Identical twins Christopher Saint Booth and Philip Adrian Booth comprise the dynamic filmmaking duo of The Booth Brothers. Together, the two have created such horror films as Death Tunnel and Spooked. They filmed their latest work, Dead Still – the story of a Victorian age camera that kills its subjects – in Baton Rouge, and director Philip Booth gave DIG an exclusive Q/A after the film’s release on SyFy earlier this month.
DIG: How has the response been to “Dead Still” after its SyFy debut?
Philip Booth: Overwhelming, we are always so grateful for direct fan response, the hundreds of positive comments and emails we have received have been so wonderful. The ratings have been very good, and it was rated the best bet for Monday night television. That’s national, so wow.
DIG: Was there any creative involvement in the production from SyFy?
PB: This was the first production we actually collaborated directly with the network from the beginning. They actually contacted us because of the success of Death Tunnel, the film’s producer Christopher Saint Booth and I did with Sony. I wrote the script working closely with the department heads from dialogue to creative gore scenes. They reached out and said, “Philip, give me the most twisted death scenes you can think of.” I replied, “Alright then!” They were very supportive of us and our creative freedom all the way through to delivery and airing. It was challenging and rewarding all at the same time. But it was an excellent experience to work with them. They wanted a Booth Brothers film from the beginning and that vision to stay true.
DIG: Having shot in Baton Rouge, was there any difficulty in finding locations that fit the atmosphere of the film? Did any locations or sets bring out something new in the overall feel of the film that you weren’t expecting?
PB: Originally the film was set in St. Louis due to the authentic locations available from the early 19th century. Shifting the film to Baton Rouge scared us at first. Then after scouting with local producer Bryan Wright and location manager Jon Wright, things began to fall into place. They were fantastic and knowledgeable about the rich history and locations of Baton Rouge. We found old estates that were actually “haunted.” Also the 13th Gate, the local haunted attraction there, was invaluable to shoot in. They offered a smorgasbord of options, which in turn helped create a richer, darker edge to “the negative world,” the eerie world we journey to inside the death camera. Dwayne Sanborn and Justin Stelly were amazing to work with.
DIG: Big films like Jurassic World, Oblivion and the recent Left Behind were made in Baton Rouge. As a smaller production, were there any problems you encountered in developing and making Dead Still in Hollywood South?
PB: Well it was a bit humid, (laughing), a lot actually, but the local people, the talented, hard-working crew and the lodging were magnificent.
DIG: What is the most important thing an independent film director must remember when on set?
PB: Keep your energy, positivity and inspiration up at all times. Always remember you are the driver of this wild ride; don’t ever lose control. Even if it’s your baby, everyone is involved in its care and growth. Only working together will it become everyone’s love child.
DIG: Recently, the New Orleans Horror Film Festival was held, introducing many to a roster of up and coming filmmakers. If you could pick one independent horror film to recommend to people, what would it be?
PB: Dead Still, but I’m partial (laughs).
DIG: Any news on a home release for Dead Still?
PB: It will be in full release worldwide by early 2015, NBC/Universal has a window of three months, then it will be available everywhere for sale and rental.
Updates and info can be found at Facebook.com/DeadStillFilm
DIG: What projects do you have planned for the future?
PB: There are several projects in the works including new films and series, etc. Dead Still has been very successful for all involved. It shows you can do anything if you have passion and drive. You can always check out my Facebook page or producer Christopher Saint Booth’s page or SpookedTV.com for news and updates.
DIG: Sharknado vs. Birdemic – which is more devastating?
PB: (laughs) Having to watch those films.
DIG: Do you have any advice for aspiring horror filmmakers in Hollywood South?
PB: Dream the film, film the dream. Always believe in yourself.