MF: We called you one of the "25 Fittest Guys" in our June/July '06 issue...

ER: I know! I took that very seriously. People were like, "Hey, you're the most fit director." Frankly, it's not that difficult a title to win. There's this unspoken contest between directors about who can look like the fattest slob and still have the hottest girlfriend. It's like a display of power. I'm trying to change all that.

MF: Let's face it, before you did Cabin Fever and Hostel, the current state of horror was, well, downright scary.

ER: It was horrible! They were safe. They were PG-13, watered-down pieces of crap.

People were no longer scared for the victims, they were rooting for the killer. And when Freddy Krueger made a joke, that was a novelty. Now there's a wave of filmmakers-[the media has] recently labeled us the Splat Pack-who really care about making movies violent and raw and bloody and scary. Because we miss them.

MF: What can you tell us about Hostel: Part II (out June 8)?

ER: It's not going to be some rehash, a greatest hits of the first one dressed up differently. This is a continuation of the story. I knew I had to amp up the scares and violence, so now it's up to the ratings board on what they let me get away with. Let's just say, there's going to be one scene that every girl screams at, and one that will give every guy nightmares.

MF: You're in Tarantino's half of Grindhouse ("Death Proof"), but you also filmed a trailer for a fake movie that'll be paired with the film. What's the premise?

ER: I've been obsessed with this idea of making an '80s-style slasher film called Thanksgiving, because that was the only holiday that was never done. They did Friday the 13th; Silent Night, Deadly Night; Halloween-everything! So we shot as much crazy shit as we possibly could for two days. We even did a full Thanksgiving Day parade where the turkey mascot gets decapitated. I kind of want to make [an actual movie of] it now.

MF: Do fright flicks really make the best date movies?

ER: Absolutely. Let me tell you, I've had a lot of guys tell me they've gotten laid off Hostel. You take a girl to see a horror movie, and it's a very physical experience. It's like a roller coaster. You're all over each other. And afterward, there's always one person who doesn't want to sleep alone. So you put on the original Willy Wonka, or Dirty Dancing. Then you seal the deal. Forget it. Lights out. Guaranteed.

MF: You're obviously a fan of scary movies. Do you have a favorite?

ER: Nah, it's really hard. But lately I've been obsessing over '70s Spanish and Italian horror. There's a movie I saw recently, Who Would Murder a Child? It was the most fucked-up movie ever. I thought, "This movie is brilliant!"