As the man responsible for Hostel, Hostel II: Part Two and Cabin Fever, Eli Roth’s name has become synonymous with horror films — but according to the director, there’s one scene that made even him apprehensive.
In an exclusive interview with Us to promote his new animated series, Fright Krewe, Roth, 51, recalled 2007’s Hostel: Part II, which featured Heather Matarazzo’s Lorna hanging from the ceiling nude before meeting a grisly death. “We were shooting it going, ‘Is this too much?’” he recalls. “But it’s her acting that makes it so good.”
2005’s Hostel laid the foundation for what has been one of the goriest film franchises to date — and included one moment that Roth believed would be a game changer. “I knew the Achilles tendon was going to get people,” he says of the unforgettable scene where Derek Richardson’s Josh falls forward after his ankle is slashed.
Of course, as scary movie enthusiasts know, one of the most chilling scenes in horror film history is in 2002’s Cabin Fever featuring Cerina Vincent’s Marcy taking a bath before her skincare routine goes wildly wrong. “I had an experience where I shaved and I thought, what if a girl was shaving her legs and she didn’t realize it, [but she] shaved her legs off?” the Inglorious Bastards actor describes.
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“You just start thinking, how can I write a story around that?” Roth explains. “Sometimes it’s something you don’t expect.”
The 2002 film — which was also Roth’s directorial debut — holds a special place in the Visionary Award winner’s heart. He also credits Cabin Fever for instilling in him how to improvise after the prosthetics froze while being shipped to North Carolina.
“We spent a month making these beautiful leg strips that would peel like a banana, and they froze and none of it worked,” he explains, noting the team decided to make do with sound effects. The result garnered the kind of reaction Roth hoped for. “People were running out of the theater screaming.”
“That was one of those lessons I learned that even if you don’t have the makeup effects and even if everything falls apart, you can use sound effects,” he says.
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That wasn’t the only time Roth had to make things work on the fly. For Green Inferno, “We were running to the supermarket because they stopped all the body parts at Customs, so we had to create [them] out of meat.”
Roth hopes to find a new — albeit, much younger — audience with his new animated series, Fright Krewe. “With kids’ scary shows, there’s a lot of great messages. You can work in things about teamwork and overcoming your fears,” he explains. “Monsters always represent the worst sides of ourselves, or some aspects of our personalities, so in a strange way, a great scary show or a movie for kids really helps them deal with their own monsters and fear of the world.”
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“The idea with Fright Krewe is that kids that want to have a great scary experience [are] on their way to becoming horror fans,” he adds. And for older viewers, no worries: “It’s a great show that the parents can watch.”
Fright Krewe is airing now on Hulu and Peacock.