Wolf’s Waste Of Space 2: Forbidden World (1982)
Director: Allan Holzman
Starring: Jesse Vint, June Chadwick, Linden Chiles
In some areas also known as Mutant, this is the second in my hugely popular ‘Waste Of Space’ trilogy. If I mention Forbidden World to anyone they’ll usually respond with (a) “Do you mean Forbidden Planet?” or (b)… Oh. There’s no (b). This movie should have been called and shall henceforth be known as Dingwhopper. I’ll hear no further arguments on the matter. That’s final.
So, what’s the score with this one? Intrepid space hero Mike Colby (Jesse Vint), is sent to the inhospitable planet Xarbia to deal with a scientific experiment gone pear-shaped. Before you can say “xenomorph”, Mike’s up to his nuts in mutating humans, jugs and a genetically engineered creature. This blighter starts out like a dark squelchy Hot Pocket then evolves into an utterly unreasonable, many-appendaged, computer literate arachno-wotsit. It’s also a pervert.
The nonsense begins with Colby awoken from hypersleep by his robot sidekick SAM (Don Olivera) who looks like the result of an illicit coupling between Twiki and a midget stormtrooper. If you watch carefully here the whole movie plays out in flash-forward. Not sure if this is meant to be the product of a rudely interrupted hypersleep or simply director’s artistic license but it comes off sort of “no, wait, don’t switch off, see there’s naughty bits coming up…” We are then treated to a space battle. A very familiar space battle actually, lifted as it is from Battle Beyond The Stars. This isn’t all that’s familiar – the interior of Colby’s ship looks suspiciously like the Quest from Galaxy Of Terror, only with the lights turned off. Uh-huh. So, Mike twiddles a few knobs, shouts “Fire!” a lot and somehow hands out an ass-whupping to the… erm, whoever it is attacking them. Then SAM informs him of the imminent jump to hyperspace. “Hyperspace?” Yes, Mike. Hyperspace. High-purr-spay-sss. If you’re still uncertain try the ship’s instruction manual. Anyway, that’s your introduction to Colby, that’s how hardcore he is. Plus it allows Holzman to pad out the running time and punch up an otherwise languid intro. At least it delivers one nice little exchange:
Mike – “How long was I under?”
SAM – “Back home your son’s older than you are.”
Mike – “Hope he turned out better than me.”
Exciting laser Peowm! Peowm! done with, Dingwhopper gets down to the proper business at hand: Space erotica. The camera sets the tone, following Barbara Glaser’s (June Chadwick) nicely packaged arse down a narrow, claustrophobic corridor (lots of those – corridors, not arses… come to think of it there are lots of arses as well). Also, barmpot logic kicks in. Fair enough, ‘Subject 20’ got loose and chomped its way through a room full of test animals but when Colby arrives it’s in a cocoon and isolated in a glass incubator. Why the emergency? In fact, how did it munch through all those animals when it’s only the size of a wallet, albeit Paul McCartney’s wallet? Tell you what though, Mike has barely stepped through the door and Barbara’s already giving him the green light. She’s a fast mover this one.
So, there you are, right, a cerebrally-challenged lab janitor called Jimmy (Michael Bowen), mopping your way through congealing gore and animal entrails when you notice the cocoon is beginning to drool. Do you open the incubator and stick your head in for a closer look? Do you fuck. Especially if you’re a lab janitor – you’re not qualified, buster. You deserve to get eaten. Except victims don’t get eaten, not in the traditional sense…
Now this I like. ‘Subject 20’ infects a victim with, I dunno, mutant jizz or something. This breaks the human body down into pure protein – while you’re still alive. The critter then uses the leftovers as a food source. It seems the scientists were developing their own food source to combat a “galactic” food shortage. Really? A galactic food shortage? How the fuck did that happen? They cooked up this hybrid by combining something called ‘Proto-B’ with DNA from other organisms. Lo and behold, ‘Subject 20’s’ secret DNA ingredient is (big fanfare) human… Most of this exposition is delivered by the rather stiff scientist type Gordon Hauser (Linden Chiles) and the fantastic Cal Timbergen (Fox Harris), resident bio-genius. You know he’s a genius cos his lab coat is flecked with unmentionable stains and he’s always moving, thinking. He’s always coughing too but you never see him tucking into a bottle of Benylin (I once wrote a punk tune called Benylin Is For Coughs – the chorus went “Fuh-coffs, fuh-coffs, Benylin is fuh-coffs…” musical genius, me). So, what’s up with Cal?
Holzman, by this time, has grown weary of all the scientific jumbo-mumbo. I can see him on set with a bullhorn – “Unleash the nudity!” He does. Lots of it. Top bloke! Barbara seduces Mike for a prolonged bout of how-d’yer-do. I say prolonged because the scene continues while foolhardy security guy Earl “This is it, you goddamn dingwhopper” Richards (Scott Paulin) goes searching for ‘Subject 20’ in the rectum-end of the base – you keep seeing inserts of the horny couple banging away. A brief shot of Earl beside an open locker shows a photograph of him and Barb together, so the inference is that he is consumed by an insane jealousy and dangerously distracted by what he’s been peeping at on his security monitors. Oh aye, peeping. In fact there’s a rather voyeuristic theme running through the whole movie; the camera perving on the ladies, the dingwhopper-view of Tracy Baxter (Dawn Dunlap) squeezing into a virtually redundant night slip (punctuated by sticky fluid sliding down the lens – seriously) and Earl tuning in to spy on Barb & Mike’s physical contortions. Frankly, it’s a bit disturbing. I’d like to describe what happens to Earl but unfortunately they chose to shoot the scene in near darkness so there’s no way of knowing. Something thoroughly unpleasant I’m sure. Barb & Mike’s porn music is worth a mention and I quite like the way the synth solo ties into the sequence, showing Brian (Raymond Oliver) playing a futuristic clarinet in his room.
Tracy. She’s an idiot. Dim as a Toc-H lamp. What does she do here? No idea. But, oh boy, what a character arc to be saddled with – even Meryl Streep would’ve struggled selling this doozy. One minute Tracy is shedding a tear and gazing longingly at a photo of her beloved fellow idiot Jimmy, the next she’s starkers in the steam bath encouraging our Mike (who has burst in for absolutely no reason whatsoever, weapon drawn, ahem…) to “get naked”. Fookin hell! She’s just witnessed her bf turned to protein slop and he’s barely had his dong out of Barb! Worse is to follow. Not content with just dribbling pipe sauce down the lens this time, Tracy gets ‘spunked’ on from above! ‘Subject 20’ comes – sorry – arrives to spoil the fun. Barb also arrives when the alarm goes off – ooooh, if looks could kill! Mind you, she doesn’t hold a grudge, as will shortly be demonstrated.
The action moves outside for a few minutes. Presumably, Holzman just wanted to get out on location and escape the gloom for awhile. Really, he should be keeping the pressure on; it’s a mistake, it breaks the atmosphere. Tracy once again gets a glooping, this time by the melting geek, Gordon Hauser. So, she has a shower. With Barbara. Quite why Barb has to help Tracy shower only Holzman knows. No traditional shower this, uses some kind of ‘electronic pulse’ rather than water. They still get wet, obviously, wouldn’t be sexy or photogenic otherwise. Barb takes advantage of the fact that Tracy is an idiot and convinces her they should both go and try to communicate with ‘Subject 20’ which has parked its considerable rear end in the control room.
Never, under any circumstances, ever, try to communicate with anything that’s got more teeth than Tom Cruise and Janet Street Porter put together. In addition, don’t go in still dripping from your shower and dressed in a tantalisingly short robe. I will guarantee the creature will extend a tentacle and do something unspeakable and, shall we say, Lambert-esque. My only surprise is that it didn’t shag Barbara first. Tracy avoids a similar fate and spends the rest of the movie screaming annoyingly (which she’s been doing on and off before, so, yeh, for the entire movie, actually).
Anyway, Super-Cal the mad scientist works out that cancer cells are lethal to ‘Subject 20’. Luckily, he’s got cancer! So that’s what all the coughing was about. There follows one of the greatest scenes ever filmed as brave Cal, sans morphine (because they’ve sent that idiot Tracy to find some and she’s just running around screaming like a pillock), directs Mike to surgically open him up and have a rummage around for the tumour. Sheer, schlocktastic brilliance. We then get to see (or don’t, as the sequence is so badly lit and edited) Mike trying to deposit said tumour into the monster’s ravenous gob.
Dingwhopper is an entertaining morass, a passable late night boozer. Looks like some money was spent on the production, not as much as on Galaxy Of Terror though, but Dingwhopper, while poor, is a ton more fun than Galaxy Of Terror. They’ve done well on a shoestring, reusing sets from a previous production and pilfering their own back catalogue for FX and whatnot. You may think it’s a bag of shite, but play it off against the unofficial 1991, almost nudity-free remake, Dead Space starring the mighty Marc Singer. This ‘un even goes right ahead and uses the same Battle Beyond The Stars (and shouting “Fire!” a lot) space dogfight footage. Let there be no doubt about this; the 1982 version gives Dead Space a proper, proper kicking.
It looks like I’m picking on Roger Corman so I’ll go elsewhere for the third in the trilogy. Join me next time for a Brit sci-fi extrava-errr-ganza…
Achtung! Here’s the German trailer for Forbidden World:
Or watch in full here: http://tinyurl.com/366tkpn
ThereWolf, May 2010