Thursday, November 29, 2012

Jason goes to Holehead--Opening Night

San Francisco's premiere (and to my knowledge, only) horror, fantasy, and sci-fi film festival kicked off last night at the Terra Gallery. I had a few beers and then settled in for the opening night film, Richard Elfman's FORBIDDEN ZONE.

The black and white version of FORBIDDEN ZONE actually played as a midnight movie at Another Hole in the Head back in 2007, and as a result of my write-up my blog is still (as of the time of this writing) the #1 Google search result for "Richard Elfman's taint."

He mooned the audience again twice more before the movie and twice after during the Q&A. I swear it's to the point where I could pick his ass out of a lineup more easily than my own.

Anyway, the festivities started with the old Betty Boop/Cab Calloway cartoon MINNIE THE MOOCHER (1932), since that is one of the obvious influences on FORBIDDEN ZONE.

And then we were treated to a teaser trailer for FORBIDDEN ZONE 2: FORBIDDEN GALAXY. I really hope it's finished soon. The Youtube trailer says 2012. The one I saw last night was exactly the same but said 2013. I hope it isn't in development hell forever (and Richard insisted he can still bully his little brother Danny Elfman around, so he will have to come back as the devil and possibly more.)

Anyway, on to the feature, FORBIDDEN ZONE. Here's what I wrote back in 2007:
I'd never seen this 1980 [Note: it's actually from 1982, this was a special 30th anniversary screening. I don't know how I got that wrong. --Jason] cult classic from the brother of composer Danny Elfman (who scores the film with his Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo and appears as Satan himself), and after watching it, I'm still not sure if I've seen it. An odd bit of black and white comic surrealism, the Hercules family lives in a house with a secret passage to the Sixth Dimension, where Herve Villachez is king, there's a frog servant, and...what the fuck did I just watch? I'm not even going to bother. I've seen some strange-ass movies in my time, but this one walks that fine line of having just enough pretense of a plot to make you think you should be able to follow it. You can't, don't try.
Okay, well the biggest superficial difference is that it's now colorized. In the Q&A, Richard revealed his original plan, before he ran out of money, was to have the Forbidden Zone sequences hand-tinted in the manner of old silent films. He says the new colorized version is the only one he can watch anymore. However, after hearing that my favorite version is the one that only exists in my mind--where the "real world" is black and white and the Forbidden Zone is hand-tinted colors, like some sort of even more demented acid trip version of THE WIZARD OF OZ.

Speaking of which, Richard Elfman also admitted he doesn't do drugs (although I can confirm he drinks.) This actually doesn't surprise me. It in fact reminds me of the Alejandro Jodorowsky quote, "I try to do with cinema what Americans do with recreational drugs." You don't need (recreational) drugs if you already have these images in your head.

I was also surprised to learn Richard Elfman was once part of the Cockettes, the notorious San Francisco drag musical theater group. I don't know if he knows the Thrillpeddlers have been reviving the Cockettes' musicals as part of their Theater of the Absurd. Now I shall fantasize about a Thrillpeddlers Forbidden Zone collaboration.

But, most importantly, I think I started to understand what's going on in the movie. I'm beginning to understand some of the machinations of King Fausto, Queen Doris, Princess Polly, etc. I still don't know what the giant frog-headed servant is about. But I'm becoming convinced that if I watch it enough, it will all make sense. And that scares me. Which is what Holehead is all about. So I guess it's off to a great start!

Total Running Time: 83 minutes
My Total Minutes: 304,965

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