FORBIDDEN WORLD aka MUTANT (1982) Reviews and overview

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‘Part alien… part human… all nightmare’

Forbidden World is a 1982 American science-fiction horror film directed by Allan Holzman and produced by Roger Corman and Mary Ann Fisher. The screenplay was written by Tim Curnen, from a story by R.J. Robertson and future exploitation director Jim Wynorski (Gila!; Raptor; Sorceress; et al)

Director and co-editor Allan Holzman had edited Battle Beyond the Stars two years earlier and re-used space footage. It was originally titled Mutant but this was changed for the US release after the title scored negatively with test audiences. However, Mutant remained the film’s title for many overseas markets.

The movie stars Jesse Vint, Dawn Dunlap, June Chadwick, Linden Chiles, Fox Harris, Raymond Oliver, Scott Paulin, Michael Bowen and Don Olivera.

The film is frequently paired with and compared to the previous year’s Corman-produced Alien rip-off Galaxy of Terror, with which Forbidden World shares some of the same sets (designed by future director of Aliens, James Cameron).

It is notable for its gruesome violence, oddball synthesizer soundtrack score by Susan Justin (The Final Terror), choppy editing and a classic exploitation scene in which the two female leads take a shower together.

On August 13, 2019, Scream Factory is releasing Forbidden World on Blu-ray as a limited edition (just 5,000) SteelBook edition via a new 4K scan. All the previous Blu-ray special features will be included and artist Laz Marquez (Humanoids from the Deep, The Howling, Lifeforce and Army of Darkness) designed the new artwork.

Plot:

In the distant future, a genetic research station is located on the remote desert planet of Xarbia and a research team has created an experimental life-form they have designated “Subject 20”. This life form was built out of the synthetic DNA strain, “Proto B”, and was intended to stave off a galaxy-wide food crisis.

However, Subject 20 mutates rapidly and uncontrollably and has killed all of the laboratory subject animals before cocooning itself within an examination booth. After Subject 20 hatches from its cocoon, it begins killing the personnel at the station, starting with the lab tech charged with cleansing the subject lab of the dead animal test subjects…

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Reviews:

“Along with the welcomed disrobing, the film is pretty gory, with the genetically created monstrosity started as “Subject 20” evolving from a small globby parasite (where it attaches itself to the mug of a hapless character played by Michael Bowen, Night of the Comet) into a full-fledged tentacled Alien look-alike appearing shadowy, slimy, beastly and intimating enough…” DVD Drive-In

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On July 20, 2010, Shout! Factory released Forbidden World on both DVD and Blu-ray Disc. The DVD is a 2-disc set. This set also includes the original Allan Holzman cut that was rejected by Roger Corman due to having humour, while Corman wanted the film to be a straight sci-fi/horror film. This is the first time this cut was available anywhere.

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Buy DVD or Blu-ray: Amazon.com

Reviews:

“Rarely do movies utterly lacking in originality have the good taste to incorporate a variety of influences that perfectly suit them. Mutant has a hipness which has now well-aged into retro-hipness. Even the title Mutant slightly predates the Ninja Turtles and was only changed to Forbidden World after Corman polled some illiterate Los Angeles teens who didn’t know what “mutant” meant.” Cinemachine

“Sure, it may have been conjured with dollar signs in mind, but Forbidden World distills a thoughtful and terrifying classic through the goofy and lascivious mind of a 14-year-old, and comes out the other side not purer, but certainly clear and in line with The Corman Manifesto: Borrow from the best, always leave them smiling, and display breasts every 11.5 minutes.” Daily Dead

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Cast and characters:

Jesse Vint … Mike Colby
Dawn Dunlap … Tracy Baxter
June Chadwick … Dr Barbara Glaser
Linden Chiles … Dr Gordon Hauser – Eye of the Cat
Fox Harris … Dr Cal Timbergen
Raymond Oliver … Brian Beale
Scott Paulin … Earl Richards
Michael Bowen … Jimmy Swift
Don Olivera … SAM-104
Victor Warren … Mutant [uncredited]

Filming locations:

Santa Clarita, California
Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park – 10700 W. Escondido Canyon Rd., Agua Dulce, California (exterior scenes of the desert planet)
Venice, Los Angeles, California (studio)

Filming dates:

7 October 1981 – 27 October 1981

Technical details:

77 minutes
Audio: Mono
Aspect ratio: 1.85: 1

Fun facts:

The spaceship footage was from Battle Beyond the Stars (1980) and the sets were reused from Galaxy of Terror (1981).

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