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HISTORY

The following prologue precedes opening credits: “Friday, April 17, 4 p.m., Venice, California: Huckleberry P. Jones, local pimp, narcotics peddler, and slum-lord, was seen entering a vacant house that he owned. While stashing some heroin in the basement, he stumbled upon a mysterious door. Naturally he entered…Only to find [the forbidden zone in the sixth dimension]…Jones retrieved the heroin and promptly sold the place." After opening credits, a title card reads, “One month later, the Hercules family moved in.”
       The cast member known as “Ugh-Fudge Bwana” is identified as Gene Cunningham on the Internet Movie Data Base (IMDB). One of Toshiro Boloney's Henderson twin characters is listed as "René" in opening credits, and "Renee" in end credits.
       The following acknowledgment appears in end credits: “Special thanks to: Jack Pill – Tech Camera.”
       A 18 Aug 1982 LAHExam article reported that producer-director-screenwriter Richard Elfman took inspiration for the film from three sources. The "Hercules" family was patterned after Elfman’s former next-door neighbors, a working class family that enjoyed life’s carnal pleasures, screamed as their main source of communication, and were primarily interested in instant gratification. Similarly, executive producer Gene Cunningham had neighbors originally from Arkansas, who were often drunk in a household where screaming, hitting and kicking took place. Elfman decided he would use these interactions as a starting point as he explored the human condition. Elfman claimed that he was also influenced by the following films: Airplane! (1980, see entry), Porky’s (1982, see entry), Dr. Strangelove (1964, see entry), and Grease (1978, see entry).
       According to a 13 Oct 1977 HR news item, principal photography began late ... More Less

The following prologue precedes opening credits: “Friday, April 17, 4 p.m., Venice, California: Huckleberry P. Jones, local pimp, narcotics peddler, and slum-lord, was seen entering a vacant house that he owned. While stashing some heroin in the basement, he stumbled upon a mysterious door. Naturally he entered…Only to find [the forbidden zone in the sixth dimension]…Jones retrieved the heroin and promptly sold the place." After opening credits, a title card reads, “One month later, the Hercules family moved in.”
       The cast member known as “Ugh-Fudge Bwana” is identified as Gene Cunningham on the Internet Movie Data Base (IMDB). One of Toshiro Boloney's Henderson twin characters is listed as "René" in opening credits, and "Renee" in end credits.
       The following acknowledgment appears in end credits: “Special thanks to: Jack Pill – Tech Camera.”
       A 18 Aug 1982 LAHExam article reported that producer-director-screenwriter Richard Elfman took inspiration for the film from three sources. The "Hercules" family was patterned after Elfman’s former next-door neighbors, a working class family that enjoyed life’s carnal pleasures, screamed as their main source of communication, and were primarily interested in instant gratification. Similarly, executive producer Gene Cunningham had neighbors originally from Arkansas, who were often drunk in a household where screaming, hitting and kicking took place. Elfman decided he would use these interactions as a starting point as he explored the human condition. Elfman claimed that he was also influenced by the following films: Airplane! (1980, see entry), Porky’s (1982, see entry), Dr. Strangelove (1964, see entry), and Grease (1978, see entry).
       According to a 13 Oct 1977 HR news item, principal photography began late Oct 1977 in Los Angeles, CA. The LAHExam stated that the film had “no budget” and all the costs incurred came from post-production. Hervé Villechaize was the only actor, who received a salary. Elfman said that investors, suppliers, and distribution costs would be paid first. Beyond that, he suggested that if the film earned more than $68 million, he might make some money.
       Filming took place on a sound stage during a twenty-one day schedule that was spread over ten months, including several weeks with animator John Muto working on the film in a garage. Elfman’s wife, actress Marie-Pascale Elfman, and Hervé Villechaize worked together to design and paint paper sets.
       A 16-22 Jul 1982 LA Weekly movie review described the picture as “a two-hour Betty Boop cartoon with people.”
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Hollywood Reporter
13 Oct 1977.
---
LA Weekly
16-22 Jul 1982.
---
LAHExam
18 Aug 1982
pp. 1, 4.
Variety
26 Mar 1980
p. 24.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Carl Borack Presents
A Film By Richard Elfman
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
Addl asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
Assoc prod
Asst prod
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam/ Addl op
2d asst cam
Gaffer
Best boy
2d elec
Dolly grip
Key grip
Key grip
2d grip
Anim still photog
Photo finishing
ART DIRECTORS
Story boards
Des consultant
Graphic consultant
Graphic consultant
FILM EDITORS
SET DECORATORS
Set des
Const supv
Set const
Set const
Set const
Prop mistress
Asst props
Asst props
COSTUMES
Frog cost
Cost mistress
Cost mistress
Asst cost mistress
Seamstress
MUSIC
Orig mus
Mus supv
Musicologist
Mus rec studios
Mus rec studios, Spectrum Studios
Mus rec studios
Mus rec studios, Backroom Recorders
Mus rec studios
Mus rec studios
Mus rec studios, Redhouse Recording Studio
Orig music performed by
SOUND
Sd ed
Foley artist
Foley artist
Sd rec
Sd rec
Boom op
Post prod re-rec and mixing
VISUAL EFFECTS
Title artist
Spec eff rigging & explosion
Photo rotos
Opt house
Opt house
Opt house
Opt house
Opt house
DANCE
Choreog
Addl dance seqs
MAKEUP
Makeup
Makeup
Asst makeup
Asst makeup
Asst makeup
Asst makeup
Asst makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr supv
Scr supv
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
ANIMATION
Anim seqs by
Anim asst
Anim asst
Anim asst
Anim asst
Anim asst
Anim asst
Anim asst
Anim cam
Anim cam
Anim cam
Anim cam, Lumeni Productions
Anim cam, Lumeni Productions
Anim cam, Lumeni Productions
Anim cam
Anim cam, M. G. M.
SOURCES
SONGS
“Witch’s Egg,” composed by George Mishalsky, Susan Tyrrell, produced by Loren-Paul Caplin
“Some Of These Days,” composed by Shelton Brooks, vocal by Cab Calloway, courtesy of M. C. A., Inc.
“La Petite Tonkinoise,” composed by V. Scotto Christiné Villard, vocal by Josephine Baker, courtesy Pathé Marconi EMI
+
SONGS
“Witch’s Egg,” composed by George Mishalsky, Susan Tyrrell, produced by Loren-Paul Caplin
“Some Of These Days,” composed by Shelton Brooks, vocal by Cab Calloway, courtesy of M. C. A., Inc.
“La Petite Tonkinoise,” composed by V. Scotto Christiné Villard, vocal by Josephine Baker, courtesy Pathé Marconi EMI
“Bim Bam Boom,” composed by Nino Morales, and Johnny Comacho, vocal by Miguelito Valdez, courtesy of M. C. A. Inc.
“Pleure,” composed by Jerôme Savary, vocals by Marie-Pascale Elfman
“Pico And Sepulveda,” composed by Eddie Maxwell and Jule Styne, performed by Felix Figueroa and His Orchestra, vocal by The Boulevard Stoppers, courtesy of Freddy Martin
“Minnie The Moocher,” composed by Calloway Mills, lyrics by D. Elfman, performed by The Oingo Boingo, produced by Loren Paul Caplin
“Yiddishe Charleston,” composed by Rose Fischer
“Grand Finale,” performed by The Oingo Boingo, composed by D. Elfman, additional lyrics by R. Elfman, and Nicholas James, arranged by Steve Bartek.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Forbidden Zone
Release Date:
15 March 1980
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 15 March 1980
Production Date:
late October 1977--late August 1978 in Los Angeles, CA
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
80
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In Venice, California, the Hercules family buys a cottage formerly owned by a drug dealer named Huckleberry P. Jones. Inside, Susan B. “Frenchy” Hercules announces it is time for school, but Ma Hercules asks her son, Flash Hercules, to restrain Gramps Hercules with a rope before he leaves so Gramps does not wander into the “Forbidden Zone.” When Frenchy wants to know more, Flash explains that their friend Squeezit Henderson’s twin, cross-dressing brother, René, entered the zone, a proverbial sixth dimension, through a mysterious door located in their basement, and never came back. Frenchy is intrigued, but Pa warns her not go through the door. What Frenchy has yet to realize is that the forbidden zone is filled with anonymous troubadours, a dancing servant frog named Bust Rod, Queen Doris, whipped bare-breasted harem girls, and King Fausto, playing his horn. Soon, Frenchy and Flash talk to Squeezit in a trash can on the school grounds. Squeezit reveals that he had a vision the night before of René playing the harpsichord for King Fausto. As René entertained King Fausto and Queen Doris, the king walked across the long table, separating them to admire his queen. Meanwhile, René switched songs, and the royal servant, Bust Rod, sliced off his ear and ate it. As René cried and held his bleeding ear, Squeezit lost consciousness. Frenchy and Flash run off to class, and Squeezit follows. The teacher quiets her students by firing a machine gun in the air, and asks Squeezit to lead the pledge of alliance. Squeezit jumps on the teacher’s desk and utters a few grunts. Next, the teacher introduces Frenchy as a new student, and ... +


In Venice, California, the Hercules family buys a cottage formerly owned by a drug dealer named Huckleberry P. Jones. Inside, Susan B. “Frenchy” Hercules announces it is time for school, but Ma Hercules asks her son, Flash Hercules, to restrain Gramps Hercules with a rope before he leaves so Gramps does not wander into the “Forbidden Zone.” When Frenchy wants to know more, Flash explains that their friend Squeezit Henderson’s twin, cross-dressing brother, René, entered the zone, a proverbial sixth dimension, through a mysterious door located in their basement, and never came back. Frenchy is intrigued, but Pa warns her not go through the door. What Frenchy has yet to realize is that the forbidden zone is filled with anonymous troubadours, a dancing servant frog named Bust Rod, Queen Doris, whipped bare-breasted harem girls, and King Fausto, playing his horn. Soon, Frenchy and Flash talk to Squeezit in a trash can on the school grounds. Squeezit reveals that he had a vision the night before of René playing the harpsichord for King Fausto. As René entertained King Fausto and Queen Doris, the king walked across the long table, separating them to admire his queen. Meanwhile, René switched songs, and the royal servant, Bust Rod, sliced off his ear and ate it. As René cried and held his bleeding ear, Squeezit lost consciousness. Frenchy and Flash run off to class, and Squeezit follows. The teacher quiets her students by firing a machine gun in the air, and asks Squeezit to lead the pledge of alliance. Squeezit jumps on the teacher’s desk and utters a few grunts. Next, the teacher introduces Frenchy as a new student, and she sings a French song. During her performance, Johnny and Billy, a couple of card-playing students, get into a fight. When Johnny shoots Billy to death, he tells the teacher that Billy was cheating. As the teacher orders Johnny to see the principal, a gun battle erupts between student and teacher, then Johnny takes Frenchy as a hostage. However, Frenchy is bored and goes home. There, Ma tells her to play. As Frenchy’s curiosity grows, she wanders into the forbidden zone, and down an elongated slide that resembles a large intestine. She lands in a room with a dice-patterned carpet, and follows the sound of singing to another room where two boxers are standing in the middle of a miniature boxing ring, They punch the air with their boxing gloves in rhythm to salsa-styled music, and are soon joined by a singing referee wearing Mickey Mouse ears and the dancing Bust Rod. Suddenly, the princess of the sixth dimension appears and announces that Frenchy must meet her parents, Fausto and Doris. Frenchy appears before the king and queen, who lounge on a mountain of dice. Fausto orders Bust Rod to take Frenchy to cell 63, where his favorite concubines reside. There, Frenchy is chained to the wall, but meets René, who notices that Fausto is attracted to Frenchy, and reveals that the queen is mean, but he respects her. As Frenchy sings French songs, Fausto watches her through his telescope. However, Doris catches her husband spying on his new prisoner, and chases him away. In a jealous rage, Doris wants to know what Fausto finds so interesting about Frenchy. He confesses that she is French, which means she belongs to the master race like him. Then, Fausto comforts Doris, and they make love on top of the dining table. Later, Frenchy wants to know why she is being held prisoner, and Fausto tells her it is to protect her from being tortured or executed by Queen Doris. When Frenchy admires his painting of sadomasochistic lesbian lovers, Fausto seduces her. Later, Flash leaves school and recruits Gramps to help rescue Frenchy. They enter the forbidden zone, and meet the moneychanger, an old Yiddish man. When he finds out they are looking for Frenchy, he tells them if the queen discovers the affair between Frenchy and the king, she will be killed. Flash pays the Yiddish man for a plan to rescue Frenchy. As Flash and Gramps search, the queen’s servant captures them. When the queen becomes aware that Flash knows she is jealous of Frenchy, she banishes the grandfather and grandson to the royal septic tank. Meanwhile, the queen plans to torture Frenchy, who declares that the queen does not scare her. The princess is about to attack Frenchy with an electrically charged cattle prod when the fuse blows. Meanwhile, Gramps, a former professional wrestler, breaks out of the septic tank. He and Flash return to the sixth dimension, and are attacked by a bear. Flash is thrown and lands in a cell with a bitter ex-queen who wants to overthrow Queen Doris. They escape from her cell using Flash’s propeller beanie. Elsewhere, an explosion at Pa Hercules’ job at the La Brea tar pits transports him to the forbidden zone. There, Bust Rod chases him and Pa Hercules is locked away in a cell. Soon, Flash discovers his father and promises to rescue him, but his father tells him not to bother. Life is the same whether he is there or back home. As their search continues, Flash is taken hostage at the Human Pet Resource Center. Gramps beats up a human pet and steals its food, then Flash appears dazed and beaten. Flash tries to rouse Gramps, but he is more interested in eating. Flash telephones Squeezit, and convinces him to rescue his friends. Upon entering the zone, Squeezit is captured and taken to meet Satan. The devil demands that Squeezit bring him the princess. When Squeezit complies, Satan decapitates him and takes the princess hostage. Meanwhile, Queen Doris orders Bust Rod to spy on the king, while a servant gives her a massage. When the masseur serenades her, she does not like his singing and vaporizes him with her laser gun. Soon, the king releases Frenchy and René from the dungeon, but Bust Rod recaptures them, and Squeezit’s decapitated head delivers the news to the king. In the dungeon, Queen Doris threatens to torture Frenchy, but she is not afraid. The ex-queen appears and starts a catfight with Queen Doris, but is tossed into a deep canyon. Ma Hercules wanders into the scene, sees her son unconscious, and shoots Queen Doris dead. Fausto tosses the queen’s dead body into the canyon, and makes Frenchy his new consort. There is dancing and celebrating as a new era begins in the forbidden zone. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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