Dispatches From Forbidden Worlds: Day 2

Forbidden Worlds Film Fest Day 2 brings in the good, the mad, and the ugly

Forbidden Worlds Film Festival was still kicking, and after a wonderful start it was onto day 2, with yet more fantastic film deep in the heart of Bristol!

The Secret of NIMH

An image from The Secret of NIMH shows Mrs Brisby, an animated anthropomorphic mouse, looking toward Nicodemus, an anthropomorphic rat with glowing yellow eyes and spindly limbs. Nicodemus points to the left as Brisby bows her head in fear

No bones about it, The Secret of NIMH is a film more kids need to see. Up there with The Last Unicorn and The Black Cauldron in terms of oft-forgotten animation classics, Bluth’s film is tender, sweet, and a feast for the eyes. And that gorgeous animation looms large in IMAX, so big and spectacular the sights and sounds, so ferocious the beasts of NIMH, so splendid the magic. It’s remarkable, as is the cozy community environment of shared joy and childish fear. NIMH is heartfelt and charming, surprisingly adult- death and illness are real challenges, blood is shed, our main character exists around that, in the mud and the dirt. It’s a story that only a mother could be so central to: one where joy is found not despite the hardships of life, but because of them. It’s wonderful to see that so significantly, in such a community space. 

(A History of 3-D Cinema. I could not attend this as my partial sight does not allow me to see 3-D films)

The Challenge

An image from The Challenge shows Rick (Scott Glenn) and Sensei Yoshida (Toshiba Mifune) each holding their weapons, an assault rifle and a katana respectively on either side of an elevator, ready to strike

I had no idea what to expect walking into The Challenge, a dumb action movie I supposed, something fun but not huge, silly but not much more. It’s with great regret, then, that I inform you that The Challenge f*cking RULES. Maybe one of the best sincerely bad films I’ve ever seen, The Challenge ticks every box of the orientalist white-saviour action schlockbuster… and yet somehow has more heart, sincerity, and (awkward, underresearched) respect than any of its ilk. A fish out of water story starring Scott Glenn as American Rick who must help recover a sword from a criminal gang, the film is extremely funny, never not cool, and dominated by the immaculate Toshiro Mifune. B-Action is rarely so charming. An eager audience and a little to drink made this a wonderfully buck wild experience.


An image from Poltergeist shows a spectral hand reaching out of TV static in a dark room toward Carol Anne (Heather O’Rourke)

In his introduction, Ad Murray from the Bristol Black Horror Club made clear just how difficult it is to write about Poltergeist, because it contains multitudes. And he is, of course, right.

Poltergeist is a BIG film, and seeing it on a massive screen makes the experience so much wilder. I envy people seeing it this way for the first time, the scale of the thing is so much grander than the subtle spooks the title implies- so blockbuster, so Spielbergian, so brilliantly effortlessly ambitious. A film about a storm (the perfect storm, American exceptionalism colliding with the chaos of the early 80s in a cavalcade of pain and rage), one that in IMAX explodes with all the brutality and terror of the wildest tempest. It makes for an utterly brilliant time, the ur-horror-cinema experience. Utterly phenomenal.

Basket Case

An image from Basket Case shows Duane (Kevin Van Hentenryck) sitting with his back against an open bathroom door, looking to Belial, a fleshy blob with a human face and deformed hands, who is sitting atop an open toilet bowl

Oh, you filthy little monster you…

I never thought I’d see Basket Case in IMAX. I will never forget seeing Basket Case in IMAX. Truly a masterpiece in terrible cinema, Basket Case is one of my favourite films, and sits in that warm wet place in my heart reserved for dearly beloved cinema and oddly satisfying surgery footage. Basket Case is filthy and gorgeous. I am bound in it’s stunning muck. It’s made with such care, odd idiosyncrasies which stuck out on the big screen—from Casey’s love of smiley-face everything to Kevin Van Hentenryck’s athletic miming, writhing with his basket.

This is art, rubbery, nasty art. And I’m so genuinely proud to be surrounded by people who adore it, and are upset by it, as much as I am.

And thus day 2 came to an end, in the bright of the theatre, mingling with others, stunned by the ecstatic energy of having seen some of the biggest, best, and nastiest films of the festival. But more was to come on the final day.

Forbidden Worlds Film Festival ran from 13th-15th May 2022. Follow them on Twitter for more updates!

Written by Riley Wade

Riley is an academic and writer based out of the East of England. They spend their time writing about queer bodies, filthy horror films, and monstrous gender. You can find most of their work on

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