Today (March 6) is Richard Elfman's birthday. If your immediate response is "Is he related to Danny?" then obviously you have never experienced one of the weirdest movies ever: Forbidden Zone. Richard Elfman directed this 1980 black-and-white festival of grunge, which has picked up quite the cult following over the years. I first saw this ultra-low-budget movie on video at LSU in my undergrad days with a bunch of friends, and we were so proud to have discovered an unusual, obscure film that didn't look like any other movie we knew. (When I took my boyfriend to a screening at Alamo Drafthouse last year, he pointed out that the overall look of the movie must have been inspired by underground comics of the time.)

Several members of the Elfman family appear in Forbidden Zone, including Richard and his then-wife Marie-Pascale Elfman. I couldn't find a good still of Richard from the film, but I found one of his little brother, who plays Satan: yep, that's Danny Elfman above. Danny appears in only one scene but he's fabulous.

The cast also includes Herve Villechaize, Susan Tyrrell, and Viva. The soundtrack is a lot of fun and includes some bizarre reworkings of old Cab Calloway songs. The plot ... well, it would take me a while to explain and wouldn't make much sense, anyway. You'd have to see for yourself.

Forbidden Zone is truly a unique film, but if you're thinking of renting it, bear in mind that it does include partial nudity, excremental and sexual humor, and possibly offensive manipulation of racial stereotypes.
categories Features, Cinematical