About-Face BlogGender InequalityOn The Pulse

Hostile Hostel takes woman-hating to a new level

By June 7, 2007 10 Comments

WARNING: Hey kids! This piece includes details that may give you some bad nightmares. And we definitely don’t want to give you nightmares.

Hostel: Part II, the latest installment from Quentin Tarantino and his merry band of all-male producers, is coming out tomorrow. The main characters in the first Hostel were male backpackers, but this time, they are women — young, beautiful female actors.

Somehow, someone got the idea that women as victims would be extra-edgy. Torturing women! Cool! Then we can see their hot bodies get mutilated in a bloody pool while bound and gagged! I’m a movie fan, but c’mon, people!

According to an anonymous review written on IMDB, when you enter the theater, you’ll be treated to “3 beautiful college students … tricked into entering a hostel where the ‘hosts’ like to torture, rape and murder. … three women are lured into a hostel by a handsome young man who sells them to the twisted masters, who tie them up and bring upon an unthinkable world of pain… ”

Yes, that was “torture, rape and murder” and yes, he *sells* the women to the masters.

Hostel poster head in handHostel II poster upside downHostel II movie poster with gory flesh

Some of the insanely bad movie posters for Hostel II.

Especially in the poster on the far left, we have a woman’s naked body mixed with violence (the decapitated head) to produce maximum arousal for adolescent boys.

Eli Roth and two actors from Hostel II

Eli Roth, writer and director of Hostel II, and two of his leading actresses. They must love him.

Eli Roth, the writer/director of Hostel II, said in an interview with Cinematical.com,

“Here’s the thing: I just want to create a story, and make it scary and interesting. I want everything to be about the next level. The movie is really about the next level of depravity — that sex doesn’t get you off, that violence is a substitute for that.”

We’ve been watching girls get killed in horror movies for years, but Hostel II seems to take it right over the edge into pure misogyny. Some writers are calling these realistic films featuring women or men “torture porn.” The very term says a lot about how our culture interweaves sex (i.e. sexual acts being done to women) and violence and why we can’t seem to separate the two.

And this is OK?Upside-down

Some super-scary shots from Hostel II.

But here’s my thing: Women and girls are being tortured for real, every day, around the world, because they are women. And it’s because they are seen as less than men, less than human.

I hear the horror-film buffs now: “C’mon, the hot chicks always die in horror movies. It’s just a director pushing the envelope. And it’s just a movie. It’s not real.”

You know what, um, no. It’s not “just a movie.” Art imitates life, or at least a dreamlike, skewed version of life. And in Hostel II, we’re seeing the acting-out of a culture that is still trying to maintain women’s roles as the objects of sex or violence. It’s the fantasy world of unaware boys and men — so, my woman friends, watch your backs.

Tips for taking action: Phone up your local theaters that are showing Hostel II this weekend and tell them you won’t be going to see this misogynistic film at their theater. Write a letter/e-mail or make a phone call to Lionsgate films, the studio that produced Hostel II, and tell them what you think:
Lionsgate / 2700 Colorado Ave. / Santa Monica, CA 90404
Phone: (310) 449-9200 / Fax: (310) 255-3870 / general-inquiries@lgf.com

— J.B.