Editor’s note: This article was originally published in November of 2010.
Last week I offered a review of the Roger Corman-produced outer space shocker Galaxy of Terror, so for the final half of my salute to Roger I’m tackling my favorite Corman production: 1982’s Forbidden World, directed by Allan Holzman and starring Jesse Vint, June Chadwick and the spectacular Dawn Dunlap.
Bounty hunter Mike Colby (Vint) is called to Xarbia to check out Subject 20, which was created in hopes of curing a galaxy-wide food crisis. Too bad they didn’t explain that to Subject 20. After an opening segment with Colby awakening from cryosleep to fight off raiders, he receives orders to go to Xarbia where he is met by Doctor Hauser (Linden Chiles) and Geneticist Barbara Glaser (Chadwick). They show him to the Biohazard chamber, where he sees the remains of various animals killed when Subject 20 got loose. It has now cocooned itself in the incubator and despite Colby’s insistance on destroying it, they convince him to sleep on it. While they go to dinner, Jimmy (Mike Bowen) is left to clean up the mess and after opening the incubator for a better look gets a faceful of Subject 20 for his trouble (They never learn)
At dinner it’s explained that their discovery, Proto B, can be spliced with anything to make it grow larger, but the scientists refuse to tell Colby what Subject 20 was before it got spliced. Meanwhile, Tracy Baxter (Dunlap) has now discovered what’s left of her boyfriend Jimmy. Doctor Cal Timbergen (played perfectly by Fox Harris) wheels off the body and everyone gets ready for bed (Apparently, they don’t care about the murderous creature running loose.)
While Barbara and Colby “get acquainted,” security chief Earl (Scott Paulin) has a close encounter with Subject 20. Early next morning, Tracy heads to the sauna (Thank You!) and is soon joined by Colby (She apparently wasn’t very bothered by the death of her boyfriend) and Subject 20, who escapes through the air shaft, forcing a search outside the ship. They discover an empty cocoon and head back to the research center, arriving in time to see the mutant head back into the shaft taking Hauser with him. Cal discovers that Jimmy is still alive, if only on a molecular level, and is being morphed into pure protein.
Once back inside, they learn the truth about Subject 20 and they figure out why they have been left alive until now. After a visit from a not quite dead Hauser, the girls hit the shower in a scene that would have gotten me through puberty if it had been made about 10 years earlier. They decide to communicate with it. Barbara has a nice quick chat via computer before being invited to dinner, and as the menfolk come running to the rescue, Cal discovers the solution to the problem. How many more have to die? Will ANYONE survive? Watch, enjoy and find out for yourself.
Not wanting to leave out anyone, I’ll also mention the film also starred Raymond Oliver as Brian. The opening sequence of the movie was shot just after Galaxy of Terror using that picture’s Quest set. The ever-thrifty Roger had rented the property until the weekend and still had a few days remaining, so he had the scene shot and added on to Forbidden World, even though the rest of it wasn’t filmed until about four months later. Gotta love it. They also used the skeleton of the giant maggot for the final shots of the film where you see the mutant barreling through the corridors chasing Tracy (Can’t say I blame him).
In any event, this is pure cheesy sci-fi at it’s best. Chadwick was smouldering and Dunlap looks magnificent with or without clothes, but the star of this for me was Harris as Doctor Timbergen. He looked and sounded like the proverbial mad scientist and, even though I couldn’t name anything else he was in without looking it up, I will always remember him for this film. Great job. As for Dunlap, she would go on to make only a few more films before leaving the biz and heading back to Texas. Hope she’s doing well.
And as for the rest of you: watch out for missing test subjects…