Making an appearance at the 2nd Annual New York Comic-Con to debut a few clips and talk about his upcoming sequel Hostel: Part II, the excitable Eli Roth told ComingSoon.net whether he’d take the opportunity to meet with author Stephen King, who was also at the con, being that Roth’s attached to direct the adaptation of King’s novel Cell. “I’m trying to do as much press stuff as I can and I know he’s pretty swamped,” he told us, “but we’re trying to link up. I know there’s a plan in the future for us to meet if we don’t get to meet today.”
When asked about the low-budget horror flick called The Signal, which premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and its similarities to the premise of Cell, without batting a lash he responded, “You see these movies come out and it’s weird. That movie ‘The Signal’ coming out of Sundance, yeah, I heard about it. When ‘Cell’ was going, my friend who was at Sundance told me that there’s this movie that is a similar thing. I haven’t seen ‘The Signal.” I know it’s got a similar premise than ‘Cell’ but what are you going to do? I think that where I’m going with ‘Cell’ is so far different than what they did with ‘Signal’ and I also know that some people say ‘The Signal’ is great, some people say it’s not so great. I know it’s similar territory. In ‘Hostel” and ‘Saw’ there were similar things and it’s just similar territory, there’s nothing you can do about it. I remember there was a movie I was going to make called ‘Ice Cream Man,’ this idea I had with a friend, we had it all written out beat for beat and then I watched the Serrador film called ‘Who Can Kill a Child,’ I saw it two weeks ago. And I’m like, ‘Oh, my God! It’s the same movie!’ and it’s very similar to ‘The Signal’ and it’s very similar to ‘Cell.’ So there are just certain ideas that get out there in the ether. Look, what can you do? You just go out and make the best film that you can and if there’s films that are similar territory, as long as they’re both good films, I think people will go see them.”
And responding to whether or not he’d actually see the movie before making Cell: “I’m not thinking about anything else except ‘Hostel: Part II’ right now, that’s really it. If I’m working on ‘Cell’ I probably would see ‘The Signal’ at some point just so I don’t you know, the ‘Saw’ guys, we check in with each other. They call me and they’re like ‘Oh, we just filmed this f*ckin’ scene and we got this guy and he’s got all these piercings and we’re going to rip ’em out and he blows up.’ And I’m like, ‘Okay, F*ck! I had cut to interior torture room, Whitney gets her belly button ring ripped out.’ And I just crossed it out of the script. ‘Godd*mn it! That was the perfect torture!’. We actually check in with each other, none of us want to repeat the same deaths they’re doing. I notice there’s the same plastic sheeting in ‘Saw III’ then we had in ‘Hostel: Part II’ but it’s okay. I guess Jigsaw and the factory, they all go to the same Torture Depot. We check in and talk about every kill and about what got in through the MPAA. There’s a real good ‘Splat Pack Line of Communication’.”
He also talked about his mock trailer for the upcoming Quentin Tarantino-Robert Rodriguez horror anthology Grindhouse, his tribute to those great (and we use that adjective loosely) ’80s slasher films based on holiday themes. Roth told us how that came about. “Quentin comes to me and he’s like [at this point Roth goes into an impressive Tarantino impression] ‘We’re going to do this f*ckin’ thing! It’s going to be like so cool, right? It’s going to be like Grindhouse and we’re going to have fake f*ckin’ trailers! You gotta do one, cause Robert already shot his! Dude, check out the f*ckin’ lobby cards!’ It’s like they talked about it, but Robert literally went and shot his while they were on the phone and then he did f*ckin’ lobby cards! This guy is unbelievable, like how did he do this? Then the lobby cards are what got everyone talking, they were so funny, and I was like, ‘I gotta do one of these things.’ There’s this slasher movie my friend Jeff and I’ve been dreaming about, ’cause growing up in Massachusetts, Thanksgiving is the biggest f*ckin’ deal, it’s ALL you hear about. Every year, there was a new slasher movie and it was a different holiday it was ‘My Bloody Valentine,’ ‘Friday the 13th,’ ‘Halloween,’ ‘Silent Night, Deadly Night.’ I’m like, ‘How can they not have done Thanksgiving?’ I’m like, ‘What are they going to start doing? Passover Massacre?’ So when Quentin said, ‘Dude, you gotta do a trailer!’ and I was like ‘Thanksgiving! It’s my 1981 slasher movie, I’ve been dying to do it for years!’ We had all the gags worked out.
“But first he put me in ‘Grindhouse’ which is a whole ‘nother weird experience and then while I was shooting ‘Hostel: Part II,, I was writing the trailer and then I just added two days on after and we took like a decapited head here and a body part, and we kind of recycled everything we had and threw it all into this trailer, and had a great time doing it! It was so much fun. It’s like two days of just money shots, every shot was like gore, nudity, no continuity, bad acting, just everything. ‘Who cares if there’s a light in the shot? It’s Grindhouse!’ It was so freeing to do something that was just fun and off-the-hook. I was like I really have to do something like this next, just something that’s going to be nuts and insane and fun, almost like an old Woody Allen movie, just to switch it up a little.”
We’ll save Roth’s hilarious analogy about being in Tarantino’s segment of Grindhouse for our full interview from Comic-Con coming soon, then look for even more with Roth closer to the release of Hostel: Part II on June 8, but you can see Roth’s homage to ’80s holiday horror films two months earlier when Grindhouse, which opens on April 6.