Forbidden Adventure/Review

From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

< Forbidden Adventure

The film opens with a professor who's about to show fellow colleagues some completed and newly edited film footage of a group of expedition travelers who are no longer alive. The expedition duo had set out to find the mythical ruins of "Angkor" in Cambodia. Angkor is a site which was run by apes who had conquered humans and have since been worshipped by the natives for the following centuries. As the duo set out for their journey (Remember, they're already deceased as this footage is being watched) the travelers then began shooting and killing just about every animal they come across... Wait a minute, are we watching Cannibal Holocaust? Nope, but this might as well be looked at as one of the first mockumentaries or some sort of precursor to the Mondo genre that had been generated in the Roadshow revue (With a helping hand from none other than Dwain Esper)

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As for the movie itself, it's an oddity for sure. Featuring plenty of authentic travelogue sequences in the early going. And then having the fictional 2nd half of the film to be shot in a canyon in Los Angeles, along with plenty of other pieces from various jungle films spliced together all throughout. Quite an interesting sight to absorb indeed! Though the cheap setting of the Los Angeles hills is nothing new. Wait til you hear about the extras! Get a load of this...In the story, native men are forbidden to venture into the Angkor ruins, so instead, the native women are forced to accompany the expedition duo on their quest. It's likely this decision was made just so you could have a dozen topless women appear onscreen. To make matters more bizarre and exploitive, it's since been revealed that the women are all played by prostitutes from an L.A. brothel! And who said things in the 1930's were squeaky clean? Only in the roadshow business, my friend. Only in the roadshow.

As the movie winds down, our duo eventually finds the Angkor ruins and discovers the secret (Or so they think?) about the legend of the monkey/ape worship that's practiced by the natives. And to tell you the truth, even I had no idea what the secret was all about. Something about a human prince who disguised himself as an ape but got killed by humans. But then one of the apes that's stalking the duo might or might not be a Buddhist king in disguise? I don't know. I was just lost by this point. But one thing that did catch me by surprise was that our duo didn't obtain any superiority when they were done with their quest in the jungle. Normally in these types of jungle films from this era, the white man always has to prevail over the "primitive" powers. But in this case, the poor saps are just sent home with no major rewards to bring back. So it's nice to see a change like that for once. Again, stuff like that is only to be found on the roadshow, I suppose.

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So, as you can probably tell, this was one of the groundbreaking classics of the roadshow circuit thanks to its wild array of genre-bending thanks to its different film sources and its risk-taking subject matter (Which include animal violence,nudity--and hints of--bestiality) Though slow in ceratin parts, all in all, this is must-see material for those who wanted to know what the stepping stones to contemporary exploitation cinema was. By the way, notice that at the top of the review when I said that the the travelers had died. Yes, they had died. But don't worry, they weren't devoured by cannibals.

Reviewed by Laydback

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