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Eli Roth

Eli: "Hostel for me is like the
ideal date movie".

Conducted by Steve Conway
July 25th, 2006

In his debut interview our very own Steve Conway gets on the hotline direct to Eli Roth to discuss the upcoming UK release of Hostel: The Unseen Edition DVD.

Steve: Hey Eli, how are you?
Eli: Good, yourself?
Steve: Yeah doing alright, I watched Hostel for the first time last night.
Eli: [fake outrage] You've just watched it! You didn't go to the cinema!
Steve: Well I wanted to, but in a weird way the marketing worked against you because I wanted to go and see it but no one wanted to because of all the gore! I'm too insecure to sit in the back of a cinema alone! I don't want to be "That Guy!"
Eli: Don't worry man I was that guy, my friends were "that guy!" If not you can miss out!
Steve: Well I'll definitely try to be "That guy" in the future! But I think you've got on your hands something you can sell to Weight watchers, because I was eating my dinner whilst watching it last night, and after the Josh scene, that was it for me. Dinner over. I couldn't eat for the rest of the night.
Eli: Oh I see, so like a diet movie thing?
Steve: Yeah exactly.
Eli: Yeah, well Hostel for me is like the ideal date movie, I mean you take a girl to see it, by the end of the film she's jumped in your lap, and after all the gore and violence, if you go see it before going for a meal, well the girl isn't going to want to eat, so it's the the ideal cheap date.
Steve: Damn good point! I hadn't even considered the monetary benefits of a date horror film!
Steve: Right well, let's get onto the interview. First, let's start it simple, answer this anyway ya like: Which are fundamentally scarier, wolves or vampires?
Eli:Well it's a personal thing isn't it, individual. For a girl it would have to be the vampire, you know this seductive sinister presence, whilst if you were backpacking around Europe it'd have to be the werewolf jumping out of the forest wouldn't it!
Steve: True true, so it's contextual thing. Ok next question, have you ever seen 'The Girl Next Door' and the character Eli...?
Eli: Yes I'm very aware of 'The Girl Next Door'! Watching Cabin Fever, doing the editing and all that, we had Chris Marquette in the room [the actor who played 'Eli'] and it seems that he was just writing down whatever I said! Then as we were going through Cabin Fever a lot of the cast were saying to me, "Hey this is weird, we've read for a film called 'The Girl Next Door' and it's as if one of the characters is based on you", and also I met up with Elisha Cuthbert to talk about some upcoming stuff and she said the same thing! Needless to say I was very gratified when Cabin Fever did much better than it at the box-office!

Eli: "So you've got stupid stuff like me
coming out of the shower ".

Steve: [laughs] Fair enough! So what new features are gonna be on this DVD? Is the alternative ending with the surgeon's daughter included?
Eli: No Alternative ending, I mean there's so much stuff to put onto the DVD that I wanted some really important stuff to go on there first. One of the really good things we've done is to put a load of different commentaries on the DVD, I like to break it up into segments so you've got the Director's commentary, and that's great for you know, people who are aspiring directors or who want to know what it's like to direct a film, then you've got the Tarantino commentary, which is more of just a fun thing where you can just listen and laugh, and there's the producer's commentary which is really technical and has loads of information about the production and how it was all done, and you've also got the cast commentary which is really fun and also let's you know what they were thinking about for different scenes and stuff like that.
Steve: Any plans for an alternative ending being included in the future? I personally would like to watch the film from start to finish with the alternative ending as part of the film, a real director's cut if you will?
Eli: For the alternative ending, I mean that may be something for a future director's cut or special edition. I don't like to do something like that, because I feel like i'm duping the fan you know? So I would have to reserve it until I had a load of features and material to cram into it, to really make it worthwhile. Otherwise I'd feel bad about selling like a 'barebones' edition and almost 'cheating' the buyer into buying the special edition too, it would seem a bit of a rip-off!
Steve:Yeah I see where you're coming from, you want to really give the audience something worthwhile. What other stuff is on there?
Eli:Well there's also the behind the scenes documentary that my brother filmed. I wanted to give people a real experience of what 'living on the set' would be like, not just a presentation of the film you know, but a real in-depth experience about what film-making is like. So you've got stupid stuff like me coming out of the shower and stuff like that, but it gives a real view from the perspective of the film-maker, instead of just a quick "here's how we did this" thing.
Steve: Do you think your films have become the main catalyst for a new sub-genre of horror, the 'torture' genre?
Eli: Well I do think Cabin Fever proved to be the catalyst for these violent, 'R' rated horrors to once again be released in the cinemas. I mean, Lions Gate Films saw the success of Cabin Fever and released SAW and they could place the trailers for their upcoming horror films in the theatrical releases for Cabin Fever and then SAW and so on, so it was a really good deal for them. Alan jones actually named a group of us 'The Splat Pack', so me and a bunch of others like Neil Marshall are known as this new wave of gory, horror makers.
Steve: Cool so you're a fan of Neil Marshall's Dog Soldiers and The Descent?
Eli: Oh yeah I love those films, they're really cool!
Steve: So I've got a theory here and you're gonna have to run with it for a minute.
Eli: Ok cool.
Steve: Well for me, technology has made our culture inherently voyeuristic, so you've got programmes like Big Brother, and everyone owns a WebCam, and there's sites online like Youtube made just for people to upload videos of themselves. So for me, the horror genre is kind of a natural extension of this, a sadistic voyeuristic experience where the audience can enjoy, on some level, watching someone be tortured without feeling guilty.
Eli:Yeah well exactly, no one wants to enjoy 'real' torture.
Steve: Yeah exactly.
Eli: But in a theatrical sense it's ok and people can enjoy it knowing what it is. I think there's a real need for people to scream, I mean with George Bush running the country you've got everyone thinking there's terrorists everywhere, you know, "He's a terrorist, your next door neighbour is a terrorist!", and you are constantly searched at airports and put through loads of security because of all this fear, and people just want to scream. But you can't scream in the middle of the office, and you can't scream walking down the street or something can you? But if you sit and watch one of these films you can scream all you want and really get it out of your system.
Steve: So it's therapy, it's a form of catharsis?
Eli: It's VERY cathartic, people need to release the nervousness they've built up.
Steve: Definitely, I think that's a great point.

Eli: "But you can't scream in the
middle of the office".

Steve: So as with Cabin Fever, the film starts out almost as a... 'teen sex comedy' I suppose...
Eli: Yeah absolutely.
Steve: And then it takes a gruesome turn out of nowhere. Is this intentional, to make the horror more surprising?
Eli: Yeah it was very intentional, I wanted it to kind of be a descent into hell. You start with these guys enjoying their time in Amsterdam, taking advantage of the hookers in the brothels and then, if you watch what happens behind the screen in the brothels, the exact same thing happens to them later on.
Steve: Yeah I noticed lots of foreshadowing throughout the opening scenes
Eli: Yeah, so all this in the brothel later comes back to haunt them, and the film starts out and it's bright and there's lots of colour, then slowly the film falls into this really dark grimy look, it's that descent into hell, and I wanted the audience to be taken on the journey with them.
Steve: Cool. So Hostel 2? There's rumours saying it's three women this time round?
Eli: Yep.
Steve: So with that in mind, and knowing how audiences traditionally react more strongly to violence against females, do you think you'll have to draw a line?
Eli: Yeah it's going to be seen as really violent because of that aspect [women being main characters]. I don't think you can draw a line, I mean I just make it as gory as I think and then I show it to an audience and they draw the line, I mean if they boo it or something it's bad, but if they are screaming and grabbing eachother well you know you've got the balance perfect.

Cool, thanks for the chat Eli, good luck with Hostel 2!

"Thank you ever so much for taking part in this interview Eli.
And we wish you the very best of luck in the future."

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