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Director delves into Twin Peaks territory on new Netflix series

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TORONTO -- Horror master Eli Roth describes the creepy tale at the heart of his Netflix series Hemlock Grove as a "monstrous Twin Peaks."'

The Hostel writer-director makes his first foray into television with the werewolf- and vampire-themed murder-mystery later this month.

Hemlock Grove is based on Brian McGreevy's novel of the same name and revolves around the residents of a former steel town reeling from the death of a 17-year-old girl.

Roth admits he'd been wary of TV until now, fearing it wouldn't allow him to make something with the "intensity or violence" he's known for in big-screen projects.

But the executive producer says the industry is changing and credits recent premium cable series with pushing the boundaries of TV.

All 13 episodes of Hemlock Grove -- starring Famke Janssen, Dougray Scott, Bill Skarsgard and Landon Liboiron -- will be released April 19 on Netflix.

In a conference call, Roth said he'd been looking for a TV project for a while.

"The conflict that I always came up against was that, one, I'd never get to do it with the level of intensity or violence that I wanted, but also what makes horror great is that you kill characters at any time and what makes television work is that you have characters that come back week after week," said Roth, who burst onto the horror scene with the film Cabin Fever.

"But watching recent television like Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire really showed me how you can have something that plays much more like a long movie rather than a week-after-week television series."

Roth says his producing partner suggested Hemlock Grove as a TV series. When he read the novel he was hooked.

"It really reminded me of some sort of monstrous Twin Peaks," Roth said, lauding McGreevy for delving into the root mythology of vampires and werewolves in his take on the legendary creatures.

Hemlock Grove joins a growing roster of original programming at Netflix.

Earlier this year, the Kevin Spacey political drama House of Cards debuted as an exclusive to the online streaming service.

And the highly anticipated reboot of the Jason Bateman comedy Arrested Development is slated to première later this year.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 28, 2013 ??65516

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