As you know we here at Kewel World often like to take a trip down the dark and scary which is an apt introduction to our lovely and talented guest Emma Dark whose latest horror short ‘Seize the Night’ is out and about doing the festival rounds.
“Emma, first off you are very welcome to Kewel World, just to kick things off can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself”?
I started off with alternative modelling around six years ago, was invited to catalogue model for a top alt fashion company and then won World Goth Day’s ‘Best Model’ in 2012. In addition I was published in a couple of calendars and a book etc. all the while building up a reasonable fan base. And then in 2013 I played a lead part in a Kim Wilde horror music video.
That was the turning point for me as the modelling in all honesty is pretty darn boring. It’s absolutely fabulous to have wonderful images of yourself and have this glamorous image but it’s not all that challenging, for me personally. From there I decided to do more in the world of video, more as a hobbyist thing than anything else, interviewing experts in the paranormal field etc., until I then went on to interview indie filmmakers at FrightFest for my own web show. That landed me the role of festival judge at the British Horror Film Festival later that year and that’s pretty much when I decided to make my own film for certain.
I’d been throwing around ideas for a while but as you might expect making a film is no easy task and you really have to be in the right place at the right time to take on the challenge. That’s pretty much the progression to date in a very informal nutshell but there’s a lot more detail to that on my website – www.emmadark.com.
“Having seen only the trailer for ‘Seize the Night’ I have to say it looks really well done; in fact one could be mistaken for thinking you were a seasoned professional with a welter of films under your belt instead of this being only your second movie, What do you attribute the high quality production to?”
Thanks! I’m one of those people that if I’m going to do something I’m going to spend as much time to get it right as possible. That applies to everything in my life. I’m a true believer in hard work and doing everything to the very best of your capabilities. I like a range of film and cinematography styles but when it comes to vampire films the modern action fuelled variety always win hands down for me. The ability to convey a dark atmosphere whilst being fast paced, slick and glossy is something I admire greatly, it’s not as easy as people might think.
Part of being able to achieve that vision is having the right team on-board – cast and crew – who can deliver the quality level required whilst being reliable and professional. I myself am a perfectionist; I’ve spent endless hours on the project until everything is just how I want it to be and a huge amount of time ‘marketing’ the film to ensure the film is seen (when finally released) and everyone’s hard work reaches the audience it deserves.
I’ve spend most days on the project in some way, shape or form since late November 2014, often staying up working on something or other into the small hours and sunk a chunk of my own savings into the project (not nearly as much as the film ‘appears’ to have cost budget wise but quite a bit more than the initial crowdfund).
I often have fellow filmmakers asking me for marketing tips as the film has had a relatively successful reception to date with reviews on some of the top horror sites including Dread Central and Starburst, and this month a full three page article in a national print magazine (Scream) – which is almost unheard of for a short film. And of course lots of lovely interviews with top sites such as Kewel World! I actually don’t have any marketing strategies etc. I’ve genuinely put my heart and soul into the film and masses of my free time, because I believe in it, I believe in my team and I hope audiences will enjoy the film when it is eventually released and I think that shows, and ‘that’ is what has driven it’s success to date.
“You not only star in Seize the Night, but also directed it, was there any time during filming you thought damn, I wish I had cast someone else to play the role of Eva and concentrated just on making the film”?
It’s a good question but in this case no, I don’t think it would have gained the fan interest it has if I wasn’t in it. I mean with my own fan base of course. It was however incredibly hard to wear that many hats.
It’s not something that’s unheard of and it has occurred several times on Hollywood films, however they have significantly more funds to take longer on the film to compensate for performing more than one role at once.
I’ll be 100% behind the camera for my next short but I’ve also got a couple of lead acting roles on other projects. So for the next couple of projects at least I’ll be able to focus on the one side of the camera or the other, but I won’t rule out taking on both sides at once again.
“What do you feel are the biggest assets or ingredients for making a good horror movie?”
It’s really completely subjective and down to how the individual viewer would classify horror. Sadly the modern definition is lots of gore, if you don’t have lots of gore you are hard pressed to be able to call the film a horror. To me that’s completely wrong. Horror is something that plays upon a viewer’s fears, whatever they may be.
“Your first movie ‘Island of the Blind Dead’ (which has drawn quite a bit of notice) I have read was an off the cuff movie you made while in Corfu, can you tell us a little bit more about this and what inspired you to make it”?
Gosh yes, it was a film I was going to make with fellow filmmaker Merlyn Roberts anyway, but back home in England, with professional camera equipment and with me just being front of camera.
We’d actually just taken the costume to get some test stills. As it turns out there were phenomenal storms for about three days, I’ve never seen lightening like it in my life, super lighting I think it’s called, it was deeply inspirational. During this three day storm and not expecting the weather to improve drastically we wrote a script for the film. I had my consumer compact camera with me, which I was very dubious about getting reasonable footage with to be honest. By the end of the three days we had a script and had approached the local amateur dramatic group to fill parts.
Although St George is a very small village the community value acting and theatre and have the best example of a local theatre I think I have ever seen, completely professionally kitted out and seating a few hundred people. Everything else just fell into place really, the location, the acting, even the quality of the footage, we got above and beyond what I could have ever expected quality wise for something as off the cuff as it was.
The short had a good critical reception and I believe it’s a good and accurate homage to the Tombs of the Blind Dead films, which has hopefully inspired horror lovers to seek out the film series, watch them and spread the word.
“If you could do a remake of any horror movie which one would you choose and why”?
Tough one. I’m a firm believer in ‘not’ remaking films, if it isn’t broken then why fix it.
“Are there other types of film genres besides horror you would consider making? Or is horror your only calling?”
Absolutely! SEIZE THE NIGHT is an equal mix of horror, sci-fi and action, with thriller elements. It’s really ‘dark cinema’ I’m into, it doesn’t have to be specifically horror. I often find people confuse the word horror with meaning blood/gore or have a misconception that should be the staple ingredient, that’s not what interests me personally, I’m open to exploring different avenues.
“And finally just one last serious question before we ask a few fun ones, where to now for Emma Dark? Are there any further movie projects in the pipeline”?
Absolutely! There are a couple I’m set to star in next year, one of which is The Morning Star Preserves Company, an epic Guillermo del Toro style short film from Abandonhope Film’s Kev Harte. I’m really looking forward to that, it’s a highly original concept. As far as my own projects go there are a couple of shorts I want to make, both horror again, one will need a crowdfunding campaign at some point next year and one I plan to start filming this year, and of course I would like to develop SEIZE THE NIGHT into a TV series or feature.
Ok well time for a few random fun questions
“Do you own a pair of Fluffy Slippers”?
What do you think readers, do I look like a fluffy slipper kind of person? 😉
“Are you prone to singing in the bath or shower”?
Not really no, I probably ‘should’ practice my singing in the shower a bit though given some of my past musical endeavours!
“Do you have any tattoos”?
Actually yes I do! Only the one; the Frost/La Magra glyph from Blade. Blade is one of my favourite films, both in terms of pure entertainment value and what it does with bringing the vampire firmly into modern cinema. The concept of having a tattoo to gain entry into vampire clubs and hidden symbols marking vampire territory is pretty darn cool. I am however in no way obsessed by vampires… 😉
“What’s your favourite drink”?
Bells and cola, or pretty much any other Whiskey and cola. There should really be a non-alcoholic version of Whiskey, if there were I’d drink it all day! I’m also partial to a Long Island Iced Tea after being tipped off on the drink thanks to an ominous club scene back in the film Species (1997).
“Are you scared of leprechauns”?
I’ve never encountered one so it’s hard to say…
Well that’s about it for another horror special it’s been a pleasure chatting with you Emma and I have no doubt we will be hearing a lot more about you in the future but please keep us up to date with all your news and happenings