In the fifth installment of an exclusive MTV News column, director Eli Roth discusses his recent trip to New York Comic-Con to promote "Hostel: Part II."
My parents drove down from Boston for the day to see the panel. They are the most supportive parents in the world and can show up whenever I'm filming the most violent, horrific scene and just smile and say, "We're so proud of you!" I saw "Hostel: Part II" stars Roger Bart and Heather Matarazzo, who I actually hadn't seen since the shoot since they both live in New York. It was great to see them again. I really had a fun time with the cast, and we were joking about shooting in Prague and how much we missed being there. We did a bunch of interviews together, and at 5 p.m. we went out to the convention center to the panel.
Walking the floor of the convention was really fun. MTV met me in the morning and was following me throughout the day, so when we got to Comic-Con, it was a bit of a zoo. It was fun to get recognized as the guy who made "Hostel" and not as "that guy from 'Heroes'?" (Honestly, I don't play Sylar, I swear.) I walked around the floor, taking photos with people and talking with fans. I love hearing different stories from people about their experiences seeing "Hostel." I can never be there with everyone seeing it, and I've seen the film so many times that for me the real enjoyment is watching the audience react. I love seeing the film come together, but eventually I get to the point where I just hide in the front of the theater and watch the audience react. People had great stories, some about vomiting, some about their date bruising their arm from squeezing it so hard and more than one person who hooked up that night because their date didn't want to go home.
The panel was a good time. I love doing Q&As with large audiences. I could do it for hours. I have never had a fear of public speaking, and actually find that I'm more comfortable speaking in front of an audience or going on TV than talking in a smaller, more intimate setting. Some questions were pretty hilarious. They ranged from, "Is there going to be a 'Hostel III'?" (not currently) to, "Dude, oh, man, um, like, I totally had this idea for 'Cabin Fever 2,' but now I forgot it, uh, I'm such an idiot! Can I have your autograph?" That was an actual question.
One guy said, "Your movies are supposed to be really violent, but they never are! You never show anything!" to which I responded, "If a girl getting her eye cut off on camera, a guy getting his leg sawed off with a chainsaw on camera, multiple gunshots to the head on camera, Achilles tendons splitting open on camera, a girl throwing herself in front of a train on camera, slashing fingers off and slitting a throat on camera and kids bashing in a skull with a rock on camera isn't gory enough for you, then I think you need help. What more can I do?"
I always try to answer questions with a sense of humor, and even if the questions from the audience are insulting or rude I never make anyone feel stupid, because that just scares off the people who have real questions from asking them. Roger and Heather did a great job, as always, and afterward we were quickly shuttled to the autograph area. One guy told me he'd give me a [sexual favor] for an autograph, and I told him that was not really necessary since we'd be signing for everyone after the Q&A, but he still insisted. Luckily he didn't make it to the front of the line, and I got off easy, so to speak.
The poster from Comic-Con has already caused a bit of a stir. It was actually a poster that Sony did of Bijou Phillips standing, stark naked, holding her own decapitated head. It's a brilliant poster. I love it. Of course, it would never make it to theaters here, but it was never intended to. Tarantino calls it "An exploitation poster by way of Diane Arbus," which I think is the perfect description.
Sony (who handles "Hostel" internationally) sent over about 200 posters, and within an hour they were all gone. Roger, Heather and I signed all the posters and took pictures with the fans. My parents were there, standing right behind me, often holding people's stuff while they took a picture, or even taking the picture for them. Everyone was really cool, and some had brought "Cabin Fever" and "Hostel" DVDs for me to sign, which I always appreciate. I remember it was not too long ago that I was that fan waiting in line for an autograph, and I know how much it means to people, so I try to make every one count.
After Comic-Con, Lionsgate threw a really, really nice dinner for everyone downtown, and we all wound up at 7B in the East Village, which was a favorite spot of mine when I was at NYU. I couldn't believe I was drinking with my parents at 7B until midnight on a Saturday night. It was pretty hilarious. It's not a typical Roth family activity. I hadn't been there for maybe 10 years, but it was fun to be back.
Sunday, I flew home (regular airlines, sadly), and then the following day I got so sick I could barely move. I lay in bed, sick as a dog, and had to watch every Umberto Lenzi cannibal movie to make myself feel better ("Man From Deep River," "Eaten Alive," "Cannibal Ferox" and even "Nightmare City"). After about a week I started to feel better and actually made it out of my house. But I unfortunately was so sick I had to miss going to Austin to the SXSW film festival, where I was going to show a new "Hostel: Part II" clip and do a panel with Robert Rodriguez for "Grindhouse."
Note to self for next time: If you're going to a meet-and-greet with hundreds of people, bring Purell.
Check back with Movies.MTV.com next Monday for another installment of Eli Roth's exclusive "Hostel: Part II" column.
In the meantime, scope out these past Roth columns:
Check out everything we've got on "Hostel: Part II."
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