The Last American Virgin

“When I wrote up Death Proof the other day, I was thinking of it just in terms of Eli Roth, which means I wasn’t thinking of it in terms of Quentin Tarantino, which means it totally slipped my mind that this was part of Grindhouse. Roth is responsible for one of the fake trailers that played at the double feature, Thanksgiving. He claims to have finally solved the problem that was blocking the screenplay from getting written, so maybe Thanksgiving will soon go the way of Machete, the way where the fake trailers turns out to no longer be fake. Here’s hoping.

On this day of Rothtober, we’re going back to Five Favorite Films with Eli Roth. Current feature: The Last American Virgin. Roth says that he loves this movie partly because of the fat guy/nerd/cool guy combo, which he claims is more effective than any John Hughes click. He also says that he loves how dark and subversive the film really is, even though on the surface it’s a teen sex comedy. I definitely agree with the dark.

For me, when I think of teen sex comedy, American Pie is the ultimate example. At first they did kinda seem like very similar movies, but Roth is right. Virgin takes some much darker turns. Pie’s humor comes mostly from sex jokes, but the film is fun and has a lot of heart. I once saw it edited for tv, and when you took out all of the obscenity you were left with a cutsey teen rom com. Virgin has some situational humor, but the sexual situations are what drive the plot not the funny. I feel like some of the events are things that the Pie franchise would never dare touch, but yet here it is 15 years prior.

The film is also so deliciously 80s in every way possible. My favorite part about it was the absolutely cheesey soundtrack. Yes, I’d kinda roll my eyes at certain songs (Journey again? really) but each selection fit the story at that point perfectly. A rather overlooked bit of brilliance.

I certainly appreciate dark, but something was just a bit too boring. Maybe I was expecting funnier or more clever. Still, interesting how many boundaries this was willing to push 30 years ago.”

Death Proof

“Starting to wonder if this whole horror marathon is a good idea. Before the previously seen and blogged Cabin Fever and Audition, I had a weekendlong marathon of American Horror Story. I thought yesterday would have been a break from the genre, until I ended up watching Session 9. Yeah, my dreams have been weird the past few nights, and we’re just getting the \m/ party started.

We’ve had overlap between projects before: faves on the AFI list, an AFI on the Tarantino/Rodriguez project, Edward Norton movies on my fave list. Here’s our first overlap between mini projects. Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof features Mr Roth in front of the camera, and this won’t be the last time the two buddy up. I wrote up some general thoughts on the movie already, so here we’ll just chat about Eli.

He’s got a bit part as one of the guys in the bar that’s trying to hook up with our first pack of girls. His hopeful conquest is played by Jordan Ladd, who he conveniently already knows from working on Cabin Fever. Not a whole lot going on for him here, since the focus of the movie really is the girls and Stuntman Mike, but he does have some fun dialog. There’s the Shanna/Banana/Shauna/Banauna thing, and him laying out his alcohol infused plan to get the girls to drop their no-boys-at-the-lakehouse rule.

While I’d classify this movie as creepy, but not necessarily horror, there are a few bits of guts and gore that fit right up his alley (car crash, anoyone?). Yup.”

Audition

“Before you yell at me, yes I know this is not one of Eli’s movies. So why am I including it? I mentioned in the intro post that I came across a video where he talks about some of his favorites that most people probably haven’t seen. According to his commentary, THIS is the movie that made him wanna make Hostel. He also describes the final torture scene as “”excruciating””. Oh yeah, torture scene.

That’s kinda the one thing I knew about this movie going into it. That it got srsly \m/ by the end. It certainly took a while to get there. I get why. The film was trying to make a statement about (paraphrasing Roth’s comments) the idea of Japanese subservience, as well as the way that people lie to represent themselves and how those lies come back to get ya. Watching it play out, sure you can kinda get where they’re going. But the ending really hits it home.

Two things that got me about that final scene. It wasn’t the blood. It wasn’t the devices or the actions. It was the sound. Yeeaaagghh I’m shuddering just thinking about it. And beyond the sound is her expresssion. She starts with this calm and serene smile, and then it gets bigger like a kid binging on candy. What’s creepy about her look is that out of context, it wouldn’t be creepy. It’s not a Norman Bates smirk, it’s just pure enjoyment. That’s what scared the \m/ outta me.

What also struck me was how much our leading lady loved dance. That was a big part of her. Prolly not the best time to mention how important dance is to me…”

Cabin Fever

“Happy October, you goblins, ghouls, and ghosties. Or shall I say, Happy ROTHTOBER!!! Time to kick off the latest ExpDel mini project. The full list of what we’re attacking is on the Mini Projects page. You’ll see we’re not only covering films that Roth has written, directed, produced, and/or acted in, but we’re also including some favorites and influences.

While he had some smaller projects beforehand, Cabin Fever was his first real big splat on the scene. You’d think the whole cabin-in-the-woods subgenre of horror was done. We’ve seen every possible twist on it. Zombies, zombie trees, zombie redneck torture family, homicidal rednecks, teenagers. And after Joss Whedon made his statement there’s nowhere else to go with it. But ten years ago, there was a fresh new bloody twist, thanks to Sir Eli Roth.

Instead of our archetypical college students being chased around the great outdoors by something big and spooky, the big bad was internal. They’re being attacked by a flesh eating virus, scared who of each of them is gonna infect the others next. So if you’re gonna have the big breasted slut running out into the wild, it’s finally for a different reason other than she’s being chased by some undead creature trying to have his way. But even though the big bad is a virus, their deaths end up being indirectly related. Kinda ironic, and \m/ brilliant.

Let’s face it, as brilliant as the story nuances are, that’s not the main reason people flock to this flicks. Lucky for us, that’s not as far as Roth’s creativity goes. There’s blood. Oh dear \m/ God, there is blood. It may take a while for it to show up, but once it does oh my dear \m/ God is it worth it. It goes so much further than your blood spattered helpless victims. There’s the screwdriver to the head, the dog mangled body bits, and of course the shaving scene. Low budget is really the way to go with these types of films, and Roth works wonders with what he has.

Roth also has some fun on the opposite side of the camera, as the stoner dude Grim who wanders by the camp. The other thing that’s \m/ fun is how \m/ many \m/ f bombs are \m/ said thru the whole \m/ movie. Srsly, that should be my next movie drinking game. Hey, just drinking beer worked out for the characters for a lil while.

But yeah, fun for the whole family. Well, my family at least. And by my family, I mean that both of the cats were watching with rapt attention. Nosferatu was watching from his pillow bear beside the couch. Lestat, the one who truly goes in for this sorta thing, was on my lap, completely fixated on the screen. Or maybe she was looking at that Cabin Fever poster behind the tv. Got that from a Kickstarter that Trailers From Hell did this summer. Eli Roth donated and signed that. I was in shock that I was able to snatch that up, and its currently my favorite thing in a very full and cluttered apartment.”

ExpDel Mini Project Announcement: Eli Roth #ROTHTOBER

“All has been quiet on the Expletive Dleted front for the past couple weeks. Several reasons for that. Caught between the end of summer blockbuster season and the beginning of fall awards season, September tends to be a graveyard for dumping movies that wouldn’t likely fare too well a few weeks earlier or later. Now, normally, I’ll still go to a bunch of those anyways, but to complicate matters I sorta messed up my knee again. That means crutches which means I’m only leaving the apartment for things I’m really excited about. Among those things I was really excited about, I spent last Saturday at an Indiana Jones marathon at the common. 4 movies, 9 hours, 1 sitting is certainly a lot, even for me. It was still a total blast, getting to actually pay attention to the movies and seeing them all prettied up in high def. But enough of that. Time to get to announcing the next ExpDel mini project: #Rothtober!

Here’s someone who’s done it all: writing, directing, producing, acting. And somewhere along the way he managed to redefine the horror genre. Figured he’d be a fitting study for the month of October. The list includes his major work as well as some of his favorites. I found a great video of him on Rotten Tomatoes talking about some of his favorite movies that you’ve never seen, and given that I hadn’t seen any of them, I thought it’d be fun to add them to the list. They sound just as \m/ as anything that’s come out of his head, so it’ll be cool to see how some of those ideas got there to begin with.

#Rothtober starts in ten days!”