LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Exclusive Interview With Emily Booth
By James Whittington, Tuesday 31st March 2009
Emily Booth, our very own Diva of the Darkside has been with the channel for nearly two years. Over that time she’s covered FrightFest on a number of occasions and interviewed some of horror’s biggest stars including Lloyd Kaufman, Doug Bradley and Josh Hartnett. We decided it was time to sit this lady down and have a chat. In this first part Emily talks about her first steps into the world of horror entertainment…
ZH: So, Emily. Two years at Zone Horror, what’s it been like?
EB: Brilliant. I finally feel like I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing! I really enjoy being part of a team where I’m taken seriously and have creative input. They’re letting me produce items for the channel too now which is really good as I get to do both in front of as well as behind the scenes stuff. It also keeps me up to date with the world of horror so it’s like a job and a hobby in one!
ZH: Let’s go back in time, how did you get started in show business?
EB: The very first thing I did was my film Pervirella! And what a way to break in! Playing the part of a 3-month year old child with the body of an 18 year old with an uncontrollable appetite for sex! I was 20 years old and still doing my degree in Media so it was a dream come true. Pervirella didn’t really break me into film though as it was too off the wall – but it did lead to my first presenting job on Live TV.
ZH: Is it true one of your first TV appearances was on the TV series Eurotrash?
EB: Yes! After Pervirella I became great friends with Eileen Daly and we started a girl rock band called Jezebell! But we only produced one song called Persuasion and this is what we sung on Eurotrash – but I’m so pleased I did as I was hooked to that kitch show from a young age – it was a real phenomenon at the time!
ZH: Pervirella is a wild movie with some great cameos from Jonathan Ross and Mark Lamarr, what was the vibe like on set?
EB: It was a party vibe in a way! I mean it was hard for me to judge at the time as it was my first film, but it was kind of like a mini adventure each day. We shot most of the interiors (and some of the theatrical looking exteriors!) in the producer Josh Collins fab house in Angel – London. His house was just like something from a 60’s Russ Meyer film - or a Hammer Horror set – he had a weird dungeon, a Hawaiian ballroom – it was amazing. So one day I was on a flying carpet, the next day travelling round Amazonia through plant pods, the next – partaking in a drugged up orgy. It was a lot of fun – but because the budget was so small – the director Alex had to run quite a tight ship to get it all done in time.
ZH: Did the script shock you at all?
EB: No I loved it! I was of course a tiny bit worried about all the nudity as that’s mainly what I do! I don’t think I would have done it if it hadn’t been for the obvious sense of creativity in the script. It was full of animated scenes, comedy, amazing locations and costumes, references to the cinema greats like Hammer and Carry On – Russ Meyer and Raquel Welsh. So it was the camp style of the film that I was attracted to. Nothing like it had ever been done before and I’m pretty sure nothing ever will – it’s very unique!
ZH: Do you think it’s a shame that small independent movies like this, which dared to be different are now few and far between?
EB: Absolutely! I mean it is hard to compare, as there aren’t many films like Pervirella! In a way there are more films being made because digital has made the medium cheaper to work with, but maybe this means some of the charm and effort has been lost! Pervirella was never about being a commercial success. The producer used all his own money to fund it – it was a labour of love.
ZH: In the same year (1997) you shot some scenes for the dark sci-fi shocker Event Horizon, were you disappointed that some of your footage landed on the cutting room floor?
EB: Actually I was very relieved! This was never going to boost my career as I didn’t say anything and was only in it for a fleeting moment, I did it, as it was so much fun and great money. But it was so ‘dark’ I’m glad a lot of it wasn’t seen! I used to be the kind of girl who really didn’t think or care about what she was doing! I kind of forgot that anything I was filming would actually be seen by people including friends and family – so I would just do anything in front of the camera – I had no shame or inhibitions and didn’t think about my reputation! Actually – it’s interesting because I worked with one of the leads of Event Horizon recently – and when he learnt that I was in ‘those scenes’ he was so excited! Apparently everything we shot looked so hardcore and dodgy (cannibalism / rape / general madness) and there were a few men from the porn industry doing the scenes and there were too many shots of big todgers! So a lot of it had to be cut – but somewhere there is some great footage of us all going mad on a spaceship. I’d LOVE to see it now!
ZH: In 2000 you became a TV hit in the series Bits, have you always enjoyed gaming?
EB: Yes to an extent. I grew up in the arcades by the sea, as that was a big scene in the 80’s and early 90’s. I also had a Spectrum back in the day so loved all the colourful platform games on that. I got the gig on Bits because the producer loved Pervirella and wanted to screen test me! So he chose me more for presenting and acting then gaming – but over the 2 years we did Bits I learnt so so much as we were gaming and researching the industry and writing all the reviews and news every week! The show introduced me to survival horror and I fell in love with Resident Evil and Silent Hill.
ZH: Do you still have time to bash on a joystick?
EB: I do sometimes – but only when I’m feeling nostalgic! I recently got Resident Evil Code Veronica out again – and I do still love a bit of Tomb Raider. But I have a Nintendo Wii now so it’s more about silly fun sociable gaming.
ZH: Your next big movie was Cradle of Fear, an old style anthology movie with gruesome effects. How did you get involved with that project?
EB: The director Alex Chandon also directed Pervirella and we had such a great working relationship that he asked me to play the role of Mel. So – it was one of those amazing jobs where you just get asked to be involved! To be honest – I don’t often get jobs when I audition, as I get nervous and mess up! I mainly get work through people who know me and know what I’m like to work with – I give it my all and am very dedicated to the role. I take horror quite seriously.
ZH: Your friend Eileen Daily also appears in this one, didn’t you two consider a musical career?
EB: Yes we did! In fact I think she’s still doing it. Eileen is very dedicated too and very resourceful. She wanted to do a girl band and I’ve always loved music – having trained classically – so I can read and write music. I came up with the name Jezebel – we worked with Steve Severin of Siouxsie and the Banshees on one track called Persuasion which we performed only twice! Once on Eurotrash and once for Mr Russ Meyer himself at a big party for the man in London. So that’s not bad mileage I guess. Eileen wanted to take it further but unfortunately I had to decide between Jezebel and Bits as both projects took off at the same time – and in my heart I really wanted to do TV presenting and I also had to earn money!
ZH: I think this could have lead to a series of similar movies, would you like to do more like this?
EB: You mean Cradle of Fear? Yes I really think the mini stories were strong and could have developed into movies, especially the last story about the Sick Room whereby a man gets addicted to Snuff violence on an illegal money making website. In fact Hostel kind of really reminds me of The Sick Room but without the Internet site. I would love to do a serious horror role, but I guess that’s not my market and I’m not really a ‘proper’ actress. I may be working with Alex Chandon again soon though – but that’s a bit hush hush!
ZH: What’s the story behind your involvement in the American spoof, Spider-Babe? Is any of it true? EB: Ok – I was kind of involved indirectly! I was making a series for Bravo called Shock Movie Massacre where I interviewed people from the ‘wonderful world of weird cult cinema’ and one of our subjects was Misty Mundae – a charming and funky lass who’s not at all the glamour type you’d expect – she was cool and very business like, anyway – she was shooting Spider-Babe when we went to interview her in New York so the production team thought it would be more interesting if we made out that I was scoring a part in the movie. So I became Fly-Girl with my own costume and crap lines of dialogue and did a scene with the ladies (I watch them make out and then save Spider-Babe) – I didn’t make the official cut as it was all a set up but I am in the ‘Deleted Scenes’ apparently! How very dare they! ZH: Your next big picture was Jake West’s amazing sci-fi horror Evil Aliens. It’s a wild movie and must have been huge fun. EB: Yeah it was amazing and was at the time my first ‘proper’ film insofar as a bigger budget, proper production team and schedule, rehearsals etc - I loved it! Everyone got on so well, we were living on set at an old farmhouse with a lovely couple. Then we stayed in caravans on the coast of Dorset where we filmed at Avery Ring, played on the spaceship sets after having a few drinks!! It wasn’t like work – it was like going on camp with the best crowd of people – oh and err trying to make movie! ZH: Did you base your character of roving reporter Michelle Fox on anyone in particular? EB: Well – she’s kind of just a nastier, bitchier more ambitious version of myself really! In fact Jake just wanted me to be myself but more exaggerated! ZH: The movie is a blood-fest to say the least, was it an uncomfortable shoot? EB: Well Jake wanted each actor to get a face full of blood on one scene or another – so yes – everyone got their face filled with (what we call in the trade) a pango – a huge mothering injection of blood – but the stuff is very sticky – made of treacle so it sticks to your skin and when you’re waiting in the cold to do a take for four hours – then yes – it can be uncomfortable. But you know what – I hate people that moan about their jobs when they’re getting paid to do exactly what they want to do – they should be so grateful – I know I am. ZH: Jake seems a rather unique kind of director, what’s he like in real life? EB: Hmmmm. Jake is one of the most enthusiastic people I’ve ever met. He’s like a child on Christmas day when he’s talking about or making films. He’s a lot of fun, a proper Goth, very open minded with tons of cool hard as nails chick friends. He’s a proper mate and I really admire him because he gets stuff done and usually does it off his own back. ZH: In 2007 you joined Zone Horror and were thrown in at the deep end by hosting links from FrightFest 07. Was that a bit nervy? EB: No not at all! I love it. Gosh if I can’t do that after years of presenting I’m doing something wrong! I suppose its always a bit nervy working with a crew for the first time but only because you want to do a good job and keep being employed by them! I’d be much more nervous doing public speaking or live TV – but when its just me and a camera I’m very happy! ZH: Did you and the crew work long hours? EB: Yeah – I guess so, around 10 – 12 hour days. I’ve done worse! But for me its more the energy you have to keep up rather than it actually feeling like hard work. I love doing the festivals – there’s so much enthusiasm. And you can always catch a movie for half an hour when you get a break! ZH: Did you feel more confident for FrightFest 08? EB: Yes I did as I feel more like I have a well earned place there now – I hope! ZH: You have become the face for the channel, is this a sort of “dream come true” as we all know you’re a HUGE horror fan? EB: Absolutely, I love my horror, always have, so I do feel like I’m in the right place career wise, though I’d love to do more! At the moment I’m introducing the films, reporting from FrightFest once a year plus the odd interview. I’m trying to get my own horror show off the ground too called Behind the Screams and they’ve let me shoot and edit a pilot so I’m also producing there now which is really exciting. I feel like I can ‘grow’ with the channel and I really feel that a fun magazine type show on horror would be fab on Zone because there’s nothing else like that on TV at the moment. ZH: Your latest movie, Doghouse, was also written by Jake West, what can you tell us about it? EB: The film is out in cinemas on June 12th – so go and see it! Its about a group of lads on a male bonding trip because in one way or another they’re all in the ‘doghouse’ or getting divorced and are sick of women! But they have no idea about the darkest side of the female of the species when the small village they’re visiting becomes over run by female ‘zombirds.’ I play The Snipper – the local hairdresser before she went mouldy. All the female characters are very iconic and many of them represent men’s fears of women. For example there’s the Bride who represents commitment and there’s me, the Snipper – I represent castration anxiety – so its all really cool and well thought out with lots of gore, great costumes, nasty deaths and a lot of comedy! It’s the ultimate Battle of the Sexes film. But don’t take it too seriously – we’re not trying to make too much social comment! ZH: Was it a bigger budget than Evil Aliens? EB: Definitely – about 5 times bigger. I think we had about 1.5 – 2 million. ZH: As you said it’s getting a theatrical release, do you think this could lead to more cinematic offerings from yourself? EB: Well that would obviously be amazing, but I don’t actually speak in this film! Just grunt, groan, growl – the odd bark. So not sure it shows off all my talents! But it is brilliant to have my name alongside proper acting talent like Danny Dyer, Stephen Graham and Noel Clarke. ZH: So what’s next for Emily Booth? EB: I’ve literally just finished presenting a mad show for Men and Motors (very different to my usual stuff!) about a car rally across Europe called ScumRun – so that will be on TV later this year. I really want to carry on producing and creating my own show for Zone Horror – I really enjoy being more in control. I’m determined to do that, so any ideas as to what you guys want to see on a horror show – let me know or email the channel in support of it. I’m hoping to do another film this year, its just being funded right now, so hopefully it’s going to be a good 09! ZH: Emily Booth, thank you very much. EB: The pleasure was all mine. Don’t miss Blood Booth on April 29th only on Zone Horror.
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