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THE WESTWOOD DIGEST

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

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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RAW DVD with exclusive Blu-ray extras

Julia Ducournau’s sensational coming-of-age directorial debut, RAW, is now available on DVD from Monster Pictures.

Included on the Blu-ray release are a number of exclusive extras, including my audio commentary with Julia and our in-discussion featurette, Raw À Votre Goût.

Other extras include Quick Bites with my much-loved radio cohort, Alexandra Heller-Nicholas; Australian premiere discussion with Kier-La Janisse; and a whole lot of other delicious features.

All biases aside, this is one of my DVD releases of the year…

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ACMI Conversations: The Psychology of Fear

I am pleased to be hosting a panel on The Psychology of Fear – Tuesday 31st October, 6.30pm at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Melbourne – which will engage documentarian Rosie Jones, psychologist Professor Nick Haslam and researcher Penelope Thomas in a discussion with the audience that ponders the question:

What is driving our insatiable appetite for real-life horrors on screen?

From recent documentaries The JinxMaking a Murderer and The Family to serial killer anti-heroes in film and TV, and the stark brutality of Scandi-noir, we examine our obsession with the dark side of human nature, the psychology of fear and how recent technological advances such as biometric analysis are providing unique findings into our physiological response to on-screen horror.

Watch the event in its entirety here

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Melbourne, New Hampshire: Jamie Blanks and other urban legends

Some interviews are more satisfying than others, and I’m pleased to categorise this interview with filmmaker Jamie Blanks as one of them.

When you read the article, you might get a sense of why I say that. I hope you do, anyway. You’ll also hear my impassioned plea to the Australian industry to wake up and smell the roses. We have a legacy that needs to be acknowledged and protected.

Thanks a bunch to Via Vision for releasing the Urban Legend Trilogy and for offering me this opportunity, Diabolique Magazine for agreeing to run the interview on their beautiful horror platform, and Jamie Blanks for being such an ace human being.

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Q&A preview screening of BLUE

On Sunday 24th September, 3pm at Cinema Nova, I’ll be hosting a 30-minute Q&A with filmmaker Karina Holden and Ocean Guardian Dr Jennifer Lavers about their new documentary, BLUE.

BLUE tackles themes of habitat destruction, species loss and pollution – a provocative call-to-arms to protect our threatened marine life – but it is also a stunning ‘deep-dive’ into the ocean that promises to look particularly lovely on the big screen.

#Idonotjusttalkabouthorrormovies

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Five legendary B-brilliant horror movies

When asked by Frankie to create a listicle on Five Laugh-Inducing B-Grade Horror Movies to promote Triple R’s 2017 Radiothon, I don’t think they expected my utter admiration for films others may see in another light.

But I’m pleased that Frankie’s assistant editor Mia Timpano allowed me to put my particular bent on this list and write what I’m not-so secretly calling ‘Five Legendary B-Brilliant Horror Movies’. I have nothing but utter respect for these beautiful cinematic specimens, as you can read below…

(Maybe Houseboat Horror is just plain bad but anyhoo…)

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