Christopher Saint Booth is an author, producer and director. He and his identical twin brother, Philip, are known as the Booth Brothers and they produce paranormal documentaries and films released through their production company, Spooked Productions. Since their first film DarkPlace (2007) they have developed quite a fan base. Their latest film Dead Still is set for release in 2016.
When did you and your brother, Philip Adrian Booth, first get into films?
Well, we started out as musicians. We were in a rock and roll group for a very long time; it didn’t pay very well. So we started dabbling into working on Hollywood film sets, big movies like Dreamscape, movies back in the 80s. We were sort of like production assistants and then we moved up to working in the art department. One thing led to another, and before we knew it we found a budget, discovered a production value we needed to get together and that sparked the idea that we needed to form our own company and make our own movies.
We ended up working for Playboy, doing like 86 films for Playboy in 2 years. And basically what we did is we made the stuff that people would fast forward through, the story content; we made the story look beautiful and basically made the real parts of the Playboy stories. After awhile of doing that we just couldn’t do it anymore; it felt like it was going nowhere. It was a great way of learning film and doing it very quickly, so we just saved the money that we made and did our first horror movie which was Dark Place, and started making movies. SyFy approached us to make documentaries and picked up our films. Spooked Productions was founded in 2006 after Death Tunnel. It got its name from our Spooked documentary. People just kept saying, “I got spooked,” [or] “Man, I was spooked.”
I noticed most of your movies/documentaries have a bend towards the paranormal. Why the fascination with paranormal and supernatural cases?
That’s a good question, I really don’t know. We’ve always looked at things that are dark. I mean, going back to the musician days I think the songs were always heavy and emotional, not commercial; very dark like Nine Inch Nails. So when it came to producing visual stuff, it still had to be dark, and we were very inspired by David Lynch, Gregory Scott and those kinds of people. That really helped to sustain the darkness and, of course, that would lead way to doing horror movies. Filming at Waverly, which was full of supernatural and paranormal overtones, it became valid in our production of Death Tunnel that the place was haunted. Shooting a movie about a haunting in a real haunted place was attractive to SyFy, they offered us a deal and we stuck with it.
What can you tell us about your new film Dead Still?
Dead Still is about a haunted Victorian death photography camera. Back in the late 18th century, early 1900’s it was expensive to get photos done so most people did painting. So when someone died they would take a picture of their loved one and capture them before it was too late. At times they would want to make the person a bit more lively so they would prop these dead bodies up and the living relatives would stand beside them and take pictures of their dead family; they would paint their eyes open, sew their mouths smiling and other things to make them look alive.
The concept was called “Death Victorian Photography” and we got the idea of these cameras capturing all this darkness and wrote a script about a camera that didn’t forget what it shot in the 18th century, and someone inherits it in modern times and starts taking pictures with it and it remembers what kind of photos it took, and the people that it takes pictures of end up in very horrific deaths like the ones from Victorian times. We used a real camera and it was a great way to show something that was truly gruesome.
Along with filmmaking you’re also a composer and I noticed that of the Booth Brothers’ films I’ve seen, the musical scores are composed by you. Do you compose the score for all your films?
Yes, I do. Even when I worked for Playboy I, uh (laughs), not too sure I’m proud saying this but I did all the music for the films we made with them. I was always a musician and had to get that out of me. We’d been doing music forever, now 30 years, so yeah the scores I write and perform.
Yeah, I notice you have a very classical Gothic style. Who would you consider inspiration?
James Horner, rest in peace, was a great composer. I’m thinking Trent Reznor, Peter Gabriel, those types of people.
You all do a lot of work in the paranormal community and paranormal research. Have you had any life-altering experiences?
Well, I’m working on an audio book right now. I’ve written two books, the first one being Paranoia telling 30 years of what I’ve been through.
The experience that sticks out is when I was scouting the location for the movie Death Tunnel. I was walking down the tunnel by myself, and suddenly it felt like something very scary, very tragic, very oppressed came over me. It felt like something or someone was in front of me so I took a photo and then I got very off center and I ran out of the tunnel and threw up. Two weeks later I looked at that photo and I saw a little girl in front of me that had no eyes. That was it, I was hooked. I needed to know everything about the paranormal.
The second one, without a doubt, is being involved in The Exorcist; being the very first film crew inside the real Exorcist house and documenting what really happened to the boy that was possessed. It was the most demanding on my psyche. Here I was in the real place of one of the scariest films ever made, and I had a copy of the real diary saying what happened in that house. That one definitely stayed in my mind as well.
In this line of work you have to deal with the skeptics and non-believers. How do you answer those who scoff and ridicule the paranormal?
I stopped answering them because I don’t really care whether they believe it or not. It’s like when we just did Exorcism Live where we cleansed the house, it doesn’t matter whether people believed it or not because I was there and I felt it and experienced it; it was very real and overwhelming. You almost feel sorry or bad for people who don’t have the open mind or heart to realize that there may be something else out there. It’s very self-centered and self-serving to thing that we’re the only ones here in the entire universe.
Why do you think you’re the only one here? There are different races, species, and creatures; why not aliens? Why not ghosts? You just don’t bother explaining anymore because you feel blessed that you’ve had the experience of seeing the paranormal.
I’ll wrap us up by asking what has been the greatest challenge/achievement of your career?
My greatest accomplishment is finding my right soul mate, if that makes sense. You spend a lot of time looking for that other half, that completion of the circle. We’re all half until we’ve become whole. You spend a lot of your time searching for that other half, and when you find it you can move into something on the next level.
Greatest challenge? I think writing a book (laughs). I’d never read books and was more of a rock n roller so actually sitting down and writing my experiences over the last ten years in paranormal cases was a challenge, but I’m really glad I did it. It’s very entertaining and cool. I’m very proud and you get to reinvent yourself. I suggest it to anybody: Sit down, write your memoirs or your life story because you really start to find out who you really are. It’s been a great challenge and I think I’ve overcome it.
Find out more about Christopher Saint Booth’s book, Paranoia: The Strange Case of Ghosts, Demons and Aliens, and other Booth Brothers films and books at the Spooked Productions website. You can pick up a copy of their book here at Amazon.