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Monday, January 09, 2006

Hostel

Sci-fi author Steven Barnes has a mini-review of the film Hostel up on his blog:

Do NOT see this movie unless you are bored by lightweight fare such as “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” Eli Roth (“Cabin Fever”) has made one of the most genuinely frightening films I have ever, ever, seen in my life... [...] This is probably the most gruesome film I could ever recommend. While not merely an all-out torture marathon (and such films actually exist, believe me) it is pretty close to the line. But Hostel ultimately has more on its nasty little mind, and if you’re a fan of the genre, this gets an “A.” But brothers and sisters, if you aren’t, it is an “F” minus. Trust me on this one.
There isn't a whole lot more to it than that, but he follows it up in the same piece with an interesting meditation on horror and current events:
It was inevitable that post 9/11, horror films would begin to raise their heads. First timid “PG-13” stuff, just sticking their toes in the water. Then, As the fear level was maintained for months and years, the amount of fictional trigger necessary to release the pent-up anxiety became severe. We’re about to get a real, no-nonsense deluge of hard-core horror in 2006, from remakes of “The Hills Have Eyes” to new Zombie gore fests from George Romero and company. And torture is on the menu, children. Some critics have wondered why this would be, and I wonder if they’ve been reading the news.
It's got some good, thought-provoking stuff in it.

9 Comments:

Blogger Carnacki said...

I can't decide if I want to see Hostel or not. It did debut at number 1 and there was this line in the AP article:

"The track record of horror films tells you maybe Hollywood should just release horror movies to be successful. I can't think of a more consistently performing genre at the box office," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations.

1/09/2006 02:44:00 PM  
Blogger protected static said...

I'm not a huge fan of the slasher genre, so I'll probably skip it...

1/09/2006 03:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know one movie I will not see if Wolf Creek. Roger Ebert gave it Zero stars and wanted to walk out and keep walking during the movie. I would like it if there were more supernatural horror films that were supernatural. The exorcism of Emily Rose was a good movie.

1/09/2006 07:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

opps sorry for this "I would like it if there were more supernatural horror films that were supernatural." edit out those last three words :)

1/09/2006 07:24:00 PM  
Blogger Carnacki said...

Anonymous,
Actually that makes perfect sense. Too many movies that are supposed to be about the supernatural don't spend enough time on the eerieness and horror and otherworldliness of the supernatural and that aspect of the movie tends to be terribly overshadowed.

1/09/2006 09:02:00 PM  
Blogger Jiangtou said...

But the sad thing with the popularity of EMILY ROSE is that it is ushering in a new trend of PG rated horror films (HOSTEL excepted). When it made all those bags of money, studios suddenly looked at all their horror films in production and started making demands changes to get PG ratings.

Plus lots of people are dismissing HOSTEL, ignorant of some the underlying msgs in the flick. Granted it is not for everyone, but it's not just a "gore" film.

1/09/2006 11:52:00 PM  
Blogger HP said...

Can I just poke my head up out of the bloggy grave to say, "I told you so" w/r/t violent horror movies?

I remember when I saw the Lynndie England photos, and my thoughts went: 1) horror and revulsion, 2) grief for what's become of my country, and 3) it's gonna take a lot of horror movies to exorcise this from the national psyche.

1/10/2006 01:58:00 PM  
Blogger Carnacki said...

HP, great to see you. Hope you're doing well. And yes, you told us so.

1/10/2006 10:17:00 PM  
Blogger HP said...

I really take little satisfaction in saying "I told you so," I just wanted to say hello and start easing back into the community.

I'm much better, thanks, -- the apnea's being treated and I'm getting real sleep. I've got some residual depression, and I gained about 50 lbs on my already stocky frame. So I've still got a lot of work to do. I want to start blogging again, but I feel completely blocked. I was all about predicting a war-related horror revival, and now it's undeniably here and I feel I need a new focus.

I've been checking in with MotHV all along, though. Always enjoyable.

I'm sure I'll check out Hostel on DVD. I'm actually a big fan of exploitation and "the cinema of endurance" (as Miike once called it), so that doesn't bother me. I'm more afraid that it will lack the real Times Square grindhouse sleaze of a pure exploitation film. The great exploitation filmmakers of the 60s, like, e.g. Andy Milligan or Jacopetti & Prosperi, were really about radical transgression. The 80s slashers were a more cynical "nothing really matters anymore" that spoke basically to conservative F-you boys. Rob Zombie manages the form, but not the substance, of transgressive exploitation. And I don't hold out too much hope for Hostel, except perhaps that some of these critics giving out warnings are concerned about something other than mere body count.

1/11/2006 06:48:00 PM  

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