Sometimes you get way more good quotes than you can use in a story, and such was the case with my year in horror piece in today's issue. Here in cyberspace, we have a lot more room, so enjoy these bonus interviews.
ELI ROTH, director of HOSTEL PART II
On the need for familiarity
With HALLOWEEN and SAW, people know the killer, and they know what to expect...when people go see the HALLOWEEN movies they want to see Michael Myers kill, and when they go see the SAW movies they want to see what traps Jigsaw's come up with, and they work great. I think that in times of terror, people need to be terrified, the war's not ending and people are scared. Post Virginia-Tech, there was a glut of horror movies, and people were going for SHREK and PIRATES, they wanted that feel-good stuff, but then by august, the tide had turned around and people wanted to be scared again. People are still scared, and they need a place to scream, and horror movies provide that.
on the criticism of HOSTEL PART II
I feel that the people that came out against the film and really attacked it never saw the movie, and were more attacking what the perception of the movie was, when the reality was a film like Rob Zombie's HALLOWEEN, which I enjoyed, had triple the amount of naked girls killed in it. And there are actually more girls killed in HOSTEL 1 than HOSTEL 2. Halloween was far more brutality and violence against women, it was number one at the box office, and people went out dressed as Michael Myers for Halloween and nobody said a word. And I'm not knocking Rob, I think it's just more of an interesting comment on how people had their knives out for me.
The people who criticized it, they became these moral rants for people to say I‚m a good person‚ rather than actually saying anything critically about the movie. I couldn't believe the backlash. It's only a movie, guys, it's not real.
on reactions to the controversial Heather Matarazzo death scene in HOSTEL PART II
I took that as a compliment to my filmmaking, and this was my argument with the censors, they said this scene with Heather Matarazzo's too intense. And I said look at the actual violence -- there's only one or two shots of her being cut. It's the performance, it's the look on her face and the way she's screaming. And I said are you going to punish me for good filmmaking? Are you going to punish Heather for good acting? What if I had had a terrible actor in there doing a really bad job? Would the scene have been effective? And they said no, you're right. So I said don't punish me for doing my job. The truth is if you've made an effective movie, it's going to push people's buttons.
reacting to Movie City News' David Poland, who watched a bootleg of HOSTEL PART II and condemned it as immoral
Well what if this guy had watched Psycho on Youtube, which is the equivalent of what he saw, a rough cut bootleg, and went right to the shower scene, and said Alfred Hitchcock's a misogynist, he shouldn't be allowed to make movies? I spent a year on the movie, is it too much to ask for 90 minutes in a cinema?
reacting to those who say "torture porn is dead"
It was amazing how many people instantly called [my movie] a failure, people were like "The biggest flop of the year is HOSTEL 2!" when the film cost 10 million and it made 8.2 opening weekend. Okay, so it didn't do what the first one did, but the film still made its money back. But people were so determined to rally against it. "Torture porn is dead!" I think the term torture porn is so absurd anyway -- there's not a lot of torture in the film, and there's no porn in the film whatsoever. I just took it as a sign that the film was effective. The female fans. they love it, they see it as an empowerment movie. Torture porn doesn't exist, it's just a stupid term made up by critics that don't understand these movies and are afraid of them. There‚s not as much torture as you think, and there's not as much porn as you think
on the personal attacks singling him out
I'm the only director of these films who's going on Conan O'Brien, so I'm an easy target. And I also think that I can very easily defend these films, and why these films are important, not self-important but why it's important to have these types of films, why I love horror movies, and I put myself out there, and thankfully I've been very successful, so people are ready to take me down.
Critics are often blinded by the violence -- suddenly there's no direction, there's no photography, there's no music, and then they realize that if they're upset, it's actually the film-making that's making them upset, but they feel this need to rally against this violence because they feel the need to have people see them as a moral person, so a lot of these personal attacks on me I see more reflective of the critic wanting to be seen as a good person. I wouldn't put myself out there if I didn't expect it on some level.
When I see a horror movie and it scares me, I love it. It's my favorite thing.
on some of this year's likely Oscar contenders
ATONEMENT will get a pass, because it's all fancy and British and based on a book, but I just felt like I needed goggles because the director was jerking off in my face during that 9-minute war shot. I felt that movie was so important and so self indulgent that it was actually offensive to me.
You shouldn't notice the editing, you shouldn't be distracted by any particular element, you should just be caught up in the story and what happens next. A film like ALIEN or RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK has great cinematography, but you're into the story, you're on the edge of your seat.
You can have a movie like MICHAEL CLAYTON where your lead character takes his wallet and throws it in a car, and the car blows up and everyone thinks he's dead. Shit you couldn't even get away with on a bad CSI rip-off. That was so illogical, but because it's drama, everyone's forgiving about it. That was actually a terrible story point that completely stops the movie and makes absolutely no sense, after this weird vision of horses that ties into absolutely nothing, he throws in his wallet and his watch and it's like he's been murdered. There's no body! How can you get away with that? How is that acceptable storytelling?