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September 2018

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Page 17 of 43 16 POST SEPTEMBER 2018 DIRECTOR'S CHAIR irector/producer/writer/ac- tor Eli Roth isn't just one of Hollywood's most successful qua- druple-threats. He's also established himself as a go-to brand for horror fans — one guaranteed to chill and thrill audiences everywhere with his gleefully gruesome, over-the-top set pieces. One of those — the notoriously cringe-inducing leg-shaving scene in his 2002 directorial debut Cabin Fever — helped kick-start his career. The film was made independently for a budget of $1.5 million dollars, sparked a frenzied seven-studio bidding war, and went on to be Lionsgate's highest grossing film that year. Roth's follow-up film Hostel, which he wrote, produced and directed, featured the equally notorious eyeball scene and cemented his reputation as a master of horror. It also earned him critical praise and was a massive worldwide hit, spawning a successful sequel, Hostel Part II, also written and directed by Roth. As a producer, his credits include The Last Exorcism, The Man with the Iron Fists and The Last Exorcism Part II, and he was an executive producer on the hit Emmy nominated Netflix series Hemlock Grove. As an actor, Roth has appeared in Quentin Tarantino's "Death Proof" segment of Grindhouse (in which he also wrote and directed the popular faux trailer "Thanksgiving" that played between the features in the film) and Inglourious Basterds (in which he portrayed Sgt. Donnie Donowitz and directed the propaganda film-within- the-film, "Nation's Pride"). Roth and his cast members received the Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Ensemble, as well as the Broadcast Film Critic's Choice Award and the People's Choice Award. Roth also appeared in, as well as co-wrote and co-produced, Nicolas Lopez's earthquake thriller Aftershock. The film marks the start of Roth and Lopez's "Chilewood" partnership. In 2014, Roth also co-founded The Crypt, a multi-platform digital channel for dark and edgy content. The Crypt's se- ries to date have over 100 million views. Roth's new film, The House with a Clock in Its Walls, which stars two-time Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett and Jack Black, marks a change of pace for the director. Based on the beloved children's classic written by John Bellairs, the magical adventure tells the spine-tingling tale of 10-year- old Lewis (Owen Vaccaro), who goes to live with his uncle in a creaky old house with a mysterious tick-tocking heart. But his new town's sleepy façade jolts to life with a secret world of warlocks and witches when Lewis accidentally awakens the dead. Here, in an exclusive interview with Post, Roth talks about making the film (released this month by Universal), and his love of post. You definitely changed gears for this. What sort of film did you set out to make? "I've always wanted to make my ver- sion of a kid's scary movie, and the most influential ones for me grow- ing up were all the Amblin movies — Gremlins, Goonies, E.T. — and Tim Burton movies — Beetlejuice, Pee Wee's Big Adventure — and those all had that sort of handmade feel, with kids off on a big adventure, that I love. But I also wanted to include some of the tricks and stuff I do in my adult horror films — but not horror. More spooky, scary stuff than horror." There's a big difference, right? "Exactly. I think adults love to be terri- fied and shocked with horror films, but kids are different. They love Halloween and they want to be scared — but in a fun, safe way. They don't want to be genuinely terrified and you don't want to traumatize them. So this has a lot of good scary moments, but it also has that sense of playfulness, along with a type of Monty Python insanity and absurdity to it. And it was so much fun for me to be able to mix all these different tones, where one minute it's really scary and the next it's kind of silly and playful." What were the main technical challenges in pulling it all together? "We had a very short prep period after the whole project came together very fast, and we had a very short window ELI ROTH ON THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN ITS WALLS BY IAIN BLAIR THE QUADRUPLE- THREAT IS A GO-TO BRAND FOR HORROR FANS D Roth, with Black and Blanchett

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