Eli Roth on haunted hotel Goretorium in Las Vegas, working with RZA
Eli Roth’s Goretorium in Las Vegas may just be the kind of gruesome, bloody year-round destination horror fans have been salivating for, and Roth himself is as giddy as a twisted school boy about it.
The director-writer-actor behind the Hostel and Cabin Fever franchises, and upcoming Netflix series Hemlock Grove, brainstormed the mock haunted hotel and casino called The Delmont, aka the Goretorium, for five years. Located across the street from the City Center and The Cosmopolitan, on the Vegas strip, already the land of dark-edged glitz and mayhem, it opens Sept. 27. Complete with techie and makeup-fueled special effects, a lounge called Baby Dolls with caged zombie dancers, and a bar called Bloody Mary’s, the two-story high Goretorium sounds like a go-to Halloween hangout for adults. It will even house a chapel where star-crossed, gore-hungry lovers can get married. Zombie Elvis as a wedding officiant?
Stuck at the Burbank Airport, about to board a plane to Vegas, Roth talked to EW.com about Goretorium being the “Disney World for horror fans,” working with rapper RZA on RZA’s upcoming directorial debut, the martial arts movie The Man with the Iron Fists, which Roth co-wrote with RZA and co-produced, and Roth’s new horror flick The Green Inferno, set to start filming later this year in Peru. Chilean earthquake thriller Aftershock, co-produced, co-written and starring Roth, premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival. Even over the phone, Roth oozed as much unbridled horror-loving passion as a puss-filled sore on a zombie’s thigh. Seriously.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Tell me about Goretorium. Frightening!
ELI ROTH: I’ve always dreamed of having a year-round haunted house. I’ve gone to Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights about 12 years in a row. And to Knott’s Scary Farm. It’s the most fun. It reminds me of my childhood. … Las Vegas is a 24-hour city. It never stops. A lot of European tourists never experience Halloween, and can here. I want to haunt the entire city of Las Vegas. … I love horror movies year-round, and so do the fans, and there hasn’t been a destination. … I want to keep updating it for different seasons. For Christmas, or if a new movie is coming out. We’re taking about Hemlock Grove having a premiere there, and The Green Inferno. … There are so many horror fans. Selena Gomez is one. She did a cameo in Aftershock. She’s a horror fan. She loves the Hostel movies. … Obviously Marilyn Manson. I went through Knott’s Scary Farm with Marilyn Manson last year, and we were screaming like teenage girls.
How did you come up with the idea of making Goretorium set in a mythical hotel and casino, The Delmont? With a serial-killing family!
We talked about the different themes. What should it be? An insane asylum? A hospital? I had other people contacting me from other cities: Tokyo, New York. In Vegas, you have those old hotels that aren’t there anymore. What if this is a hotel that’s been shut down? A hotel is a great way to do it. Something that pays homage to classic Las Vegas, that we can modernize. With Goretorium, you are going to tour the murders, and something takes a dark twist, and you end up in the bowels of the hotel, and you’re trying to get out.
Hmmmm. It sounds like Hostel. Being stuck.
I started with a cabin with Cabin Fever, then I built a Hostel, and now I’m at a hotel. [LAUGHS]
Goretorium will have zombie dancers and live “feedings,” a lounge called Baby Dolls.” It all sounds very go-go ‘60s and fun. What’s the scariest part of Goretorium? Is there an age limit on this?
I don’t want to reveal what the scares are. … Tourists from Ohio will go through this place and lose their mind. In the Hostel nights [a maze based on Hostel at the Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights two years ago], I had people ground in half. Often the biggest scares are the low-tech ones. There’s also so much technology now. The “haunt master” and I sat down and planned out everything room by room. It’s like a movie. … Also, you can pay to walk through alone. One of the things that kills the experience is going through with too many people. We’re going to have them go through as a small group. … At the end is the baby dolls lounge, and there you can try to pick up hot zombie chicks. … A lot of people have kids, and take their kids around at Halloween, and miss that horror experience. There’s no place like this. I want it to be Disney World for horror fans, but the most f—-d up way they can imagine. … We might be able to do something 21 and over, with full nudity and gore. We’re really pushing the envelope in every way.
On another note, what was it like working with RZA, writing The Man with the Iron Fists with him, and co-producing the movie? Are you a Wu-Tang Clan fan?
RZA and I became friends with Quentin [Tarantino], and I was a Wu-Tang fan for many years. Quentin and RZA and I went to Iceland together in 2005. RZA and I took the plane back from Iceland to L.A., and got caught in Boston because of a storm. … That Boston to L.A. flight, we talked. It turns out my dad and RZA grew up a block from each other in Brownsville, Brooklyn. My dad’s a psychoanalyst. My dad and RZA went to the same junior high, same swimming pool. I asked RZA what he wanted to do, and he said, “I want to direct this movie.” I said I would do whatever I could to help. … After Inglourious Basterds, we went through every page. … I was with him every day on set filming in China. … He’s one of the most smartest, incredible guys. I told him, “Look at Wu-Tang. … Look at how each guy acts: Ol’ Dirty Bastard.” … I told him, “We have to know every weapon, what it does.” … Quentin said we would be a great team. Kanye West, Lucy Liu, the Black Keys. Everyone wanted to part of this project. Even Russell Crowe. This is a super group.
Speaking of upcoming movies, how are you prepping for The Green Inferno? Is it definitely a remake on a level of Antonio Climati’s 1988 cannibal movie Natura Contro, aka Cannibal Holocaust II? What’s this fascination with cannibals?
No, no, it’s a completely original screenplay. I was inspired by those movies, but it’s completely original. I just came back from scouting in Peru, deep into the jungle. The crew that last shot there was Klaus Kinski with [Werner Herzog’s 1972 film] Aguirre: The Wrath of God. … It’s going to be like a battle, being there … The movie’s about a bunch of people that crash in the jungle, and trouble ensues. I can’t tell you anymore.
Check out a very bloody trailer for the Goretorium below: