By Frank Barron
There’s a new landmark series on the Discovery Channel that’s like none you’ve ever seen before. It’s called Curiosity, and fearlessly dives into the world of “big” questions, and brings an “I wonder” moment to television. Each episode features a celebrity host examining a different question. The greatest scientific mind of our time, Professor Stephen Hawking, launched the first show by asking “Did God create the universe?” Maggie Gyllenhaal just appeared asking “Why is sex fun?” On Sept. 4, Morgan Freeman explores “Is there a parallel universe?” Others who have committed to appear are Robin Williams, Brendan Fraser and Samuel L. Jackson.
Actor, director and horror master Eli Roth (Cabin Fever) is going to probe the dark side of human nature by “Testing the nature of evil” on an upcoming episode. Curiosity’s executive producer, Simon Andreae said Roth is a perfect example of charisma and passion that all the show’s hosts share.
Roth said he was passionate about doing the show because “I’ve always been fascinated by the nature of fear. Even in my films, the Hostel movies, I was always much more interested in why somebody would do such terrible things, versus the act itself. Being Jewish, we grew up learning about the Holocaust, asking the question, how could this happen? So I’ve always looked at evil, and asked what is evil? And there are fears and phobias, things that happen to us as children that affect us in strange ways.”
Roth’s Curiosity episode will air this fall. And he is also involved with another scary project, judging Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights annual short film competition. Roth dared aspiring filmmakers to submit their most twisted horror short films, and helped select the top ten shorts, along with Daily Variety’s Marc Graser, and Universal Studios Hollywood’s creative director John Murdy.
The top ten have been posted online at HalloweenHorrorNights.com, and a winner will be selected by public voting from Aug. 22 to Sept. 9. The winner is invited to attend the Sept. 23 Halloween Horror Nights opening night Eyegore Awards, a grand new tradition for Roth.
Himself an Eyegore Award recipient, Roth said, “As a producer I’m always looking for new talent, and happy to help first time directors get a big break. New blood, so to speak, is vital for the continuation and growth of our beloved genre. Programs like this can help deserving people get noticed. I am excited to see the competing films, and whoever make me lose the most sleep will win.”
Roth also has the maze “Eli Roth’s Hostel: Hunting Season” as part of the Halloween Horror Nights. Plus there will be an all-new haunted house experience inspired by Universal Pictures’ upcoming film The Thing. Guests will be confronted with fear and the paranoia that comes with being trapped inside the film’s Antarctic Thule station where the shape-shifting alien is ready to create spine-chilling terror.
Rock-horror icon Alice Cooper has also announced his Horror Nights maze called “Alice Cooper: Welcome to My Nightmare.” The attraction will take visitors on a terrifying trip through Cooper’s twisted mind, his most famous songs with bizarre themes and demented characters. The maze is inspired by Cooper’s landmark concept album and its sequel “Welcome 2 My Nightmare,” set for release Sept. 13 through Universal Music Enterprises.
Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights starts Sept. 23 and runs through Oct. 31 on select nights.
At Universal CityWalk, the party has already begun at the Infusion Lounge, an entertaining, new upscale nightclub that had a red carpet launched last week. On the upper level, walking into the plush Asian-inspired interior, guest deejays were spinning top-40 mash-ups on the state-of-the-art sound systems, to heat up the dance floor. Mixologists had exotic signature cocktails ready for the thirsty crowd. Outside the Infusion Lounge there’s a giant dragon welcoming everyone to the new destination for nightlife at CityWalk.