I feel Forbidden World started like this;
Director: I've got this great idea for a movie.
Director: Its about a group of people in space being attacked by a creature.
Producer: You mean Alien?
Director: No, no, its a mutant and...
Producer: Whatever, just make sure there's synth music.
Today if you want a knock off, you can go and watch an Asylum film, in 1982 the best choice was Roger Corman's New World Pictures. Forbidden World is Corman's version of the sci-fi classic Alien.
Forbidden World opens up to Han Solo, I mean Mike Colby (Jesse Vint) and his sidekick SAM-104 (Don Olivera) affectionately known as Sam. Mike is a professional troubleshooter and is on leave until the duo are diverted to a small scientific outpost on a desert planet. There we meet a group of scientists who've been genetically experimenting with Proto B to solve the food crisis. One such experiment, Subject 20, has been causing some problems. Soon one of the science crew is killed, Subject 20 goes missing and Mike sleeps with one of the women.
The film is ripe with schlock film tropes; a cast and crew that is known only in the schlock circles, simple and often ripped off stories, and the obligatory gratuitous sex and nudity. Of course, the characters Tracy Baxter (Dawn Dunlap) and Dr. Barbara Glaser (June Chadwick) take a shower together.
It’s hard to talk about the bad aspects of this movie; for all intents and purposes, it is the bad parts that make the movie what it is. The acting is mediocre, the special effects are poor, the direction average, and the writing is a blatant copy.
For a start, at times the movie is insanely dark and not dark like Alien or Aliens where the darkness sets a tone but one can see what is needed to be seen. Scenes come across too dark, like one might miss something if not carefully stared at.
Secondly, the music. I am a fan of the synthesizer but movies of this era, especially sci-fi movies think synthesizers make the movie seem more futuristic. I'm starting to believe that the creators of 80s sci-fi think the future will only contain electronic music; much like 50s sci-fi creators believed all cars would be flying cars.
At times, I do watch a movie like this and wish the budget had been a little larger so as to improve certain special effects; in particular, the mutant. The head was decent, but the rest left much to be desired. Now, not all the effects were bad. I loved SAM-104. The design was pretty cool, if not a bit “Storm Trooper” ish.
Blame just doesn't lie with the writer and the director; the actors themselves could have done a better job, but they were doing the best they could with what they had been given. The actors aren't A-List, barely anybody will know who they are. It’s a given that the characters won't be memorable, but at least try for something unique.
In the end, Forbidden World is bad movie gold. The beautiful thing is I can now watch the bad Alien and the good Alien. The difference being that Forbidden World has a mutant created by man as opposed to an alien and the setting isn't a ship but rather a facility on a planet. Though the different setting makes me wonder; did James Cameron watch Forbidden World and utilize the change in setting?
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