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Forbidden Zone [Limited Edition Blu-ray]
(Richard Elfman, 1982)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Hercules Films Ltd.
Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Black and White Runtime: 1:13:16.433
Colorized Runtime: 1:14:17.494
Disc Size: 46,061,183,880 bytes
Black and White Feature Size: 19,097,364,480 bytes
Color Feature Size: 20,807,706,624 bytes
Video Bitrate: 29.95 Mbps (both)
Chapters: 12 (both)
Case: Reversible sleeve with 3 original poster artworks and newly commissioned artwork cover
Release date: May 14th, 2012
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
Black and white:
DTS-HD Master Audio English
4371 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4371 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 /
48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 3662 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3662
kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
English (SDH), none
•Audio commentary with director Richard Elfman and writer-actor Matthew Bright (on Black and white version only)
• A Look into Forbidden Zone extensive behind the scenes documentary featuring interviews and archive footage, including scenes from Elfman s lost film The Hercules Family (37:17)
• Two complete scenes from The Hercules Family (5:40)
• Japan Promo (4:02)
• Outtakes (11:18)
• Deleted Scenes (4:47)
• Oingo Boingo Music Video Private Life (3:51)
• Original Theatrical Trailer (:47)
Description: Step into The Forbidden Zone, a bizarro
world of frog butlers, topless princesses, machine-gun
toting teachers, eccentric dwarves, their demonic wives, and
the Devil himself (Danny Elfman). You've never seen anything
Certainly not for all tastes, Richard Elfman’s delirious and highly surreal little gem is one of the few cult classics to actually live up to its reputation. The loosely structured “narrative” concerns a household of rejects, who one by one, find a doorway in their basement that whisks them off to the 6th Dimension--a far out world of frog headed butlers, topless maids, human chandeliers, and various other misfits, all of whom are lorded over by a sex crazed midget.
In many ways, this film suggests an episode of Looney Tunes as directed by Jean Cocteau. The rich black and white photography, play with human forms, use of simple camera tricks, and childlike painted sets all add to making this an assured and confident piece of filmmaking. To top it all off, the film takes the form of a series of episodic musical numbers harking back to early vaudeville, 1930’s musicals, and Bettie Page stag films, each perfectly rendered by Danny Elfman and the Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo (rocking out in all their 80’s glory). If you are a fan of Midnight Movies like Eraserhead and Rocky Horror Picture Show, or if you appreciate the throwback playfulness of a contemporary like Guy Maddin, then this is the movie for you. Highly recommended!
The late 1970s saw Richard Elfman and Matthew Bright embarking on a movie project based on the stage show of their musical troupe, 'The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo'. The result was The Forbidden Zone: a bizarre musical/ fantasy/ comedy that sees a family transported into an alternate dimension via a portal in the basement of their house. Once there, they encounter a variety of strange characters, including a midget king and his domineering queen, a frog-headed butler, a permanently topless princess and a human chandelier. Still, given that the 'real' world features a gun-toting teacher and a 12-year-old boy played by a 60-something actor, maybe the sixth dimension isn't so strange after all.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Arrow give us the option of Forbidden Zone in either black + white or colorized versions. We've compared some captures to the Fantoma - Region 1 DVD - which was quite strong for the SD format but the film visually benefits from the upgrade to 1080P. It's a little brighter, tighter and has more grain. It also shows more information in the frame. The film is only an hour and 1/4 - so having both version on the same Blu-ray doesn't hinder the bitrate which is high (duplicated for both). I think I prefer the black + white where contrast exhibits supportive black levels. The colorized can tend to look cheesy - which would be in perfect co-ordination with the film. This Arrow 1.78:1 Blu-ray seems to do its job well-enough without undo noise or artefacts.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
There are some track options but the DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 4371 kbps (3662 kbps for the color) is quite potent. It seems like a healthy mix with some crisp separations and abundant depth. The music numbers sounded wonderful - if often no better than a high-school effort in choreographic quality. I'd say the uncompressed track does a fine job in recreating the film's ambiance of wacky amusement. Arrow include optional English (SDH) subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
Arrow supply an audio commentary with director Richard Elfman and writer-actor Matthew Bright (on Black and white version only). This is the same one found on the Fantoma DVD from 2004 - as are many of the other supplements including A Look into Forbidden Zone which is a 37-minute behind the scenes documentary featuring interviews and archive footage, including scenes from Elfman s lost film The Hercules Family. We get 2 complete scenes from The Hercules Family lasting about 5.5 minutes as well as a Japanese Promo, Outtakes, Deleted Scenes, the Oingo Boingo music video Private Life (3:51) and a short trailer. The package has a double-sided fold-out artwork poster and a collector s booklet featuring writing on the film by director Richard Elfman and critic David Hayles illustrated with stills from the private collection of Richard and Danny Elfman.
Fantoma - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT vs. Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT
May 12th, 2012
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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