Interview: The Booth Brothers.

THIS INTERVIEW FIRST APPEARED ON THE GINGER NUTS OF HORROR SITE. 'GNOH' IS ME ASKING QUESTIONS ON THEIR BEHALF.

The metal banding on a Stetson catching sunlight, giving a halo effect to the gentleman wearing it, making him look every bit the Saint that his moniker declares him to be. By his side a Bandana is keeping a rock-star mane under control and away from the viewfinder of a state of the art movie camera. They look for the whole world like the next incarnation of Guns 'n' Roses but are in fact identical twin horror impresarios The Booth Brothers.
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THE BOOTH BROTHERS
Christopher Saint Booth and Philip Adrian Booth are two 'good ol' boys' from the Northern Territories, of Yorkshire that is. In their youth they were, much to their mother's chagrin, a bit rebellious and rather than being 'normal' they became rock musicians with their band 'Sweeney Todd', doing great things before they emigrated, first to Canada where they continued to be a success and then to the bright lights of California. They have supported Motley Crue, but rocking out in front of 20,000 people wasn't enough for them and so they decided to break into Hollywood and soon became the 'go-to' guys for any job other people didn't much fancy. As a result of their work ethic they have to their credit around 60 film features for Playboy as well as a back catalogue of work on a huge variety of Hollywood projects from soundtracks to camerawork. It was during one of those essential jobs that the brothers took a look at a script and breakdown for the movie they were involved with, it was a sci-fi/horror called DreamScape. The brothers came to the conclusion that they could do similar things themselves, and so, with a head full of ideas and nerves of steel they decided to become film makers in their own right. Their documentary and horror movie company TwinTalk has been gathering pace ever since, and doing so with a dedication hard to beat.

The following link is for their Vimeo Channel SPOOKEDtv-OD which at the time of writing has fifty videos and trailers available:

https://vimeo.com/channels/126423/4426515

GNOH to Both: For the benefit of our readers could you please introduce yourselves and state your individual roles?

PAB: Hello, (Ello)  I’m Philip Adrian Booth and I’m a Director of Photography, Writer, Editor and Director  and I make good coffee too.

CSB:  I’m Christopher Saint Booth and I am a Producer, Composer and Production Designer and I drink Phil's gourmet coffee too.

GNOH to Both: Your most recent release in the U.K. is "Dead Still" (Distributor: ContentMediaUK.), the story of a photographer with a most unusual camera. I have to say from the start that it is one of the best films I have seen this year. It stars Ben Browder (Farscape) and Ray Wise (Twin Peaks, Reaper) in an effectively creepy chiller with storyline and visual elements reminiscent of the Twilight Zone and Silent Hill. Looking at the behind the scenes material it appears as if you are two parts of a single machine, each of you providing different skills in the overall process. Did you make a conscious decision for one of you to focus on a differing aspect to the other so that between both of you all of the bases were covered?

PAB: Well the best part of working with a twin is that you never have to worry about if that job is going to done as passionately as you would do it yourself. Chris produces the film and is also a marvelous composer and production designer as well. As the writer and editor it was easy for me to shoot and direct the film as I’m editing on the set in my head anyway. 

CSB: That's what we do on all of our productions. Being identical twins we not only look alike but kinda think alike. That makes it a stronger team. It's like having two cameras covering what's going on, it's easier to cover what's going on and change quickly what's not working on the fly. If you ever said, "I wish I had another like me" well there you go… BOOM!
GNOH to Both: In 'Dead Still' Ray Wise, a veteran of over 90 films, is flawless as the Victorian 'Death Photographer' Wenton Davis, what was he like to work with?

PAB: Brilliant, I will never forget when I first met him on the set and he was in full Jack the Ripper wardrobe. I went “wow, he is perfect”, the man is a legend.

CSB: It was an honor, Ray Wise was perfect for the role. Ray loved the part. He wanted to put his own flair and touch to the character. Ray even grew a beard, studied the past of Victorian Death photography. He has been an inspiration for us with his work in Twin Peaks so when came on board we were like excited school girls, completely in awe. Originally the role was going to be played by Sid Haig but personally Ray Wise nails it. I think it's one of his best roles he's played to date.  A super talented actor with passion, charm and charisma, Ray definitely was our villain, our Jack Nicholson per-se in The Shining. Ray brings a lot to the table, an actor of intrigue with a creep factor you need in todays over saturated horror films. 
GNOH to Both: You both have so many strings to your bows, if you could only concentrate on one aspect of your talents what would it be?

PAB: I love to write, shoot and direct so that would be difficult. But I would say direct.

CSB: I think music; a film's score has always played an important role in movie making. Music has always been my first love and second being Production Design in which I do on all of our productions. Also being the Producer on this flick I must deliver the best of the best while keeping on budget and schedule. Creation and passion in anything you do is the key.

GNOH to PAB:  'Dead Still' uses subtle CGI for enhancement but a lot of 'Old School' effects too which to my mind at least really worked and harked back to the good old days of horror movies. What was the decision process behind using traditional techniques?

PAB: We wanted gritty, we wanted 1970's horror like Hammer films. Old school is a lot more disturbing and graphic than wall to wall CGI.

CSB: I'm not a big fan of all CGI on any productions. I feel it eliminates the organic, raw approach to the scare factor. A simple creepy mask, twisted dialog, the right angle, lighting and tension build-up can create a 100% fear factor. There are parts that definitely CGI is needed but the over use can desensitize the audience, the same with too many graphic kill scenes. It has to be the right amount per the storyline to immerse you into the classic horror zone. We were fortunate to have a great seasoned lighting and SFX makeup crew that cared, they used their imagination not their computers.
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GNOH to CSB: With all of the horror remakes in the pipeline at the moment from various studios what would be the one remake you wouldn't mind being offered and why?

CSB: Philip and I were courted to do the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake, the one with Jessica Biel. For some political reason it didn't work out. A lot of that movie has scenes and lighting exactly like our film 'DarkPlace' starring the late Matthew McGrory. I think the 1980 film 'The Entity' starring Barbara Hershey would be a great one to tackle. We actually have been playing around with that one ever since we met Barry Taff the real para-psychologist who studied that creepy case. So you never know, it's on our twisted-bucket list.

GNOH to PAB: What is your 'Holy Grail' of haunted places that you would love to have filmed in but can't because it's either off limits or long since demolished?

PSB: Danvers Psychiatric Hospital has been torn down and Buffalo Psychiatric Hospital is off limits I’m afraid, both were true “Hell Houses”  Maybe we could shoot at the actual "Bedlam" Hospital in England. Yeah right, lol

CSB: There're so many now, they all are being torn down. One can always recreate the location but there is nothing better than shooting in a real haunted asylum, hospital or house. Our film 'Death Tunnel' was filmed in the infamous haunted Waverly Hills Sanatorium. Talk about production design, real aging paint and warped walls not to mention the real gurneys and medical equipment left behind. I was like a kid in a candy shop scouting that place, I was like "can we use this and this and oh we got to use this, it's so damned twisted". Bedlam Asylum in England comes to mind on our wish list.

GNOH to CSB: I know you have said that America has a huge supply of haunted places, but would you ever consider film-making outside of the USA if the right project came along?

CSB: Of course. It just has to be the right story. We like to take on projects that have never been told. It's all about the story and the redemption. Would love to film in Tibet.
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GNOH to Both: What is the one question which you wish that the fans and interviewers would just quit asking?

PAB: So you guys are twins huh, what’s that like.?  Not!

CSB: Are you guys twins and the question you just asked, lol....

(Thanks for that Christopher.)

GNOH to Both: If you won the opportunity to have one of the current batch of Hollywood A-Listers to star in your next film for free, and they had to do exactly what you wanted them to, who would you most like to work with and why?

PAB: Geoffrey Rush, Powers Boothe, Tommy Lee Jones they would make great evil characters in the tradition of the Hammer film style.

CSB: A-Listers, that's a hard question really as A-Listers have a tendency not to scare you as much on screen as some unknown. Michael Parks from the film 'Tusk' is incredible as a dark-villain, Gary Oldman is a chameleon and can adapt to any role so I think it would have to be someone that truly has a performance art approach. The late Dennis Hopper was a favorite.

GNOH to Both: Memento Mori are popular in your films, do you have a favorite piece of your own and if so, what makes it special?

PAB: My favorite piece is about redemption, there has to be a message, a deep meaning or a twist that leaves you thinking at the end.

CSB: Yes I collect something from every set and story we have been involved in. For instance, an 18th century prosthetic arm from our paranormal doc 'Children Of The Grave, old clothes and letters from abandoned hospitals we found and of course the diary of the real Exorcist case. Talk about a reality check. When you read the real writings from the real people you are showcasing it's your mission, your duty as a filmmaker, a story teller to get it right.

GNOH to PAB: You have the ability to make rather expensive looking films with limited budgets, what tricks can you share with our readers about how you pull that off?

PAB: Pre-production is everything. Lots of coffee and no life J

GNOH to Both: Is one of you more 'Hollywood' than the other and if so can you explain the process of finding the middle ground to getting things done?

PAB: I believe I’m the more laid back, inward dreamer of the two of us. It helps push the deeper story-lines and depth behind the lens but the other flip side you need someone to make a fuss about getting things done on schedule and budget. It takes reality to make dreams come true.

CSB: I don't think Hollywood comes into play with any of us really though it may be me as I dig sports cars, sushi, cool clothes, bright shiny lights and sexy women. But I also love spirituality, the Dalai Lama, Shiva and innocence. I do believe as an entertainer that what you are supposed to do is entertain. I think you just need to be who you are whether that is mortal or immortal. We need both to figure out which one we are. For me everything is 100%. There is no Plan B in my life so give it your all. David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust comes to mind, an alter-ego so one can perform with a safety net yet not afraid to jump. Ridley Scott is a great example of an artist and a business entity. No compromise, yet do it in style.

GNOH to Both: As you are a couple of lads from Yorkshire is there anything at all that you miss about Yorkshire or indeed England as a whole? Do you ever go back there and visit relatives/friends?

PAB: I would really love to film there; our relatives are all still there. The hospital we were born at would make a frightening location in it itself. lol

CSB: The countryside in the North is beautiful. The history is haunting and the culture say of Europe is far more artsy. Much more open to deeper and darker ideas. America is catching up. Our Mum and relatives are buried near the moors. I love castles and Jack the Ripper but my family is here now.

GNOH to Both: You've had a very interesting time of things, rocking out in front of 20,000 fans, ghost hunting, documentary making, working on albums and videos, making horror movies. Is there something that you dream of doing which is totally unrelated to showbiz?

PAB: Living on a beautiful rural farm surrounded by water, animals and lots of pure and wholesome organic food. My wife and I’s dream is to have an organic farm someday. 

CSB: Being a spiritual teacher of sorts. Of course not with the fast cars etc, lol, but just inspiring the world not to give up, to stand by one's dreams and never giving up. I think meditation and believing in yourself is so important. I think I just realized this is my Plan B but really should be my Plan A. :) A remix by Skrillex of my life would be perfect.

GNOH to Both: The floor is yours; you can ask any question to anyone. What would you ask and to whom?

PAB: What would you like to see a film made about, what is the scariest thing you can think of? 

GNOH: Borley Rectory or 50 Berkeley Square, London, either of those. The scariest thing I can think of at the moment is no more Booth Brothers films ;)

CSB: I would ask Dalai Lama if he believed in ghosts and our fans if they believed in Reality TV?

GNOH to Both: Regarding the paranormal, exploring Waverly Hills Sanatorium was a turning point for you both and the genesis of your film 'Death Tunnel', but what were your expectations before going there?

PAB: We actually did not have any paranormal experiences prior to that film, but that place changed our lives. Our film-doc “The Unseen” takes you to what happened to us there, it is mind blowing.

CSB: It's weird as I did not have any expectations. We were just going there to scout a location. But boom when we got there, life changed. 'Introduction to the paranormal 101'. It was eye-opening to witness the paranormal activity there and then try to deal with it when we went back to Los Angeles. I will never forget driving up to Waverly Hills for the first time; It was like finding Frankenstein's castle in the middle of nowhere. What an after-LIFE lesson it was. 

GNOH to CSB: Was there ever a project you passed up on and regretted your decision?

CSB: Yes, being an Indie film company, one cannot move fast enough sometimes. There have been many projects and stories we were adapting, setting up to shoot and Mr. Big from Hollywood would move in days before. But that's the nature of the beast. It's important not to have yesterday regrets, become cynical and bitter. That will destroy today and days to come. We owned several adaptions of stories that have not been told. For instance; 'The Possessed' the true story of America's first possession, 'The Exorcist File' being first to film inside the real Exorcist house, lead a paranormal investigation and document untold events, 'Death Tunnel' and 'Spooked' to unveil the history and hauntings of Waverly Hills Sanatorium and 'Children Of The Grave' uncovering ghost children in haunted Orphanages. The night and career is young so stay tuned for more mind blowing projects.

GNOH to Both: With the growing popularity of shows such as American Horror Story, The Haunting, The Walking Dead et cetera have you ever considered making an entirely fictional TV series?

PAB: Yes and I would love to do that and am currently drafting concepts as we speak.

CSB: Funny you should mention that. Yes that is on our supernatural chalkboard to come. That is the big thing now; more networks are wanting quantity rather than a single show. I think its great outlet for creators and ideas that just can't be done in one movie. I look forward to getting that green-lit. We are full of twisted tales.

GNOH to Both: What was the worst project you were ever offered?

PAB: 'Sharkasaurus', say no more, lol 

CSB: I see ones every day and most of them are Vampire or Zombie related. Nothing against biters and eaters, I just think it's overdone. It's hard to take serious Spider-Vampire-Man or Zombie Shark but you know thinking about it now I could see that selling.
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GNOH to Both: Tell us a joke?

PAB: I just did, lol

CSB: Kayne West. JK… lol

GNOH: Not quite what I had in mind, but have to agree on Kanye.

GNOH to PAB: You shoot stunning visuals with amazing color and depth, would you ever consider filming in 3D?

PAB: Thank you very much.  Absolutely, I’m currently working with 6k resolution, UHD and IMAX, would love to do 3D and 4D. We could really make you jump then.

GNOH to Both: You are both known to use state of the art equipment, but is there any old school stuff, tech or programs that you just can't move on from?

PAB: Cooke 18-100 zoom lens that was used in Stanley Kubricks "The Shining" 

CSB: Old school being the experience and imagination from our seasoned crew. Analog video and audio tricks and recording techniques creates a warmer picture and a fatter sound. Digital is far too clean. Grit up everything, shoot organic rather CGI, dust everything down on set. There is nothing more annoying than shine or un-aged period sets, props and wardrobes. Yes there you have it 'Movie Dirt', use lots of it.
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GNOH to CSB: Your respect for a faithful background to your horror films and documentaries is laudable, has there been a particular person discovered in your research that you felt the most sorrow for?

CSB: I think all of our characters have their own sad stories. Being empathy driven we have a tendency to focus on their spirit to overcome, children being the most difficult. When you have a child of your own and it cries you will do everything to comfort the tearful one but when you are dealing with ghost children how do you comfort them? It's absolutely heartbreaking. All you can do is tell their story and hope it creates closure.

GNOH to Both: In your documentaries and movies you give texture without sensationalizing or using too much gore and too many jump scares. Do you believe that holds you back from becoming more famous?

PAB: I believe we offer a thinking person’s horror film, a romantic nightmare. And in the end we care about the characters and that is important. Famous is over rated J

CSB: We don't make slasher films, nothing against them it just seems like watching the news to me. We prefer good ghost stories with that dark Asian horror feel. I think you can disturb much more by what you don't see. The kill scenes in our films are very gory and disturbing. We prefer to use fear and twisted visions of horror. With that said Dead Still has some great new approaches to sick and twisted deaths.

GNOH to Both: Matthew McGrory's last film (DarkPlace) was with you guys, what lasting memory do you have of him?

PAB: Matthew is known for playing Tiny in Rob Zombies '1000 Corpses' and 'Devils Rejects'. Our film 'DarkPlace' was Matthew's last film. I remember Matthew hitting his head on the ceiling in my Hollywood house and everyone running to get off the balcony when he came out because the deck was so rickety. We all laughed, he was the most gentle human being I have ever met. I miss him greatly.

CSB: What a great chap he was. I will never forget working with him, what a fun loving soul. We had to remove the seats of my Range Rover to transport him around set due to his size. My regret was not meeting him the week before he passed for a drink due to my being busy composing the film. Matt liked his Jack Daniels, we shared a flask to keep us warm on the set. RIP Matty.
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GNOH to Both: What's the one thing you would never do in one of your films?

PAB: Rape or Snuff, Bad taste to me.

CSB: Settle...Don't ever Settle… for bad lighting, bad acting and cheap SFX make up. If budget and time is a concern which it always is, make the call to cut it out, shadow it or rewrite the scene.

GNOH to Both: Exclusive, you heard it here first folks: Can you tell our readers something about yourselves that you have not said in any documentary or in any other interview?

PAB: Well, I really enjoy being a husband and a father a lot and I need to work on that more and balance out my scheduling much better. I love my wife and daughter very much, I have a great passion for my work but these projects tend to take a lot out of us.

CSB: I've just got married which I never thought I would again as I have been married three times before. It has been an incredible adventure so far to live day by day with your own personal cheerleader. Meaning someone that believes in you and supports the long hours and the dreams of a crazy artist. I recommend if you find that special person never let them go. Salvador Dali had his Gala and now I have mine, my true artistic muse.

GNOH to Both: What general advice would you give to anyone wishing to get into the independent film business?

PAB: "Dream The Film, Film The Dream"

CSB: Never give up. Don't get so lost in the business of filmmaking that the art suffers. It's important to know the business especially in today's film market but don't cheat yourself from the thrill. Love what you do. 

GNOH to Both: What's next for The Booth Brothers?

PAB: Sleep, lol J

CSB: We are working on a supernatural series as well as completing a project on Voodoo we started filming in New Orleans last year. We are also starting up our own channel that presents Indie films at their best. It's going to be a busy and creative adventure to say the least, and of course we have some new films in the works.

GNOH to Both: Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule for this interview, I've had a great time talking with you and I look forward to future offerings from TwinTalk entertainment.

PAB: It was our pleasure. Thank you. 

CSB: Never too busy for you. Loved it cheers.
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If you can't find the Booth Brothers' films at your local store you can purchase them online from these sources:

You can go to the SPOOKEDtv-OD Vimeo Channel for Video On Demand offers:

https://vimeo.com/spookedtvod

For DVDs and merchandise you can visit their sales site:

www.spookedtv.com
For more on The Booth Brothers view this article:

http://www.gingernutsofhorror.com/9/post/2015/02/the-booth-brothers-the-cowboys-from-the-uk-terrifying-the-usa.html
For the Ginger Nuts of Horror review of 'Dead Still' click the following link:

http://gingernutsofhorror.com/13/post/2015/02/dead-still-2015-horror-film-review.html

DEAD STILL IMDB http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2882854/combined

DEAD STILL BLOG http://www.dead-still.blogspot.com

DEAD STILL FACEBOOK https://www.facebook.com/deadstillfilm

DEAD STILL is available in the UK at these fine outlets;

 iTunes, Xbox, Sony PDP, Google Play, Blinkbox, Amazon Instant Video, Horror Show by Content Media.

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