Origins: Eli Roth, the “Hostel” Guy

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The Hostel director and Inglourious Basterds co-star talks to TIME contributing nerd Gilbert Cruz about his creative influences.

At NYU film school in the early ’90’s, Eli Roth decorated his entire dorm floor as a shrine to Reservoir Dogs. “I thought it was the most important American film to come along in 50 years, the movie that would change cinema,” he says. Roth’s thesis film, Restaurant Dogs, was a straight-up homage — Ronald McDonald and his gang on a killing spree. It’s no surprise then that following the release of his debut feature film Cabin Fever, Roth became fast friends with Quentin Tarantino. Roth has since appeared in two of QT’s films, including Inglourious Basterds, recently out on DVD. As a director, Roth wears influences on his sleeve. We didn’t even have time to get into all of the Italian horror film scores that he listens to on repeat…