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EMMA WESTWOOD

Writing about movies, monsters, cinematic events and other wild trips

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Faffing

Sesame Street’s Pinball Number Count

After watching the excellent documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, about US children’s television producer and presenter, Fred Rogers, I’ve felt compelled to reshare a mini memoir I wrote for the website Stereo Stories a few years ago. It’s an ode to Sesame Street, in particular, the musical genius of Walt Kraemer.

Sesame Street’s Pinball Number Count

The electronic babysitter had fulltime employment at our place. Married in 1971 at the age of 17 – with the shotgun firing behind her – my mother was the one who needed the babysitting. She’d gone from a household of six to the solitary confines of a flat, so the box acted as a constantly yammering family of a different kind, even if she wasn’t paying attention to it most of the time.

As the progeny of this pop-cultural upbringing, I followed my mother’s lead and took up a cross-legged position approximately three feet away from the television most afternoons. The routine went something like this: Playschool (for the sake of it), Doctor Who (for the love it) and then, scheduled in-between those two programmes, Sesame Street.

I adored Sesame Street. Rather than gravitate to the familiar, I was romanced by its differentness to my suburban Australian reality – the urban decay of its ‘70s New York City setting; the ethnicity of the regulars with their Hispanic names, flares and large ‘fros; and the cast of misfits including a misanthrope, Oscar the Grouch, who lived in a rubbish bin (or ‘trash can’ as Sesame Street taught me, not to forget the pronunciation of the letter ‘zee’ that earned me a slap on the wrist from my primary school teacher – “But Miss, if I say ‘zed’ then it doesn’t rhyme with the rest of the ABC song!”).

And then there was the music.

Continue reading “Sesame Street’s Pinball Number Count”

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A Bicentenary with Bite: Revisiting Dark Age

Having transformed my living room into a set for the special Umbrella Entertainment blu-ray release of Long Weekend, the unstoppable Lee Gambin got the band back together to do it all again.

This time, in a discussion titled ‘A Bicentenary with Bite: Revisiting Dark Age’, Lee Gambin, Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, Sally Christie and I turn our loving gaze to the Australian horror delight Dark Age (1987) – directed by Arch Nicholson, starring John Jarrat, David Gulpilil, Burnam Burnam and Nikki Coghill.

Dark Age nearly disappeared into the annals of lost cinema so, luckily, Umbrella Entertainment is continuing their loving work and giving this film the blu-ray special edition treatment that it deserves.

You can buy it and make it yours by clicking below…

(And immense thanks goes to Ben Gurvich for the camerawork and Justine Ryan for her able tech assistance).

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THE FLY book available for pre-sale

THE FLY by Emma Westwood is now available for pre-sale from Devil’s Advocates and Columbia University Press.
Release date: November 2017

Read all about it in the Columbia University Press upcoming releases or join the book’s Facebook page for tantalising tidbits and teasers.

There are no flies on this!

Cinemaniacs’ presentation of Christine

Cinemaniacs presents John Carpenter’s masterpiece Christine, based on the novel by Stephen King, on Saturday 8th July 2016 at Backlot Studios in Melbourne.

Stars Keith Gordon and Alexandra Paul will be doing a special exclusive video interview for the screening (with questions from writer/film historian Lee Gambin). Writer/commentator Clem Bastow will be introducing the film. And…

There will be a Cinemaniacs-first panel discussing the works of John Carpenter hosted by Cinemaniacs board member Anthony Biancofiore, and featuring writers/film historians Dean Brandum, me (Emma Westwood) and comic book artist and writer Tristan Jones.

This event is selling out…

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Every Fly movie in one blu-ray box set

Thank you Via Vision Entertainment for having the infinite wisdom to package together every movie in the history of The Fly in the one superlative blu-ray box set. This is something designed to send the likes of my heart a-flutter.

Thanks even more for giving my upcoming book a whopping great mention inside the cover. You guys rock…

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Long Weekend blu-ray extras

Umbrella Entertainment put a lot of love into this blu-ray release of an almost forgotten Australian classic, Long Weekend. Sally Christie, Lee Gambin, Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, videoographer Ben Gurvich and I tried to match this love with our panel discussion in the extras.

I hope you like it as much as we do…

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Cinemaniacs’ presentation of Dolls

Cinemaniacs graciously asked me to do another presentation, this time for Stuart Gordon’s 1987 feature, Dolls. Following is a transcript of the presentation at Backlot Studios on Saturday 17th September 2016, complete in its unadulterated form with cues for slide cards… Continue reading “Cinemaniacs’ presentation of Dolls”

Cinemaniacs’ presentation of The Fly

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 (1986)Continue reading “Cinemaniacs’ presentation of The Fly”

To Just Survive as the Final Girl is Not Victory

Reflecting on Women in Horror Month, Kate Robertson speaks with me and fellow Plato’s Cave critic Alexandra Heller-Nicholas  for 4:3 film journal about the gender politics of Dario Argento, found footage cinema, the ‘Final Girl’ and many other exciting things.

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