Thursday, 14 October 2010

Hostel Part II

Appropriately enough after the last post, let's talk about Eli Roth's sequel to his groundbreaking exploration of underground sadism, the jaded desires of the filthy rich and dumb American teenagers in peril.

Stick around to the end to listen to the incredibly beautiful and haunting "Synecku Synecku" (by Varmuzova Cimbalova), which is not included on the original soundtrack. A serious omission from the OST, because it's easily the most memorable piece of music from the most emotionally stirring sequence in either film.

Right off the bat, I want to say that I don't get the popular hatred for Roth amongst horror fans. I understand that his frat boy humour and antics can be annoying... but the simple fact is that Eli makes a great horror film. Much better than most I might add. People criticise his movies for being too referential, but I think the way Roth does it is tasteful and cool. It's odd because the thing that strikes me about all his movies is how original they are despite all the homage in them.

And his movies are scary. The first time I saw Cabin Fever at the Sydney Film Fest, I was scared shitless. Angelo Badalamenti's eerie score over that ominous bleed to red still fills me with dread. And as well as being genuinely frightening, his movies are just well made... thoughtfully scripted, impeccably shot, carefully composed, tightly edited and gorgeously graded. Yeah, as you can tell, I'm a fan. Of course I can understand people not liking his work - each to their own after all. I just don't get the hate.

Would you sign my Cannibal Holocaust DVD please?

When Hostel came out it was original, scary and subversive. It's a great horror film, and I like it a lot, but it's actually my least favourite of Roth's films. Hostel Part II is my favourite. I prefer my Euro-horror to J-horror, so the first movie's love-letter to Japanese gore (Takashi Miike cameo; guro inspired Japanese girl having her face blow torched and eye mutilated, etc) is no match for the sequel's many groovy European references.

From the fun Ruggero Deodato and Edwige Fenech cameos to the tense and scary sequence that homages Aldo Lado’s sleazy Last House rip-off Night Train Murders, the movie is a blast for Italian horror fans. Another pretty obvious Euro-horror reference is Elite Hunting CEO Sasha's cold blooded killing of one of the the "Bubblegum Gang" kids, which recalls the unflinching child carnage on display in Narciso Ibáñez Serrador's Who Can Kill A Child, a taboo that is rarely seen in American cinema.

Finally, check out the giallo-esque, eye-popping primary colours above in that jarring transition from the hot red of the Countess Bathory sequence to the icy blue of Iceland's scenic Blue Lagoon. Beautiful stuff.

So, do you have the money and the balls to join the most exclusive country club around... Elite Hunting? If so, click the quote to place your bid!


  1. Fucking A. Gotta go with you on this. I really really liked Hostel2 especially after the first one ended so damned poor. I love how he ended this one. Lots of neat surprises and that cast is brill. I love the Matarazzo scene it's fucking awesome and disturbing and beautifull. Not to mention Fenech and Deodato, as I screamingly shouted HELL YEAH loud when they showed up on screen my mates looked at me and asked what the hell was wrong with me I answered start watching more genre pieces if you want to keep up with me you fuckers... LOL. I love cameos put in movies for us fanboys out here.

    Nah it's a great movie. Now I'm gettin me some smints.


    BTW! We have FRANK HENENLOTTER here in town for a Halloween gig which is gonna rock! I just wrote in my magazine column that Bad Biology is a must see movie this month! (well next one when it's released over here...)

    keep up the great work!


  2. I prefer Hostel 2 as well. Much better, more fleshed out story. I may not like Roth's annoying personality, but I do (mostly) like his movies. He's just a little too obsessed with boobs.

  3. Fine, you made it sound O.K.,I'll give this picture a shot some time. I'll admit that Cabin Fever had some good moments but there is still something deep down inside me that want to clubber Roth.

  4. J: hope you get to meet him! I hear from the guy who did the Belial and Aylmer artworks that I posted here that he's a really nice guy.

    Girl: he is most definitely sex-obsessed.

    Will: he may well be the biggest douche on the planet, but ya gotta separate the person from their art. I hope I didn't come across as worshipping Roth as a person. Fuck that. It's just his movies I like.