Jack Slade was born during a solar eclipse in the year 1980. 18 years later, he finds out he has the ability to travel into the future. He projects himself into the year 2035, where society has been destroyed by a fascist regiment of psychopathic doctors that rule the wastelands, creating deformed mutants with a serum synthesized from the flesh of dead aliens. Now Slade must travel back to the year 1998 to destroy a device known as the wavelength generator, which opened the dimensional gateways to these alien beings. With the help of an army of female outlaws and a sleazy detective, Slade re-connects with the star child Khadijah, who holds the key to stopping these tragic events from ever taking place.
Post-apocalyptic spank material—this best encapsulates the essence of The Forbidden Dimensions. This movie functions more like a pure and unbridled expression of cinematic alternative art than as a coherent, linear story. In fact, if you seek coherence, turn back. If you seek a super-stylistic hodgepodge of motifs, music, and genres, then buckle-up and tighten your helmet (as well as your steam punk-tastic goggles).
FD will leave you confused, amazed, and aching from an acid trip you never had. The flashing and provocative imagery swirls and pops sporadically on the screen, overwhelming the unbeknownst viewer. Hard to follow, exciting to ride, pleasant to the sophisticated ear, and dazzling to the bored eye, you will either absolutely adore FD for all it represents, or completely loathe it.
Where to start? It begins with a super-retro computer screen scrolling top to bottom in data clicks reminiscent of the ‘80s. A “Detective Giger” narrates the report describing the decline of civilization. The apocalypse he details rightly earns the definition of absurdity. A mad scientist named “Dr. Schetor” conquers future society with a drug concocted from the toxic flesh of alien beings (though the film fails to explain how Dr. Schetor rose to infinite power). Those affected by the drug have undergone severe (and beautifully grotesque) deformities, banishing them to the ominous-sounding “wasteland sector.” Jack Slade, an S.E.K. (Solar Eclipse Kid) and time warper (who has little to no control over his time warps), along with post-apocalyptic rebel warrior, Khadijah, are the keys to society’s salvation. The report concludes, and thus begins the turbulent roller coaster ride that is The Forbidden Dimensions.
Pink clip-art-esque letters scroll across the screen reading the title, reminiscent of Grand Theft Auto: Vice. It starts on July 4th, 1998; fireworks sparkle and sing behind the cheaply-produced graphics. The scene opens, through a gritty camera perspective, to show a young man in a black suit suffering from bowel pains. He limps to a hotel, where what happens next will throttle your stomach. In classic corn-syrup prosthetic styling, Jack’s belly brutally rips open, revealing two hands that gradually grow to further reveal an actual person emerging from his bloodied innards. Cut to an image of a woman wearing the same suit, putting on his same glasses.
The progression of the movie generally unfolds in this formula, like Jack’s time warps that provide no forewarning and leave him hazed with confusion, so do the scene splices. However, if one faithfully endures the movie in its entirety, you will discover the method to its crazed madness. After the Alien moment, Jack warps to the year 2035, awakening in a ripped shirt, long trench coat, steel-linked necklace, fingerless spiked gloves, googles, leather pants, and clunky combat boots. The few buildings sprawled across this desolate landscape don dangling hooks and chains, their structures reflect a fidelity to the industrial aesthetic, of course, with a heavy post-apocalyptic influence. The industrial music accompanies Jack’s stroll to the “Duct Factory,” and we become immersed in FD’s world.
FD combines the desolation highlighted in its futuristic world with an advanced yet completely crude (and often gruesomely grotesque) technology. The future: where we can implant “reverse embryos”by tearing someone apart limb by limb and then reassemble her or him, yet our keyboards and phones look teleported from the ‘90s.
You do have to admit though, FD used their low-budget in visually exciting and dare I say, innovative ways. It reminds one of the undeniable and endearing charm of home-made sets, similar to show Mystery Science Theater 3000. The invention responsible for society’s bleak demise and surrender to mad scientist Dr. Schetor, “the wavelength generator,” looks constructed from kitchen hardware; the scientist demonstrating the awesome power of this fatalistic device looks like an aged Baby Spice P*rn star. The choices employed in choosing the cast, props, sets, costumes, and camera angles create an artistic and distinctly unique piece tributary to the science fiction and road warrior cinema of old.
The camera approach, with its too up-close and personal angles pressed up against deformed faces, gritting teeth, rolling eye balls, and black gummy teeth brings a bit of Gummo to memory with its emphasis on the grotesque and the visceral rawness of de-glamorized humanity. The end result, a collage of powerful and colorful pictures, translates exactly like a live-action comic. The feel, the style, and brilliant aesthetics all equate to a comic book. Nerds will gleefully gulp this movie; while mainstreamers will scoff and wonder what they had just witnessed.
Despite occasional bad acting (mainly from friend Bill), character introductions that go nowhere, nonsensical scenes and dream sequences, and plot holes, the method to this crazed madness does exist. You see, the movie’s plot is not linear, it’s circular. The beginning returns to the ending; Jack’s tummy ache is explained, Khadijah’s role is revealed, and characters from the past reappear in reality. As mentioned, there is no in-between with this film. You will either adore it or despise it. Despite your opinion, what cannot be denied is the pure creative mind behind it, and the vivid aesthetics that will repulse, allure, and stimulate the eye dulled by our droll existence in mainstream reality.