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Joe Eszterhas

Mel Gibson Made My Son

Fear for His Life

4/13/2012 5:58 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF



0413_ eszterhas_videoJoe Eszterhas says Mel Gibson's behavior in Costa Rica was so threatening ... Eszterhas' son slept with a butcher knife under his bed because he was so afraid of what Mel might do.

Eszterhas, speaking with the "Today" show this morning, told Ann Curry that Mel said the "vilest and most threatening things" he's ever heard while Eszterhas and his family stayed with Mel in Costa Rica to work on a movie script, "The Maccabees."

Eszterhas went on to say that the staff at the house became so afraid of Mel ... they told their kids to go hide.

A portion of Mel's rants are on tape, as TMZ first reported, but Eszterhas is unsure if he will release them.

For his part, Gibson has denied most of the allegations, saying in a statement, "The great majority of the facts as well as the statements and actions attributed to me in [Eszterhas'] letter are utter fabrications."

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