‘Eli Roth’s History of Horror’: What Inspired Eli Roth to Do the Show

Eli Roth is best known for his horror films including HostelCabin Fever, and Death Wish. Find out what inspired the famed horror movie director to create the AMC program Eli Roth’s History of Horror

Eli Roth
Eli Roth | Paleyfest NY 2020

‘Eli Roth’s History of Horror’ is a behind-the-scenes look at horror movies and television 

As a writer, producer, and director in the horror genre, who better to sit down with other accredited visionaries in the space than Roth. With the help of storytellers like Stephen King, Jason Blum, Jordan Peele, and Rob Zombie, Roth explores the inspirations behind some of the greatest horror movies on Eli Roth’s History of Horror.

Aside from famed horror directors, Roth speaks with the actors who brought the roles to life, including Jamie Lee Curtis and The Exorcist star Linda Blair. 

Eli Roth’s History of Horror shares some fascinating behind-the-scenes stories, but it is also a cultural examination of how socio-economics have impacted the horror genre throughout history.

Mick Garris inspired ‘Eli Roth’s History of Horror’ 

Roth and his History of Horror co-star Quentin Tarantino were interviewed for a 2020 Palyfest NY Panel. When asked what inspired Eli Roth’s History of Horror series, Roth said horror guru Mick Garris was a driving force. 

“Mick Garris started doing these ‘Masters of Horror’ dinners,” Roth began. “Quentin was there, and suddenly [you’re] with Rob Zombie and John Carpenter and Tobe Hooper — all of these directors, they have the funniest stories.” 

For Roth, the best stories come from the directors themselves. So, he wanted to create a show that celebrated those tales. 

The deaths of horror directors like Tobe Hooper and George Romero also inspired ‘Eli Roth’s History of Horror’ 

Roth was excited by the stories the directors he admired had to share. But getting a show off the ground takes a lot of time. In the time Roth was waiting to share these stories with the world, horror directors like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre‘s Tobe Hooper and zombie king George Romero started to die. 

“Sadly, [these directors] started dying,” Roth said. “I was at a film festival with Herschell Gordon Lewis, who was 91-years-old and had the best stories. And then he passed away. We were trying to get the show up and running and we lost Tobe Hooper, George Romero — we lost Wes Craven…”

Fortunately, Eli Roth’s History of Horror is now up and running an in its sophomore season.  

‘Eli Roth’s History of Horror’ doesn’t skimp on the history 

Roth wants fans to realize horror movies encapsulate more than jump scares and gory imagery. In fact, most horror movies are more of a history lesson than anything else. 

“[With History of Horror], I wanted to get [these director’s] stories but also really show how horror [movies] kind of reflect the time they [were] made in,” Roth said. 

For example, take The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. As Roth pointed out, “Tobe Hooper, when he’s making Texas Chainsaw Massacre, is very much influenced by the Manson Family.” 

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The films discussed in the series are “dismissed by critics but so adored by fans,” as Roth put it. But by sharing these director’s tales, what fans thought they knew about their favorite horror flicks is turned on its head. 

“[You’re able to see these horror movies] in a historical context and get the perspective of the filmmakers and the critics who enjoy them,” Roth concluded.