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Monday, October 17, 2022

Eli Roth Talks Ghostober 2022, Filming the Paranormal for Travel Channel, and What’s on His Halloween Watch List [Interview]

For the past two decades, Eli Roth has certainly established himself as one of the essential voices in horror. His debut feature Cabin Fever shocked audiences with skin-crawling gore and a twisted sense of humor. Both volumes of Hostel hallmarked a new wave of extreme horror. The Green Inferno, Death Wish, and Knock Knock put a modern lens on past genre tropes. And he even tossed a few tricks and treats to the kids with The House with the Clock in Its Walls.

As a producer, he’s been similarly unstoppable, elevating up and coming filmmakers like Ti West and Jon Watts, while also creating one of the first horror series to ever hit a streaming platform with the gory Hemlock Grove. All the while, Eli Roth’s History of Horror docuseries and podcast, in which he interviews horror legends like Stephen King, Tom Savini, and Bruce Campbell, has become a pseudo Horror 101 for a new generation of audiences and filmmakers.

Never content to rest on his laurels, though, Roth is also one of the driving forces behind Ghostober, a multi-faceted Halloween event for Travel Channel, Food Network, and discovery+. With docudramas like Eli Roth Presents: My Possessed Pet, the horror anthology series Urban Legend, and a special Halloween episode of The Haunted Museum: 3 Ring Inferno, Roth is working overtime to provide plenty of thrills and chills for audiences of all ages.

Fortunately for us — and for you — Roth found time to sit down with Bloody Disgusting’s own The Boo Crew. For a little under an hour, the actor/director/executive producer weighed in on his many entries in the Ghostober lineup, the inspiration behind some of his most creative ventures, and what’s on his own watch list for the horrific holidays. It’s a spirited, can’t-miss chat, and you can watch the full thing via YouTube or stream it here:

Below, we’ve unwrapped a number of bite-size highlights of the interview.

Urban Legend

As a fan of haunted lore, one of Roth’s passion projects is the anthology series Urban Legend. Each entry in this terrifying series is a mini horror film that explores one of the tales we remember sharing around a campfire or amidst stormy sleepovers. Roth is heavily involved in the production, selecting the legends and even aiding newer filmmakers.

In fact, each episode concludes with a section called “Filmmaker to Filmmaker” that sees Roth sitting down with the episode’s director to chat about why they chose this legend for the screen. It’s a format, he believes, that allows for more creative freedom for each chapter, heightened scares, and the ability to spotlight new directors.

“Horror has its own rhythm. Paranormal Activity has to be a certain length to be scary. If it’s 10 seconds shorter, or 10 seconds longer, it’s not going to work. So I said, what makes a lot of these shows run into trouble is if it’s got to fill the time because of the commercials. Then it’s not scary, because you’re adding in extra seconds of filler to get to a scare. And then you cut away. What if we just did it straight up like this is the best version, whether it’s 29 minutes or 34 minutes, it’s terrifying. Then whatever extra time we need, it’s just me interviewing the directors.”

The series features classic legends like “The Haunted Dress” and “The Kidney Heist”, but the innovative executive producer has intentionally included stories that explore different types of horror. For example, one of Roth’s favorite episodes explores the legend of a scuba diver discovered in the treetops of a dense forest.

“The scuba diver in the tree is horrible survival horror, like pain, like falling through a tree, a branch through the stomach kind of stuff. You know, pulling it out, sewing it up, like this awful Rambo kind of violence where you’re trying to just survive this forest fire in a scuba outfit. But that’s what I found. It’s like you’re in a forest fire, you’d have the oxygen tank. So there’s a time limit, like if you can get out of there before your tank runs out.”

All new series premieres Friday, October 28th at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Travel Channel and stream on discovery+. Check out Travel Channel’s Pop Paranormal podcast to hear even more about Eli Roth and the creation of Urban Legend on Apple podcast, Spotify, or wherever you listen.

The Haunted Museum: 3 Ring Inferno

One of the most hotly anticipated entries in the Ghostober lineup arrives on All Hallows Eve. Once again, Roth has partnered with paranormal investigator Zak Bagans to bring us The Haunted Museum: 3 Ring Inferno. Bagans takes us back inside his Haunted Museum in downtown Las Vegas with an exclusive look at one of his most terrifying artifacts.

“With Haunted Museum, we weren’t gonna have the series ready until January to air but we thought, We don’t want Halloween to go by without a Haunted Museum episode. And Zak was like, ‘I have a story on this circus fire.’ It’s a true story, he’s got a piece of the tent. The burned souls and all the people, these clowns, burned to death in this horrible, horrible fire that burned out of control. And he said, ‘I have a story idea of how to turn this into a haunted object.’ So the kid steals it at a flea market, sets it up in his house, and goes in. We made this really, really scary episode. I mean, it’s really disturbing and freaky and weird. It’s perfect for Halloween.”

Two-hour special event premieres Halloween night at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Travel Channel and streaming on discovery+.

Eli Roth Presents: My Possessed Pet

After years of creating horror that targets humans, Roth is slightly switching gears to explore real-life tales of terror involving man’s best friend. Eli Roth Presents: My Possessed Pet is a four-part series featuring animal lovers who begin to fear that the special critters in their lives have become prey for demonic entities. The inspiration for this unique approach to possession stories came from inside Roth’s own home…

“I was looking at my dog. Every time I got up from the table, she would sit in my chair. I put her aside and she just stares at me and looks at my computer. She behaves like a human. I grew up with German Shepherds so I love dogs, but this is like a person. My wife and I were like there’s a dead child trapped inside our pet and I thought, what if pet possession is real? What do you do when your pet’s possessed?”

From there, Roth put out the call for stories and was surprised to get responses he describes as, “like stories from The Exorcist!” Without spoiling too much, the series features a dog that may have the ability to control its master, a young girl’s haunted horse, and a friendly tarantula named Vincent who may harbor the spirit of an angry demon.

New episodes Fridays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Travel Channel and stream on discovery+.

Trick or Treat

With so much on his plate, you’d think Roth would be content to kick up his heels and relax. But the innovative creator has many exciting projects in store for us — even beyond his Ghostober lineup. One of the exciting scoops he gave to The Boo Crew is about a terrifying new VR experience called Trick or Treat, a 20-minute short set in Meta’s Horizon Worlds.

“I’ve had a GoPro 360 for four years. So I shot hundreds of hours of VR on my own just figuring it out. And I’ve been dying to do a full-on horror VR, haunted house that you really can only see in the headset, it’s like, you got to get the headset, you got to go to Roswell. And it’s nuts. It’s so much fun.”

Roth also offered an eerie, behind the scenes glimpse into the creation of this frightening experience. While working on the project, Roth’s team seemingly bumped into one of the spirits during filming…

“I was shooting the VR project in the Ashmore Estate, which is a haunted house. Apparently there are three ghosts there and they’re friendly. Everyone was like, ‘We come in peace.’ We were filming and, at one point, a glass object fell off a shelf and the actors turned around. We thought that someone had backed up into a shelf and they’re like, ‘No, we were just standing here. No one was banging.’ So I’m like, ‘Okay, all right. We know you’re here, we got it. We’re out of here tomorrow. Don’t worry.’ You just get comfortable with not fighting it, not arguing. But when anything like that happens, we always try to get it on camera.”

Halloween Recommendations

When Roth does take time off, he likes to indulge his appetite for horror, and it’s no surprise that this genre scholar has an extensive October watch list. As a fan of director Parker Finn’s work, Roth is anxious to check out this season’s hit Smile. He’s also keen to get his hands on the Ju-on: The Grudge Collection from Arrow Video. When asked what his go-to spooky season films are, the gore enthusiast had some surprisingly creepy recommendations.

“I like the classics. I like Haxon: Witchcraft Through the Ages, Dreyer’s Vampyr, the really old, old creepy ones on Halloween. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Robert Wiene, like those early 1920s German expressionists or Benjamin Christensen. Those films they’re so beautiful and they’re really bizarre and weird.  [Edmund] Elias Merhige made a movie called Begotten. The guy who did Shadow of the Vampire, where he recreated that look of one of those films. It’s super violent and weird and gory and strange. Those are fun ones to seek out if you’ve kind of seen everything and you want something that’s totally a different kind of change of pace kind of horror.”

Check out the whole conversation on the latest episode of The Boo Crew below.

The post Eli Roth Talks Ghostober 2022, Filming the Paranormal for Travel Channel, and What’s on His Halloween Watch List [Interview] appeared first on Bloody Disgusting!.


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