In one of the extras on this disc, Makeup Supervisor John Carl Buechler reminisces about one of his techs asking him, "Is this just a sleazy Alien rip-off?" to which Buechler replied, "Yeah, but it's going to be the best sleazy Alien rip-off." That's a pretty dubious competition to find oneself in, but it has to be admitted, Forbidden World is somewhere near the head of that pack.
Galactic troubleshooter Mike Colby (Jesse Vint) is awakened from cryogenic sleep to deal with some space dogfight footage kyped from Battle Beyond the Stars, then gets diverted to a research station on the planet Xarbia, which is having a spot of trouble. Tasked with finding a new food source for a growing human population, they've been splicing a self-sufficient local bacteria with various other animals, and one of the results is very aggressive and very pissed off.
Forbidden World manages some clever stuff while actively exploiting every sci-fi cliche in the book; some idiot is going to open an incubator that should stay closes, another idiot is going to go look for the monster on his own, the women are going to get naked as often as possible. But the monster's reasons for not killing everybody at first is wonderfully gruesome (without burdening itself with an additional Alien theft) and the method employed to eliminate the threat is a peach.
Made under the name Mutant, the movie tested pretty well, but producer Roger Corman was put off by some laughter from audience members, and cut out anywhere between 4-6 minutes of material (which had been deliberately shot tongue-in-cheek) and re-christened it Forbidden World. This edition marks the first time the original Mutant cut has been released on any home video format.
Shout Factory is rapidly becoming my favorite niche publisher. I doubt Forbidden World looked or sounded this good in the theaters. Mutant is included on a separate disc, and was obviously taken from a full-frame tape master - the image is soft (especially compared with its companion's digital remaster) and there is some very occasional video glitching, but I am fine with that. Not only for being able to see it at all, but because this is the way I first encountered Forbidden World: on a full-screen VHS tape, back in the day.
The menus are functional and are backed by non-spoiler video from the movie. Sadly, they also succumbed to the play-a-brief-clip-from-the-movie-when-you-make-a-choice syndrome, which gets old really fast.
Disc One holds the theatrical version and all the extras. The Making of Forbidden World cuts together interviews with director Allan Holzman, visual effects dudes the Skotak Brothers - who went on to become heavy hitters in the FX biz, and many others, (Jesse Vint - good to see you're still around!) sharing war stories about a typically grueling Corman shoot. Roger Corman himself and John Carl Buechler get their own video interviews (and Buechler does an excellent Corman impersonation), along with a Sketch Gallery of design art and a gallery of Posters and Stills
There are also trailers for Forbidden World, Battle Beyond the Stars, Humanoids from the Deep, and Galaxy of Terror, which we really must get to, some day.
Dr. Freex, 9/19/2010