Production and Development History
The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo were formed in late 1972 by Richard Elfman, as a musical theatre troupe. As Richard's interest shifted to filmmaking, he passed leadership of the band to younger brother Danny Elfman, who had begun to lose interest in musical theatre, and had gained interest in other musical styles such as ska, and had become "sick of lugging around so much stuff with the theatre troupe. Towards the end", Elfman remembers, "it was a big production... there was, like a semi full of stuff. And that was becoming burdensome. So, for me, the idea of being a band that can fit all their gear into a van and set up in a club, and an hour later be playing, became a goal." Production on Forbidden Zone began during a transitional period when the group was moving from its cabaret style towards a more pop/rock format; by the time the film was completed, the band had shortened its name to Oingo Boingo.
The film was originally conceived as The Hercules Family, a 16mm musical that consisted of twelve musical numbers and a story loosely constructed around them. But as the project grew to 35mm and the storyline evolved, Richard Elfman found himself re-shooting many of the original scenes to fit the new film. Two sequences from the original 16mm footage were featured on the 2004 DVD release: one of Danny Elfman, as Satan, performing "Minnie the Moocher" (later reshot with visual elements borrowed from the original 16mm sequence and alternate lyrics), and another of Marie-Pascale Elfman, singing "Johnny". The sequence with Elfman as Satan, and members of the Oingo Boingo as his minions, came from live shows, in which the band would perform Cab Calloway tunes like "St. James Infirmary Blues" in the same costumes.
Marie-Pascale Elfman, at the time of shooting, was married to director Richard Elfman. She designed the film's expressionistic sets and starred in the film. Actor and former Mystic Knight Gene Cunningham helped fund the film. When Cunningham and Elfman ran out of money during production, Richard and Marie-Pascale Elfman helped finance the movie by selling houses, before Carl Borack put money into the production in order for Elfman to complete the film. According to Elfman, he had originally intended the film to be screened in color, stating that the original plan was to ship the film to China, where each frame would be hand-tinted, but that this plan was not practical within the production costs.
Read more about this topic: Forbidden Zone
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