Forbidden Zone [1980]

Words like "delirious" and "bizarre" simply don't suffice to describe Forbidden Zone, director Richard Elfman's 1980 musical fantasy that makes its DVD debut after two decades as a cult favorite. Conceived as an extension of the avant-garde theater troupe/music group the Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo (later just Oingo Boingo, which counted Elfman, his brother Danny, and co-scripter Matthew Bright--later the director of Freeway--among its members), Forbidden Zone tells the story of Frenchy (production designer Marie-Pascal Elfman, Richard's then-wife), who accidentally enters the phantasmagorical Sixth Dimension through a door in her basement. There, her waifish good looks catch the eye of King Fausto (Herve Villechaize), much to the consternation of Queen Doris (the indomitable Susan Tyrell). A frantic, funny, and occasionally profane blend of Fleischer Brothers cartoons, German Expressionism, Depression-era musicals, and '60s underground movies, Forbidden Zone is definitely not for all viewers, but cult aficionados will be delighted by the sheer energy and imagination of this long-unavailable classic. Supplemental features include commentary by Elfman and Bright, interviews with Danny Elfman, Pascal, and Tyrell; deleted scenes and outtakes; clips from an aborted early attempt, The Hercules Family. (with Danny tearing up "Minnie the Moocher"), and Richard's video for Oingo Boingo's "Private Life." --Paul Gaita

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