Forbidden World (1982)

Cancer gets a pretty bad rap what with it killing millions of people yearly and not having any cure for it and all. It even gets blamed for making something cool like smoking really, really uncool.

It’s nice then to see in that in far flung future of Forbidden World, cancer is on the side of the angels, aiding haggard-looking space hero Mike Colby in defeating an apparently rampaging (you don’t really see it move much – it just sort of shows up in places opening and closing its toothy mouth) alien eating the dullards inhabiting a research lab on the planet Xarbia.

And if cancer is a bad ass in this movie, it’s got a lot of company. Like Mike Colby. Despite looking like a worn out, skinny, middle-aged loser, he’s the guy the Federation calls when there’s trouble at the lab. He’s also the guy who screws the crap out of one of the sexy scientists the first night he’s there, even though everyone knows the killer alien is loose trying to hunt them all down!

But you know who else he is? He’s also the guy that first thing next morning, heads down to the sauna where the other sexy scientist is getting some nude sweating in and tries to show her his test tube! (And if I knew that science labs were chock full of babes and saunas, I would have paid a hell of a lot more attention in chemistry class!)

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Forbidden World easily upholds its reputation as the second movie in the space horror trashy twosome produced by Roger Corman in the 1980s. Both it and Galaxy of Terror managed to crib elements from Alien, but improved it by adding needless and sometimes jarring nudity, bad music, and gallons of gore that would have done some of the infamous Italian horror directors of the day proud. And while Forbidden World didn’t have anything as monumentally sleazy as the raped-by-space-worm scene of Galaxy of Terror, it made up for it by having more nude scenes including an all-girl decontamination scene.

The nerds on Xarbia are monkeying around with genetic splicing in order to combat a food shortage. Why this involves splicing something with human material and implanting it into a woman to give birth to is probably confined to some sort of subscription-only scientific journal only an egghead could understand anyway.

All we and Mike Colby need to know is that some grody looking thing got loose and killed every living thing in the lab and is now resting comfortably in a cage where it appears to be undergoing some sort of metamorphosis. Based on this sitrep I wasn’t real sure what Mike was there to do. Just pump in some kill gas and be done with this thing, right?

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The guy in charge of the lab doesn’t want it killed of course (then why was Mike called in the first place?) and he just has some dude keep an eye on it as the lab gets cleaned. And by keep an eye on it, I mean open the cage and stick your head in there until it pukes out one of those face-hugging monsters that rips a hole in your head! Once the victim is discovered, despite the distinct possibility that whatever attacked him probably contaminated him, the lab protocol of non-containment is followed and the body is removed to another part of the facility.

All of us who’ve worked at top secret labs of deadly experiments gone horribly wrong knows what follows. Lots of scenes of people running back and forth through the same two corridors (the walls of the corridors are made up of hundreds of Styrofoam take out containers if that gives you sense of the awesomeness of things), stumbling around in the same couple of rooms with one pointless trip outside onto the planet’s surface to break up the monotony of it all. (I mean really, the monster runs outside, the people follow, then the monster runs back inside and the people follow – why didn’t a least one of these geniuses think about just leaving in Mike’s spaceship?)

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But Forbidden World‘s brash brand of stupidity is what allows it to succeed in its mission to titillate and gross you out. There’s no way else to explain how Mike is able to cut open a still alive cancer-ridden scientist, yank out a softball-sized tumor and feed it to the monster which somehow instantly kills it!

Even more absurd is the utterly incompetent space battle (courtesy of footage from Battle Beyond the Stars) at the beginning of the film that has no bearing on that plot and is so dull it almost instantly makes you swap out the disc for second viewing of Galaxy of Terror. The space battle though follows the beyond absurd montage of moments from the film that haven’t actually happened yet while Mike is being woken up from suspended animation! I still have no idea what that was about, but as if just to make sure you don’t forget how ridiculous it all was, a similar montage plays again at the end of the movie!

And if you still aren’t convinced this is required viewing for any student of exploitation cinema, the monster can even communicate in English via a computer and when asked by the ditzy woman who is trying to reason with it if they can co-exist, it repeats “please standby” until it snakes an appendage up to her and impales her! Please standby for sex, violence, slime and cancer bombs!

© 2015 MonsterHunter

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