A mile-a-minute exclaimer, Eli Roth comes off like a kid up past his bedtime—a good thing for a horror fiend. Since breaking out with his 2002 feature debut, Cabin Fever, Roth scored two gut punches with Hostel and Hostel: Part II, notorious films in a decade that didn’t lack for shock and awe.
Snobby critics called them “torture porn”; others admitted that the guy knew what he was doing. It’s been seven years since the writer-director has unleashed a picture—though not an unproductive span, with Roth stretching into producing and acting, most notably as Donny “The Bear Jew” Donowitz in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds.
Finally, he’s back behind the camera for The Green Inferno, an homage to Italy’s “cannibal films” of the late ’70s and ’80s. Nylon Guys caught up with Roth, back from the Amazon with plenty of tales. Here are some highlights:
- “These days, so many movies look like they were created on a computer. And while you can have amazing versions of that, like Gravity and Avatar, mostly it’s like watching someone else play a video game.”
- On going full Herzog, filming real villagers in the Amazon: “I actually said, ’OK, let’s go a little further up the river,” just so I could say I went 15 minutes beyond Herzog [laughs]. That was the deal with my financiers: I’m going into the Amazon and coming back with a movie. Take it or leave it. I got in a boat with my producers and we went upriver. We finally reached absolute jungle. Then I saw a straw hut, and there’s a girl washing clothes on the beach, just kind of looking at us. We pull up...”