On working with Richard Kelly on The Box...|
Eli: Yeah I met Rich Kelly before Cabin Fever was finished. I went to a screening of Donnie Darko during the editing and I was shocked that we had so many weird, similar interests. I couldn't believe he had a bunny man and that the kids in Donnie Darko go to see Evil Dead. I mean I'd written Cabin Fever in 1995 and all that stuff was in there. I finally met Rich through some friends and we became friendly and he came to see one of the first screenings of Cabin Fever. And that's when he asked me to collaborate on The Box, to write the script with him. And I said it's perfect because, you know, Cabin Fever is 99 percent Evil Dead, 1 percent bunny man, and Donnie Darko is 99 percent bunny man, 1 percent Evil Dead. So it's a good creative mix. And we've been having a really fun time. I mean we sit there laughing because we're like, "This is going to be so f*cking disturbing," and we can just see the protest signs.
Joey: There's been a lot of movies with evil bunnies, like Sexy Beast.
Eli: Yeah there was an article on that about evil bunny men.
James: What was the start of the evil bunnies? Was it like One Crazy Summer? The cute fuzzy bunnies that killed the fat guy?
Joey: Well then there's Night of the Lepus, this horror movie where they have these people running and then they have these close-up shots of bunnies. "No!"
Eli: The original killer bunny that was probably the inspiration for it all was the guardian from Monty Python and the Holy Grail: the rabbit, "the most foul-tempered rodent you ever laid eyes on" with big nasty fangs. That movie probably warped me and changed me more than any other film.
On the return of 70s-style horror movies...
Eli: There's a big difference between 70s horror and pussy-assed 90s horror movies that call themselves 70s horror. I think that if you have a movie like Wrong Turn and you have girls that are tied up by hillbillies and the hillbillies don't rip their clothes off, that's not 70s. And a lot of these movies say, "Look how 70s we are," and then they throw in alterna-rock with the end credits. House of 1000 Corpses is made much more in the spirit and tone of the 70s, but stylistically it's a 2000 music video. I think people miss violent horror. Hollywood will only replicate what's successful, and The Ring was such a big hit, and so was The Sixth Sense, that they were only making PG-13 movies. And people just got tired of it: "Enough already! We don't want to see movies with f*cking TV actors where they live to the end of the movie because you know they're going to need them for a sequel, and where they don't do the nudity and the sex scenes. It's just boring already, we're tired of it." The 70s horror movies were all made from the point of view of how is this idea scary? How can we weave this into interesting type of real characters? People want horror in their horror movies. They don't want to play it safe when they go see horror films.
James: But I didn't laugh that much in 70s horror movies. When I was younger, I was just freaked out. And now I watch them and I laugh my ass off. So I think our movie could be freaking out a lot of little kids, but then like 15 years later I hope they watch it and get all the humour that was in there.
Eli: Yeah, the idea is that you hope it works on several different levels--terrifying children and making other people laugh! When you make a horror movie now the biggest challenge is that everybody's seen everything. So the fun is taking those conventions and twisting them in a way that further engages people. But it's tough because everybody's comparing your movie to everything they've seen before.
On timeless horror movies...
Eli: I watch Scream now--I mean I loved it at the time but it feels dated. There are certain horror movies that get dated very quickly and then there are classics like Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I mean it's in that 70s style but it's still terrifying, it still completely holds up. And Evil Dead too. And I wanted to make a film that you could watch in repeated viewings. You want a film that fans come out and see and 30 years from now they show it to their kids and want to use as the movie to introduce their kids to horror films. I just love horror films that hold up for 30 years--I mean look at Psycho or The Haunting.
On what's next...
Eli: I'm writing the movie with Rich Kelly, and I'm also writing and directing a teen comedy for Universal called Scavenger Hunt. That's going to be a full-on early-80s sex comedy. But I love horror and I've set up a company called Raw Nerve with Scott Spiegel, who cowrote Evil Dead 2 with Sam Raimi, and Boaz Yoakin, who directed Remember the Titans. We're going to produce three low-budget, ultra-violent horror movies a year. So I'll always have my hand in horror. I may direct one or I might not. Even directors like Tobe Hooper want to do it. It's going to be a forum for directors to have total creative control so they can make an NC-17 horror movie. And then if everything works out I want to use all my power in Hollywood to make the ultimate Olsen Twins movie with Scott Baio and a monkey.
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