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Exclusive: Horror Hostess Emily Booth Talks Acting, Directing, and Presenting





Any self-respecting horror aficionado living or spending time in the UK has most certainly laid his or her peepers on the delectable Emily Booth. The glamorous horror hostess and scream queen recently dropped by to chat about the past, present, and future of her varied career.

Having appeared in quite a lengthy list of off-the-wall B-movies, Emily is also well known as the current face of the UK’s Horror Channel, pulling front-line duty for their coverage of the highly successful Film4 FrightFest in London each year. With an amazing line-up announced for the festival, reaching its 13th year this August, Emily is one busy lady -- but lucky for us, she’s an early riser and found time in her morning routine to fit in a brief discussion of her career to date and working alongside such iconic genre giants as Doug Bradley and Rutger Hauer, as well as her roots as an extra on Paul W.S. Anderson's Event Horizon and appearing in Edgar Wright's faux-Grindhouse trailer Don't.

Exclusive: Horror Hostess Emily Booth Talks Acting, Directing, and Presenting

On the upcoming The Reverend...
In The Reverend I play Tracy. She’s a girl whose life has just gone wrong, she lives on the estate and she’s a prostitute. She's under the order of her pimp, 'Prince the Pimp' played by the brilliant Shane Richie. She comes across the reverend in a pub because she runs this Gothic vampire film club. It’s her one little hobby, and the Reverend, seeing as he becomes vampiric himself, goes to this club just to sort of find out more, really... he just feels sorry for her because he sees what she's like with her pimp and the problems she's facing. I'm not summing this up very well because I've got my toast here and I'm not concentrating! I haven’t eaten yet! (laughs) So basically in The Reverend I play a prostitute called Tracy who gets saved by the Reverend!

I really enjoyed it! I was on set for about a week so it was only a supporting role really. It was completely different to anything I'd done because horror fans will know me for trashier stuff like Pervirella, Evil Aliens, Dog House... I love those films, they’re amazing, and they’re a lot more comedic or slapstick or kitsch. This was a bit different!

On working on Event Horizon...
I was just an extra in that. I was in University trying to make money, and I ended up doing really weird jobs when I was in college because I didn’t mind being naked! The FX guys from Pervirella ended up working on Event Horizon. It’s all about who you know, completely. Do you know what life casting is? Life casting is when they take your head, your body and they cast it, make an exact replica and they use it in films, say if you need to blow a body up or you need to saw somebody’s leg off in a horror film, you have to have a body cast for the actor. I was a life cast model for the film Event Horizon. They ended up saying, “Look, do you wanna be in the scene where the original crew get lost in space?” So for two days, it was brilliant... we were on the 007 stage, on a massive spaceship and we had to do all these sex scenes, rape scenes, bitch fights and cannibalism... it was amazing! It was so much fun! I spent two days naked, covered in blood! Someone had to take a drill and go right down my mouth, I had to eat a man's throat... but you don’t see any of it! They spent all this money on all these effects! Apparently all the A-listers like Sam Neill, Joely Richardson and Laurence Fishburne were like, “Can we go on set where they're doing all these naughty scenes...?”

On how she landed the Grindhouse trailer gig...
Well, going back to Pervirella -- she started it all! Edgar Wright, and he's gone massive now, he worked for free on Pervirella. He just came in and helped one day on the crew. He got in touch with me and said he wanted me to work in this trailer! Edgar just wanted to get everyone he ever worked with in the kitsch B-movie scene and put them in this trailer. I'm in, like, ten frames or something. It was very professional, working with 35mm, which was nice. It was brief, very brief!

When asked if she would ever write or direct...
I don’t know if I'm ambitious enough really! I don’t know if could write and direct! I sometimes envision myself doing it – I think I could create a really dark scene. Whenever I watch a horror film, especially these days, I’m usually screaming at the screen saying, “Why the fuck are they not making things more tense?” or “Why are they editing it like that?”

I don’t think that films now understand how to do tension and suspense, and they don’t draw things out, they don’t use music minimally. It's all a bit in-your-face and a bit [too] fast. Just watching something really old school like Evil Dead, I watched that again, and besides the silly zombie scenes and the hysteria in the film which it’s known for, if you take all that away [Sam Raimi is] actually fucking good at doing tension. To cut a long story short, I do think I have an eye for it, but I would not know how to write a whole feature film. Some people think it’s easy, but it’s not. It's such a skill to make it really concise and have a really good rhythm in it so that it’s really frightening. I'm a big ideas girl, but I don’t think I have the talent to write and direct a proper film, if that’s the truth.

The last good horror she saw at the cinema...
The last film I saw in the cinema was The Cabin in the Woods. I need to see Prometheus. I did enjoy it, but it ended up getting silly. The film I saw before that was The Woman in Black. I wanted to see it because I had the original for years on DVD. You can’t get it now. The woman who wrote it didn’t like the film that they did. The original is amazing; I’ve always loved it. It scared the shit out of me! So I thought [the remake] was going to be a bit crap, the Harry Potter version, but it wasn’t too bad! I think it was written by Jane Goldman and she is good, but I think I prefer the original [overall].

On where she would like to go next as an actress...
I love working in horror and genuinely think that as an actress horror films really stretch you. But it’s not really a case of deciding to stay in horror or not... I am attracted to it and tend to get offered acting or presenting roles in horror, but of course I would not turn something down that was non-horror if I believed it was a good role. But I feel happy and honoured to stay in the horror genre - absolutely.

On the demise of the UK’s Gorezone Magazine...
Ah – well, contentious issues here, maybe. I wrote for them and they gave me a lot of opportunities and supported me, and it was good fun to host the film festivals and spin-off DVDs. I never worked in the office, though, so I am not completely sure why it closed down. Perhaps it was too ambitious and spent too much, or there were personal issues within the staff? I'm not really knowledgeable enough to say why it closed down, but hey - like all things - it was an era, it ended.

Exclusive: Horror Hostess Emily Booth Talks Acting, Directing, and Presenting

We’d like to thank Emily for taking time from her schedule to speak to us, and be sure to look out for her doing her thing at the Film4 Frightfest in London’s Leicester Square this August 23rd–27th!

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