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13 Highlights From A Surprisingly Sincere Eli Roth Reddit AMA

The horror director answers questions on piracy, "Clown" director Jon Watts and horror storytelling.

“Clown”

When Eli Roth is not busy producing, directing, writing or acting, he answers fan questions. In anticipation of the U.S. release of Jon Watt’s “Clown,” produced by Roth, the horror mogul took to Reddit for an AMA to talk about his past, present and future work.

During the AMA, Roth discussed how piracy of films like “Clown,” first released in Italy in November of 2014, made it difficult to get films approved for production in the first place, including a sequel to the film in question. He also touched on working with Watts, director of “Clown” and the upcoming “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and a few of his goals and inspirations for telling a gory story.

READ MORE: ‘Clown’ Trailer: Eli Roth & Jon Watts Make Kids Birthday Parties Even More Terrifying In New Horror Film

“Clown” stars stars Peter Stormare, Laura Allen, Andy Powers and Elizabeth Whitmere. It hits select theaters and on demand platforms on June 17. Take a look at some of the highlights from Roth’s latest AMA below.

“Clown”? Is this a remake of the one that came out not too long ago? I believe Jon Watts directed.

Wow. A remake of itself. Man, has it been that long?

"Clown"

Hasn’t “Clown” been out for a while? Because I have definitely seen it.

It came out internationally in some territories, but U.S. release is the 17th. It’s a super dark disturbing movie and distribs were honestly a little scared of it. It goes there. [sic] Weinsteins have been awesome, though. Excited they’re putting it out.

It leaked to the internet already. Most horror fans I know have already seen it, and unfortunately those are the people that would have bought theater tickets. 

The truth is this is the sad state of cinema and the reason there won’t be a sequel. If people buy it we can make more, if they steal it, that’s it. Piracy is killing independent horror in ways people don’t see yet but soon will. It’s tragic. In Japan there’s zero piracy because people like to support artists they want to see more from. Unfortunately Hollywood has the persona of everyone living in a mansion driving a bentley so you don’t exactly have the public’s sympathy and understanding. But it’s not like that for independent filmmakers, every dollar counts.

What’s one thing you love about the film industry and one thing you wish you could change about it?

I wish people would stop pirating. It’s honestly killed it for us. We used to be able to guarantee budgets with DVD sales and then VOD but it’s over. Its not gonna go back to the way it was. And now they look at your movie and say “well will it be able to make money against this superhero movie.” The good old days are over. Now getting a film released is so hard because you just get outspent. And I understand it, that’s what audiences are paying to see. But we used to offset it with home video sales that have evaporated with torrent sites. So how do you make money for the investors and distributors? It’s hard.

What are your thoughts on the fact that they’re already remaking “Cabin Fever”? Aren’t there other avenues they could go with continuing the franchise than simply remaking the original?

Honestly I knew if I was involved or not that people would still associate it with me so I went in from the beginning. Travis really wanted to do it and I think he did a great job. But from my POV, imagine writing a script at 22 and for years everyone tells you flat out it fucking sucks and no one would ever see it. Over and over. And finally after 6 years of hearing this you find one person who says “I love this” and you get him to mortgage his house to make it. and then by some miracle it sells, everyone makes their money back, and the movie’s a hit. So then someone wants to remake it with the same script 20 years after you wrote it.

On an egotistical level it’s so fucking satisfying, which is totally the wrong reason to do it but I’m human so [sic] fuckit. And then actors all over town are re-reading this thing you wrote in 1995 after college and rediscovering it and laughing their asses off and having fun auditioning for it. I look at it like a play – why not [sic] restage it and see what happens. And Travis is a very talented guy so let’s let him use this to show what he’s got.

How do you feel about Jon Watts helming the next “Spiderman” film?

So so so happy for him. I knew it from his music videos and commercials he was brilliantly talented, he’ll make an amazing movie. He’s such a nice guy and works his ass off and really cares, I’m thrilled for him.

Who is your greatest inspiration for horror films?

Any number of the presidential candidates.

"Clown"

“Clown”

Dimension Films

What is some of your favorite horror literature?

Love Stephen King. Skeleton Crew was a huge influence on me. Stories like “Beachworld” and “The Reaper’s Image” kept me up for weeks. I met Quentin when he came to see Cabin Fever at the LA Film Festival. There’s pics on wireimage of the encounter. I dumped blood on my head before the screening. He loved that. We became fast friends. We had heard about each other through KNB effects. Just love him – from day one he was so nice and supportive and cool. Really, he’s the best.

How much do you think your politics influence your work?

I try to let the story and characters come first. I don’t use the movies as subtle propaganda but usually about halfway through shooting I see what the movie’s really about. But it’s never conscious, it’s all subtext. Just follow the story and if you stay true to what you wrote it’s in there whether you try to or not. Better to keep it subtle – nobody wants to get a history lesson at the movies, they want to be entertained. Unless they’re going to see a historical film, of course.

Does working on horror films challenge your emotional state?

Honestly no it excites me. What’s challenging is dealing with the bullshit. And the bullshit is just normal, it’s the challenge of dealing with humans. It’s a lot to coordinate. If everyone focuses and does their job then I’m fine.

I’m really curious what is your favorite horror movie most people have never heard of?

Good question. Try “Torso.” It’s amazing giallo from Sergio Martino. Or the Spanish film “Who Can Kill a Child” from 1975. Freaky as fuck.

In an age where the internet offers very real images of horrific gore and mutilation, what direction should horror movies that rely heavily on gore or body mutilation take in order to keep a solid audience?

It’s entirely about original story. People get gore on TV now, it’s not the shock or thrill it used to be. It’s all about a story you can engage an audience in or the gore doesn’t matter. It’s all window dressing.

Do people ever call you the Bear Jew?

Yes but they always mix it up and call me Jew Bear.

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