Eli Roth is looking to revive a dormant horror genre, the cannibal movie. Once a major export from Italy, cannibal movies have been on the decline for decades. And I mean jungle cannibal movies, not shitty Texas Chainsaw rip-off mutant hick cannibal movies, which is where all of our on-screen flesh-eating has ended up. The last big ungle cannibal movie I can think of is Jonathan Hensleigh's really terrible Welcome to the Jungle, which was a poor Cannibal Holocaust riff.
Roth's new film is The Green Inferno, which was actually one of the alternate titles for a movie known as Cannibal Holocaust II. We don't know much about it, but we do know that Roth went deep into the Amazon to shoot it, and that while he was there he introduced some native tribes to the magic of Ruggero Deodato's best known work.
Roth tells Empire:
"We went in the Amazon deeper than anyone has ever shot a movie before. I went so far up the river, we went to a village where they had no electricity, no running water, and they never before had seen a movie or television."
"We had to explain to them conceptually what a movie was, and we brought a television and a generator and we showed them Cannibal Holocaust. They thought it was the funniest thing that they had ever seen, but we had to know whether they were down with it to let us in their village."
"Thank God no one got killed, but there were tarantulas, there were spider bites, there were snakes. It was insane. Everybody had to get de-parasited after we got back, but the footage was incredible. I’m just editing the material right now."
I wonder if they thought it was funny in that 'This is so funny because it's true!' kind of way, or if they thought that Deodato got all the details hilariously wrong. I'm assuming, of course, that these folks are veteran longpig eaters; if I can't hold stereotyped views about Stone Age tribes who will never read my words, about whom can I hold stereotyped views?
By the way, Roth says that The Green Inferno, despite all of its Cannibal Holocaust trappings, won't be much like that movie.
"I love Cannibal Holocaust, it’s one of my all-time favourite movies, but I really wanted to do something that was much more like a Werner Herzog movie. I wanted it to look like The New World, The Mission, or Aguirre: The Wrath of God."
So it's going to be a man vs human nature but also vs cannibals movie. I'm okay with that.
The Green Inferno should be out sometime at the end of the year. Fantastic Fest, Eli?