Edinburgh International Film Festival 2014: Eli Roth on his Amazon-shot cannibal horror The Green Inferno
Director's affectionate tribute to the Italian cannibal movies of the 80s screens at EIFF 2014
Henry Northmore talks to director Eli Roth about the extreme lengths he went to in making The Green Inferno
Eli Roth revels in his reputation as the bad boy of horror cinema. He shocked movie fans with the flesh eating virus of Cabin Fever and for many epitomised the gory excesses of the mid-00s with the ultra-violent Hostel. ‘As a kid, I loved sitting round the campfire in the dark listening to scary stories. That was the most fun for me. Going back to Grimm’s fairytales, with kids being baked in ovens or anything that had a monster. It’s just how I was born.’
This year’s EIFF will be screening The Green Inferno as part of its Wicked and Wild strand. It’s an affectionate tribute to the Italian cannibal movies of the 80s (most of which were banned in the UK as 'Video Nasties'), in particular Ruggero Deodato’s infamous Cannibal Holocaust.
The shoot itself was as gruelling as the carnage on screen. ‘I prefer shooting everything practically. We went deeper into the Amazon than anyone had ever shot before,’ explains Roth, ‘to a village with no electricity, no running water. A village so far off the grid they didn’t know what a movie was.’
‘It was a five-hour drive, then a two-hour boat ride either way,’ adds actress Lorenzo Izzo, who plays a student activist who heads to Peru to protect the rainforest and the indigenous tribes but inadvertently finds herself on the menu. ‘The village was amazing, but you were covered in insects and half of them were poisonous.’
The location grounds the grisly action in reality, while the villagers were recruited as extras. ‘When we were shooting with these people, you can’t fake it,’ says Roth, ‘You couldn’t create that kind of authenticity. It’s like a Werner Herzog movie on steroids.’
The Green Inferno screens at Edinburgh International Film Festival, Filmhouse on Fri 20 Jun & Cineworld, Sun 22 Jun.