*Please welcome Emma Dark to UK Horror Scene. *.
UKHS – Thank you for your time, Emma. How did you get into acting and modelling and what is it about the horror genre that you enjoy so much?
ED – I’ve liked the dark, the macabre, the sinister – horror – from a very early age. I think I naturally have a disposition for horror in all truth but I’m sure my dad working as a butcher throughout most of my childhood years must have added to that. As a child of three or four I used to ask to go in the walk in fridge in the butchers shop to see the animals. Not in a particularly grim way, I wanted to see if any of the animals still had heads on and stroke them, OK that sounds quite grim doesn’t it? Anyway, what I’m trying to say is I don’t particularly see the macabre as something as grim as perhaps those who are not horror fans, and I’m a Goth essentially so it’s all about beauty in darkness at the end of the day.
In terms of modelling I fell into that when I joined a photography meet up and they had assumed I’d joined as a model and not a photographer. For my age and the genres I’ve worked in I’ve been fairly successful but it’s not very cerebral in truth which is why I tend to favour acting and filmmaking.
UKHS – I have seen the trailer for ‘Seize the Night’ and the film looks really good, well done! How difficult was it to make a film like this when you had to take on so much from playing the lead role to directing and producing the film?
ED – It was very difficult. I often worked until very late in the evening most days and even on Christmas day, literally for months on end. I’m still working hard on it with the promotional materials and festival submissions and everything that goes with that. Of course I’ll be attending as many screening festivals as possible too. A film as complex and ambitious as Seize the Night is a tough call on tight timescales and a low budget. However as you may have guessed I’m up for a challenge and I’m not beyond throwing myself in at the deep end. Despite the complex nature of a fast paced action short like this both myself and my cast and crew put 100% and more in, working well together, maintaining a high level of commitment, and I believe that speaks for itself in the result. It does look slick, it does maintain a high production value throughout and more importantly I hope it entertains people and leaves audiences wanting more.
ED – The greater world Seize the Night is based in sees all mythical creature (including vampires and werewolves) having been created by early forms of scientific experimentation, hundreds of years ago. These creatures are separated off from human society for their own protection. Although they don’t mix each type of creature has they own military unit of protectors who essentially keep their existence hidden. We don’t see this backstory in the short, all we know is that Eva is a vampire assassin. Holding this responsibility to protect her vampire species for literally hundreds of years has made Eva guarded in the least.
The humans having later rediscovered these creatures have been capturing vampires and werewolves for their own experimental purposes, one of those captured was Eva. She managed to escape but really doesn’t recall her time
spent in captivity clearly. It’s pushed her over the edge, she’s now essentially renegade, she won’t follow orders and kills anyone who gets in her way. She’s lost trust in herself and those around her and she’s putting her own kind in further jeopardy.
There’s a lot of me in her yes. Not from the extreme lack of trust, anger management issues or the sense of tipping over the edge, but I’m a pretty fearless no-nonsense kind of person and that really helps with this kind of role.
UKHS – Ok, lets talk about ‘Island of the Blind Dead.’ It’s a fan film created to celebrate the 1971 Spanish cult classic, Tombs of the Blind Dead. You filmed ‘Island of the Blind Dead’ in Corfu, Greece. How did this all come about and how long did it take to make this 3 min short?
ED – To be perfectly honest this was purely a ‘for fun’ kind of project although it’s been really well received by both audience and critics alike. If half of the trip to Corfu hadn’t meant being trapped indoors while storms hit outside it might not have happened, certainly not in this way. Originally the costume was brought along simply to catch some test shots along the beach. However having some time to think and plan a script on our hands myself and fellow indie filmmaker Merlyn Roberts approached the local amateur dramatic society and asked if they wanted to get involved. St George South has a strong film history with the iconic James Bond film ‘For Your Eyes Only (1981)’ having been filmed there, most famous for the dune buggy scene.
The local actors really got behind the project and we just took it from there really. I have to say we were completely unprepared equipment wise, I literally had a compact consumer camera to film on, however if anything the reduced quality only added to the realistic retro effect. Obviously I also aged it in post, paying particular attention to both the original series and other films of that time and taking note of colour, film quality and fonts used. Actually shooting it only took a couple of days and I have a lot of extra footage I might compile at some point too.
A little piece of trivia for you, I later discovered my Seize the Night fight coordinator Roy Scammell did the stunts for For Your Eyes Only in St George South, so a strange little connection there!
ED – It really depends, what I consider key is probably not what the general movie going audience would. I’m not really one for jumps, gore and screaming women for example. OK, I know doing a homage accurately for something like the Tombs of the Blind Dead series obviously would include two of those elements in the minimum, but for me personally it’s not my key formula. I like a good horror film to have beautiful cinematography, a sense of dread and a great storyline. Most of my favourite horror films have a sci-fi or thriller element as I find those are the films for me that break the traditional mould. Women are stronger, it’s more about what you don’t see than what you do see and there’s a stronger sense of all encompassing doom.
Of course many of the older Italian Giallo and Mediterranean horror films get away with more blood, screaming women and slasher killers as often the cinematography is very well executed and backed up by interesting storylines, often creating works of high quality and beauty despite having been relatively low budget films of their time.
ED – Five years from now I have no idea, apart from putting as much effort in as possible to push my name and work out there it’s really both about public perception and reception of myself and my work that will decide that I think.
Regarding my next projects, I have a few things in the works, including starring in a faux snuff film by cult indie director Dan Brownlie alongside scream queen Jessica Ann Bonner. I’m looking forward to that as I get to be rather sadistic. I also have Fragments of Fear segment to make for horror entrepreneur Richard Gladman. It’s a sort of horror Jackanory story series and features horror greats such as Caroline Munroe and Francoise Pascal among others.
I have my own plans for continuing Seize the Night but I’ll not be able to finalise those until I have a funding plan in place.
UKHS – Thank you for your time, Emma and good luck with ‘Seize the Night’ and your other projects!
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