Emily Booth needs little introduction. If you’re a horror fan (moreso if you’re based in the UK) you’ll know her well from the numerous horror properties she’s involved with. But being a film critic, journalist and television personaility isn’t enough for Booth. Although her tireless work on the promotion of horror in the UK continues she has recently found time in her busy schedule to work on her own short film which will be released later this year.
We managed to find some time in Emily’s busy schedule to talk about her, her career and the exciting plans she has.
Emily Booth Interview
You must be feeling pretty accomplished right now with your film Selkie now finished and ready to be unleashed. What can you tell us about it?
I suppose I do yes! It has been a long haul, I know a short film shouldn’t take a year but it has with us mainly because we were not rushing it anyway and it has only really been me and my brother doing everything!
I have always interviewed other directors for years and years about their shorts and features and one day last year I had this surge of inspiration, literally a massive light bulb, I just thought “That’s it, I’m going to do it and collaborate with my friends and family all of whom have the different skills needed to make a film! Lets do something that comes from our own minds, and own something that we have created, rather than talking to other people all the time congratulating them on their first films – I thought – why am I not making my own?!
So anyway – the actual film is about 13 minutes long, and is really my love letter to the three things I find inspirational – the old town of Hastings – as an amazing location (Neil Jordan just got in there before me filming Byzanntium down here!) my love of ancient myth – and the strong female roles in mythology and my love of bodily transformation / the animal within as a theme in fantasy horror. And those are really the elements that brought the story and look of the film together.
We raised some £7000 on Kickstarter and also put in our own, its set about 100 years ago so it was all period costume and props! And we have a creature effect at the end – so really it was rather ambitious for a first short!
I have not actually made this film to mark some kind of career change – I came up with the initial idea for Selkie – co wrote the story, I produced the whole film and I play the role of Selkie – who never speaks so I didn’t give myself all the dialogue! In fact theres only 3 lines in the whole film its very much a mood / visual piece.
So my hopes realistically are to get a few key festival screenings – we already have one really important one that I’m so pleased about but I’m not allowed to release any info on that yet! I’d like people to see that I have other skills and passions I guess other than TV presenting. And I really want my talented brother who directs the film to do more in the genre so I worked with him on this.
After starting out as a television presenter, what was it that steered you in the direction of horror?
Well – my ‘career’ started with a film anyway – not horror but ummmm crazy weird culty ‘Pervirella’ mixing 1960’s with Victoriana! I was still at Goldsmiths college when I did the film – but I was an avid horror fan from the age of around 12 / 13, me and my brother used to hire dodgy VHS’s from our local sweet shop so I remember Evil Dead, Cat People, Jaws very clearly from quite a young age. I did my dissertation at Uni on women in horror and voyeurism – so I was always very interested in horror. I got lucky doing films like Cradle of Fear, Evil Aliens – a bit on Event Horizon, so my presenting work ended up being in Horror as I gained more of a reputation in the field and became very knowledgable on it.
I also did PR for Salvation Films (Redemption) for 1.5 years where I learned tons about Eurosleaze, Jess Franco, Jean Rollin etc so I do have quite a grounding in Horror now and am doing alot more journalistic / blogging work now which I love. I can work from home while my 2 year old goes nuts in the house.
I do love presenting and doing stuff on camera it has to be said. Acting is also a real privalege and feels more like an art form – much more serious of course, but I don’t often get those opportunities. Perhaps thats my problem – too many pies! Not brilliant at one thing – but ok at alot of them! But still – I get variety and I love that.
What has been the most memorable experience of your career in horror to date?
Oh gosh thats hard. Interviewing Tinto Brass about Italian horrors such as Salon Kitty was memorable but perhaps for all the wrong reasons. He was all over me as I did his infamous ‘audition’ process – just for the cameras really, but he was a bit full on and pervy! Evil Aliens was just the most fun experience I think film wise.
The time I was told I was going to be paid to travel to New York, LA and Hong Kong to shoot a series about cult movies for 6 months was quite a high! That was Shock Movie Massacre for the then Bravo channel… I did not really earn much money from it as it took so long to shoot but it was a really unique job!
I loved being on set with Brian Yuzna for Beyond Reanimator. I dunno – theres been loads really! I’m hoping my next memorable moment will be seeing Selkie on the big screen at a certain film festival!
Oh and doing my first Frightfest as TV presenter for Horror Channel – I was so excited!
What are your plans beyond Selkie and your regular work? Do you have other exciting projects in mind?
To be honest I have baby number 2 arriving in about 4 weeks so apart from seeing Selkie at a few fests hopefully in the coming months I am not able to plan anything else right now I’ve been so busy I need a little bit of time out, I will be getting back to work for my beloved Horror Channel only 3 months after the birth so will just get back into the swing of things then! Who knows – perhaps write and produce another short horror?
As Emily said, Selkie will be making an appearance at various horror festivals over the coming months. You can also catch Emily presenting on Horror Channel and contributing to various publications including Scream Magazine.