Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Shocktober Director of the Day: Eli Roth

Eli Roth's first feature film was shot in 2001 for 1.5 million dollars raised through private investors. Roth sold the movie to Lion's Gate at the 2002 Sundance festival and it was the studio's highest-grossing film in 2003.

Cabin Fever is the story of five college friends who set out for a cabin in the woods for spring break. After an encounter with what appears to me a deranged hunter, they begin to develop symptoms of a flesh-eating disease which drives them apart. Hilarious, gory, gruesome and paying clever homage to dozens of films that came before it, Cabin Fever is actually one of Uncle P's favorite modern Horror movies. Sure, lots of people hate it, but it's so deliberately over-the-top that not everyone is in on the joke. Rider Strong ("Boy Meets World"); Jordan Ladd (the under-appreciated vampire/zombie baby movie Grace) and pretty Joey Kern (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Undead) give dead-on performances in what could have been an ungodly mess in the wrong hands.


Roth's follow-up, 2005's controversial Hostel, was about three young American backpackers lured to a Slovakian hostel where they are sold to rich sadists as "toys." Beautiful Jay Hernandez (Quarantine), Rick Hoffman ("Samantha Who?") and Derek Richardson ("Men in Trees") star in the movie that is credited as both the height and the nadir of the "torture porn" sub-genre.

Hostel is the kind of film that you want to watch through your fingers, yet at the same time, you can't look away. It was almost immediately followed by Hostel Part 2, which was about young women foolishly staying at the same place.

Roth also directed a fake trailer for Quentin Tarantino's Grindhouse, called Thanksgiving (clip NSFW):

Most recently, Roth has appeared as actor in Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds and Alexandre Aja's hyper-gory Piranha 3D, though he is scheduled to direct a 3D (why?) remake of Tobe Hooper's carnival fright film The Funhouse. While I must admit to enjoying Hostel for what it was, I hope that with The Funhouse 3D, Roth can return to the humorous Horror roots that made Cabin Fever  so very enjoyable.

More, anon.

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