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EMMA WESTWOOD

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

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film review

My Top 7 films of 2020

My viewing of new cinema was somewhat stymied by the events of 2020 so, in creating this list, I’ve gone with a heavenly Top 7 of all-killer-no-filler. Here they are in alphabetical order:

THE ASSISTANT (dir. Kitty Green)
Utterly transfixing in its depiction of the mundanity of junior office positions, THE ASSISTANT is also terrifying real in its representation of systematic workplace abuse and neglect – subtle, insidious and that little bit too close to what many women have experienced ‘in real life’ (me included).

DISCLOSURE (documentary, dir. Sam Feder)
In fleshing out Hollywood’s representation of transgender people, this documentary is notable for its no-frills approach of talking heads combined with clip & tell. But this approach only serves to accentuate the brilliance of its interviewees. No platitudes here – insights of the highest calibre.

HOST (dir. Rob Savage)
I had to be prodded to see this one, and there’s no one more surprised than myself that one of the better horror movies of the year could be about the COVID pandemic. At a tight 57 minutes, HOST serves as an example of why horror is such an important, relevant genre. Now, no more pandemic films, please.

THE LIGHTHOUSE (dir. Robert Eggers)
Simultaneously hilarious and a fever dream of the grimiest forms, Robert Eggers proves he’s one of the gnarliest wordsmiths currently in the film biz. Claustrophobic, sweaty, insane. THE LIGHTHOUSE also ticked off another item on my cinematic bucket list: to see Willem Dafoe as a grizzled seaman.

MORGANA (documentary, dirs. Josie Hess & Isabel Peppard)
Remarkably intimate and delicately revealing documentary about a middle-aged, Australian woman who overcomes her stultifying suburban existence by creating pornography. A film that has you grabbing at your heart in unexpected ways.

POSSESSOR (dir. Brandon Cronenberg)
If there was any wonder whether Brandon Cronenberg was his father’s son, this film definitively demonstrates that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Yet, Brandon has come up with his own stamp of ‘Cronenburgundian’ mindfuckery. For that, he must be applauded.

THE STYLIST (dir. Jill Gevargizian)
This film is everything I wanted from Peter Strickland’s IN FABRIC but, sadly, was not served. A horror film steeped in style, as its name would suggest, and one that holds its form from first through to third act. It makes me excited to see what Jill Gevargizian will do next.

Review: Eli Roth’s History of Horror (Season Two)

Diabolique asked me to review the Second Season of the AMC production, Eli Roth’s History of Horror. I was up for the challenge.

Happy MIFF 2018

A reminder to everyone that the Melbourne International Film Festival is now in top gear, and the Plato’s Cave crew on Triple R is spending hours upon hours across the next two and a bit weeks in darkened cinemas to bring you the best festival coverage in town.

Tune in live on Monday 6th August and Monday 13th August at 7pm for your MIFF filmic fill or listen back to the podcast…

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Cheers from Plato’s Cave x

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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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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Going Full Goth: Filmmakers Turn to The Dark-Side

Cinema Nova in Melbourne generously allowed me to indulge in another one of my loves: gothic cinema.

Specifically, they invited me to write a piece for the cinema’s Novadose magazine titled ‘Going Full Goth: Filmmakers Turn to the Dark-Side’ with a special focus on the brilliant debut from William Oldroyd, Lady Macbeth.

While this article is only available in the Issue #11 (July-September 2017) print version of the magazine (see feature image), I have included the text below for your reading pleasure… Continue reading “Going Full Goth: Filmmakers Turn to The Dark-Side”

Mystics in Bali

Review of Mystics in Bali (dir. H. Tjut Djalil, 1981): Continue reading “Mystics in Bali”

The Ghastly Love of Johnny X

Review of The Ghastly Love of Johnny X (dir. Paul Bunnell, 2012): Continue reading “The Ghastly Love of Johnny X”

Antichrist

DVD review of Antichrist (dir. Lars Von Trier, 2009) for Screem Magazine: Continue reading “Antichrist”

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