Forbidden World (aka Mutant) was a good example of Roger Corman’s technique of making movies as cheaply as possible. This 1982 New World Pictures release utilised many of the sets that had been constructed for Galaxy of Terror.
Forbidden World was yet another Alien rip-off. Mike Colby (Jesse Vint) is a kind of roving interstellar troubleshooter. The opening sequences see him and his partner, a robot known as SAM-104, conducting a successful space battle against marauding spaceships. Now he has been sent to an obscure planet which is used as a genetic research. The planet’s isolation allows the scientists to conduct experiments that would be deemed to be much too hazardous anywhere else. This freedom turns out to a two-edged sword as their latest experiment has gone badly wrong. Really badly wrong. Subject 20 is not just a mutant, it’s a metamorph. It keeps on mutating throughout its life cycle. And that life cycle is entirely unpredictable.
Colby suspects from the outset that there’s something about Subject 20 that he hasn’t been told. The scientists on this planet seem to be hiding something. And there’s the matter of one of the scientists who met an unexplained death shortly before Colby’s arrival.
It doesn’t take long before Subject 20 gets loose and starts creating mayhem. But even before that Colby starts bedding the female scientists.
That’s pretty much it as far as plot is concerned. Colby along with the scientists are stalking Subject 20 while Subject 20 is stalking them. And picking off the scientists one by one.
The two female scientists decide that since Subject 20 seems to be intelligent (and we will find out later why that is a reasonable assumption) that maybe the best thing to do is to try to communicate with it. That turns out to be not such a clever idea after all. Subject 20 is certainly intelligent and is capable of communication, but it’s much more interested in killing people.
There’s a mildly interesting sub-plot involving one of the scientists, Dr Cal Timbergen (Fox Harris), who has a secret of his own, a secret unconnected with Subject 20 but which could prove to have surprising repercussions.
Early in his career Roger Corman managed to combine an enthusiasm for making money with an enthusiasm for making movies. By the 80s he’d virtually given up directing in favour of producing, and the movies he produced became more and more formulaic. Some were highly entertaining while others were pretty routine but it seemed like the genuine enthusiasm he’d once had for movies had largely dried up.
Forbidden World is definitely in the pretty routine class. It’s biggest weakness is the uninterestingness and shallowness of the characters. Director Allan Holzman was clearly unaware that if you’re going to make this sort of sci-fi horror movie you need to give the audience some characters they care about. The audience has to have someone that they want to see survive. Sadly the only character in this movie with even a shred of personality is a robot. The acting is uniformly poor and Tim Curnen’s screenplay is strictly by the numbers. Nobody is going to care if any of these people survive.
The movie offers quite a bit of gore (always a sign of a lack of inspiration) and quite a bit of nudity of a totally gratuitous nature. It does have a grungy atmosphere that is one of the better things about the movie. The end result is just another Alien rip-off that is not worth seeing.
The Region 2 DVD from an outfit called In2Film is a poor fullframe transfer that cannot be recommended under any circumstances. Give this one a miss.