Plot: The Forbidden promises us an excursion across the world, to delight us with the yes, forbidden pleasures of the flesh. While most mondo movies tend to exaggerate the content and travel involved, this one takes that premise to new heights, reusing both locations and even on screen talent. So even as the movie tells us we are in London, we see the same people and slightly altered locations, letting us know even the producers aren’t concerned with the illusion. This journey takes mostly to peer in on strippers, but also preaches the value of self defense, spins a murder mystery yarn, and moralizes to us the entire time.
Entertainment Value: This is one of the stranger mondo movies I’ve seen and given the wild genre involved, that says a lot about The Forbidden. The film isn’t content with just taking us to various locales to soak in local sleaze, instead it weaves a bizarre and often ridiculous web of vignettes. An entire section is devoted to what starts as a mind bruising public service announcement about letting rapists into your house, but quickly turns in a low rent martial arts infomercial. This proves to be an awkward, but hilarious turn of events that veers off the mondo movie formula, into sheer lunacy and to me, that earns the movie some points. As if that wasn’t enough, The Forbidden also includes a random murder mystery narrative at one point, so even if you’re not a big mondo fan, perhaps these oddities might be of interest. Of course, the movie also trucks out some of the more expected elements, such as strippers and other sexual delights, though again, with some off the wall twists. The strippers include Nazis, virginal nymphs, and yes, we are taken inside a stripper delivery service of sorts. I had fun with The Forbidden, as it takes some inexplicable risks that pay off and the total lack of effort to be believable just adds to the good times, I think.
This wild ride packs a lot of bare breasts into a short duration, so in just over an hour, a lot of boobs are on showcase. This includes the tits of virgins, Nazi knockers, the jugs of those in need of karate lessons, and assorted other mammary wonders, shown often and in great detail. These breasts are revealed as part of a cultural education of course, so keep that in mind. You might think the presence of a murder mystery and some martial arts mayhem means ample violence, but aside from some footage of an actual riot, there isn’t much to talk about in this department. But given the overall tone of The Forbidden, the lack of bloodshed isn’t an issue. The narration is often fun on these mondo movies, but The Forbidden is a goldmine in this area. Our trusty narrator unleashes a constant flow of moralizing and spinning the on screen sleaze into justified cultural studies, which adds so much entertainment value. I have to think some will find the narration to be beyond annoying, but I found it to be hilarious and a definite positive. As for craziness, we have the outlandish narrator, lesbian initiations, Nazi strippers, a commercial for karate lessons, strange short films inserted for whatever reason, and more, so this one earns some points.
Overall Insanity: 7/10
The Disc: Severin Films has released The Forbidden on Blu-ray, as part of a mondo double feature with Ecco. The Forbidden has been given a new scan sourced from the only known existing 35mm print and while it still looks rough around the edges, this is a considerable improvement over Something Weird’s old DVD. And in truth, a pristine visual treatment would lose some of the movie’s backroom charm, as the shady look helps with the forbidden atmosphere. The extras includes I Want More, a mondo related short film, producer David Goldstein’s memories of Bob Cresse, and the theatrical trailer for Ecco.