“Whether they like it or hate it, you want to make a movie people will never forget.” – Eli Roth
‘Torture Porn’ isn’t exactly a term of endearment when used by critics or the media. Looking back, films like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) and I Spit on Your Grave (1978) would probably have fallen under this classification (and their remakes did), but the term was first popularized by movie critic David Edelstein in 2005 to describe Eli Roth’s Hostel.
I’m not a fan of gore for the sake of gore, but I do enjoy watching horror movies and I found the first Hostel movie to be both creative and unique, albeit disturbing. I’ve only seen the movie once (and that was back in 2006), but it still ranks as one of my top horror movies of the 2000’s. I also liked Hostel II, but I wouldn’t go ranking it in the same class as the original.
Three friends are backpacking across Europe when they are told about a hostel in Slovakia. When they hear that this hostel is infested with beautiful European woman who only want tourists, they quickly get on a train to the paradise they believe awaits them. Soon after they arrive, however, they start to realize that this hostel is hiding a terrible and dark secret.
To label Eli Roth the ‘Torture Porn King’ is probably not fair. While Roth is certainly partial to the horror genre, outside of Hostel I and II, his directing credits are limited and include more traditional horror fair like Cabin Fever, The Green Inferno and the soon-to-be-released Knock, Knock (which I’m really looking forward to).
Roth also has several credits on his resume for acting, writing and producing, and while the majority fall within the horror genre, he also wrote the screenplay for The Man With the Iron Fists and received critical acclaim for his role as ‘Sgt Donny Donowitz’ in Inglorious Basterds.
To include Eli Roth in this month’s ‘Masters of Horror’ series might be based more on his potential than his actual achievements to date, but I like the guy and I think in the near future he’ll be known for more than just ‘Torture Porn’.
Order Hostel on Blu-ray here.