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Eli Roth: Champion of Horror or Just a Douche?

Horror film director Eli Roth has just released a new movie The Green Inferno. Described somewhat quietly as a “sort of remake” or “reimagining,” of Cannibal Holocaust 2, it fits Roth's pattern of ripping off other people's movies. Does the talented director do it with style, or is he just a frat boy douche making his name off other people's work?
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Eli Roth directed a new movie that screened at the Toronto International Film Festival last month, in New York City last week, and will be shown at the AFI Fest in Los Angeles next week. ETA: Here is a FAKE trailer for The Green Inferno. I'm going to leave the link because I'm amazed that fanboy douchebags would go to all this trouble. For some reason, Roth hasn't released an actual trailer for the movie, but you can see the douchey plane crash scene I linked to below:

But if you've seen any of the Italian cannibal movies from the late '70s and '80s, you've pretty much already seen it.

Described somewhat quietly as a “sort of remake” or “reimagining,” Roth's The Green Inferno takes its title from this movie, which was also known as Cannibal Holocaust 2 in an attempt to cash in on Cannibal Holocaust's popularity, but plotwise, those who've seen it note more similarities to Cannibal Holocaust (surely also because it's the better known of the two. Also, The Green Inferno was the title of the documentary in Cannibal Holocaust). In Roth's version, a group of Columbia University students go to the Amazon to save a tribe from land developers. When they try to leave, their plane crashes and they become cannibalized by the tribespeople they were attempting to save.

One positive thing that people are saying about it is that at least they don't kill animals in this movie like the Italians did, so that's nice. But most of the reviewers say it's slow to get going, and once Roth gets to the cannibal stuff, it seems kind of rushed and abrupt. Unlike Roth's other films, there are reportedly a couple of likable characters in The Green Inferno that some suspect will return in a sequel or God help us, a few sequels. And the score by Manuel Riveiro is pretty cool.

Roth gave Jay Leno Show viewers a sneak peek at the Sharknadolike campy plane crash scene in The Green Inferno, which more evokes the feel of  the Final Destination franchise than cool old Italian cannibal movies.

Lots of people like to bag on supposed master of horror Eli Roth, and I am no exception. I googled “Eli Roth + annoying,” and the search produced more than 100,000 results. I'm generalizing, but his fans appear to be members of the young bro-dawg set, not anyone particularly knowledgeable about film. I'm not an expert-level nerd or anything, but I do know more about horror and exploitation movies than the average person, which is to say I know a little more than absolutely nothing about them. I offer this in an attempt to explain why I find Roth so irritating, as many people who know things about movies do (Quentin Tarantino, however, likes him, which I don't get at all.).

This is mostly because I've hated nearly all of Roth's movies. I'm particularly hostile toward Hostel (heh), but I liked The Last Exorcism – which he produced – until the end, which sucked. He's also sort of irritating because several years ago, I saw an interview he did for some magazine and he did a super cheesy photo layout in it, including a bedroomy shot where he's obviously wearing lip gloss, in his underwear and has one hand have shoved into his boxers.

But most annoying of all is his dedication to remaking other people's movies.

Horror remakes are so ubiquitous that several odious euphemisms are employed to make them seem more palatable, such as "reimagining," "retread" and the most annoying one, in my opinion -- "reboot." Reboot in this context doesn't even make sense to me. When you reboot your computer, you're just recharging it, refreshing it, not making a new computer by sucking the life out of the original one.

While researching Roth, I was appalled to learn the shocking news from 2004 that Roth was once gung ho about remaking The Bad Seed, one of my favorite movies since childhood. He also enthused that he wanted to make little murderous Rhoda a horror "icon," like Chucky. But In a 2006 interview I dug up, Roth said he was regretfully abandoning the project . Saints be praised! We might also have Quentin Tarantino to thank for averting that abomination:

Roth: I told Quentin I was waiting to do this remake of The Bad Seed and some other movies and Quentin was like “Fuck that! What original ideas do you have?”

And I told him the idea for Hostel, and he was like, “That’s the best fucking idea I’ve heard for a horror film. You’ve gotta do that. You’ve gotta do it. Are you crazy? Don’t do it big budget, do it for 3 million bucks. That way you can make it as a violent as you want. Make it fucking sick. Make it like it Takeshi Miike film!”

Although I hated Hostel with the scorching heat of 1,000 suns, I'm eternally grateful to Tarantino for these exhortations. Roth should hang out with him more because that guy knows how to rip shit off with style. When you get a Tarantino reference, you feel in on a clever joke, not made the brunt of one like you do with Roth.