Monday, January 09, 2006

Hostel (2005) Eli Roth's escape from castle wolfenstein

First: The super sick video for the Captain Ahab song is up here at http://www.lawrenceklein.net - I'm doing Larry's web site. You have to watch this video, but warning - IT IS NOT WORK SAFE and the music is full of profanities. Wait till you get home before you watch the obscenity. Oh yeah, you might need Quicktime 7 and the video can also be downloaded at the Captain's site.

Hostel: Boy does Eastern Europe seem creepy. I know Cub's ancestors come from there, and that is why she is so beautiful, but still, I will have to watch out for my girl from now on.

Eli Roth's Cabin Fever was loved by some horror fans and hated by others. As far as I can tell, Hostel is receiving the same response. Mainstream critics are calling it average, but horror fans either are crazy about it or citing it as everything that is wrong with horror today. You either get it or you don't. Me, I get it. So far Roth can do no wrong in my eyes, at least as a director. Sure you could say these movies try to be clever like all those annoying scream clones, but Roth ups the dose by bringing in 80's excess, an obvious love for extremely violent 70's horror, and today's Takashi Miike movies. Roth's films are not typical 90's mall movies even if at a casual glance they appear to be. If taken at face value they might appear to be nothing special, but they go the extra mile to shock and I connect with that exploitation/shock element. Then again maybe Roth is a pulling a fast one over on the audience and is exploiting us. Maybe he is not so brilliant and worthy of hype and but that's the real beauty of it. I'm beginning to think it's the Great Horror Movie Swindle, might as well side with him because your giving him your money anyway.

My art history teacher once said that he did not think the paintings of Andy Warhol were art, but that the man himself was an artist, in that he created a persona to manipulate the press and public. Eli Roth? Not quite, because the public is not some much into his personal antics on red carpets and VH1, but still, he is getting people talking.

The movie reminded me of The Beach, the movie and the superior book by Alex Garland. That is a horror story about hedonistic backpackers in Thailand. In an anthropology class we had a bunch of readings that painted these young college backpackers in a bad light, though they certainly feel that they are more down to earth than wealthy tourists, they actually bring very little money to the area. They don't buy the souvenirs the locals make cause they won't fit in there backpacks. Instead they spend some on drugs making illegal drug dealing a lucrative business for the locals and then stuff goes to shit. The tourism industry becomes the drug and sex industry. Yeah, they spend on hookers too.

I don't want to say much about the specifics of Hostel expect for dropping these two spoilers one you.

semi-spoiler: Notice the scene where the ankles get sliced like in the final kill in Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance? Eli Roth stated that the Chan-wook Park film was a direct influence on Hostel.

Eli Roth vs. Nick Palumbo

final death spoiler: Nick Palumbo, director of the straight-to-DVD gorefest Murder Set Pieces is going to be pissed when he sees the final toilet kill in Hostel that is much like the tub-drowning and throat-slitting scene in Set Pieces that is hands down the sickest. I'm telling you people, watch both scenes, they are similar and there is no way Roth did not see Murder Set Pieces because word is that Nick Palumbo talks shit on Roth's Cabin Fever in the Murder Set Pieces director's commentary. I have not heard the commentary, but I watched the DVD of the movie. It is a professional looking film with one hell of a villain (also Eastern European), but there is not much of a story. There is hinting at disturbing underground worlds of Nazis, smut peddlers, and child pimps, but we are not immersed in the sick like we are in Hostel which takes us to a foreign land. Set Pieces is just violent episode after violent episode in the killer's life - so if you ask me it can't compete with Roth's movies that are more engaging. Hostel even has round characters, something rare for a teen slasher. As I said, Murder Set Pieces has got one scary male lead, but he's basically the American Psycho guy with a job as a porn photographer instead of an executive.

On Nick Palumbo's movie:

Murder Set Pieces is for gorehounds only. Some say it is pornography for those who get off on gore rather than sex. I give it credit for pushing the envelope by having young children onscreen during brutal murders, though one infant crying child was too young to be acting. I must say that scene (where the child's real life mothers acts and looks dead) made me uncomfortable as did the real September 11th footage of the towers that only serves to remind us that all the crazy blood and guts in this movie is simulated. Seeing a real mass murder scene in this movie only serves to make everything else - as sick and well executed as it was - fairly cartoonish by comparison.

A quote from Nick Palumbo (interview at
reallyscary.com) about Cerina Vincent who starred in both Cabin Fever and Murder Set Pieces:

And now, Cerina Vincent, who plays The Beautiful Girl, wants her name taken off the film! Her agent actually cussed me out after the screening and won’t take my calls. She was told what the movie was about – a serial killer who murders women and children – but she only read the part of the script her character was in. Actually, when I first talked to her agent and told him about the movie, he asked me “What are you trying to make? A serious horror movie like Cabin Fever? I tried so hard not to laugh and told him that Murder-Set-Pieces was WAY beyond Cabin Fever. His reply, and I still can not believe he said this, was “If you can come close to the horror that IS Cabin Fever, you would really be doing something.” Oh my God.

Cub speaks on Hostel:



Cub, no doubt Hostel is the story of your travels in Europe. Being a slutster I suppose... Perhaps someone should have taught you a lesson, crappy American Cub.

Yeah that better have been a joke. Crappy American? Hmmm.. were you merely describing yourself? For you know I am 100% European, and no I will not sit with you in a spa with everything hanging out those those Euro girls in the movie. Keep dreaming.....

Cub, you are not really American, see I was joking, you are Polish. Did you hear about strange Hostels back in the old country? Perhaps you have some extended family members who work at these places? How sick.

As for my ancestors in Europe running any of these strange places, I am sad to tell you that they don't exist. I know you don't believe me and want to go to Europe to scope things out yourself, I guarantee you will be extremely disappointed, you sicko. And if they did exist , i would never see you again, cause you know how it all ends. I get your head sent back via Fed Ex, saying "Greeting from Poland", and ....ok you get my drift. So, cub remember that curiosity killed the cat, and I want my cub alive and well to live happily ever after with me!

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