The paramedics had to be called twice during the screening of Eli Roth's latest R-rated horror film, "Hostel," at the Toronto Film Festival last September.
"I told everyone this is a sick movie," Roth said. "I told them, 'I am not making a movie for everyone.' Some guy walked out halfway through, fainted and fell down the escalator. A few minutes later a woman left saying she was having a heart attack!"
For Roth, who grew up watching the erotic, bloodthirsty horror films of the 1970s, the more visceral the response to his movies, the better. "If someone passes out at one of my films, it's like a standing ovation."
"Hostel," which stars Jay Hernandez, revolves around three guys backpacking through Europe, hoping to score drugs and women.
During their stop in Amsterdam, they are told about an isolated hostel in Slovakia filled with beautiful women and illicit substances. But once they get there, they discover that they have become pawns in a deadly game in which the bored and rich pay handsomely to torture and murder people.
Roth got the idea for "Hostel" from a website sent to him by a friend. "He sent me this link to [a site] where you could [purportedly] go to Thailand and for $10,000 walk into a room and shoot an anonymous person. They claimed that the person willingly submitted themselves to do this and took part of the money."
Roth said he abhors "real" violence, though. "It's too disturbing for me. I can't stand the sight of real blood. But movie blood I can watch all day.
"It's not real. It's like a magic trick."
But even the "reel" blood in "Hostile," which opens Friday, looks pretty real. Roth used about 150 gallons during the production. By comparison, said Roth, he only used 50 gallons of movie blood on his 2003 slasher movie, "Cabin Fever."
And because Roth's makeup and special effects people also work for Quentin Tarantino (he's also one of the producers of "Hostile"), among others, Roth was able to go into their warehouses and reuse fake body parts left over from their films. "I got feet ... from 'Kill Bill' and body parts from 'Land of the Dead.' I was honored. They have good heritage."
-- Susan King