Eli Roth’s History of Horror – documentary series, USA, 2018

‘Every scream tells a story’

Eli Roth’s History of Horror is a new AMC documentary series, part of their over-arching Visionaries series. Host Eli Roth is, of course, the director of the first two Hostel movies, Knock KnockThe Green Inferno and The House With a Clock in Its Walls.

“Featuring A-list storytellers like Stephen King, Quentin Tarantino, Jordan Peele, Jason Blum, Robert Englund, Linda Blair, Tippi Hedren, Rob Zombie, Haley Joel Osment, Jack Black, John Landis, Jamie Lee Curtis and more, Eli Roth’s History of Horror brings together the masters of horror – icons and stars who define the genre – to explore its biggest themes and reveal the inspirations and struggles behind its past and present.

Each one-hour episode will take viewers on a chilling exploration of how horror has evolved through the eras and impacted society, as well as why loyal fans remain addicted to fear”.

Eli Roth told EW: “I’m thrilled to be part of this incredible series. For years, I’ve wanted to create a definitive ‘History of Horror,’ a living record of the genre with interviews from all the greats, old and new. Sadly, we lose more of these masters every year and with them go their stories and experiences. This show will serve as a record for future generations — fans and filmmakers alike — to enjoy. I could not be prouder to create this with AMC.”

Speaking with IGN, Roth said:

“You know, when Wes Craven died, all those stories died with him. Tobe Hooper told a story about when he was shooting Texas Chainsaw Massacre, about how the investors came to set and they just wanted drugs and girls. And they had all these dead animals and people were throwing up. Then they said, ‘We gotta burn the animals because they smell so bad!’ Just insane stuff like that, and those stories died when Tobe died. I wanted to get some sort of record to document these directors talking, while going through the history of the genre.”

And the highlight for Roth?

“To get Stephen King in front of me, at his house, and to have him take 40 minutes out of his schedule — which ended up turning into 90 minutes — and having the first thing out of his mouth be, ‘Even the worst horror movie, it’s fing great!’ Well, that just sums it up! Even the worst horror movie you’ve ever seen, it was still fing great. That, to me, is the spirit of the horror fan … that they can see the gold in any of these movies.”

Roth wants to do more:

“The great thing about horror is there’s always another subgenre, another treasure chest, another director, and period of time to discover. …  If the series is a hit, I’d love to continue it. I’d love to do deeper cuts. I’d love to do giallo films, I’d love to cannibal films, I’d love to do ’70s horror, or a whole episode on Hammer Horror. You know, we touch on all this stuff, but I’d love to do full episodes on them. … We could do Japanese horror, British horror, go to Europe and get those directors involved.”

Eli Roth’s History of Horror premieres on AMC on October 14, 2018.

Review:

Eli Roth’s History of Horror is unlikely to tell die-hard horror fans anything they didn’t already know, but seeing an all-star ensemble of talented performers and creators talk so lovingly about scary movies is worth the time alone. From the most scholarly dissertation to the moments of fanboy love these panelists exhibit, every moment will make you want to go out and rewatch each and every film they talk about.” Alex Maidy, Arrow in the Head

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