DS: Why did you chose to remake "Hills" and not, for example, The Last House On The Left (TLHOTL) or I Spit On Your Grave? Why exactly "Hills" and whose choice was it anyway?
AA: Its funny because High Tension, my previous movie, was a kind of hommage, a kind of tribute to all the Texas Chainsaw Massacre (TCM), TLHOTL and many other movies and when I met Wes Craven for the first time and he asked me if i knew about The Hills Have Eyes, I said: "of course I grew up with "The Hills Have Eyes", it's one of my favourite movies", and he asked me about it [...]. He wanted to find a way, find a new tech, a new approach on the material. And I was like wondering, you know, "can I do a remake of one of my favourite movies"? A movie that a lot of people love. And I was thinking about the TCM remake. And the TCM remake - for me it's not good. Because I loved the original, the original is a masterpiece. It's one of the best movies ever made and Tobe Hooper did something that nobody can do anymore. You know, if someone would ask me to remake of TCM, I'd pass. And I have the same feeling for TLHOTL. For me it is perfect, I love the movie.
DS: Didn't you like "The Hills" then and wanted to make it better by doing a remake?
AA: I love "The Hills". But "The Hills" - I love "The Hills" for other reasons. I love "The Hills Have Eyes", not for the scares, not for the frights, not for the fear. I love "The Hills Have Eyes" because of its dark humor. Because it's almost funny. Because the way they act and behave in the movie and the look of Michael Berryman - it's kitsch! It's not like TLHOTL, not like TCM, it's not as brutal and as real as those movies. And so I had the feeling that the original "Hills" could be not improved but be reinvented. And we made in a different way, more realistic way, more authentic way, something much more "survival", something in the way of Deliverance or Straw Dogs, not like a cheezy / friendly movie. I think some movies are OK to be remade, some other ones are just impossible to do. And I know that they think about doing TLHOTL [Alexandre seufzt]. I mean, I know them very well, I'm walking with them every day, with Wes and my partner and I told them: The Last House is The Last House - and it is very hard to touch.
DS: In the new millenium we had a whole new generation of horror. In the 90s there was the revival of the teen-slashers and stalker-movies. Now we have a revival of the ultraviolent and brutal torture movies, for example Hostel, The Devils Rejects and House Of 1000 Corpses and also with High Tension. What do you think is the secret recipe for doing a succesful horror movie in the new millenium?
AA: I'm not thinking about the perfect recipe to make the best movie, it's more about my feeling because i consider myself as an audience member before to be a filmmaker. And I'm still going every friday night, watch all the new horror movies up to come. And I belong to the coaudience. As I was before. I grew up in the 90s and I was very frustrated by all the Scream, all the I Know....
DS: You didn't tell Wes, did you?
AA: [lacht] I told him, it's funny because: on one hand i grew up, taking all the movies from rental video places, movies like Hills, TCM, Deliverance, 2000 Maniacs, Night of the Living Dead. All the movies that influenced me come from video. The rental place. On the other hand, everytime I went to the movies to see movies during the 90s, I was like "ok, that's not scary". I'm not scared! The movies I can rent during the weekends are more scary than the movies I can watch in the theaters. And when I started making movies and started doing High Tension, I wanted to bring back to the screen what scared me in the past. Which was all these movies. I think I wasn't alone, I think many other directors at the beginning of this millenium were like thinking exactly the same and feeling exactly the same. And that's why all the Cabin Fever, The Devil's Rejects, The Hostel, or the TCM Remake, the DOTD, are coming back to a 70s feeling, something much more real, brutal. Something that we lost during the 90s. And something that's coming back.
DS: So you, with the audience, had enough of horror spoofs and parodies, like Scream. And wanted to go back to hardcore-horror.
AA: That's exactly our thing. And I discuss with many other filmmakers and we are all on the same stage on that. We want to be scared again, we want to be in a movie and stop watching a film, we want to be behind the screen, we want to be part of all the decisions, of all the protagonists on the screen, we wanted to live the movie as an experience and not as a show. That's the difference between the 70s and the 90s. Everyone wants that, also the audience. The audience asked for that. Look at Hostel, Hostel did an amazing opening weekend, because people want to be scared, they want to be traumatized. As the wanted to be in the 70s. And I'm happy that we are all going into the same direction.
DS: When the average audience in 2006 watches a movie like the original "Hills", I don't think it is that scared like it was 30 years ago. So what exactly were the problems when updating "The Hills Have Eyes" for a 2006 audience?
AA: This was exactly the reason - the original film wasn't very scary. And it is not scary when watching it today. And i hope that we made the new one much more scarier and much more in the way of TCM. If you watch all the movies from the 70s - TLHOTL is really scary, really strong. TCM was amazing. But "Hills", it's not that scary. It's cult for Michael Berryman. It's cult because of the black humor inside. It's not cult because it is the scariest film ever made. And today we just try to bring that movie, and try to make it in a really scary way. As it could have been done in the 70s.
DS: Talking about the violence in the movies - do you think that we already reached the highest level in realizable violence, or can we still step further? Because when I was sitting in the cinema a few hours ago I was blown away by these roughness, especially because I thought that nothing could rise above the violence in The Devil's Rejects. But wow, now I know better.
AA: That's funny you're saying that because my feeling was we can go further - and we went further! The MPAA cut like almost three minutes of the film. But the DVD will definitely contain more violence.
DS: Did I just see the R-Rated cut?
AA: Yes, the version you were shown was rated R.
AA: [lacht] Yeah, the NC-17 will come with the DVD.
DS: When High Tension was released in Germany it was cut severely...
AA: [unterbricht mich, fängt an zu grinsen und hält sich die Ohren zu] I don't want to hear that, this is awful! I heard about the fight that they didn't want to release the movie in cinemas because it was too brutal, but I didn't know about the DVD. It was also cut?
DS: Yes, we even have cut two versions. But, yeah, both cut.
AA: That's crazy. Nobody is forced to come and watch that film. I'm not a fan of the censorship. And the DVD should be a territory that should be uncut, so you can really have the acces to the whole film.
DS: I'm afraid, time is running out. One last question: what can you tell us about your new movie "The Waiting"?
AA: It's the opposite. It's really like the opposite of "Hills". It's something really about supernatural and psychology. It's about a young couple that has lost a young boy and about the wife just becoming more crazy and crazy. It's really different. And there is some very big twist - I can't tell you more, I'm sorry, but it's a great script.
DS: When will it be released?
AA: I don't know yet, we will start shooting this summer.
DS: OK, thanks for talking!
AA: Thank you very much!