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THE WESTWOOD DIGEST

Writings of Emma Westwood. Most likely about movies, filmmaking, monsters and other wild trips. Words should go down nice and easy.

The Fly book is coming

Emma is currently working on a book for the Devil’s Advocates series of horror cinema studies focusing on David Cronenberg’s THE FLY. Due for release: 2017

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Cinemaniacs’ presentation of The Fly

Dir. David Cronenberg, USA/UK/Canada, 1986

In September 2015, Lee Gambin and the wonderful team at Cinemaniacs in Melbourne, Australia, asked me if I would be interested in introducing their screening of David Cronenberg’s The Fly. I was – but little did I know my commitment to presenting this screening would kick off a new project for me: a book solely dedicated to The Fly. As of typing this post, I can confirm this thing is happening, thanks to Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, John Atkinson and Auteur’s imprint, Devil’s Advocates.

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The Cruelest Cut: Castrating The Devils

Dir. Ken Russell, UK, 1971

The Devils… what a movie. In 2015, I was privileged to be asked by Darryl Mayeski at Screem Magazine in the USA to write a piece about Ken Russell’s massacred masterpiece. Apparently, no other writers wanted to tackle the task. I was the chump who put up my hand, although I can’t say I regret it. Read on…

The Cruelest Cut: Castrating The Devils

First published in Screem Magazine, USA, 2015

“It’s a lost film now. You’ll never see it the way I wanted you to. Never.”
Ken Russell, Total Sci-Fi interview, 2010

Ken Russell’s The Devils (1971) was a film brought to its knees. More than 40 years have passed since its original release and it remains hobbled in a severely crippled form. Its director has passed away, as has its male star and some of its main adversaries yet still, no one appears willing to resurrect The Devils. It is the leper of modern cinema.

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Mystics in Bali

Dir. H. Tjut Djalil, Indonesia, 1981

Beware! Never trust a woman with a frangipani behind her right ear…

I wear a stone around my neck everyday. The Balinese call it ‘Kresnadana’, which, I believe, means it belongs to the god Krishna in a world less materialistic to the one in which I live. For the time being, though, I claim it as my own and, as such, draw the intrigue of many Balinese who continually ask me how I came into possession of this much-desired rock (that’s another story for another time).

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The Ghastly Love of Johnny X

Dir. Paul Bunnell, USA

Did someone say ‘juvenile delinquents’?

Immediately my antennae are tweaked. I share the same camp fascination as John ‘Cry-Baby’ Waters when it comes to this other phenomenon in 1950s propaganda known as the ‘juvenile delinquent’. You know it too, so beautifully propagated through the likes of the 1958 horror classic, The Blob, starring Steve McQueen as the ringleader of juvenile delinquency, and Marlon Brando’s mumbling, surly bad-boy in The Wild One.

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Antichrist (2009)

In wrapping my head around Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia – which I will be reviewing shortly (as soon as a DVD copy lands on my desk) – I’ve decided to post a rather lengthy review originally published in Screem Magazine of his equally divisive film Antichrist.

Lars Von Trier has done little to redeem his image since I provided, what I believe to be, a defence of his eccentricities. Has my opinion on Von Trier changed? You’ll just have to wait until the Melancholia review. Coming soon. Continue reading “Antichrist (2009)”

Troll Hunter

Dir. André Øvredal, Norway

Just when I thought I could not stomach another found footage horror film, Troll Hunter comes along and makes me eat my words. Produced in 2010, it has emerged from a mass of vampire and zombie ‘product’ to shine brightly as a beacon of originality.

In a tradition popularised by The Blair Witch Project (1999) but spearheaded by the infamous Cannibal Holocaust (1980), Troll Hunter purports to be the result of chronologically edited, raw footage left on the doorstep of a Norwegian film production company. The days of Blair Witch are well and truly over, so audiences are immediately in on the joke, although the film plays as a poker-faced portrayal of supposed documentary events with humour handled cleverly in an almost incidental manner.

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Bruce Campbell (Uncut)

Way back in 2002, cult actor and all-round righteous dude Bruce Campbell starred as Elvis Presley in a film, Bubba Ho-Tep (directed by Don Coscarelli). In it, Elvis and JFK are both still alive and wasting away in their own decrepitude in a nursing home until an ancient Egyptian mummy vies for the souls of their fellow aged residents. Sound strange? You betcha. Even better, JFK is an African-American, played with soul-stirring reverence by veteran actor, the late Ossie Davis. Continue reading “Bruce Campbell (Uncut)”

Drive

Dir. Nicolas Winding Refn, USA

After providing foreign-language fodder for international film festivals over the past decade or so with his Pusher trilogy, Denmark’s-greatest-contribution-to-cinema-since-Lars-Von-Trier – Nicolas Winding Refn – is having no problems wrapping his film directing skills around the English tongue. Critics fawned over his UK release Bronson (2008) and now, with the minimal-action actioner Drive, he consolidates his rise as ‘a (big) talent to watch’. Continue reading “Drive”

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