The Making Of that accompanies this orgiastic splurge of nightmarish cut-and-paste psychosis begins in a deceptively sane manner. “Richard Elfman here, director of The Forbidden Zone,” our cheeky auteur announces, fat stogie above his right ear. Almost instantly, the mask slips, as the most diabolically shit-guzzling grin imaginable flickers across his frankly insane expression. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the asylum. The Forbidden Zone is to ‘quirky’ what the ocean is to ‘moist’. It makes absolutely no sense. Whatsoever. Not that this matters one iota: writhing with smacked-out burlesque camp, it’s an extended non-sequitur that flits feverishly between ‘30s music-hall farce and Gilliam-inspired, roughly-animated acid frenzy.
Shooting in high-contrast 35mm monochrome, Elfman makes little headway in telling the ‘story’ of the Hercules family finding a gateway to the 6th Dimension, trying to save their inexplicably French daughter from a sex-crazed midget king, his homicidally jealous wife, a giant frog and Danny Elfman’s furiously dapper Satan, all loosely wrapped around 12 songs by the brothers’ deranged Mystic Knights Of The Oingo Boingo ensemble.
Despite having ‘cult’ scrawled all over it, The Forbidden Zone is just too odd to feel gratingly self-regarding. A bonkers ride.