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Eli Roth talks Green Inferno

Horror maestro talks Generation Y ‘slacktivism’ and relevance of Stop Kony campaign.

Horror master Eli Roth and Chilean director Nicolás Lopéz had just finished the first draft of their Cannibal Holocaust-inspired genre film, The Green Inferno, when the social media world went ablaze with Joseph Kony.

Created by the non-profit political organization Invisible Children, the 2012 Stop Kony viral-marketing campaign and its brand of generation-y “slacktivism” struck a chord with the pair of filmmakers, who were already exploring the positive and negative effects of an interconnected society in their unfinished script.

“In this case, these kids really think they’re helping,” Roth said at a press conference Sunday following the world premiere of Green Inferno at the Toronto International Film Festival. “But what if you took those kids who think they’re so smart and so tech savvy and stripped them down to the barest form of primitive mankind?”

Roth and Lopéz attempt to answer that question in the The Green Inferno, a modern day-Italian horror homage that replaces zombies and American malls with cannibalistic tribes and isolated jungles. Filmed on location in Peru, the movie tells the story of a group of Columbia University students who travel south of the border for a run of voluntourism in the Amazonian jungle. Armed with their passports and iPhones, the group attempts to stop a cartel from destroying the home of a nomadic tribe, before realizing they’ve bitten off a bit more then they can chew.

But for a feature that paints such a vulgar picture of our globalized society, Roth and Lopéz are surprisingly forward thinking when it comes to the world of modern day marketing.

At the end of the film, viewers will notice each cast member’s credit is accompanied by their personal Twitter handles, in an attempt to connect cinemagoer with cinema-creator.

“Already other movies are like, ‘Why the fuck didn’t we think of that?’” Roth laughed, in between breaks from punching away on his cellphone.

“We now live in a world where Twitter power is exceedingly important,” he said. “It’s like getting a text message from your favourite celebrity.”

And it’s that form of connection that allowed festivalgoers to spread word immediately after the film’s screening Saturday night that Roth and co. had already announced a follow up to the franchise’s debut.

“In my head, I think Green Inferno could be something like Aliens where you always have a different director bringing something different to the franchise,” said Lopéz, who has been pegged to direct the film’s first sequel.

“The key is to make the first one work and make the second one great,” Roth added. “We’re not thinking about number seven and eight. We’re just focusing on making each movie better than the previous one.”

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