MOVIES

Thanksgiving’s Origin Is Weirder Than A Fake Grindhouse Movie Trailer Says Eli Roth

Right from the first footage released from “Thanksgiving” in the red band trailer, it became pretty apparent how creative you are going to get with people getting dead in “Thanksgiving,” and getting dead in particularly graphic ways. As a veteran of making horror films, you must be used to getting pushback from the MPAA. I’m wondering if that was the case, again, with “Thanksgiving,” since you were going for an R rating.

People have a real misconception of what it’s like to work with the MPAA. They’re the only organization that has a real conversation with you and treats you like an artist and wants to help you protect your work. It’s actually the opposite experience. They’re very respectful. They’re very nice. They understand what I do. They understand what my audience wants, and they have to be the referee and say, “We know what you want, we know what the fans want, but we think this is going a little too far and maybe pull back in this area,” and I would pull back on this.

It’s never a fight. It’s never a battle. It’s always an incredibly respectful, pleasant conversation, and they’re the only organization that treats you this way. When you’re in England, there’s a couple of government people [who determine the ratings] and you never have a conversation with them. When you’re in New Zealand, it’s one government person. They cut out the entire bloodbath sequence in “Hostel II” — no discussions, no nothing, — even for an 18 rating. 

They cut it because they want to appear virtuous, and they want to get re-elected. Dealing with bureaucrats and politicians with a horror movie is a nightmare. There are no conversations with them, but with the MPAA, you’re talking to people that love movies and love talking to filmmakers. I don’t know where people get this idea that it’s a battle with the MPAA. I’ve had the diametric opposite experience, and that’s the reason that you get to see the gore in my movies. They go out of their way to protect it.

That’s great to hear, and it’s great to clear up that sort of misconception. Even with that, do you anticipate releasing an unrated cut of “Thanksgiving” at some point, or do you think you got everything you need right now?

More gore doesn’t make the movie better. Too much of one ingredient doesn’t make the movie better. It means it’s too much of an ingredient. I make pizza, and if you put too much cheese in, as much as I love mozzarella cheese, if you throw in too much cheese, it gets too watery and the dough collapses and it sticks to the bottom of your pizza oven, and all of a sudden, you’re left with a ring of crust or a calzone. You put too much of your favorite ingredient on. You need the balance of all the ingredients to make that perfect pizza.

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