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THE WESTWOOD DIGEST

Writing by Emma Westwood. Most likely about movies, monsters, cinematic events and other wild trips. Words should go down nice and easy.

Stacy Keach is one of the kind strangers

What do you do in a 10-minute interview with one of the greatest actors of our time? You ask him about his role as private eye Mike Hammer and a lesser known made-for-TV movie from 1974, All the Kind Strangers.

That’s what I did when I spoke to Stacy Keach for Diabolique...

Note: Via Vision has released Mickey Spillane’s The New Mike Hammer The Series (1986) for the first time on DVD.

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Cinemaniacs Presents Prophecy

On Saturday 17th March 2018, I get to introduce John Frankenheimer’s little-screened eco-monster thriller, Prophecy, at the Backlot Studios in Melbourne.

Following the screening, I will be hosting a panel featuring a menagerie of experts – Lee Gambin, Clem Bastow and Christian McCrea – discussing the subject of bears in cinema. And that’s not human bears but actual bears with claws and fur all over them.

I highly doubt there’s been a screening and panel anywhere in the world quite like this one.

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Cinemaniacs Presents: “All of Them Witches” – The Devil in ’60s and ’70s Cinema

With the launch of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival’s program for 2018, I can now divulge that I’ll be participating in a special panel discussion, All of Them Witches, that promises to be a helluva lot of devilish fun.

Hosted by Hande Noyan and presented by Melbourne’s prolific Cinemaniacs team, this panel consists of Lee Gambin, Sally Christie and I, and runs as a partner event to the documentary Mansfield 66/67, which screens the night before.

We’ll be showing clips and imagery, running through a cauldron of films and putting forward our theories as to why Hollywood was so enamoured with the Church of Satan and pretty much everything satanic in the 1960s and 1970s.

Book your tickets or go to hell.

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Women’s Stories Aren’t Told in Laos: An Interview with Mattie Do

Mattie Do is a pioneer. She is one of very few filmmakers in Laos, and she is her country’s first female horror filmmaker. She also may have secured Laos’ first ever nomination for an Oscar with her second film, Dearest Sister.

Alexandra Heller-Nicholas from Senses of Cinema commissioned me to write a piece on Mattie Do and – 8,000 words of interviewing later, faithfully transcribed by the always awesome Faith Everardthis piece came into being.

While this article is half the length of the actual interview, it is, hopefully, one that manages to capture Mattie accurately in her own words, as well as the big things she’s doing with some small films that are light years away from Hollywood.

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Hell is for Hyphenates: Roman Polanski

Stepping up for the November 2017 episode of Hell is for Hyphenates was… shall we say… intimidating.

We’d laboured over my selection of the films of Roman Polanski for almost a year and, within that year, Polanski as a contentious topic had only got more contentious and more dangerous with the likes of #metoo gaining momentum.

But we decided to do it anyway. And we decided to debate the concept of separating art from the artist. Can it be done? Should it be done?

What resulted was a full-throttle episode of Hell is for Hyphenates that went for 2.5 hours and, miraculously, Lee Zachariah edited down to a sharp one hour that rockets along at the speed of light, and includes a few contemporary film reviews as well.

I cannot thank Lee and Rochelle Siemienowicz enough for putting their trust in me for what could have been a complete car crash. I feel very proud of the result, and I urge you to listen to Hell is for Hyphenates every month because it is an excellent podcast.

Click on the link below to listen, and click on this link to read the fantastic show notes on Roman Polanski that Lee compiled.

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From the Drain (David Cronenberg, 1967)

This piece was written at the beginning of 2017 but, inexplicably, I failed to post it to my website. Me bad.

But I’m proud to say this is, likely, one of the most substantial/lengthy articles written about David Cronenberg’s second short film, From the Drain, to appear online at the very least. I am willing to be proven wrong and would, in fact, be very interested in reading someone else’s take on this surreal mind-fuck.

Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, one of the editors at Senses of Cinema, asked me to undertake this challenge as part of the journal’s tribute section of the March 2017. Titled ‘Love Letters: 1967’, this section included articles about filmmakers who would later become big players on the cinematic landscape but were only just emerging in short form in that particular year.

The likes of David Lynch, Seijun Suzuki, Joseph Losey and Norman Jewison also had ‘love letters’ written to them by a variety of talented folk. It’s well worth perusing them all. But, first, help me make sense of David Cronenberg’s enigmatic mind.

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Did you catch ACMI’s Psychology of Fear?

It’s fine if you didn’t manage to front up as part of the live audience because the whole panel event – all 90 minutes of it, including clips and other media – are now available online.

Watch below or head to YouTube to see experts Rosie Jones (documentary maker), Professor Nick Haslam (psychologist) and Penelope Thomas (biometrics researcher) thrash out theories around why we might be so fascinated with scaring ourselves.

As the moderator/host, I provide a little introduction to set the context that includes meeting Peghead and the rest of my family…

Gods & Monsters: Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Writers will have favourites from their body of work, and this piece on the Bride of Frankenstein is undoubtedly one of mine.

Thank you to Diabolique Magazine and Lee Gambin for breathing new life into this piece and selecting it to kick off the ‘Gods & Monsters’ column.

I particularly appreciate the glorious photograph selection, including the one featured above of my ‘spirit animal’, Elsa Lanchester.

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Hagsploitation Film Festival

Some people may call this sub-genre of films ‘psycho-biddy’, others may call it ‘Grande Dame Guignol’ but, however you want to say it, ‘Hagsploitation’ is not a dirty word.

I’m extremely proud to be presenting as part of the Cinemaniacs’ Hagsploitation Film Festival, in what we believe to be the first ever celebration of hagsploitation in the world.

On Friday 12th to Saturday 13th January 2018, a cluster of superb films that shines the spotlight on some of history’s most legendary leading ladies, bigger than the films themselves, will be screened at Backlot Studios in Southbank, Melbourne.

I am privileged to be speaking about Joan Crawford in William Castle’s under-rated Strait-Jacket (1964), although I’ll also be joining Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and Sally Christie to provide sweeping adoration for The Women of Hagsploitation in a panel discussion.

Browse the program and book tickets now.

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