For sure, horror movies are not for the faintest of heart. I do not usually watch horror movies with my kids. In fact, I rarely watch horror movies and If I do, it is always horror re-runs on late night movie at home with my husband. However, there is something about this September’s horror movie that should be interesting to see. It is uniquely different to know that a horror movie was actually filmed in the Peruvian Amazon in Chile, with actual Amazon tribe. It was part of the challenge to introduce what a movie is to this Amazon tribe, much more, to get them involved to filming one.
Filmed entirely on location in Chile, the Peruvian Amazon and New York City, Green Inferno is Roth’s first feature film in six years and is the third installment of the horror-auteur’s “travel trilogy.” For the central role of Justine, Roth cast Chilean-born model-turned-actress Lorenza Izzo (Aftershock, Sex Ed, Hemlock Grove). Playing Justine’s roommate Kaycee is singer-songwriter Sky Ferreira. Other members of the ensemble include Daryl Sabara (Spy Kids), Kirby Bliss Blanton (Project X), Magda Apanowicz (“Caprica”) and newcomer Aaron Burns. Rounding out the cast are Ariel Levy, Nicolás Martínez and Ignacia Allamand.
Nearly every person (besides the American crew) you will see in the movie is an actual member of the tribe that Roth discovered in the Amazon. While scouting a remote part of the treacherous Huallaga River, Roth saw a grass hut on the bank that looked exactly like the village he had pictured while writing The Green Inferno. As they pulled their boat to the shore, a few people cautiously came out of their houses to greet them. A remote, self-sustaining farm community with no electricity or running water, the Callanayacu has little contact with the outside world beyond the occasional supply boat.
So to give them an idea of what they would be doing and imitating, Roth and crew brought a generator, a TV and perhaps the craziest choice to introduce the tribe to “the magical world of movies”—he made them watch the 1980 grindhouse film, Cannibal Holocaust.
The filmmakers did their best to work around the jungle’s unpredictable weather conditions, which could fluctuate from clear blue skies to torrential downpours in a matter of minutes. “I was petrified, mostly for the rest of the crew,” says Roth. “We knew it would be dangerous and there would be risks, but we were all in that boat on a rushing river filled with trees, branches and debris. The motorboats could only fight the current so much, and had to weave through uprooted trees and washed-away houses. We all just sat there in the boat, quietly gripping the metal seats, silently praying we’d make it back,” Roth recalled.
The perils of the river, to say nothing of the heat, stinging insects and other unfamiliar creatures, made The Green Inferno shoot a rite of passage for many of the young cast and crew members. “No one made it out unscathed,” adds Roth, “All the actors were cut, bruised and bitten. They all signed up for an adventure, but were thrilled when we made it back to the city.”
Special screening scheduled on Monday, September 21, at Gateway Mall.
GREEN INFERNO OPENS IN THEATERS ON SEPTEMBER 23 AND IS DISTRIBUTED BY SOLAR PICTURES.