As a director he still seems to be at work on his FX extravaganza Endangered Species. But with his producing hat on, Eli Roth has just scored two new projects in the form of Clown and Aftershock, in a deal with new production company Vertebra Films.
Clown, which will grow Machete-style from a grindhouse-y fake trailer, involves a doting father who dresses up to entertain his son's birthday guests, but then finds that, alien-Venom-symbiote-like, the pom-poms and baggy trousers and big shoes are an evil entity that he can't remove. First-timers Christopher Ford and John Watts put the trailer together prominently using Roth's name. They were afraid he'd sue, so must be rather pleased that he gave them a job instead. Ford wrote and Watts will direct.
Aftershock meanwhile is a violent thriller set in the aftermath of this year's Chilean earthquake. Roth will co-write this one with Guillermo Amoedo and Nicolas Lopez. The Chilean Lopez, who helmed Roth-favourite Promedio Rojo, plus last year's highest-grossing Chilean film Que Pena Tu Vida, will direct.
The two films join the Funhouse remake and RZA's Man With the Iron Fists on the increasingly busy "Eli Roth Presents" roster, following this year's The Last Exorcism, which made $60m on a budget of practically nothing.
Roth hopes that the Clown (potentially part Pennywise and part Papa Lazarou) will join Freddy, Jason and Michael in the horror pantheon, and promises, "I'm giving us permission to go as hard as possible. I'd like to apologise to the MPAA for what we're going to put them through to get an R rating."
Of Aftershock, Roth says "The earthquake turned the country into a shaking amusement park ride. All hell broke loose. We thought of writing a supernatural element, but [Lopez's] description of the buildings and towns levelled, anarchy, and looters being shot from helicopters, was terrifying enough." The plot will follow several characters trying to survive following the disaster.
"Eli is a master at finding projects with great hooks," said Vertebra's Steven Prince. "We've been looking for the perfect projects to launch our company. We stopped looking after meeting him."
Funhouse and Iron Fists go before the cameras in the next couple of months. Clown and Aftershock won't be far behind.