A quick swing by Germany for us this time to take a quick peek at the trippy horror fantasy “The Forbidden Girl”, just newly released to Region 2 DVD. Weirdly enough… for a German made movie with an all German cast never released theatrically anywhere outside of the country… it’s originally done completely in English language!! Yep… shades of “Modus Anomali”, eh? Well… whatever the reason behind it… that’s definitely a “win-win” in this wee kitten’s book. 😉
The synopsis goes along these lines: “The Forbidden Girl” tells the story of Toby McClift, the teenage son of a fanatical pastor who becomes addicted to an irresistible witch… the spitting image of his first love, stolen away from him during an eerie encounter years before that drove him mad and caused his confinement to a lunatic asylum. Madness or magic? Which explanation is the real truth for Toby and if he gives in to her temptation, will he be forever doomed to eternal life on the Dark Side? Dare he risk it all… for the eternal love of the Forbidden Girl?”
Oooohhh!! Now we’re talking. A nifty lil’ foreign horror story with witches, and demons and romance for me…. and all done up in easily accessable English language for my sweetie. What more could this wee Catgirl want for a cool autumn “Movie Night” on the couch? Well OK… maybe some nibbly lil’ treats to distract Ting-Ting, but I can’t really think of too much more that might make it all perfect. 😉
So… don’t just sit there… by all means “Read On” and find out how it went down, o’ Gentle Visitor!! 🙂
Yep… this one almost managed to tip-toe right past me. I’d heard not a peep about it at all till encountering it during a visit to Amazon Germany not too long back. At first I sorta thought it was a Region 2 release of an American film, what with the English Audio being the primary language and all, but nope. After watching the Trailer, it turned out somebody in Germany just thought they’d do a horror movie completely in English just for the sheer heck of it, and then dub it back into German for release theatrically over there. OK….. I suppose weirder notions have happened before, but then who is this wee lady to complain. 😉
So what the heck is is about? Well, here goes. Our story starts off by introducing us to young Toby McClift (played by Peter Gadiot). His dad is one of those nut-case fundamentalist preachers (played by Roger Tebb) who sees Sin lurking just about everywhere. Not to worry though… he’s got just the solution to that particular problem. All he needs to do is ruthlessly indoctrinate his son with all his crazy notions and threaten him with all sorts of apocalyptic doom should he consider doing any of the stuff an ordinary healthy young boy might want to do with his life. Like find himself a sweet girlfriend and fall in love…. After all… we all know what falling in love probably leads to…. 😉
And despite his father’s tyrannically obsessive control, he manages to do just that, sneaking off for a romantic lil’ tryst to the nearby cemetery with cute potential girlfriend Kathy (played by Jytte-Merle Böhrnsen). Unfortunately… before they can actually get around to any sinfully sweet lovin’, dear old Dad catches them together. Think that’s bad enough? How about if a crazy shadowy thing shows up, rips dear old dad’s head off, and drags Kathy away screaming for help while you are helpless to prevent any of it? Enough to drive a guy insane, right? Oh, yeah… for certain.
Yep… so for the next few years our hero spends his time at the lunatic asylum where nobody believes his story about demons killing his dad and carrying off Kathy who knows where. Most people think he was the killer…. and given that, it’s downright odd when the doctors all of a sudden decide to pronounce him cured, give him a prescription for some anti-psychotics, pat him on the head, and send him along on his merry way without supervision to seek some kind of life for himself. Naturally the first thing anybody with that kind of “colorful” back-story wants to do is go waaaay out in the middle of nowhere to a creepy Gothic mansion and get a position as a private tutor for a housebound girl with a freaky skin disorder that makes her catch fire if she ever come into direct sunlight. Hmmmm? Part of some new 12 step therapy, perhaps?
Now here’s where our film starts going strange…. not that the beginning stuff was all that normal, mind you. The house… an impossibly Gothic looking half castle, half mansion the like of which could never be found here in the US… is owned by a wealthy reclusive woman, Lady Wallace (played by Jeanette Hain), who is confined to her bed, ravaged by age and looking like she’s just about one step shy of the grave. Despite his background… and despite the ominous dislike and aggressively threatening reaction to Toby shown by her single manservant, Mortimer (played by Klaus Tange)… he’s accepted into the position of tutor to Laura, her niece. On a trial basis, of course…
Not surprisingly, Laura (also played by Jytte-Merle Böhrnsen) turns out to be the spitting image of Toby’s lost love Kathy. She’s strange, childlike, and fey and naturally doesn’t recognize Toby at all, even though he’s convinced it’s truly her, despite her denials. It becomes his obsession to prove it against all common sense and despite the very real threats by Mortimer to consider Laura “Forbidden” or else suffer violent punishment.
Toby ignores all that…. otherwise there wouldn’t be much of a movie now would there? We get lots of enigmatic weirdness thrown at us as he tries to re-awaken Kathy’s memories in Laura. All that along with the occasional appearance of an odd little silent man… who might be a ghost… or who might not… that only he seems able to see. Lady Wallace and Mortimer seem to know all about that guy, but we never do get any explanation of just who he is or what he really wants. The shadow thing keeps prowling about…. following Toby wherever he goes. Mortimer turns out to be some sort of monster in human guise linked in a sexual relationship with Lady Wallace, who begins to grow younger and more vital as things progress and an ominous Lunar eclipse approaches. Ahhhh yes…. and Toby’s dead ol’ dad starts making the odd appearance from beyond the grave. Perhaps time to check the dosage schedule on those anti-psychotic pills, eh?
Certainly by this point in the movie you’d be wondering that too… as much of the look of the film has started to take on a vibrant over-saturated look and features elements that seem far more dreamlike than real, leaving both yours truly as well as my sweet Carolyn wondering whether or not all this would turn out to be just a hallucination in poor tortured Toby’s mind. Expect things to clear up and start making sense as we approach the climax of our story? Then maybe you might want a few of those “happy pills” for your very own, cause it doesn’t happen. Nope, not at all.
Here’s where you get your “Spoiler Alert”… so don’t say this wee lady didn’t warn ya. 😉
All Toby’s futile struggles to free Laura and escape from the mansion build to a fever pitch as that Lunar eclipse finally arrives. Lady Wallace has rejuvenated back to her full sexy self. Toby battles the monstrous Mortimer only to end up the centerpiece of some sort of Satanic ceremony in which he and Laura finally consummate their mutually frustrated sexual desires for each other atop an dark altar in a ménage à trois with Lady Wallace witnessed by five odd characters (also never named or adequately explained) that just sorta “show up” for our finale. The unholy power of Evil blows a hole through the moon… (No kidding!… Actually blows a hole through the freaking moon)…. sending eerie energy pulsing through our climaxing lovers and then….. Toby wakes up. Huh? What?
Laura/ Kathy is gone. Where she went we’ll never know… and Toby, now inexplicably wearing the white suit of our odd little ghost guy, finds himself a disembodied spirit trapped in the empty mansion alone while Lady Wallace and Mortimer, looking all normal, romantic, and happy walk off into the proverbial sunset to enjoy their life together far from the mansion.
Say what? Yep. No kidding folks. That’s our ending. Strange… confusing… and not all that particularly coherent. Was Laura ever real? What the heck happened to her? Was Toby sacrificed to give Lady Wallace and her demon lover their freedom? Was that what happened to that other little guy at some point in the past? Does this mean it’s going to happen again somewhere down the line to some other poor idiot? Heck if me or Carolyn know. 😦
That’s a shame too. Because overall, “The Forbidden Girl” is one darn awesomely pretty film with some gorgeously dreamy imagery and a basic idea that belongs in a Gothic novel with a real promise of something different. I can’t hate this film. But neither can I really say I like it either. It’s just too darn strange and surreal for me to understand it well enough for that. It’s like a really pretty cookie that smells wonderful but somehow doesn’t end up tasting wonderful once you’ve eaten it.
My confusion and my lingering questions just continue to leave me unsatisfied at the end of it all. Given that, I can truthfully only give “The Forbidden Girl” a paltry 2 “Meows” out of 5. There’s some good stuff here, but you need a lot more than some good acting, nice effects, and a few neat ideas strung together to make a story work and this one just doesn’t have that going for it. Oh well. Sometime genre films are just plain weird… 😉
The German Region 2 DVD is at least top-notch with that original English Audio as well as a dubbing into German. It’s widescreen… but thankfully not in 3D as was the theatrical release. Should you want a look for yourself, I imagine it will eventually pop up in most English speaking countries on a domestic DVD for those curious enough to want to see it. If despite this wee Catgirl’s rather lackluster reaction, you just can’t wait that long, the German DVD will set you back around 20$ US over at Amazon Germany or eBay.
For your perusal and pleasure, here’s the International Trailer for this one… in English language audio, yay!! 😉