Forbidden Zone (Richard Elfman, 1982)

Imagery that is both excitably phantasmagorical and queasily pretty complements a shaggy dog story wherein a family—headed by a Cab Calloway-crooning paterfamilias and supplemented by a sexpot Gallic daughter, a progeric kvetching Borscht Belt son, and a wrestling grandpa—gets dumped, in its scatological connotation, into the Sixth Dimension, where they encounter a dwarf king, his boozy queen, and a frog-headed manservant named, amazingly, Bust Rod. Not unlike a “performance” at the Mudd Club, ca. 1980, albeit one with more nudity and PCP, and less coherence, this film (devised as a showcase for an early iteration of Oingo Boingo) is typified by a topsy-turvy aesthetic where Viva and Hervé Villechaize reveal themselves as decent performers and where Three Stooges-style japery is less anarchic than the gurning of Susan Tyrrell.

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