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Interview: Emily Booth

December 9, 2009

I was lucky enough to find myself chatting with Emily Booth at the Gorezone Festival the other week. Now synonymous with the horror genre, Emily has worked as a presenter and actress, as well as fronting both the UK TV satellite channel Zone Horror and Gorezone, the UK-based monthly horror magazine. And her efforts have not gone unnoticed by horror fans. Ask any British genre fan and they’ll tell you she is one of the iconic women of horror, but what really marks Emily out amongst a sea of celebrities is the fact that she is one of the most genuine people you’ll meet – you only need to speak to her at any of the many horror festivals she attends to realise that. Which, well, I did! Graciously, she agreed to an interview. I hope you enjoy it:

1) Many, myself included, first saw you on the gaming show BITS, and you’ve worked for XLeague TV – are you still into gaming? Which is the bigger passion horror or videogames?

Emily Booth: Definitely horror! I loved doing BITS so much but that was back in 2000 and for that time I was completely immersed in gaming because it was fun and it was my full time job – but I think because of my love of horror since I was a little girl, then the weird films and TV shows I did – its now fully cemented into my life! Gaming is now just a fun thing I do on my Wii – I’m not hardcore anymore! and even then I only really like the survival horror games – it really is horror all the way for me – even in video games.

2) You’ve worked for a lot of interesting directors in your career, such as Alex Chandon, Nigel Wingrove and Jake West. Who, out of all the people you’ve worked for, have you enjoyed working with the most? What about co-stars?

Emily Booth: Hmmm that’s hard! I guess I have a huge place in my heart for Alex Chandon as he started the whole director – actress relationship off for me – and he made me feel very at ease – like an artist – or a muse – not just a walking prop! And the films Pervirella and Cradle of Fear are very unusual and so British – and it was all new and so exciting for me at the time – I’d just moved to London I was 20 years old…

So I loved working with Alex – but of course my more recent stuff has been with Jake West – and he’s given me a lot of opportunities. But he’s great at advice and direction too – he’s told me when I need to be more on the ball (I get too excited on set sometimes and need reigning in!) as well as given me a lot of room to add my own ideas or improvs. We share a lot in terms of taste and enthusiasm for the genre – working on horror films has made us good friends and we now work on other things together and have a real laugh – he recently asked me to host his Burlesque night to launch his 2 Betty Page films on his Nucleus Label.

In terms of actresses – I loved working with Eileen Daly! At the time when I was an impressionable 20 year old on Pervirella – she was a bit of a goddess – a real camp icon – a real character – and we ended up working on a girl band together – so that was amazing! We sung live for Russ Meyer!

3) Between starring in horror movies and being the face of Zone Horror and Gorezone you’ve become somewhat of a horror icon, is it true to say that’s something you revel in?

Emily Booth: Well – its an honour and and its fun and I take it seriously and I want to take it further. For example I’m starting to film my own projects and have done some producing too for Zone Horror. I’m not sure ‘Icon’ is quite earned yet! I need to do something like the Elvira show – which is something me and Gorezone are working on now!

4) Unlike some in the industry you don’t seem to look down on the horror genre – what is it you love about horror that keeps you coming back to it? Answered with 5 below…

5) You’ve presented the two GoreZone Weekends of Horror, interviewing and Q&A’ing casts and crews, and clearly enjoying the whole experience; is compering something you’d like to expand into in the future?

Emily Booth: Yes definitely – as I said I just hosted Jake Wests Burlesque night at Madam Jo Jo’s in Soho and it was so much fun – I never thought I could handle a live audience – its a different skill and you have to feel super confident – the only reason I can do it in horror is because I know and love and respect the horror audience and I think they have some respect for me too! I love interviewing people too.

6) You’re in the Grindhouse faux trailer “Don’t”, what was it like working with Edgar Wright?

Emily Booth: Well it was a real honor to be asked as he was working with certain people within the horror but also comedy circuits – so it was great he thought of me – but apparently he was actually on the set of Pervirella just volunteering!!! and that’s how he knew me – I never knew he was working on Pervirella till he told me when we did the ‘Don’t’ trailer. It was great but very brief! He seems to be a very technical director – and for a scene that’s only a flash in the pan it was amazing how much crew and time spent on it – we have a proper 35mm camera, a beautiful location, make up trucks, proper BBC costumes etc – it was like working on a proper film which I’ve never really done so it was nice – but a v diff atmosphere to working with a small crew on low budget.

7) I read a quote credited to you where you said, “I’d love to try my hand at some serious acting to see what I’m capable of.” Anything in particular take your fancy? Opposite ends of the spectrum they may be, but I could see you shining in something from Wodehouse or Joe Orton…what do you think?

Emily Booth: I would love to try it to push myself but of course I’m not a trained actress or anything so not sure I could pull it off. I’d need to relate to the character. I just meant I’d love to do a horror flick that had a real dark serious tone – like Rosemary’s Baby – something really moody. But I’ve always wanted to do period costume drama too! Just to feel like I was living in a different era! I often think I’m stuck in the wrong era.

8 ) You’ve done acting and presenting, any aspirations to move behind the camera? I should imagine your experience of writing questions for interviews, and writing pieces for camera would stand you in good stead for a move in to script writing?

Emily Booth: Well I’ve done some producing and organised shoots and helped edit TV interviews for Zone Horror – I produced the Hellraiser Night and a Doghouse TV Special for the channel – so I’ve really enjoyed feeling in more control and having a say about the content of a TV show – but in terms of script writing – I’m afraid I’m not so good at fiction – wish I was! I can come up with great filmic scenes and moments but putting them together in a script and story and structuring it all – I can’t do! My heads too much of a mess!

9) What other goals do you have: in life or in your career ? Ever thought of pursuing the violin further?

Emily Booth: No! I’m rubbish at the violin now! I often try new things yes! I’m doing a spot of Burlesque performing soon and I’m still trying to produce my own little TV show – going to festivals and filming people – I just interviewed Herschell Gordon Lewis – that was brilliant. I would like to do another film and continue working on horror TV shows, I still like to try have a family as well – gosh there’s so much to try and fit in for a girl!

10) What’s next on the agenda? Any projects lined up that you can tell us about?

Emily Booth: Yes absolutely – Gorezone are now doing they’re own show! It will appear as a monthly DVD that will come as a free cover mount with each issue of Gorezone. Interviews, on the set of films and photo shoots, short films as well as a free feature on each DVD! I’ll be doing the links and interviews – so definitely get Gorezone in January and take a look at my new show – its Emily Booths Movie Massacre! so lots more collaborating with Gorezone magazine’s projects.

Plus I’m in talks to star in a new Sci Fi series – but can’t say much as they’re still funding it! But it will be amazing if it comes off!

A huge thanks to Emily for being such a star, and also a massive cheer to the very lovely Mr Phil Wheat who pitched in with a bunch of questions (his are the intelligent and knowledgeable ones). This interview first appeared on Phil’s brilliant Blogomatic3000 site, and I advise you get yourself over there pronto for more cinematic fun and frolics.


Photos courtesy of BeckPhotographic.

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