Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Opposite of Fun

This Friday, Eli Roth's Hostel II (as mentioned on the summer vomit list) will be released into over 2000 theaters.

The big discussion of "torture porn" is totally relevant as more and more films begin to fit the bill. Whether it's this years Grindhouse or Captivity.

Eli Roth said recently in an MTV interview "When I go see an R-rated horror movie, I want lots of violence. I want nudity. I want sex and violence mixed together, Roth says. "What's wrong with that? Am I the only one? I don't think so." And this come from the man who Quentin Tarantino calls "the future of horror"

Where is the line? Why do the producers and actors agree to do this film. Does actress Heather Matarazzo have no pride that she would take a role where she gets dangled upside down naked and murdered in the most horrific way in the name of sexually horrific entertainment?

Strangely I think of the documentary Born into Brothels. Zana Briski does some incredible work in the Red Light District in Calcutta by giving young children the opportunity to learn photo skills to raise money to get out of the brothel lifestyle. Perhaps someone like Zana needs to figure out a way to help actresses get jobs where they will not be part of explicit negative torture films. Metarazzo, I must believe you must be better than that then the prostitute yourself to the eyes and minds of young perverts.

Granted, there are many base things in movies and art, but for a film of this nature to have such a wide release, truly demonstrate the moral turpitude we face as a society.

As David Poland says, "This is a film that Lionsgate should be embarrassed about releasing." Perhaps it is this depravity that has encouraged them to go to the other end of the spectrum with their Lionsgate Faith Based Films. Yet, it's not like there's a scale where Lionsgate can balance out the moral and immoral.

Please Zani Briski, please save Laura German, Bijou Phillips, Heather Matarazzo, Elisha Cuthbert from the ills of Roth and similar director's minds.

According to imdb, Eli Roth told American Details magazine he'd love to torture Kate Hudson next. Roth says, "I'd love to torture her. But then again, sitting through one of her romantic comedies is its own form of torture. If I had to choose between watching Raising Helen or vomiting because of something I'd seen on the screen in Hostel: Part II, I'd pick the vomit every time."


Terence Towles Canote said...

Well, I am not going to be the first to condemn the entire torture chic subgenre of horror, but I think a stop needs to be put it to it. The problem I have isn't so much with the glamourisation of torture in so many of these films as it is the fact that so many of them are poorly acted, poorly written, and poorly made. Hostel was a perfect example. What is past of the definition of pornography? It has to have no educational, scientific, or artistic value? So many of these films lack value of any kind.

Fox said...

Thanks for calling out Roth and his ilk. Most of my friends seem to defend the guy. He's a sore spot on film culture.

I don't know if you've seen the French torture porn - "Sheitan", "Calvaire", "Haute Tension" - but it strikes me as even WORSE than the American version. It also, sadly, does really well in the video market.

Southern (in)Sanity said...

It is a bit scary to see how this has progressed in recent years. Two friends talked me into seeing the first "Saw" at the theatres. That was too much for me.

Apparently I forgot that lesson and watched "Hostel" on DVD. I made it through the sex porn in the first part, but I was done at the first torture session.

Why people pay to see this stuff is beyond me. I can assure you I won't be doing it again - in the theatre or on DVD.

Jeff Reed said...

what I don't understand is when did Tarrantino stop thinking? His early stuff was thought provoking. There is depth to Pulp Fiction. Even Resevoir Dogs had twists and turns.

This crap they are calling film is an insult to film. I agree that they have no value in film. Put it in mail order catalogs with the rest of the smut films and sell it there.

What's worse to me is that middle schoolers will sneek in and be exposed to this...

crackers and cheese said...

In college I wrote a paper about rape myths (ie, "Women secretly enjoy being raped," "The woman was asking for it."). I wonder if anyone has done any research on how these recent "torture porn" films influence belief in rape myths? It seems that rape is still very much glorified in this society and that has some very frightening ramifications. Thank you for writing about this and getting your readers thinking such issues.

So, what is the solution? I oppose censorship, so what else are we to do? Wag our fingers at the filmmakers or those who enjoy such films? It seems that controvery just increases box office revenues.

general125 said...

Why would we want to watch men perform misdeeds on other men? I made the mistake of watching Apocolypto with some others this past weekend and the only way it could be described is "torture porn." I'm going to steal that phrase, I hope you don't mind.

Marius said...

I'm sure Heather had her reasons for choosing to participate in a film of this nature. Or, maybe she just did it for the money. However, she did start her career portraying an outcast of sorts; right?

I'm also against censorship, and I'm all about artistic freedom. If you don’t like the film, then don’t watch it. Again, I don’t believe in censoring things that go against what some believe to be right and true. This country was established on the idea of freedom.
And freedom of choice is one thing that makes this country so special.

Anonymous said...

God, I'm with you completely. The Hostel movies make no sense to me. I think its disgusting that the American public and other countries find torture as entertainment. It's like we haven't made any sociological advancements since the dark ages.

jasdye said...


yeah, with you on that.

censorship isn't even an option. and i'm not sure if anyone actually brought it up as a possibility. it's a red herring.

but there's no doubt that this sub-genre shouldn't be watched by - well - anybody.

but that's just my opinion.

Anonymous said...

I just got an email today, inviting me to go to this movie (for free, I believe) as a critic.Hmmm...I think not!

Anonymous said...

yeah for real, that guy is wierd and it is the summer vomit movie. Ocean's 13 is the summer movie. It was good stuff, very well put together and much better than some hostel part 2 movie.

Glenn Dunks said...

You know my stance on these movies. It's all well and good for Eli Roth to say that when he goes to an R rated movie he wants gore and nudity (that's what ratings are for), but the thing is, many of the movies routinely cited as the scariest ever (stuff like Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Halloween or stuff like Rosemary's Baby) don't have gallons of blood and inches of skin.

It's just that these days the horror directors like Roth are thrown millions of dollars and instead of using it to create atmosphere and to make something really scary, they use it on blood and gore and special effects.

And when a movie like Hostel 2 gets a free pass to an R rating yet something with one sex scene gets an NC17 rating, something's not right.

Is sex really that more horrifying and shocking than seeing Heather Matarazzo strung upside down and drained of all her blood onto a naked woman below?

generic cialis said...

Just like in any other thing, people have different "sub-preferences." I, personally, am not a fan of anything that's torture themed, but that's just me. To each his own.