American film director, producer, and actor
Eli Raphael Roth (born April 18, 1972) is an American film director, producer, and actor. As a director and producer, he is most closely associated with the horror genre, having directed the films Cabin Fever (2003) and Hostel (2005).
Roth continued to work in the horror genre, directing the films Hostel: Part II (2007) and The Green Inferno (2013). He also expanded into other genres, directing the erotic thriller film Knock Knock (2015) and the action film Death Wish (2018), a remake of the 1974 original. Also in 2018, he directed the fantasy comedy film The House with a Clock in Its Walls, his first PG-rated film and his highest domestic grosser to date.
As an actor, Roth starred as Donny "The Bear Jew" Donowitz in Quentin Tarantino's war film Inglourious Basterds (2009), for which he received a Critic's Choice Movie Award and a SAG Award as part of the ensemble. He also starred in the horror film Death Proof (2007) and the disaster film Aftershock (2012).
Many journalists have included him in a group of filmmakers dubbed the Splat Pack for their explicitly violent and controversially bloody horror films. In 2013, Roth received the Visionary Award for his contributions to horror at the Stanley Film Festival.
Much of my youth was spent in the parking lot or inside a Dunkin' Donuts.
If you don’t want to be scared in a horror film, don’t close your eyes. Close your ears.
I always say that no matter what the torture is, or the tool is, first of all it's nothing worse than what's been done already and that wasn't done by the church and the state for over a period of 250 years during the European witch trials.
You can pretend everything's fine, but if there's an unhappiness or you're not having sex or you're not communicating or you're made to feel third best in the house and you don't address it and you just try to put on a nice face and a smile, that kind of aggression and anger is going to come out in some sinister way.
I think that many people are ashamed when they feel afraid. There's this thing in our society that you're not allowed to feel scared. You have to be a man and put on a brave face, but we all have fears.
The scariest people are usually the sweetest.
Life is a series of avoiding horrible situations until ultimately you're dead. That's how I feel about things.
Everybody has to know where they're coming from, what they're doing, why they're doing it, who they are. These are essentials.
When I go see an R-rated horror movie, I want lots of violence. I want nudity. I want sex and violence mixed together. What's wrong with that? Am I the only one? I don't think so.
I've always been fascinated by the idea that there's no such thing as evil; it's all in your point of view. To one group a suicide bomber is the antichrist and to one he's a hero.
If I don't come home covered head to toe in fake blood then I haven't done my job as a horror director.
Hopefully we'll get to a point where there are absolutely no restrictions on any kind of violence in movies. I'd love to see us get to a point where you can go to theaters and see movies unrated and that people know its not real violence. It's all pretend. It's all fake. It's just acting. It's just magic tricks.
Horror is like comedy. Woody Allen's comedy is going to be very different from Ben Stiller's comedy which is going to be different from Adam Sandler's comedy which is going to be different from Judd Apatow's comedy. They're all comedy, but they're all very different types and you can enjoy all of them. Horror is the same way.
I think in a post-9/11 world, with the images coming back from Iraq, everybody knows more and more people who are going over there... the images on the YouTube phenomenon where the violence is so immediate. Direct people need something stronger to respond to. I think that there's definitely a wave of directors - who are labelled the splat pack - who really, really care about making great scary movies.
You know, I'm from Boston, and in Boston, you are born with a baseball bat in your hand.
You do need an outlet to release all of those fears. You build it up and then, when you go to a movie theater, it's the last place that it's socially acceptable to be terrified. It's saying that, for the next 90 minutes, you're allowed to be afraid and you're not a coward for feeling that way.
Horror movies are the best date movies. There's no wondering , 'When do I put my arm around her?'
I think in life we get very caught up in the minutia and, unfortunately, it generally takes some sort of tragedy in your life to put things in perspective.
Even the European critics... They said Hostel is the smartest film they'd seen on capitalism and how it's gone too far.
Pulp Fiction won the Palme d'Or and people said: "Wait a minute, he's actually smart and he knows what he's doing!" I feel that with Hostel, any time you make a film like that it's going to illicit a strong reaction and you can't worry about that.
When I was 22, I had this horrible psoriasis outbreak. It was all over my legs, I couldn't walk because my legs were cracked and bleeding. Weird things like that can happen to your body.
When people direct insults at me, I can take it.
My phobias worsen as I get older. I'm scared of flying, driving. I'm terrified of sharks. I'm a germaphobe. But I try to face my fears; I do. Well, most of them.
There's fear in everything, but we can't just succumb to that. We have to suppress it, so we get used to suppressing fear to make it through the our day. Otherwise, we'd become paralyzed by them.
'Hostel' is that's how I feel about what's going on in Iraq. There's people that just want money and people are being sacrificed for it.
Anytime you're the first to speak out against something, there's going to be a backlash.
You can't help but be influenced by the things you love. Read more at: https://tr.im/ezGbq
I want an iPhone 5, someone said something nasty on twitter, or my boyfriend isn't texting me back, like whatever the thing is that seems so major in your life, when a real disaster hits you suddenly strips it all away and you see what's really important and who you really are.
Hopefully we'll get to a point where people realize movies don't cause violence. It just reflects the violence going on in the culture.
What is important to me is that people know I respect the business of making movies.
I have no tattoos. There's nothing I've even been that into to get a tattoo of it.
Movie stars need to retain some of that mystique if you are a big movie star.
The difference is in Hostel it's in the theatre - it's in public but it's in a private place. You have to actively make a choice to want to go see it. It's not being forced on anyone. Whereas 24 you can be flipping channels and it's right there in your living room. Anyone has access to that. But that just shows how mainstream it is and how people are seeing this stuff on YouTube. People are scared of it. This is a subject matter that everyone's talking about and everyone's thinking about, particularly in American culture.
Possession and exorcism is something that’s in every religion and every culture. It’s a real primal fear: Is the body a vessel for our spirits? What happens if something else takes over it? Where does the spirit go?
Twitter is wonderful. You can kill rumours instantly.
When you're making a television show, it's about the story and arc of the show rather than any particular episode or director.
Sometimes you have this tragedy which turns into an incredible opportunity.
One of the great joys of life, now that you can afford a nice suit, is getting one for free. That's why I like to do press tours - I always say making movies is just an excuse to get free clothing.
There's something very scary about exposing yourself on camera, knowing that you're going to be put on thousands of screens around the world for everyone to judge, but there's also something very thrilling and exciting about it.
What's important for me is staying healthy.
I've always wanted to be involved in an exorcism movie. But I thought, "How do you make something scarier than The Exorcist?" The answer is you don't. But that doesn't mean you can't make something that is original and interesting.
I have the infinite galaxy from '2001 as my screensaver - so if I space out while I'm writing and it goes to screensaver, I can just stare off into the stars.
I think horror should never be safe, whether it's violent or non violent.
So when I was beating the guy, I started thinking, 'What if I was Hannah Montana?' . . . And little do they know that that's why I look so insane . . . I'm torturing myself with thoughts of, 'How could I actually pull off being a high school student and a pop star at night?'
I always feel that there's no violence in a movie - it's not real, it's a magic trick. Nobody is really dying. In fact, the people that die in my movies have gone on to become extremely successful!
If someone gets up and walks out of the movie, it means it's really affected them.
The one negative to horror is that it's always law of diminishing returns. When you go in the funhouse, the ride is never scary the second time. You will never have that pure experience as when you first watch it.
I saw Alien when I was 8 years old. To me, it was like a combination of Jaws and Star Wars and that's the movie that made me want to be a director.
I'm not interested in going after a part. I think if someone wants me for a part and approaches me then I'll take it on a case-by-case basis and see what that part is.
I want people to see my name on a movie, pay money and know they're going to be entertained for 90 minutes.
You know, the best thing you can say about a horror film is, 'Don't see it.'
When I go see an R-rated horror movie, I want lots of violence.
It's very flattering to feel like you actually helped create a sub-genre.
In musical theater, if you have a song, it has to advance the plot. If you have a song in a musical and it does not advance the plot, it gets dropped.
Well, anytime I make a movie, I like to load it up with more things than you could ever catch on the first viewing.
I think characters are most terrifying when they're relatable. It's best when your most horrible characters make sense, and are believable. That's when a movie is most terrifying.
For the fee of $10,000, anyone could be escorted to a room, handed a loaded gun and offered another human to kill. The concept made me nauseous. But it also felt real, and rang bells with my more cynical side.
The world is changing. Social media is a way to sell movies and to build a fan base. The truth is that you have followers because they know you are into it and you're funny and you like it. I think it's great.
Once I got over the fear of writing female characters, it actually came quite easily and I was really happy with it. I just thought about girls I knew really, really well and I'd just have conversations with them and tried to relay how they talk about certain things.
I think that horror films have a very direct relationship to the time in which they're made. The films that really strike a film with the public are very often reflecting something that everyone, consciously or unconsciously feeling - atomic age, post 9-11, post Iraq war; it's hard to predict what people are going to be afraid of.
Lucio Fulci is such a massively underrated director. Everyone knows him as the Godfather of Gore.
I hear what people say, I read all the reviews, all the blogs, and I am always curious to hear it, because you can't always listen to the good press, you have to hear the bad press, too.
Look at comic books. It used to be something that only geeks were into. And now it's everywhere.
Las Vegas is a 24-hour city. It never stops.
If you are having fun on the set, you are not getting things done.
You have to trust your instincts and hope the fans like what you do, but you don't gut check with the fans. If we're going to make a series, people are going to have a lot of opinions and if there's one overwhelming majority or one thing you continuously hear repeated from the fans, you certainly take that into account going into next season.
I've always dreamed of having a year-round haunted house.
I love movies. I mean, I really, really love movies.
I love historical movies. I want to make a violent medieval epic.
I've always wanted to make a big apocalypse movie. I love 28 Weeks Later, I think it's great but Cell is totally different. It's about people's dependence on technology, the collapse of society and watching everything fall apart. That's something I've always wanted to do, which I believe it can!
I have so many different projects, I hear voices in my head - the characters talking all at once - and I have to write to make them stop.
I have control issues. For sure, no question.
I have a strong art-history background.
I've realized that I can't multitask in the writing department; I can only kind of do one thing at a time.
People want to be disturbed when they go see a horror movie.