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Booth Brothers, The (Christopher and Philip)

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If you have never had the pleasure of dealing with The Booth Brothers, you are missing out on both some hilarity and serious professionalism, British cowboy rock star-style. The identical twins first made an impression on the horror community with their feature film Death Tunnel, which was shot at the Waverly Hills Tuberculosis Sanatorium in Louisville, Kentucky (read DC’s Cold Spots report on Waverly here). The film had its moments, but Sony did next to no publicity for the film and it faded away (although it IS still available at Amazon and Netflix). I have been to Waverly myself, and the film does effectively capture some of the creepiness of this Session 9-style hospital.

After shooting Death Tunnel, the brothers became interested in the stories from the people who had been actual patients at Waverly, and their second career as documentarians was up and going. Spooked: The Ghosts of Waverly Hills was their first “ghost hunters”-style film, followed by Children of the Grave and, most recently, The Possessed, about a documented case of possession in Watseka, Illinois, in the late 1800s.

Christopher and Philip Booth

Dread Central recently spoke with Christopher and Philip Booth about how two lads from Yorkshire ended up in the States documenting American hauntings when we all know the UK is overflowing with spooks.


DC: Hello, Christopher and Philip! You crazy British cowboys. For the uninitiated, would you mind giving our readers a brief biographical rundown on The Booth Brothers story? And how you both ended up making horror documentaries?

CB: Well, to start, we were born in a creepy old asylum-looking hospital in Yorkshire, England, and grew up as ambitious rock ‘n rollers. The music biz was our first taste of success in the entertainment industry. I guess we wanted our amps (volume) to go louder then just ten as at the age of 18 we were playing in front of 20,000 people. We wanted more than music on our agenda. The film biz came somewhat easy in sleazy Hollywood as we started as set boys (art department) on million dollar films and production assistants on adult films while sleeping in station wagons and bathing in pools. We were the ones that had to buy the birth control and the enema stuff by the case and hide when the cashier called a price check – we did anything we could to survive. One show led to another, and before you knew it we worked our way up from HD Playboy and found ourselves on the set of the Twentieth Century Fox Film DreamScape and said, “We can do this, we can do all of this!” So that was the end to the beginning.

PB: The next step beyond was when we experienced actual paranormal activity on set, while shooting Sony Pictures’ Death Tunnel. While filming on the third floor of Waverly Hills Sanatorium, suddenly the room went ice cold just for a moment, and then the cold moved through me, and then it just left. What was really chilling was discovering a slight icy film on the lens afterwards; no one could explain what happened. Then later in the shoot I saw what appeared to be a little girl running through the hall ahead of me – it was holographic in nature but very real! So this, as well as meeting the real patients of the sanatorium, opened up the door to “real horror” yet with a heart!

DC: Now I’ve seen the original Death Tunnel as well as the version Sony put out, AND I’ve seen Spooked: The Ghosts of Waverly Hills. Where did you two hear about Waverly, and do you still do any paranormal investigations there?

CB: Waverly was all over the Internet! People were “spooked “about this place. The execs wanted to make a pirate movie, and I said, “No, wait a minute, read this, this is the story we should do!” That story, of course, being the true, haunting story of Waverly Hills Sanatorium. We won’t go back to Waverly now; we have the world we want to explore — been there/done that concept!

PB: Waverly has become quite altered and somewhat commercialized now, so it’s not really like just stepping in it while the cobwebs are still there. We were allowed in all the closed-off areas when we shot there, our main scenes there as well.

DC: Since the success of the film and the documentary, you have both gone on in the “ghost hunters” mode, investigating sites associated with child hauntings in Children of the Grave (review here). How did that documentary come about?

Children of the Grave DVDCB: I wouldn’t say we are ghost hunters per se; we are more like epic filmmakers capturing the supernatural. Children of the Grave started with a photo that was sent to us. It was a picture of the top of a dark hillside with dead trees. In between these trees were shadows, shadows of what seemed to resemble twelve or so small children about three-foot tall. They had an imp-like look to them; almost like something disfigured out of The Hills Have Eyes. I remember saying, “If this picture is fucking real, then we are going down there to try and capture this on film”. Three months and a lot of research later, we were there, walking six miles down broken roads to the place they call “Zombie Road”. The locals actually nicknamed the road that due to murders that happened there back in the day. That is where we caught them, this nest of shadow children. It blew our bloody minds, so that picture was quite real, very real indeed! We got a lot of serious thermal evidence that day!

PB: We were also shooting footage for other shows and went to a graveyard, and the cameras all shut off and on. Then we picked up what sounded like a “thousand kids screaming”. It blew my headphones off, and we sat here in awe. After dedicated research we realized this was where over 600 children had been buried in a mass grave from milk poisoning!

DC: Have you ever consulted with the TAPS guys for any hauntings? Or just gotten together with them to talk ghosts over a beer or two?

CB: We spend an average of six months to a year researching a place, case, or event before we make a movie. Usually when you sit down with a ghost hunter over a beer or (twenty) two, the last thing you’re going to talk about is their work. We like to get to know the people we merge with; after all you are going to have to survive the longest road trip and scariest asylums together. When you set out into one of our ghost hunts, you have to make it through “Booth” camp. At the end you are all best buds and just as scared silly!

PB: Jason and Grant are cool guys; we run into all kinds of celeb ghost gurus at shows and stuff. Even though Syfy has us and Ghost Hunters usually back to back, we are very different in style and format. We complement each other. But next time the beers are on them!

The Possessed DVDDC: Tell us a bit about your latest documentary, The Possessed (review here). Where did you first hear about the story of Lurancy Vellum, Mary Roff, and Watseka, Illinois?

CB: Based on the true story, The Watseka Wonder. America’s first documented possession of 1877 is a chilling journal of a 13-year-old girl from the small town who became possessed by spirits of the insane dead. We filmed on location at the real houses, interviewed the last of the remaining family members of the possessed girl, and redid an actual 100-year-old séance – this time with hi-tech and costly gadgets. We also obtained real possession footage of victims alleged to be under control of the devil. That was very disturbing to us, I must say. To top it all off we investigated an abandoned mental hospital where “demonic” patients were kept. After witnessing the harsh treatments they performed, one knows the real lunatics are the ones running the asylum!

PB: Troy Taylor also has a book out by the same name about this case as well as we read about it while researching The Exorcist. Something like possession happening in the 1800’s sounded epic to us!

DC: Take us through your process for documenting these hauntings. You have some of the same equipment other ghost hunters have: EMF detectors, EVP recorders, thermal imaging cameras, etc. But how involved are the two of you in the actual “ghost hunting”?

CB: We are there every twisted step of the way. The stories, the Hunters, the people, and most of all, the Ghosts are the stars. It is our twin mission statement, to “capture the truth” and present it with compelling reason. We do not so much care if a place is haunted, we go after why it is haunted!

PB: At first, and still, we use seasoned professionals that have had real paranormal activity. Sometimes false alarms happen. They have the experience in the field and know if something is “supernatural” or not! But we both have become very involved in the hunt for the truth behind the tragedy and the discovery of actual evidence. You have to care before you scare!

DC: Do you go into these documentaries to debunk the stories, or are you just wanting to get the stories recorded for posterity? And do either of you really believe in ghosts?

CB: We just don’t just film anything. I mean, we don’t document “Little Suzy’s room is haunted by her pet gerbil”. That is how silly things seem to be going in paranormal Hollywood. We only take on the “scream of the crop,” so to speak. We like the twisted, the inspired, the deadly, and the unknown. We sincerely want to help tell a lost soul’s sad story in hopes they will find the closure they need. And we will adapt their after-life story into an epic adventure feature, not as a half hour situation reality show. Yes, we believe in ghosts and the truth, as there is nothing scarier than those two, together as one.

PB: Actually we are not there to debunk anything; we rarely go to film anything that has not already been researched by our team beforehand. We are there to just document the case and to bring the story to the screen on a compassionate and engulfing level. Ghosts – do I believe in them? Oh yeah!

DC: You make use of quite a few experts in the field of the paranormal: Lorraine Warren, John Zaffis (both of whom investigated the Amityville Horror house), Keith Age from the Louisville Ghost Hunters, etc. How do decide whom you want on any particular investigation? And would you ever want to team up with the TAPS folks?

CB: If we need a doctor, we will call the best we can find. Our last demonologist was 70 years old and was an advisor to the Vatican; he knew things that only God and Satan should know. He was the real deal! We take our hauntings seriously, and so should you. The last thing you want to do is piss off a ghost with an attitude.

PB: There are so many wonderful experts and teams we have worked with. If they bring the case to us, then they may know the details best or have documented evidence from the case. There was discussion about doing a case with Jason and Grant in the future so you never know!

DC: Are there places in the U.S. that you REALLY want to investigate? Where are they, and what is the attraction?

CB: Yes, whatever has a real solid connection to the afterlife is the attraction!

PB: Unfortunately, we cannot disclose that information.

DC: What scares the Booth Brothers?

CB: That some people believe everything they see and what they are told. It is important to open our eyes but to be truthful to our heart. Just like people, television should be held responsible for its actions and attacks on others.

PB: Reality TV (laughs). Seriously, we were pretty scared going to the real Exorcist house and asylum!

DC: There have been quite a few movies lately about hauntings, particularly The Haunting in Connecticut, and The Haunting in Georgia is apparently in pre-production. Would either of you ever want to return to horror filmmaking as opposed to documentary filmmaking?

Spooked DVDCB: We have some film projects in the works which may go into pre-production next year. It takes a big chunk of your life doing a film; our creativity moves far too fast sometimes to lock down. Our current television production deal supports as many new ideas and shows we can pop out as long as they are crafted within the Booth Brothers epic style.

PB: Well, we get a lot more respectively from our current style of “Epic Reality” than the cliché “horror movie” so to speak. With these there are no typical formulas, and they are scary because they are “Real People, Real Stories & Real Fear”! We get to scare people and then deeply move them, hopefully with a message from the afterlife and one for us internally as well. We would not be able to do that with a studio horror film. But we have had some pretty interesting offers, so we’ll see which way the wind blows.

DC: Have either of you seen any horror movies lately that impressed you? Weren’t the usual PG-13/CGI-overload/20-something “actors” crap?

CB: Watchmen, The Dark Knight, Coraline are cool, but I am afraid that Hollywood is playing it safe. It’s about numbers, and I don’t mean The Number 23.

PB: There are a few out there. I’m afraid the studio formula is numbing the market. We actually like emotional, human dramas with supernatural overtones better than the slasher genre!

DC: What is next for the Booth Brothers?

CB: We’ve got two new shows that will rock ya. The first one is The Haunted Boy, The Secret Diary of the Exorcist. Which is the true story of what really went down in the movie The Exorcist. We shot on location in St. Louis, Missouri, where the real exorcism occurred. We take you into the real decayed home of the possessed boy, the churches, the asylums, with interviews with the boy’s family circle and the associated priests, and we track down the devil boy’s furniture that has been locked up in cold storage now for over 20 years. That will be released in 2010.

PB: The other one is Soul Catcher, Trail of Fears. Supernatural guardians, curses of the land, haunted Indian boarding schools, and the most mind-blowing evidence to date! All shot on location like an epic David Lean film!

DC: You both wear SO many hats when filming your documentaries – have you ever thought about handing the reins over to someone else and just produce? And if you have thought about that, whom in the horror genre would you like to see inherit your vision?

CB: Not that many. I have maybe over 20 Stetsons now, which is my favorite make of cowboy hat (laughs)! It is hard to have others represent our shows for television as many parts are unscripted. Much like complex jigsaw puzzles of events and emotions needed to be pieced together, like body parts at a crime scene, once put together correctly you know exactly what you got. Assembled in the wrong order and it’s just average TV. We have many new affiliates and partners with new opportunities so we do hope in the future we can take a break and just produce.

PB: Actually I wear the bandanas (laughs). We utilize the highest end of HD camera equipment, lenses, and filters; and constant updates makes its hard to keep up sometimes. We work with a lot of great talent, but what comes together in the end is very personal and that may be its main potent ingredient!

Christopher and Philip Booth

DC: Have you ever considered adapting a horror novel for the screen? I would be happy to give you a short list of titles that REALLY need to be made.

CB: Love to see that list. We’ve got a backlog of spooky stories and events that we would love to adapt. We get more and more horror stories every day – we will never have time to do that romantic comedy our agent wanted us to do. Though we have thought about doing some “Scary Fairy” kid flicks.

PB: Oh, please pass them on. Thanks, love!

DC: Why do you think people love to be frightened? Particularly with shows like Ghost Hunters and your documentaries – those really hit home (no pun intended)?

CB: When you scream, you are alive. People are getting tired of their own lives; they are interested in moving to the other side.

PB: Fear is a raw, primal emotion like love. We almost need it to survive – adrenaline junkies hooked on fear from the comfort of your own home!

DC: You are both from Great Britain, a pretty freakin’ haunted place in my opinion. Any spooky stories you can relate from growing up there? Would you want to return there for any documentaries?

CB: Jack the Ripper, the Vampire Graveyard, the real Madhouses of Venice intrigue me. Where we lived, we had an entire family buried in the backyard from the 17th Century who died of Scarlet Fever. It was really hard to sit back in that garden; it put a whole new meaning to the concept of “green thumb”.

PB: Ha, the place we were born, Halifax General Hospital, shrouded in fog, that was a scary place. Many offers to go back, but there are few more skeletons in America’s closet yet to reveal!

DC: Is there anything you would like to add that I haven’t asked?

CB: If you are ready to see a Booth Brothers double feature, you are in luck. The Possessed television premiere is part of the Syfy Channel’s “31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN” on 10/08/2009, 9:00 pm/et, and right after that Children of the Grave airs at 11:00 pm/et. Death Tunnel is on 10/4/2009 at 1:00 pm/et.

PB: You can keep up on what we are doing, the latest news at Spooked TV.

DC: Thank you both so much for taking time to talk to Dread Central. I know that I am waiting for your next documentary. Any special plans for Halloween at the Booth households?

CB: It has been a pleasure. Thank you and special thanks to all our cool fans, team, and family and to our not so “imaginary friends.” Halloween is our only day off!

PB: Thank you and to all who have watched and worked on our shows. And, of course, the ghosts for showing up!


For more information on the Booth Brothers and their productions, visit them on Spooked TV or Vimeo.

Elaine Lamkin

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Alien: Covenant’s Carmen Ejogo Joins True Detective Season 3

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“From the dusty mesa her looming shadow grows…”

The first season of HBO’s “True Detective” was one of the best seasons ever put on a TV screen. Hands down. The second season was another story altogether. While not a complete waste of time (Colin Farrell owed) the season was basically merely ‘meh’.

But what about “True Detective” season 3?

Well, a few months back it was announced that the third season had been greenlit by HBO, with creator Nic Pizzolatto returning to pen the series and director Jeremy Saulnier (Green Room) taking the helm of the episodes.

Today we have news that Carmen Ejogo – who you may recognize Ejogo from such recent fright flicks as It Comes at Night, Alien: Covenant, and The Purge: Anarchy – will be joining the previously announced Mahershala Ali (Moonlight) for Season 3.

Ejogo will play the female lead, Amelia Reardon, who THR describes as “an Arkansas schoolteacher with a connection to two missing children in 1980.”

Nice Pizzolatto will serve as showrunner and direct alongside Jeremy Saulnier. Executive producers include Pizzolatto, Saulnier, Scott Stephens and season one stars Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey as well as original director Cary Joji Fukunaga. Steve Golin, Bard Dorros and Richard Brown are also credited as exec producers.

Synopsis:

A macabre crime in the heart of the Ozarks and a mystery that deepens over decades and plays out in three separate time periods.

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Danielle Harris Tried to Get Jamie Lloyd into New Halloween Movie

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One of the top films all of us are looking forward to the most here at Dread Central is Blumhouse’s upcoming sequel/reboot thing to John Carpenter’s Halloween.

The new Halloween (2018) film is written by Danny McBride and David Gordon Green and is all set to be directed by Green this year. Recently we learned that original Halloween star Jamie Lee Curtis was going to be returning to the new film.

Not only that, but Curtis’ classic character Laurie Strode would have a daughter… played by Judy Greer. But what about Danielle Harris?

After all, Harris was the star of Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers and Halloween 5: The Curse of Michael Myers. Let alone, she had a starring role in both Rob Zombie’s remake and it’s sequel. So how about the new film?

Turns out Harris tried to get her character Jamie Llyod (aka the daughter of Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode) from Halloween 4 and 5 into the new film… but she was turned down by Blumhouse and the new creative team. That sucks.

Harris was pretty bummed about the whole deal and took to Facebook recently to clear the air. You can check out quotes from her video, along with the video itself, below.

After that make sure to hit us up and let us know how much you would have liked to see Harris return to Halloween in the comments below or on social media!

“What I am bummed about is… [Laurie] has a daughter,” Harris says. “I was okay with it when she had a son… but they’re saying it’s the last one and… she has a daughter. And it’s not Jamie. It’s just kind of a bummer, I guess. I think somebody had said, it wouldn’t have hurt the movie to have Jamie reunited with [Laurie]. But that didn’t happen.”

“We did put in a call, thought it’d be kinda cool even just to have a little flashback…” She continues. “They were not interested. So. I tried.”

Blumhouse’s Halloween hits theaters October 19, 2018.

halloween and germany

Posted by Danielle Harris on Monday, November 6, 2017

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Jordan Peele Is Open to the Idea of Get Out Sequel

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Recently we shared the baffling news that this year, the Golden Globes were considering writer-director Jordan Peele’s psychological horror-thriller Get Out a comedy.

Hurm. While that bit of news still doesn’t make a bit of sense to me, today we have an update on Jordan Peele’s possible sequel Get Out 2. Which is always welcome.

Deadline was recently speaking with the filmmaker and Peele told them that although he still hasn’t cracked the sequel, if he comes up with a fresh spin he would have no problem revisiting the first film.

“I haven’t decided anything yet,” Peele told the site. “I am allowing the creative part to bubble up, and not force it. I know if a follow-up is meant to happen, it will. I’m open to figuring out what it is. But I also don’t want to let down the original and its fans. I simply would not do something like that for the cash.”

Good to hear!

I don’t know about you, but if Jordan Peele does decide to revisit the world of Get Out again in the future, I will be there. After reading these comments, I have faith the man will not return unless the story deserves it. Money be damned!

Unless… the sequel is called Sell Out… Ooohh. Snap. All jokes aside, in this world of sequels and remakes, it feels pretty damn good to hear a filmmaker talk this way.

What do you think of a Get Out sequel? Do you think the first film needs a continuation? Make sure to hit us up and let us know in the comments below or on social media!

You can buy Get Out on Blu-ray HERE.

Synopsis:

Now that Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and his girlfriend, Rose (Allison Williams), have reached the meet-the-parents milestone of dating, she invites him for a weekend getaway upstate with Missy and Dean. At first, Chris reads the family’s overly accommodating behavior as nervous attempts to deal with their daughter’s interracial relationship, but as the weekend progresses, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries lead him to a truth that he never could have imagined.

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