares up a strong collection of bonus materials for this Blu-ray release. The package is headlined by a documentary entitled The Making of 'Forbidden World' (1080p, 34:14). This is a slow-paced but highly informative piece that features Editor/Director Allan Holzman, Special Visual Effects/Production Designer Robert Skotak, Special Visual Effects/Director of Photography Dennis Skotak, Special Makeup Effects Artist R. Christopher Biggs, Production Manager/2nd Unit Director Aaron Lipstadt, Optical Effects Technician Tony Randal, Lead Actor Jesse Vint, and Music Composer Susan Justin speaking on the origins of the picture, set and creature designs, anecdotes from the shoot, the qualities of the cast, the picture's budget and pace of the shoot, and more. Next is Interview With Roger Corman (1080p, 6:25), a short piece that features the famed B-movie producer speaking on various elements surrounding Forbidden World, including the idea for the film, the cast, the change in title, shooting locales, James Cameron's involvement, post-production work, and more. Interview With Special Makeup FX Artist: John Carl Beuchler (1080p, 14:20) is a strong piece thanks to Beuchler's enthusiasm for sharing his thoughts on Forbidden World. He begins by speaking on how he came to be attached to Roger Corman and, of course, continues on to discuss the creation of the various nasty special effects. The Skotek Gallery (1080p, 1:20) contains a series of drawings and still behind-the-scenes photos from Forbidden World. Poster & Still Gallery (1080p, 3:40) showcases a series of film-related promotional items and photographs from the set. Also included is a trailer for Forbidden World (1080p, 2:33) and additional trailers for Battle Beyond the Stars, Galaxy of Terror, and Humanoids From the Deep. Disc two is a DVD that contains an alternate cut of Forbidden World (480p, 4:3, Dolby Digital 2.0, 1:22:03, entitled Mutant) and an audio commentary track with Director Allan Holzman moderated by Nathaniel Thompson. Also included in the Blu-ray case is a full color 12-page booklet that contains photos and the essay "How to Make an Alien in 20 Days" as well as reversible cover art.
Forbidden World Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Three cheers for Shout! Factory for bringing a movie like Forbidden World to Blu-ray. Sure, it's nice to have Gone With the Wind and all that in high definition, but there's something to be said for the vitality of the format when it sees a movie like this come out. Make no mistake, though, Forbidden World is a niche film that's not going to appeal to too many mainstream viewers whose collections include movies like The Hangover, Star Trek, and Pirates of the Caribbean. This is cheap filmmaking at its finest, a pristine example of celluloid trash that's little more than a collection of sex scenes, bare breasts, and gore-a-plenty. For those that dare give it a spin, Shout! Factory's Blu-ray release isn't half bad. Though the transfer has its faults, it's still a solid effort, and supplements aplenty are included. The audio track is definitely the weak spot here, but it's not enough to keep Forbidden World from earning a recommendation to the right audience.
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Forbidden World Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Clips for Forbidden World, Galaxy of Terror Blu-ray - July 14, 2010
Shout! Factory has provided a series of clips for two upcoming releases from the Roger Corman Cult Classics collection, the "science-fiction shockers" Forbidden World and Galaxy of Terror, both of which are due out on Blu-ray on July 20.
• Two Corman Cult Classics on Blu-ray in July - May 7, 2010
Shout! Factory has officially announced two "science-fiction shockers" on July 20 as part of its Roger Corman's Cult Classics collection: Forbidden World (in a 2-disc BD/DVD edition) and Galaxy of Terror. Forbidden World will include the R-rated theatrical cut ...
• Corman Cult Classics Promo Reel from Shout Factory - May 1, 2010
Loud rock 'n roll! Scandalous women! Extreme violence! Gory monsters! Hardcore action! It's all in the proudly exploitative promo reel that Shout! Factory has put together to offer a sneak peek into its Roger Corman Cult Classics collection, soon to start releasing ...
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