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EMMA WESTWOOD

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

Buy the book on SECONDS

Want to know more about John Frankenheimer’s criminally overlooked monolith of paranoia, SECONDS (1966)?

SECONDS by Jez Conolly and Emma Westwood, part of the Constellations series of sci-fi cinema books, is available from your favourite book pusher but you can also buy direct from the publisher, Liverpool University Press.

It may be the best film you’ve never seen. So watch now then digest this tasty monograph.

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While we’ve been sleeping…

Andrew Stephens wrote an insightful article in The Age newspaper, While we’ve been sleeping, published on 15th October 2021, which looked at pandemic lockdowns through the eyes of art in all its guises. Interestingly, the art examples cited may have reflected the somnambulistic state that lockdowns create but none was created as a direct response to the pandemic.

Note: this piece reads most explicitly and evocatively to Melburnians because, so far, we’ve experienced more days in lockdown than any other city in the world.

Andrew asked me to contribute some thoughts with regards to cinema for his While we’ve been sleeping piece and, as is usually the case, I wrote far more words than was required. So, as well as encouraging you to read his full article, I will post below the rough notes that I submitted to him; a curiosity you may wish to read in full (or not, I will not judge)…

Continue reading “While we’ve been sleeping…”

The Projection Booth’s Special Report: SECONDS

Both Jez and I have been involved in Mike White’s The Projection Booth podcast in the past (and I have an appearance slated for next year – to be announced!) so we were thrilled when he approached us to record a Special Report on our book, SECONDS.

Mike gave us the opportunity to talk through the inception of our project, the process of co-writing and the appeal of writing about a generally maligned film in an interview that inches towards an hour in duration. It’s a deep-dive interview into our deep-dive book.

We hope you like it…

Cult Movies Podcast: The Nutty Professor (1963) & Forbidden Planet (1956)

There’s nothing I love more than appearing on the Cult Movies Podcast with Anthony King. So, imagine my surprise upon the realisation that I had forgotten to promote my appearance back in April when we chatted about THE NUTTY PROFESSOR (1963)? I should be ashamed of myself!

Not only can you listen to Anthony and I dive into all things Jerry Lewis with that previous episode but you can now hear us go deep on a sci-fi classic, FORBIDDEN PLANET (1956), and explain why it’s one of the more influential films ever made.

Yes, it’s Robby the Robot’s film debut (right)

These are long podcasts but I’m sure you’ll get a kick out of them if you’re willing to run the marathon. We also present our three individual selections for ‘companion viewing’, as well as discussing the feature film.

Touched by an angel: Miss Salome Jens

Jez and I have been doing the media rounds for our book on SECONDS. The fruits of our labour include this piece that we wrote for the excellent publication, Diabolique Magazine, featuring an interview with the divine Miss Salome Jens that was conducted specifically for the SECONDS book.

She also talks about her noteworthy screen debut in ANGEL BABY (1961, additionally Burt Reynolds’ debut), which is quite the film, if you’re not familiar with it.

I encourage you to read on, and appreciate the mastery of an actor who has never really been appreciated for the full extent of her talents.

NIGHTMARE booklet essay

I was blessed to be asked by Indicator to write this booklet essay on the Freddie-Francis-directed NIGHTMARE (1964) for their glorious four-disc release called Hammer Volume 6: Night Shadows, also containing THE SHADOW OF THE CAT (1961), CAPTAIN CLEGG (1962) and THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1962).

I’ve done my best to capture the artwork in the two photos below for what can only be described as a breathtaking boxset. Let’s just say, this is an edition that is sure to make an impression in any DVD collection.

Thank you to Kier-La Janisse for providing the inspiration behind this piece.

New DVD commentary: LAKE MUNGO

I’m tripping over myself with new blu-ray releases at the moment, so my tardiness in promoting Second Sight’s sigh-worthy release of LAKE MUNGO is due to nothing but giving it some room to breathe.

The featured artwork should be enough to encourage you to see this mesmeric Australian story of ghosts and grief but, if not, I encourage you to do a quick scoot around the internet and you’ll hear from others who have been wrapped in its magic.

Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and I had a lot to say in our audio commentary on this release of LAKE MUNGO. But we’re not the only ones.

This limited edition boxset brings together diverse voices to talk about a feature that will only be more and more appreciated with the passing of time until it is eventually regarded as a classic.

On the LUP blog: SECONDS

My outstanding co-author, Jez Conolly, has written a piece for the Liverpool University Press blog to explain our motivation for writing about the film SECONDS.

We’d both love it if you’d read the blog article but even more if you’d buy the book we’ve written and breathe further life into a remarkable film that never got the attention it deserves.

THE STYLIST booklet essay

I recently took possession of Arrow Film‘s absolutely gorgeous, limited edition, two-disc, blu-ray release of Jill Gevargizian‘s The Stylist. This is really something special – a jam-packed release, many would say – and I’m honoured to have contributed an essay to the booklet, ‘The Stylist: A curious case of mistaken identity’ and rub shoulders with the likes of my homegirl Alexandra Heller-Nicholas who has contributed with a sumptuous visual essay, ‘The Invisible Woman’.

For any horror fans who have not seen this feature-length version of the 2016 short of the same name, I urge you to rectify the oversight and move The Stylist to the top of your viewing list. I put it on my best films of 2020 and my uncle Ross says that it’s “the best horror film I’ve seen made in recent years.”

I just happened to interview one of the stars of the film, Brea Grant, last year about an entirely different project; her graphic novel, Mary: The Adventures of Mary Shelley’s Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Granddaughter. It would be lovely if you’d care to read that one too.

Cut the Protesting: A look at Jesus Christ Superstar and more!

Public appearances have been few and far between during this global pandemic but, with a little bit of luck, I’ll be dusting myself off for another Cinemaniacs joint on 27th August at ACMI, Melbourne, Australia. Here’s a bit about it:

“Launching from a 20-minute video essay detailing various components of Jesus Christ Superstar (1973) by Lee Gambin, fellow critics Emma Westwood and Jarret Gahan will discuss works that caused controversy, sometimes sparking protest, as well as the role of the rock opera through a cinematic lens.”

“From religious themed films that prompted outrage such as The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) and Ken Russell’s The Devils (1971) to Russell’s manic magnificence in his filmic adaptation of The Who’s Tommy (1975), this will be a rollicking panel conversation.”

You can book tix now via ACMI’s website:

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