By EW Staff
February 26, 2007 at 11:00 PM EST

Here’s how I never imagined I’d begin a post about Hostel: Part II (opening June 8): director Eli Roth makes people feel all warm and fuzzy inside. And yet, it’s true. Before I meet Roth (pictured), who was at Comic Con to do a Q&A panel about the sequel to 2005’s torture-and-gore-fest Hostel, I have a lovely talk with his parents. They were on the set of both Hostel films, as well as 2002’s Cabin Fever, and seem not only unscathed but so proud you’d think their son saved kittens for a living. “They’ve been indulging my horror-director dreams since I was eight years old,” says Roth. “They let me get sawed in half with a chainsaw at my bar mitzvah.” Awww. But a supportive family unit hasn’t stopped Roth from making some very screwed-up cinema. EW sat down with Roth and Hostel: Part II stars Heather Matarazzo (The L Word), who is one of the film’s unfortunate American students, and Roger Bart (Desperate Housewives), who plays a sadistic businessman, to talk blood, guts and what Hostel has in common with Borat.

addCredit(“Eli Roth: Mark Mainz/Getty Images”)

How much of making Hostel: Part II was about making a film moregruesome than the first one? I mean, how much bloodier can things get?

Eli Roth: You definitely want to one-up yourself, but you also don’twant it to become all about that. It’s really easy to make it superbloody and violent and gory. I wanted to build on the strengths of thefirst [Hostel] and take it to another level. My favorite sequels areAliens and Road Warrior and The Empire Strikes Back — sequels where youcame out and you went, “Oh my God, that was so much better than thefirst movie.” That was the goal.

Roger and Heather, did you have any… concerns about doing this movie?

Heather Matarazzo: If a horror movie is on [TV], I look at the corner ofscreen or cover my eyes for half the film. But I was not freaked out atall. I was really excited. It was one of the warmest, safestenvironments I have ever worked in. 

[You see? Warm and fuzzy!]

Roger Bart: It was Eli’s passion that made me to want to take a chanceand participate in this. I’ve never really been attracted to gore andblood, but Eli manages to have both elements: the suspense mixed withwhat is probably an inappropriate amount of blood and guts. I had noidea it was going to be as much fun as it was [making this film]. And,as Heather said, strangely safe, considering we were investigating verydangerous places in our personalities as human beings. But I have hadpeople say to me, “I want to go to Europe, but I have to go before Isee the movie.” We ruined tourism.

Roth: I have had people say they’d never go to Europe [after seeingHostel], but I don’t think they’d go anyway. I think those are peoplewho generally don’t leave their hometowns. And it was banned in theUkraine because the Hostel Association lobbied the government to notshow it. They were worried people wouldn’t go backpacking. But it’slike Borat and Kazakhstan — their tourism increased 30 percent! In Borat, thejoke is on the Americans. And that’s what it is in the Hostel movies:the people in Slovakia are just letting it happen. It’s symbolic ofwhat happens in these formerly Communist countries. The dollar iscoming in, and the worst parts of humanity come out as a result of it.The Americans are the worst ones of all. The people in Slovakia arejust like, “Yeah, you can use that factory. That’s there. Sure.”

Eli, what’s up next for you?

Roth: I went from Hostel: Part I to Part II without a break, so I thinkI’m going to sleep for about a month or two and then I’ll go right intoCell, the Stephen King adaptation [about a deadly virus transmittedthrough mobile phones]. Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, whowrote The People vs. Larry Flynt and Ed Wood, are writing it now.So as soon as I get the script, I’ll jump in.

And in the meantime, we can watch a your very badass Grindhouse trailer.

Roth: I’m actually in Grindhouse — Quentin [Tarantino] put me in it, and apparently Imade a lot of the cut. And I already have offers to make a feature outof the Grindhouse trailer! We shot for two days and just wentcompletely nuts: blood, guts, and no continuity.

Matarazzo: Woo-hoo!

Roth: It was complete silliness and mayhem. It was like film school. Wejust got a camera and tried to cram in as much blood, gore, and nudityas we could.