While the origin of the modern day torture porn sub-genre can be traced back to James Wan’s Saw from 2004, it’s safe to say that a myriad of upcoming filmmakers were hugely influenced by its earth-shattering release. After all, not only did the schlocky horror flick go on to win numerous accolades for its sheer originality, despite a lukewarm critical reception, it also went on to become a massive box office hit that would proliferate the blood-drenched genre to an entirely new generation of up-and-coming gorehounds.
Easily one of the biggest Saw-like film franchises to rise from the genesis of the grisly new movement is the Hostel series, which is currently absolutely laying waste to streaming services right now. Yes, both 2005’s Hostel and its 2007 follow-up Hostel: Part II are enjoying number one and number two spots, respectively, globally on HBO at the time of writing, per FlixPatrol.
From the mind of horror auteur Eli Roth, who won a Student Award back in 1995 for his thesis film Restaurant Dogs (a clear homage to famous American writer-director-producer Quentin Tarantino), Hostel is a terrifying modern cautionary tale that centers upon three best friends who’re backpacking across Europe. Things take a turn for the worse when said buddies hear tales of a place in Slovakia that is brimming with gorgeous, lusty girls who love American men. Unbeknownst to them, the trio are being coaxed into a deadly spider’s web of torture and death.
Interestingly, the Pulp Fiction writer-director himself had a hand in contributing to the script and was officially on board as a producer as well. Looking at the film now through a modern lens, you can absolutely see Tarantino’s influence on the dialogue, especially when it comes to the latter half of the movie, where you begin to meet some of the more unsavory characters who really enjoy reveling in the exploitative violence. Clearly, you can see Tarantino’s signature touches in the way in which he blurs the lines between laugh-out-loud comedy, and shocking brutality. Frankly, you’ll know the moment when you see it.
What’s really creepy about Hostel is that Roth has gone on record to say that the idea of the film series was inspired by a true advert that he saw for a “murder holiday” in Thailand. Here’s a snippet from an interview with the director, per Dread Central:
The site claimed that the person you were killing had signed up for it and that part of the money would go to their family because they were so broke and were gonna die anyways. It was to give you the thrill of taking another human life.
Super unsettling, right? But what say you? Have you had a chance to check out Hostel yet? Or is the violence just too much for you? Grab those bolt-cutters and let us know in the usual place down below.
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