Studio: Shout! Factory
Blu-ray Release Date: July 20, 2010
Theatrical Release Year: 1982
Running Time: 77 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 widescreen
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (English)
Movie: 2 out of 5
Roger Corman makes another attempt to cash in on the success of Alien with Forbidden World, reusing sets and effects footage from Galaxy of Terror. Mike Colby (Jesse Vint) is awakened from stasis to fight in a space battle with his robot pal SAM-104. When the battle is over, SAM explains to Colby that they have received orders to investigate an incident on Xarbia, and the return home will have to wait. Apparently, a genetic experiment on the planet has gone horribly wrong, killing all of the animal specimens and locking itself in an incubator cage. Upon arrival, Colby meets the odd crew including the militaristic Dr. Gordon Hauser (Linden Chiles), the slutty Dr. Barbara Glaser (June Chadwick from the NBC mini-series V), lab tech Jimmy (a very young Michael Bowen), the eccentric chain-smoking Dr. Timbergen (Fox Harris), and lab assistant Tracy (Dawn Dunlap). The monster then goes on a bloody ramapage, attacking the human inhabitants, but leaving enough time for Colby to be seduced by Dr. Barbara before he even has time to settle into his quarters, only to be seduced by Tracy the very next morning in the steam bath.
Forbidden World is, at the minimum, what you would expect from New World Pictures in the early 1980s: decent special effects, a goofy-looking monster, cardboard acting, lots of blood and gore, lots of sex and nudity, and a story that is silly, at best. The movie has its moments, but they are so few and far between that it often feels like the movie was made up as they went along, essentially a string of set pieces that never gel into a complete story arc.
Video: 3 out of 5
Debuting for the first time ever on any home video format in North America, this Blu-ray edition sports a nice 1080p transfer in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio, encoded in the AVC codec. Colors are consistent, contrast is very good with inky blacks and whites are not clipped, and detail is very good for a film shot close to 30 years ago. Film grain is present, but never too distracting. This is about as good as Forbidden World is likely to look.
Audio: 3 out of 5
The DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono track does its job, with good fidelity and intelligible dialogue. Occasional pops and clicks in the soundtrack are audible, but not too distracting.
Special Features: 3.5 out of 5
Forbidden World comes in a 2-disc set, with disc one containing the film and the bulk of the special features on a Blu-ray disc, and disc two containing the director’s cut (called Mutant) in standard definition and director’s commentary on a DVD.
The Making of Forbidden World (34:14): Director Allan Holzman, visual effects artists Robert Skotak and Dennis Skotak, make-up effects artist R. Christopher Biggs, production m,anager and second unit director Aaron Lipstadt, optical effects artist Tony Randal, actor Jesse Vint, and composer Susan Justin discuss working for New World and making this film on a limited budget and time schedule. Sadly, missing from the documentary are interviews with the other cast memebers.
Interview with Roger Corman (6:25): The founder of New World Pictures discusses the making of Forbidden World, although he can’t seem to remember why the title was changed from Mutant to Forbidden World.
Interview with Special Make-Up Effects Artist John Carl Buechler (14:20): Buechler discusses the hectic prep and shooting schedule and some of the make-up effects used in the film.
The Skotek Gallery (1:20): A slideshow of concept drawings and behind the scenes effects photos.
Poster & Still Gallery (3:40): A series of slides featuring posters, print ads, lobby cards, and production stills.
Trailers: The original Red-band trailers for Forbidden World, Galaxy of Terror, Humanoids from the Deep, and the PG-rated Battle Beyond The Stars are presented here in what appears to be upconverted high definition and pillar-boxed 1.33:1 aspect ratio. It is interesting to see how much footage the trailers for Galaxy of Terror and Battle Beyond The Stars share in common.
Mutant (1:22:03): Director Allan Holzman’s original cut of Forbidden World is presented on this DVD in a 1.33:1 full-screen transfer taken from a videotaped copy of the answer print used in test screenings when the film was still called Mutant, restoring the five minutes of gags that Roger Corman ordered cut for being too comedic. Portions of the score are different, as well as the voice of SAM the robot. Because this was taken from an early answer print and transferred to video well over 20 years ago, the print contains lots of nicks and scratches as well as reel change markers, and the soundtrack has even more pops and crackles than the theatrical cut on the Blu-ray.
Audio Commentary with Director Allan Hozman, moderated by Nathaniel Thompson: Thompson does a good job keeping director Holzman engaged in talking about his film and the changes made between this cut and the final theatrical version, and how he managed to keep this cut from disappearing forever.
12-page Booklet: What is sadly becoming a rarity in both DVD and Blu-ray releases, Shout! Factory has included a full-color booklet featuring production and promotional still from the movie, as well as an essay on the film by Dana MacMillan.
Overall: 3 out of 5
Forbidden World is perhaps one of the sleaziest of the Alien knock-offs to come out of New World Pictures, but the presentation here is very good, the best it has ever looked. The set of features are a nice complement to the feature, especially the inclusion of the director’s cut on DVD.