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An Interview with Emma Dark, Star and Director of Seize the Night

by Mike Haberfelner

January 2016

Emma Dark on (re)Search my Trash


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We have talked about this before [click here], but do bring us up to speed: Your new movie Seize the Night - in a few words, what is it about?


ďRenegade vampire assassin Eva has escaped from a secret bio-research compound. Hell bent on revenge she learns a terrible secret that may force her to unite with the devil she knows in order to defeat the greatest of all evilsĒ is the logline. Itís about mystery, intrigue and action, blended with horror and sci-fi in a world filled with darkness.


Seize the Night features quite a few quite accomplished fight scenes - so obviously you have to talk about the stunt work on your film for a bit?


Thank you for that compliment! Fight co-ordination was arranged by Roy Scammell, who although now semi-retired was one of Hollywoods leading stunt people and choreographers. He was stunt arranger on Stanley Kubrickís Clockwork Orange, worked on six Bond films, did many projects with Ridley Scott including Alien, where he doubled for Sigourney Weaver as well as playing the Alien itself in the shuttle ejection scene. Roy has shared the silver screen with greats such as Frank Sinatra, John Wayne, Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Michael Caine, Tony Curtis, Paul McCartney, Peter Sellers, etc. Roy also worked on many TV series including Doctor Who, The Sweeney and The Professionals! AJ Singh, who did a lot of the cinematography on Seize the Night worked with Royís choreography and translated that into the shots you see on screen.


What can you tell us about your overall directorial approach to your story at hand?


Being in front Ďandí behind the camera is not easy. The approach I took when on camera was to fully brief my two cinematographers Donato Cinicolo (who took more of a traditional DOP style role) and AJ Singh, before shooting a scene, running through my shot list and how I wanted everything to go. Iíd then review the footage to make sure it was as intended. With the time constraints we had on set that was no easy task, thatís when having a professional and committed crew that understand your vision and maintain high standards comes into its own.


In Seize the Night you play a very badass chick - so how much fun was it to portray a character like this, and to what extent could you identify with Eva?


Apart from the slight loss of sanity, thatís pretty much me! Not that I go around kicking and shooting people of course, but I have studied martial arts in the past and Iím a no nonsense logical kind of person. It was fun because Eva is exactly the kind of character I would want to play in a film. Iím a filmmaker first before being an actress, and it was a seriously tough job to take on everything I did with this project, thereís no underestimating that but I wouldnít change it, I loved playing her. Iíve been offered a fair few roles since Seize the Night took off on the scene, but Iíve turned down the majority of them because they arenít the kind of part I would want to play, and I donít have time to spend on projects that I donít find suitable. Being an attractive woman in horror I think most people make an assumption that I would want to play the part of the screaming half naked victim, thatís definitely not me :-)


Carey Thring

Merlyn Roberts

Sharon O'Brien-Lumley

Do talk about the rest of your cast for a bit, and what did they bring to the table, what was it like working with them?


Well they were just awesome. I knew some of my cast hadnít acted before and believe it or not I auditioned nobody for this film. I can probably hear some small winces from filmmakers and critics asking why. Why is because I only cast people in roles I knew they could associate with from their own life experience. Acting relies on drawing on your own personal experiences to really be credible in my honest opinion, youíre only really pulling out pieces of yourself, unless you are very experienced or well trained. In the same way I probably would have no hope in playing the part of the half naked screaming victim character I mentioned earlier, unless it were for comedy effect of course. For example Chris Hampshire who plays Mikkel, the werewolf enforcer is a body guard in real life, in fact a chunk of my cast and crew were high trained body guards, ex police, martial artists etc., which is quite handy for an action film to be honest! Carey Thring (who plays Tobias the werewolf pack alpha) is a professionally trained up and coming actor, so is Anthony Ilott (who plays Dante, the vampire council member). Anthony actually played a the lead character in Wrong Turn 6, which is a 20th Century Fox film. Paul Ewen who played Joe, the arms dealer, is a well known UK creature actor. He hadnít had many speaking parts in his career and I hope this will be something that will help change that because heís fully capable thatís for certain. Iím very happy with everyone's performance, we rehearsed well to be ready for filming and Iíd certainly like to see them all in future productions of mine.


What can you tell us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?


The atmosphere was great, despite the extreme cold, mainly because everyone was so excited, believed in the project and really wanted to be there. Iíve said it before and Iíll say it again, Iím very grateful to have had such a positive, professional and committed cast and crew. It was shot mainly on weekends across the period of a month in a variety of locations, ranging from an open barn in the middle of the countryside (probably the coldest shoot of them all), a garage, factory, victorian streets, industrial areas, along the banks of the Thames in London, you name it. Nowhere nice and warm unfortunately! We did shoot in faux nuclear bunker too, but sadly due to a sensor issue on the camera the footage was unusable and I had to reshoot in a cheaper location.


Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of your movie yet?


It hasnít seen a large audience yet so I can only really comment on it critic wise. Yes itís seen a great reception to date. Many horror sites have covered Seize the Night, including your own, many thanks for that. The average rating seems to be around 7/10 which is pretty good for a first film, with a lot of compliments on the production values, VFX by Davy Simmons, and the score by Eric Elick, which were elements that were critical to me and my style of filmmaking. The film has had great coverage in Dread Central, Starburst Magazine (online), Scream Magazine (UK national print) and now Digital Filmmaker Magazine (international print). The Horror Channel, which is incredibly popular in the UK, also covered the initial trailer release. I couldnít ask for more really, itís a pretty incredible response to date! To top all that off I won the MMBF Rising Star Award at The Yellow Fever Independent Film Festival in Belfast in October for my filmmaking achievements on Seize the Night.


For Seize the Night you have created a very complex "world", especially considering it's only a short - any chance you'll return to this world for more movies or extend Seize the Night to feature length?


I would love to, I really would. If I could find an investor that would enable me to make a feature length version as the same or better production values I would do that in a heartbeat. There are many many more elements to be explored and in the least it warrants a second short film instalment. In my ideal world this would translate into a TV series as I often find TV series give you much more room to explore plot lines. Let's see, Iíll be releasing it this year to the public at large so I guess it will depend on the kind of buzz it creates.


Any future projects you'd like to share - and based on your work on Seize the Night, will you ever return to the director's chair?


Absolutely, 100% and more! Primarily my career is now filmmaking first (producing/directing). Acting is a secondary element for projects that appeal to me, and then finally the modeling is more of a hobby now than anything else. Iím pretty much finishing up on Seize the Night at the minute in terms of getting the behind the scenes material done and dusted and setting up an online release etc. I do have a music video I directed alongside fellow filmmaker Merlyn Roberts and then subsequently edited and graded coming out in February I believe. That was for a metal band called The Heretic Order who claim to be the most evil band in Britain, and perform horror themed stage shows. Iím also set to star in The Morning Star Preserves Company by Kev Harte [Kev Harte interview - click here] of Abandonhope Films this year as the lead character Laura Kinsey and hopefully a few other bits if they get off of the ground. I also have a segment in Richard Gladmanís Fragments of Fear coming out and a small part in a faux snuff movie by Dan Brownlie [Dan Brownlie interview - click here] of Brand-B Corp which is complete and set for distribution this year as part of an anthology. As far as my own projects are concerned I have a few ideas in mind and will likely be crowdfunding again to start my next big thing soon.


Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?










Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?


Yes, could I just mention the MMBF Emma Dark Award please? As an MMBF prize winner I had the opportunity to give a little time back to help other filmmakers. This is in the form of the MMBF Emma Dark Award which seeks to help an up and coming filmmaker with an award, prize money, publicity and mentoring. The competition either accepts completed films or scripts. The MMBF are doing some fantastic work, particularly for young filmmakers, helping them get a boost and kickstart in the industry. More details on the competition can be found here and here


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© by Mike Haberfelner

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Robots and rats,
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love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
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Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD