Richard Elfman Talks Forbidden Zone, to Screen this Week at Long Beach Cinematheque!

A chicken boy, a frog butler and a topless princess are only a few of the bizarre characters from film-director Richard Elfman's debut film Forbidden Zone. As the 30th birthday of the cult classic draws near, Elfman teamed up with the Long Beach shadow cast Midnight Insanity and Logan Crow's Long Beach Cinematheque, to deliver an outrageously fun evening that would surely only be found in the "sixth dimension."

OC Weekly: What inspired you to use a shadow cast for Forbidden Zone?

Richard Elfman: Logan Crow the director of Long Beach Cinematheque and he has Mondo Celluloid. It was his idea he's involved with Midnight Insanity, which is the Long Beach Rocky Horror troupe, and so they approached me with it and I immediately loved the idea.

Before the idea of using the shadow cast, were you planning to do an event for Forbidden Zone or did it just happen to come up with Logan?
Logan Crow, yeah. It's just too much fun and I'm going to be performing in the show as well and putting out a bit of a preshow.

How have rehearsals been with Midnight Insanity?
I've had my first rehearsal with them, although I've been to a couple of wild parties with them and I like it. I'm their official grill master. I cook for people that I work and play with... I was very inspired with what I saw at rehearsal last week and I'm going to another rehearsal this Sunday.

What part of Forbidden Zone are you most excited to see shadow-casted?
That's like asking me which baby I like better! What I saw in rehearsal, I was really delighted by the entire cast and all of their performances.

Are you performing only in the preshow or are you part of the shadow cast since I know you make an appearance with the movie?
I'll be in the preshow I'm going to march in with the cast and we're going to carry Princess Polly in like Bride of Kong and I've got some hot Brazilian percussionists from Long Beach group called SambaLa. I'm going to do the actual character that I played in the film, the Jewish Missour, and I'll probably, no not probably, I'm going to do my brother, Danny Elfman's, Devil, so I'm going to do those two numbers.

So then Danny won't be making an appearance?
No, he's in London right now working with Tim Burton. He's working on Frankenweenie.

Is there any reason why you chose the Art Theater to host the event?
It was Logan Crow. We were at the Art Theatre two years ago and had a great time. They have a good wine bar next door and a terrific to die for Mexican restaurant across the street; I think it's called Lola's. It's not your standard for the gringo Mexican food, they have authentic dishes. One of my side things is I write food and wine, and this is something that inspired me so it's like one good fun thing after another. With Midnight Insanity, with the art theatre, with the wine bar next door, and having a great dinner at Lola's right before and after, I'll grill a BBQ for the cast party.

How does it feel knowing that your debut film as a directory thirty years later would have gained such a large following?
It's funny that it's more popular now than when it came out thirty years ago... Yeah, it's actually totally unreal... I had no commercial plans with it or anything like that. I had no idea what was going to happen and it did a short summer of midnight shows. It created a shitstorm because of the political incorrectness. We were banned from the University of Wisconsin and I was at theatres that had arson threats. And then it disappeared and I guess people were sending bootleg VHSs out--I knew nothing about it--and then when I put out a website this was maybe like eight years ago, I got hundreds of thousands of hits from all over the world from that knew the film... I was utterly surprised with how popular it's become. Every month I pretty much get sent to a different city and I've got an auditorium of basically kids who weren't alive when I shot the thing. They know all the words to it. And we're working on Forbidden Zone 2 and but it's like this energizer bunny and as a director I'm very grateful for the fans to kept it alive and that I get to do Forbidden Zone 2 now.

Are you planning to do any publicity stunts like you did when Forbidden Zone was shown at the Chinese Theater?
Oh, you mean marching around the street in a clown suit? For your readers, it's me in a clown suit with a placard on my back marching around banging a big bass drum... I don't think so for this one, this show is going to sell out I think without me marching around the block. That was a much bigger theater and we had it for the whole weekend doing a little retrospective for my films, so that needed a little publicity to draw for the American Cinamateque. 

Lastly, what can fans expect of this event?
Just an outrageously fun evening, that's all. I'll even add a sexy fun evening!

Tickets are $11; show starts at 11:55 p.m. For more information and to purchase tickets for the Forbidden Zone midnight shadow cast screening, visit


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