I can be a seriously unmotivated dude but the promise of last Friday night’s event at the Wealthy Theater was too much to pass up. Jeff and Tami Vandenberg’s Meanwhile Movie Series upped it’s game; not only bringing in a rad indie movie but also the film’s director, Richard Elfman. To top it off the local Super Happy Funtime Burlesque collaborated with Elfman to perform songs and scenes from the film. I had never seen Forbidden Zone or the Burlesque and it’s not every day that a director comes to a screening of his film in GR so I got my lazy ass out of the house for the three block walk down the street. I was not disappointed.
(more after the jump)
Forbidden Zone is a bizarre mix of alternative theater, punk attitude, humor, sex, and general offensiveness that has solidly placed it in the canon of cult films. Richard Elfman (brother of Danny Elfman), seemed to be genuinely thrilled to be in GR which I’m sure was helped by hanging out with a local bar owner (lots of free drinking), working with the SHFB (some real-life bizarreness from talented people, some of whom were naked) and the decent turnout for the event (not sold-out, but around 150 in attendance). I’m sure being piled on by girls wearing little more than pasties and underwear didn’t hurt either.
I don’t have any photos from the event but I found some clips that give a good idea of what Forbidden Zone is about. The original was recently colorized (which is the version Elfman screened) so these clips don’t show the full visual impact of what I saw. Elfman explained in the post-film Q&A that he intended to send the original film to China to be hand colorized but ran out of money. His idea in 1980 was to have only the 6th Dimension scenes in color much like the scenes of Oz in The Wizard of Oz.
The few clips here show the general insanity of the production and hopefully will entice you to check out the film which is totally worth it. (I think those of you who watch Tim and Eric will especially appreciate the absurdity.)
The movie’s music was created by the Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo which both Richard and Danny Elfman were a part of. I love the songs from the movie; they are weird and funny and a bit offensive. I was not expecting to like them so much since I can’t stand later Oingo Boingo (Weird Science theme anyone?) Not even those terrible mid 80’s songs can taint my respect for Danny Elfman however. His work with Tim Burton alone proves he is genius. (and then there’s the Simpson’s theme!)
Head over to the Forbidden Zone official website to buy the B&W or color version of the film (you can possibly also get it from Netflix?). Elfman mentioned at the screening that purchasers from Grand Rapids would get their copies autographed for free which is pretty cool too. Also, be looking in 2010 for the sequel Forbidden Zone 2: Forbidden Galaxy which Elfman promised would be freshly offensive for the 21st century. I imagine there is a good chance he’ll come back to GR to screen it too- if not just for the free booze and half naked women.