“Welcome to the Garden of Eden. We play God here; we create life. Only trouble is some of the life we create just won’t behave.“
Indeed, as the good doctor in charge of bacteriology at the research base on planet Xarbia, Dr Cal Timbergen (Fox Harris), so eloquently puts it, Subject 20 is out of control. A “metamorphic mutation” created by splicing synthetic Proto B bacteria with the genes of another organism. Subject 20 was supposed to be a new source of food; instead, it’s dining on the crew.
Fortunately, Mike Colby (Jesse Vint), the best trouble-shooter in the galaxy, and his robot pal SAM-104 (Don Olivera) are on the case, ready to blast the heinous beast, or “Dingwhopper”, as they come to call it, into oblivion. His motto: “If it moves and it’s not one of us, shoot it.”
You may have already worked this out, but Forbidden World (aka Mutant) isn’t a brilliant movie. Far from it, in fact. It’s a cheap, science-fiction exploitation flick from 1982, produced by legendary B-movie kingpin Roger Corman. It won’t win any awards for originality, acting or cutting-edge special effects, but it’s delightfully daft and a hell of a lot of fun.
A mash-up of Alien and Star Wars from the very first scene, Forbidden World shamelessly pilfers elements from both films. Colby, for example, is your standard Han Solo-type, a straight-talking rogue who has a way with the ladies, and SAM-104 talks like C-3PO but looks more like a stormtrooper. The claustrophobic setting is a cheap knock-off of the Alien set, and the beast’s lifecycle closely resembles that of the titular xenomorph.
The film is far from dull, though. It’s odd but interesting, and often unintentionally hilarious. It nips along at a swift pace, with artistic flourishes randomly scattered throughout. The quirky, electronic score is surreal, as is the use of subliminal images and soapy camera shots from above. Strangely, there’s a montage set to classical music at the start of the film featuring clips from the film that have yet to happen.
The effects are nothing special. SAM-104 is obviously a man in a robot suit, and the creature looks absolutely ridiculous when it’s not shrouded in shadow, but the copious amounts of low-budget gore are impressive. You see, Subject 20 doesn’t kill its prey quickly; victims slowly dissolve into a fleshy, pink lump of meat.
This being an exploitation film, there are elements of soft-core pornography, of course. It doesn’t take long for the ladies at the research base to practically throw themselves at Colby. The ladies even shower together for absolutely no reason whatsoever, except to titillate the teenage boys that may be watching.
Nonsensical at the best of times, the movie truly descends into lunacy over the last 20 minutes. There’s some truly shocking acting and editing, and the novel method they use to try to kill the beast will have you in stitches.
Sure, it’s a trashy exploitation film, but it’s a charming, cheesy, entertaining mess. Forbidden World is a glorious failure.
There are none. Not even a chapter menu.
Forbidden World will be released on April 5 and can be pre-ordered from the Den Of Geek Store.