Welcome to Viv Loves Film

This is our story

Vivienne, or Viv as she was more widely known, is my Mum who is sadly no longer with us.

My passion for film, particularly horror films, started with Mum.  Through her I was introduced at far too young an age to such classics as Night of the Demon, the Hammer House of HorrorFriday 13thThe FogThe ThingThe ChangelingHallowe’enAlien and – to me then the most horrific of them all – Jaws.

Stephen King featured prominently on our screen and on Mum’s book shelves.  I spent many a night dozing off to sleep with the weighty tomes of ChristineSalem’s LotPet SemataryCujo and The Dead Zone open on my chest – filling my dreams with vengeful cars, boys floating in the air scraping on windows, cats rising from the dead, rabid dogs and an upsettingly nasty Martin Sheen.

Even then I was utterly fascinated by how the characters and storylines in books could lift from the page and the depths of my imagination to be transformed on screen in some entirely new way by some mysterious team far, far away. I would frequently flick back and forth from book to film to see what had remained true to the original and what had been changed – and whether that change enhanced or detracted from the author’s original vision.  It has always been a process that intrigued me.

Mum’s viewing schedule wasn’t all horror – and it was exciting!  We zigged – cop thrillers (Dirty Harry FranchiseSomeone to Watch Over Me) and we zagged – musicals and classics (Singin in the RainSome Like it HotWuthering HeightsRebel Without a Cause).  Even with just 4 channels back then, TV also played a part, serving us the sublime Helen Mirren in the gritty Prime Suspect and in stark contrast, the fantastical American opulence of big hair and even bigger shoulder pads in Dallas and Dynasty.  Mum would carry around a passport sized photo of Linda Evans’ Krystle Carrington to remind her hairdresser just how she liked her hair. This would be very amusing when, once on an aircraft to the USA, the air stewardess announced over the tannoy that a purse had been found “with, uhm, a photograph of Krystle Carrington” in it.  Later, 24 would be one of Mum’s favourite shows and she would faithfully record every episode on VHS, meticulously cutting and editing out the ads whilst at the same time ensuring that Kiefer Sutherlands’ gruff Jack Bauer introduction remained intact.

Mum’s passion for film stayed with me when I left Belfast to attend university in London to study law.  She and I would talk about the films that we would hire from Blockbuster when I returned home for the holidays.  When I left the city as a banking lawyer to work in-house in the West End for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Really Useful Group, Mum reminded me of her The Phantom of the Opera vinyl soundtrack album she had back home and she was excited to hear about my visit to Pinewood where the feature was being filmed.  When I moved to Disney, Mum and I would laugh at how she pranced around the flower beds on Main Street at The Magic Kingdom, Orlando singing along to “Winnie the Pooh” as it rang out happily all around us.

Although Mum never finished the 24 series and I never heard her thoughts on the books, films and shows that I have worked on since she passed away, I know that she would have been tickled that her daughter worked on Endeavour (she adored Inspector Morse) and that she would have been made a right nuisance of herself to her friends, demanding that they must all go and see the Peter Rabbit feature franchise (although she probably would have preferred Winnie the Pooh) – at least once.

Viv Loves Film – and so do I.

Emma Topping
Owner & Collaborator
Viv Loves FIlm

The Making of Viv Loves Film