100 Days of Horror welcomes you to ... SATANFEST 2013

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"Y'all know me, know how I earn a livin'. I'll catch this bird for you, but it ain't gonna be easy. Bad fish! Not like going down to the pond and chasing bluegills and tommycods. This shark, swallow ya whole. Little shakin', little tenderizin', and down you go. And we gotta do it quick, that'll bring back the tourists, that'll put all your businesses on a payin' basis. But it's not gonna be pleasant! I value my neck a lot more than three thousand bucks, chief. I'll find him for three, but I'll catch him, and kill him, for ten. But you've gotta make up your minds. If you want to stay alive, then ante up. If you want to play it cheap, be on welfare the whole winter. I don't want no volunteers, I don't want no mates, there's too many captains on this island. Ten thousand dollars for me by myself. For that you get the head, the tail, the whole damn thing."

Friday, August 13, 2010

100 Days of Horror Day Twenty-one - "Hostel."


This is absolutely insane, but it's still happening. My life is in turmoil right now, but it's still happening. I want nothing more than to disappear down a black bottomless pit right now and never return, but still ... it's goes on.

Why?

I think because for one, I need something to hold on to in the midst of this hell. I did almost quit yesterday, and not from the general laziness I sometimes suffer from, but because it seems pointless to continue. I am also carrying on because for once in my fucking pathetic life, I have something to prove. Prove that I can stick to something and see it the whole way through. Prove that I - yes, Shawn Weigel, that evil bastard you love to hate - can make a change like this. And other changes.

So, if you're reading this, understand that this is all occurring while my life seems to be falling apart. I'm trying to pick up the pieces and move ahead, but it's a challenge. But anyway - thank you for reading and for playing along.

Today's movie, "Hostel," is one hell of a piece of work. I think I've seen it like twice and I actually own it for some reason. I think I bought it off of my crackhead neighbor a few years ago when he needed money. Probably for crack, too. But anyway, I'll give it another "crack," so to speak, tonight and see how it plays out. The Skinny below:

20. Hostel (2005): Directed by Eli Roth. Starring Jay Hernandez, Derek Richardson, Eyþór Guðjónsson and Jennifer Lim.

The Skinny: A modern take on classic noir suspense films blended with the extreme of the horror genre, this is one of those movies that I own and yet do know or understand why. Jay Hernandez and his buddies are on a backpacking expedition when a member of their group disappears. Soon, they find themselves trapped in a horrific warehouse where people pay to torture and kill a seemingly endless parade of victims. And that’s the short version.

What’s Good: Honestly, Eli Roth is a decent director. He knows how to keep the suspense levels up and the plot moves along with a darkly humorous undertone. The story itself isn’t exactly new, but this version is frankly far too brutal for my tastes. It’s an early example of the late-90s/early 2000s trend of horror affectionately called “torture porn,” and it’s a bit much for my tender mercies. I mean, a dude gets his Achilles Tendon sliced, fingers are hacked off, heads are drilled and scorched … it’s a far-ass cry from a classic like “Rosemary’s Baby.” There is a definite creepiness to the whole affair, and being set in some ambiguous Slavic-sounding state, it heightens that “I’m out of my element and in over my head” feeling we’ve all had when we’ve been places where we don’t speak the language and we are unfamiliar with the customs. Overall, this is for those horror movie lovers who cheer for the villain and wait for the next creative death scene. Will it be a drill to the temple or an iron stake up the ass? LET’S WATCH!

What’s Bad: Again, if it’s a true horror movie you’re looking for, try “The Exorcist.” Because this is an exercise in testing a viewer’s limits on how much suffering they’re willing to watch another person endure. The problem is, there are aspects to “Hostel” that border on brilliant. The set is a perfect blend of grimy hallways shiny with moisture and backyard abattoir nastiness. Two things bother me up front: one is the cast of absolute unknowns with very little talent except Hernandez, and two is the near pornographic level of violence and disregard for humanity. I understand that this very notion is essential to the center of the film – the Elite Hunting organization and it’s nutty clientele – but this is not entertainment to me. I want to be disturbed on an emotional or deeply psychological level. Films like “Hostel” and the absolutely horrible “Saw” films rely on revulsion to solicit fears instead of a sharp script and good acting. Who cares about one single person in “Hostel?” No one, that’s who – and it’s because we know they’re all just fodder for the axe (or drill or what have you). We like Regan from “The Exorcist,” we like Rosemary from “Rosemary’s Baby.” Can you even remember one character’s name from “Hostel?”

Why We Like It: I don’t know if I do. I remember some very funny things – I guess “sneepur” is some language’s slang for “pussy,” and some dude is wearing a “Sneepur Patrol” shirt, which is damn funny. There is some rue drama when the characters are strapped down and they freak out – I mean, the guy doing the killing doesn’t even speak your language, so how can you plead for mercy? I find I do like the final 20 or so when Hernandez’s character tries to exact some form of revenge on the people who killed his friends. With the hat and overcoat and the steamy train station, it truly summons the images from some of my favorite noir films. But trust me, the similarities end there.

Memorable Stuff: Torture, torture, torture … that’s what I remember. Bombarded with so much of it that the individual instances barely stand out. I do recall screaming when the dude stands up to run only to find his Achilles Tendon severed. Oh yeah, that was fucking nasty. And indeed I was repulsed when the guy had to hide under a pile of bodies to escape – I had to look away, I was so repulsed in fact. But like I said, this isn’t my kind of film. But I’m going to give it another chance.