Forbidden World (1982)
Hi all, Nate here again with another one of the hundreds (at least?) of rip-offs of 1979's Alien that popped up in the decade or so after Ridley Scott invented the genre/plotline. I'm not going to do a lot of set-up here because we all know that, by the second act, it will be a Monster-vs-Humans bloodfest. There are eight humans and one android in the space laboratory complex when the gory festivities begin and this being a standard beastie-hunting-them-down-one-by-one story, only a select few of them will survive to the end. Who will still be standing by the closing credits? Let's examine that closer...
In all these movies there has to be that one smarmy stuffed-shirt guy who would rather save the killer mutant, because it's technically the fully-copyrighted intellectual property of his company, than kill it before it slaughters them all. The very embodiment of Big Business Profits Over Human Lives, it's nearly inconceivable that he wouldn't get his plot-mandated comeuppance at the clawed hands of his own creation.
Odds of Survival: 5billion-to-1
The lab's trigger-happy, roid-raging, shade-throwing security boss, the Security-Goon is nobody's friend. Not only does he like to spy on the girls with his cameras, several of which are inexplicably pointed at their beds, he clearly hasn't been with a woman in years. While he has a fancy space lazer raygun, he's scrawny and short, built like the former second team junior varsity high school wrestler he is, and probably wouldn't be much use in a fist-fight with a later-stages mutant. Plus, and I hate to keep bringing this up, he's a stalkery voyeuristic creeper and no one with those traits has a chance of seeing the sun rise tomorrow.
Odds of survival: 8,000-to-1
The lab's cheap labor handyman, Jimmy-the-Janitor has 1980's fratboy hair and a closet full of sleeveless t-shirts that are three sizes too small. While a beefcake with a Hyannisport lifeguard face, he's also kinda dumb, like, dumb enough to stick his head way too close to the carnivorous mutant thingie. He might as well be wearing an eat-me-first bright red Awayteam shirt.
Odds of survival: 75-to-1
Channeling a community theater version of a twitchy Doc Brown from BTTF, crazyface Mad-Scientist-Guy surely got his glasses, wild hair, and labcoat from the Generic Stock Character Outlet Store. While smart about genetic mutations and stuff, and full of plot-relevant exposition, he's unfortunately saddled with incurable cancer of the liver, surely from drinking too much to dull the pain of being stuck on this isolated rock in the far corner of the galaxy doing terrible things with human test subjects. As such, he shows all the hallmarks of the “noble sacrifice as redemption” character motivation, and those types rarely, if ever, make it out of the murderhouse alive.
Odds of survival: 27-to-1
While Token-Black-Guy has the bone structure and high-and-tight fade of a young Wesley Snipes before all the drugs, he seems to be little more than just that, the nod to multi-racialism in casting calls that keeps Youtube commentors at bay. Easily angered by a lack of pastry toppings and way too trusting of mutant monsters who appear to be sleeping, it's hard to imagine that he's going to survive past the second act. He won't die first, of course, because then that would be racist, but he's hopefully updated his life insurance beneficiary forms lately because I'd hate to think his bitch ex-wife Denise would get the full payout when they haven't even seen each other in three years.
Odds of survival: 22-to-1
The second of two women in the lab, Older-Chick is allegedly one of the head scientists but the only “science” we see her do involves humping with Space-Cop and then getting all lesbian showery with Younger-Chick. She favors high-waisted pantsuits, stiletto heels, and over-sprayed Farrah Fawcett hair, and is adamantly opposed to wearing bras and following established laboratory infection quarantine protocols. Despite being the second most attractive female in the room, she might be a longshot to survive due to her age, because she's like, 35, like, ew gross.
Odds of survival: 8-to-1 if the other chick is still kicking, rises to 5-to-1 if she's the only set of breasts alive.
Because this is an Alien rip-off, you have to have an android, right? But does it have to look so shitty? Yes, this is a Roger Corman movie, after all. SAM is helpful, SAM can walk upright, SAM can operate complex computer systems, and SAM can deliver quippy one-liners and snarky asides due to some pretty slick AI programming. But SAM can't reach that last jar of olives on the top shelf, nor can it ever know love or intimacy or the joy of just lounging around on a Sunday afternoon petting a kitty. Being a robot must suck. Anyway, SAM might actually make it out of this freakshow in one piece because it's a robot and thus no threat to the sexual chemistry of our leads. Unless, of course, SAM is “fully equipped” to meet human biological needs...?
Odds of survival: 4-to-1
Scandalously young, perky, and surely fertile, Younger-Chick is here mostly to have someone else for the guys to drool over. While presumably bright enough to get a job in a supersecret lab in outer space, she seems a bit ditzy and immature, plus she screams like a sugared-up schoolgirl way too much when things start to get hairy. Her only visible skills seem to be walking in a straight line and carrying baskets of lab beakers around (she only dropped one!). On the plus side, her ass is like a chiseled marble monument to human anatomical perfection.
Odds of survival: 3-to-1
Our movie's Designated Hero because the script says so, Space-Cop attempts to be Han Solo with his devil-may-care attitude and low-slung blaster holster. But he's just so nambypamby and indecisive that he ends up acting like your office's dweeby accountant cosplaying as Mal from Firefly for Street Fair. Just because you have the Federation Police Corps badge and the cool stock footage spaceship doesn't mean you have the sexy swagger to back it up. Still, his name is at the top of the marquee so I assume he's going to see the final bell.
Odds of survival: 2-to-1
Opposing our humans (and robot) is the “Metamorph”, an ethically-dubious science experiment in gene splicing gone horribly wrong. Throughout the movie it will grow in stages until the final scene.
The cocoon prop is top shelf creepypasta.
Stage 1 Metamorph. Small, the size of a baseball mitt, lives in a furry, stringy cocoon, lots of teeth and smarts. Eats human flesh after converting it to a pulpy protein mush, same as all the other stages, will presumably starve to death after eating everyone at the station.
Literally the only non-dark creature shot in the entire movie.
Stage 2 Metamorph. Bigger, the size of a chubby person, with anger issues, lots of slimy drool, and aimlessly waving arms. Much more limited mobility, basically just a huge, pulsating, multi-tentacled blob of living matter with large, perpetually-bloody teeth and a working knowledge of computers and the English language (whaaa?). This is the stage that we see for 80% of the movie, mostly because the rubber prop is easy for the grips to move around the set on a two-wheel dolly.
That's a lot of dental work.
Stage 3 Metamorph. The Ultimate Final Boss, a glued-together HR Geiger alien rip-off that doesn't even try to be legally distinct. With even more gangling arms and a foul odor, this final stage beast shows a marked unwillingness to compromise and a weird susceptiblity to cancer. One wonders what its plan here is, since it will eventually run out of things to eat and there's nothing else alive on this planet. Probably should look into building a spaceship so he can invade Earth in the sequel.
The setting is an isolated space station on some desolate planet. Zero chance of reinforcements and zero chance of nuking from orbit, even if it is the only way to be sure. Hostile, unbreathable atmosphere outside, dim lighting inside with lots of meandering, narrow hallways and small rooms. A perfect place for a murderous rampage with seemingly few locked doors and lots of dark corners to hide in. There are ample food and water stocks, and a surprising amount of lazer firearms, though no whipped cream for the strawberry shortcakes (it's a big deal to the Token-Black-Guy).
Inside, sets reused from Corman's earlier Battle Beyond the Stars.
Matte painting exteriors.
Surrounding countryside via the Vasquez Rocks?!? No way.
Round One ends predictably, as dumbass Jimmy-the-Janitor gets his stupid nose right up next to the mutant's cocoon and the thing jumps out and face-hugs him to death. Idiot Millennials, always doing dumb shit and getting killed by monsters, my generation never did that. The Metamorph, because it's not a dipshit, hides inside Jimmy-the-Janitor's mostly-dead body to make good its escape from the sealed lab it was in and for the rest of the movie will be free to roam about the entire set (well, all 20 square feet of it, redressed).
You are not meant for this world.
Intermission 1: Booyah, sexytime! Space-Cop and Older-Chick get it on the first night he's at the complex. There is absolutely zero chemistry between these two, they just met five minutes ago and have been talking about a mutant abomination that kills people the entire time (now that's foreplay!). Still, they gamely thrash the sheets around for a couple of minutes before he has to sheepishly apologize for how short it was. Their time together, I mean, sicko. This sex scene is only slightly hotter than a typical Tuesday night episode of NCIS, by the way, thanks mostly to the darkness of the set and the quick editing cuts, so don't expect to be turned on at all.
Nice Lee Press-on nails.
Yeah, kiss that shoulder (knee?).
The Security-Goon with his sweaty wife-beater t-shirt and sad secret crush on Older-Chick hears a noise and immediately alerts the entire team to the danger so they can all attack it in an armed group...oh, my bad, he just wanders after the noise alone and get's (necessarily) chomped. It's going to be apparent from here that the bigger Metamorphs will mostly be seen in the dark, for obvious cheap budget reasons. It's also apparent that not one single person in this scientific lab has ever seen a horror movie before because they do all the stereotypical dumb things that stupid horny teenagers do when confronted by the chainsaw maniac.
He needs a bigger gun.
Space-Cop is now worried they are all going to die.
Intermission 3: Damn, Space-Cop, you get around. Not an hour ago you were playing hide the spaceweasel with Older-Chick and now you're all nakeynakey in the steambath with Younger-Chick? What the hell kind of lab is this? Are there no HR guidelines? Does nobody have a boyfriend back home they can Skype with? And if Space-Cop can get laid twice in an afternoon by two different babes, why are Token-Black-Guy and Mad-Scientist-Guy so uptight all the time?
Getting jiggy in the steambath.
Hey, stop looking at that, it's mine.
Ok, put your clothes back on, people, we have a killer mutant on the loose, remember? Growing tired of the cramped, dark corridors of the station, our remaining future chew toys venture outside for a quick jaunt, mostly because they say the Metamorph went out first, but really just because the production team already paid for these cool goggles and respirators and they had to use them somehow. Out on the Pepsi can-littered granites of planet Vasquez Rocks Natural Area there's a bit of gunplay and a wedge of intrigue, but in the end Corporate-Stooge-Guy gets a little too close to the Metamorph's toothy maw for comfort. SAM-the-Robot is damaged as well, but easily repaired with a screwdriver.
It went down there!
Stoogie gets face melty.
Intermission 3: Oh yeah, lesbian sexytime between Older-Chick and Younger-Chick, boom. Well, actually it's just naked hairbrushing and backscratching, kind of a letdown, really, unless you have a fetish for proper hygiene and hair care. There is zero plot justification for them having to strip down for this scene other than director/crew boners, and zero gratification to be had by them just standing there like statues grooming each other for a few minutes like chimps in the wild (no boner anymore). One wonders how much extra money these actresses got for this, I hope it was substantial.
Scrub it real good.
Always time for a half-dressed wander through the hallways.
Immediately following their disappointingly PG-13 lesbian make-out session, the two girls come across the Metamorph in the command room, just hanging out on the computer banks eating chips and watching videos on his phone. Older-Chick attempts to communicate with the monster via keyboard inputs, as it seems, however unlikely, that the Metamorph can understand and type English. Things get ugly quickly, however, when the beast goes all Anime Tentacle Rape Porny on Older-Chick and either kills her on accident or on purpose (I assume on purpose as it seems to lack an empathy skillset).
Is that DOS or Windows 95?
Worst tentacle porn ending ever!
Intermission 4: The had-to-happen Big Reveal Scene, wherein we learn that (gasp!) the original baby Metamorph was born in a female lab worker's womb and violently burst out, which would be more surprising if we hadn't just watched Alien on Netflix last week. It's also less of a shock because we just hear about the chestbuster-lite's bloody birth and not actually see it (budget, ya know). There's a lot of these little backstory moments in this movie, most of which are unnecessary, we really just need to see the monsters as it is right now, knowing about its history adds nothing. Too many of these Alien rip-offs layer on the backstory for their own version of the monster, but they forget that the original 1979 film was pretty skimpy on the background details and heavy on what's-eating-us-now.
We do have the budget for ground beef (pork?).
Watching this movie on the monitors, she should watch Veep.
Back to the murdering! Token-Black-Guy looks around and realizes that his time is up, the business dude is dead, the redshirts have been expended, and the last white girl is taken. Resigned to his fate, and at least happy that he lasted longer than the greasy Italian dude, Token-Black-Guy does something dumb and climbs into the literal arms of the beast to do some stupid computer fixing stuff or whatever and is fried to death. In the fray, Mad-Scientist-Guy is mortally wounded, the cast is dwindling fast! Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that the Metamorph can somehow shoot bolts of actor-killing electricity from its legs? Sure, why not? There's nothing like adding overkill superpowers to a creature that was already scary enough with just claws and teeth.
Really? You deserve to die.
Red filters make everything more icky.
After retreating to the lab, Space-Cop is forced to cut out the poor Mad-Scientist-Guy's cancerous liver (per his dying request). Mad-Scientist-Guy has a wholly untested and probably made-up theory that the Metamorph will die if it eats a cancer tumor because science. As predicted, we're down now to just Space-Cop and mostly-useless Younger-Chick versus the Ultimate Boss Metamorph, which has gone down to Wilson's Party Store on 100th Street and bought a cheap Chinese knock-off Alien costume to wear for the final scene. Space-Cop duly feeds the liver to the Boss and it dies, the end. I rushed this last bit because they filmed it in Insan-O-Vision Shaky Cam in near total darkness, if they can't be bothered to show me the monster clearly for even a single frame, then I can't be bothered to describe it.
I had to crib a publicity still because the damn Boss never shows up on screen in the light for long enough to cap!
She should have just stayed home.
They could use a shower and a nap (but not a sequel!).
Written in September 2016 by Nathan Decker.
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