Last week, we had the pleasure of catching up with legendary gore-tastic horror director Eli Roth about his up-coming Netflix production, Hemlock Grove. The show is the director’s attempt to bring some real horror to Netflix’s original content roster, along with some interesting-looking supernatural twists. Yes based on the “Weregasm” comment, it’s not a huge leap for you guys to figure out that there is some werewolf activity in the show and when you watch the video above leave it to Eli Roth to find new, gruesome ways of putting a guy through a lycanthropic transformation.
Hemlock Grove is a supernatural murder mystery where any of Hemlock’s peculiar residents, and killer creatures, could be responsible for the death of 17-year-old Brooke Bluebell. The season is made up of 13 episodes, which will be released in full on Netflix in just 15 days on April 19th.
Question:This is the first thing that you’ve directed that you didn’t also write. How was that experience for you?
Eli Roth: It was a great experience. I knew that – it’s also my first time working in television, and I was very interested and excited by the challenge of seeing how I’ve – you know, how I responded to the material, and if I felt the same way as I did about – as I did with something that I wrote, and I absolutely did. I mean, I wouldn’t have done it unless I really, really loved the material. I think Brian McGreevy wrote a superb novel and I – it was exciting for me to get to create a world. And, I had a fantastic cast to work with. Certainly Landon, and Bill Skarsgard, and Farmke Janssen, and everybody; it was a terrific experience. I would certainly do it again, but only if it’s something that I really felt passionate about.
Question: Could you tell us a bit more about what you liked about Hemlock Grove? How you came in contact with the concept and – well, what made you do it?
Eli Roth: Well, it was actually the producer Eric Newman brought it to me. We’d been looking to – we made The Last Exorcism together and Man With the Iron Fists, and we were looking for a television project. And, I had always wanted to do something in television, and people have been asking me to do a horror or a horror-themed series.
And the conflict that I always came up against was that one was that I’d never get to do it with the level of intensity or violence that I wanted. But also what makes horror great is that you kill characters at any time. And what makes television work is that you have characters that come back week after week. But watching you know recent television like Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire really showed me how you can have you know, something that plays much more like a long movie rather than a week after week television series.
And you know, I read the novel and it really reminded me of some sort of cross – some sort of monstrous Twin Peaks. It was very much about the death of old – you know, the old steel town America and what rose from the ashes. This biotech world. And I like the way that Brian McGreevy went to the root mythology of every monster. You know he really, really researched you know umpiers, which is the root mythology of where vampires come from, and vargulfs, where werewolves come from. He understood what Mary Shelly based her writing on. He understood what Bram Stoker based his writing on. And it was – he was writing at that root level and really weaving it into a terrific fun mystery. And also the – I loved the characters of Roman and Peter. I know that Landon – you know really, he’s such a terrific actor and got to show so many different sides with his character Peter. It was a really – just a fantastic world to dive into
Question: How do you feel about the “Twilight-fication” of horror and how the success of those movies made it easier to find an audience for a show like Hemlock Grove?
Eli Roth: Well, I think you know, Twilight obviously appeals to you know, a massive amount of fans for a very particular reason, and I think it’s the evolution of the genre. You know, I think it’s great. I think whatever gets people excited about – you know, there’s always going to be someone coming up with a new way. Some new spin or some new twist. Whether it’s Paranormal Activity taking – reinventing the haunted house movie or Twilight reinventing the vampire genre. You know, in the form – with a romance novel and sort of the way that Interview with a Vampire was you know, 15 – you know, 10 years earlier. I think it’s great.
You know, it’s funny to me when I see people you know, complaining going, “Vampires can’t be out in the day.” You see like an older generation. But I also – you know, but then you – I actually go to those movies on midnight opening night and it’s an incredible experience to be in those theaters and it’s packed with teenage girls and like married women who sort of escaped their husbands for the night. And when Jacob (unintelligible) – and I – like I went with my girlfriend to go see Twilight. I was like, “I want to understand what this is.” And you are at the movies and 14 – every single screen in the multiplex was completely sold out. It was a frenzy. People were going crazy and it was – you just felt the energy and I thought, “How can you not love this.” Like this is great. Like this is getting 12, 13, 14-year old girls really, really excited about the possibility. They probably had a very different idea of what vampires were, what horror was.
And, we also felt like, you know now we’re you know four or five years on, that those fans are going to grow up. That they’re going to want to see stories with similar themes. Not just werewolves and vampires, all kinds of monsters. But really you know, done in a much more adult way. You know, those kids are going to grow up and they’re going to want something that’s much – you know, much harder.
Remember, Hemlock Grove is set to be hitting your small screens on the 19th of April only on Netflix.