‘Movie magic’ still baffles and amazes these days. But thanks to astonishing advancements in CGI, filmmakers can easily put anything they want on the screen. Compared to something like King Kong (1933), which celebrates its 90th anniversary this year, modern movies often lack the creative trickery once needed to shock and awe audiences. So when Forbidden Worlds Film Festival returns this May, it will celebrate some of cinema’s most iconic and creative creatures of the past.
Bristol’s biggest genre film festival, which launched last May, returns to the former Bristol IMAX. This year, Forbidden Worlds celebrates pioneering ‘creature creators’ who made some of cinema’s most iconic monsters through the use of stop-motion animation and puppetry work. Alongside cinema’s big ape himself, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958) – which celebrates its 65th anniversary this year and shares King Kong’s stop-motion pioneering duo Willis H. O’Brien and Ray Harryhausen – will screen at this year’s event.
Other special-effects legends honored at this year’s Forbidden World Film Festival, which runs May 18 to 21, includes Stan Winston. The man behind iconic monsters like Jurassic Park’s animatronic dinosaurs, the Alien Queen and the Predator, will be honoured with a screening of James Cameron’s The Terminator (1984). Other films showing include Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990), Starship Troopers (1997), Return to Oz (1985) and a new 2K restoration of the horror Dolls (1987).
“With movies able to create anything in the computer these days, we wanted to celebrate the filmmakers that created some cinema’s most iconic creatures (don’t call them monsters!) through painstaking stop-motion and model work,” said festival director Timon Singh.
“Growing up watching Ray Harryhausen movies made me fall in love with the work of special-effects artists like Stan Winston and Phil Tippett, so it’s great to be able to celebrate their work while watching some of their creations on the biggest screen in the city.”
On top of this, fresh from her Best Actress Oscar win for Everything Everywhere All at Once, Forbidden Worlds Film Festival will also celebrate action legend Michelle Yeoh on the city’s giant 18m x 15m screen. Three Hong Kong action films from earlier in the action legend’s career with special screenings of Royal Warriors (1986), The Heroic Trio (1993), and Police Story 3: Supercop (1992).
“Michelle Yeoh is one of the most brilliant, multi-faceted actors of all time, and I am so excited to be able to spend much of the Forbidden Worlds Film Festival in May celebrating her work,” said Tessa Williams, lead programmer.
“Yeoh once said, ‘They won’t take you seriously because you are a girl. These guys had to understand that you are just as tough as them, and you have to take them on.’ This shines through in all of her performances. She is an absolute icon of the silver screen and it’s going to be a very special few days seeing her up on the former Bristol IMAX screen.”
Delving deep into the video archives of 20th Century Flicks, a host of cult and classic genre films will also play during Forbidden Worlds Film Festival. This includes classic sci-fi horror Invaders from Mars (1953); cult horror Pumpkinhead (1988); John Carpenter’s action classic Assault on Precinct 13 (1976); The Way of the Dragon (1972), the iconic martial arts epic directed by Bruce Lee; Sylvester Stallone’s action spectacular Cliffhanger (1993); cult British sci-fi-horror Prey (1977); and Amsterdamned (1988) that sees a killer terrorise the city of Amsterdam using the city’s canal system.
To see the full line-up head here .