Each week Emily Booth can be seen on the Horror Channel introducing movie premieres in the wonderfully titled feature named Horror Booth. So, we decided to chat to our very own Mistress of the Dark and discover where she gets her ideas from and how "hands on" she is with the making of Horror Booth!
HC: Where did the idea for Horror Booth come from?
EB: Damn it - wish I could say that was mine! But initially it was our superb boss at Horror Channel who suggested I introduce the film premieres on the channel to establish me as the face of the Horror Channel. I’m not sure which wise cracking media type came up with utilizing my name 'Booth' to double up as being the strange little space I occupy when introducing the premieres! Works on so many levels! But last year they had to stop them for various reasons and it was me who suddenly came up with the idea that to help matters I could produce, film and edit the links as I was learning Final Cut Pro and producing my own little web series. So I’ve been taking on a much bigger role in terms of overseeing every aspect of the Horror Booth from writing to presenting to editing, special affects and music and I love taking on both sides of the camera.
HC: What difference does it make when you oversee the whole process rather than just ‘presenting it?’
EB: I think it makes a massive difference, I know my own humour so I can inject that. I’m also err, very close to the cameraman so I don’t mind making a bit of a fool of myself in front of him whereas working with a team you may not know can sometimes make you self conscious! And I can decide what special effects are possible so that way I can write the scripts accordingly. You have a complete vision of the result and I think you get a more solid outcome then when you’re just writing and presenting.
HC: How do you approach writing a script?
EB: I research the films, watch them, look on forums and reviews to get a feel for what people out there pick up on. Then I start to try and find a 'hook'. Something quirky or shocking or funny or different about the film. Sometimes there just isn’t one, it really depends on the movie. But for example, Buried Alive which goes out on July 10th features Tobin Bell of the Saw movies and I thought – God he really is only known as Jigsaw and actors often have a love / hate relationship with their typecasting (Doug Bradley / Robert Englund!) So I played on that in the script by having me acting as Jigsaw getting into character and saying lines from Saw only to realise I’ve gotten confused and doing the wrong script. So I try and add comedy when it’s relevant. And I also love using props and make up and character to add humour and substance – and just make the intro come alive a bit!
I know people always loved the stuff I did years ago on BITS (Channel 4 1999 – 2001) and that was all about being quirky and using costumes and props – so I’m trying to inject a bit of BITS into The Horror Booth!
HC: Do they take long to compose?
EB: Once I get all my ideas together about a day to actually write them.
HC: Which has been the hardest one to write so far?
EB: There’s not really one in particular it depends on me really! I’m sure any writers out there – including you James – know that you have really good creative flow days and then for no reason days you just can’t write or get the ideas going. Very frustrating. But I guess the hardest ones to write are the ones where I can’t find an angle – that 'hook' – the thing that drives it. Whether its comedy, or a well known actor or that it’s doing something really shocking and dark.
HC: They are very quirky pieces, and you have to cram in a lot of information and humour, how do you decide what’s relevant and what’s not?
EB: Well as I said you have to find that ‘hook’ I suppose – the selling point – the reason people would watch the premiere. That reason might just be that a really well known A-lister is starring in a horror movie (Richard Gere in The Flock) – or it was their first movie (Leonardo DiCaprio in Critters 3) Or that it has been hailed as one of the most controversial dark and hard to watch films of the year (Dead Girl – premiering Saturday 26th July) Then I tell them a little bit about the actual synopsis and then my minute is up!
HC: Do they normally take long to shoot?
EB: We take a minimum of 2 days to shoot them all – sometimes more! The whole process is quite a while even for something so short! 1 or 2 days to research and write, 2 days or more to film, a day or 2 to edit and then a day for music and audio mixing – a lot of work goes into these little things!
HC: You’ve been shooting in different locations, what’s that been like?
EB: We actually created a set for The Horror Booth as it’s much easier to control the conditions such as lighting – and you don’t have to worry about weather and people jumping around in the background! But yes, now and then we’ve used a lovely old creepy graveyard and church nearby. I do like the location stuff but its harder – as you have to wait for it to be dark and you sometimes have to get permission and you can’t be as naughty as I like to be using weird props and sexy costumes and blood when your in front of a Vicar. So I prefer being on my set.
HC: As the series progresses will they become longer in duration?
EB: Who knows? I think 1 to 2 minutes is long enough – at the end of the day the people will hopefully want to watch the cool film premiere coming up rather than me just tell them about it for ages! But maybe they can develop into something more – we’ll see!
HC: Emily Booth, thank you very much.