Director Eli Roth based his hit thriller Cabin Fever on his own experience with a horrific bacterial infection that ate away at a third of the skin on his face.

The 2002 horror movie follows a group of friends who contract a mysterious flesh-eating virus while renting a cabin in the woods, and Roth admits the terrifying premise was actually inspired by something that happened to him in real life.

He tells U.S. Tv host Jay Leno, "I was 21 years old when I wrote it and it was actually based on an incident where I was in Iceland... I was working on a horse farm and I was cleaning hay out of this barn and got this infection on my face. I thought it was a mosquito bite,... so I was scratching, scratching and I looked at my hand and there were huge chunks of flesh. So I kept scratching and scratching and scratching, not really thinking, and the next day I went to shave and I literally shaved a third of my face off.

"And I thought, 'This is actually gonna make a great movie one day'. So I'm sitting on this farm, and my face is literally covered in blood and I'm thinking, 'Wow, I'm a terrible shaver, I thought I was so good. Did I cut myself?'

"The Icelanders started screaming when they see (sic) my face all bloody. I got to the hospital and the doctor... pasted up my face. It was just an infection, it cleared up, and that's where I wrote Cabin Fever."