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Hostile Hostel takes woman-hating to a new level

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,

“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 /

— J.B.

10 thoughts on “Hostile Hostel takes woman-hating to a new level

  1. Unbelievable. I am horrified beyond belief. It reminds me of what Mick LaSalle had to say about another movie recently:

    “…the film emerges as a subtle commentary on a disquieting aspect of our current culture — a commentary on the nature of a masturbatory voyeurism and how it fosters heartlessness by turning other people into objects. When Mr. Brooks and the other perverse characters in the film are aroused, they have to forget the humanity of others in order to achieve satisfaction. If they remember that other people are people, they’ll lose the impulse.

    The relevance of this message to the society at large and not just to the characters is obvious, in that we live in a voyeuristic culture, in which both entertainment and commerce trade on instant and impersonal arousal. I suspect that 50 or 60 years ago, this film would have made absolutely no sense to people. But today we can see in the cold world of “Mr. Brooks” the coldness of our own world. And we can look at Mr. Brooks for minutes at a time and forget that he’s a villain, or simply not care.

    If this says something, it’s not something good. “

  2. Yeah, i dont like it either, but why is this any worse than the first hostel? Do you value a women more than a male? They should be treated as equals, and both groups getting tortured is equally bad

  3. jnuihnio: True, torture of any gender is horrible, but yes, I do think there’s a difference between showing women and men being tortured this way. By making the women “hot” and therefore sexualized, in a culture that only values women when they are sexualized, we mix sex with violence. Also, women remain the more-victimized sex for reasons due to their sex. (I don’t necessarily agree that women and men should be treated as equals when something negative is happening. Just because we make women into objects doesn’t mean we need to do it to men, too, just to “even the score.”)

  4. So… did you actually see the movie? Do you watch a lot of horror movies? I mean, the usual thing about horror movies is exactly the opposite of what you’re claiming here, and what the “torture porn” people often say it is. You’re not supposed to cheer at the torture, but feel with the victims, is one thing. Horror movies can present you with violence against women that you cannot tune out, that you have to face.

    Also, usually in horror there is the “final girl”, which means the woman who survives (and it is more often a woman than a man). This Final Girl usually turns the tables and takes revenge, and the audience is invited to cheer for her and sympathize with her empowerment.

    I have not seen Hostel II, but I think this is a knee-jerk reaction to the film. Now, the ads, or say the one ad with the naked body, is harsh and problematic. That I agree on. Also, bad horror movies tend to have only inventive death scenes without story or likeable characters (say, the SAW series) – that’s something they’ve got in common with porn, then. I don’t think Hostel is part of that trend, but I could be wrong. Could you, too?

  5. funny, you see hundreds of films of men being mutilated, shot, killed, sexually assaulted, burned and blown up in real life and on tvand it doesn’t bother anyone. Where are all of the women when this goes on? Yet, you show one woman so much as break a finger nail and its horrific and sexist and anti-women. How many films have you seen where women are kicked in the groin??? Did you know that the overwhelming number of violent crime victims in the World are men? Where is the female outrage for that???

    Whatever. Women can goto hell.

  6. Oh, forgot to add, in Candyman a little black boy had his groin ripped out by the monster. In Terminator 3, a young boy was blatantly killed by the “FEMALE” terminator. Where is the outrage????

    Easy: Killing men is okay and acceptable.

    Nobody cares about men or how they feel. They aren’t even human. Maybe the women are sexualized but at least people know that they are there! They aren’t non-existent and degraded.

    There are other people in the world other than Women. There are men and children too y’know! Not everything is about women and “their” issues. Though looking at tv and movies/the media you wouldn’t know it.

  7. I agree with Not your World. The first Hostel featured men being tortured, much more graphically then they showed women being tortured in this film by the way. There was no real outrage, other than it being seen as contraversial for it’s violence.

    The reason the creators of Hostel 2 used women, was to prove the point you are making. They don’t even have to really show women being tortured, they merely have to suggest it and people start getting hopping mad.

    I don’t see you complaining about, what is by far the worst scene of the film. The part where one of the girls rip off a guy’s dick, while he was alive. The point of the film, is that there’s a difference between encouraging girls to be strong, and encouraging girls to be man-haters. The point was that nobody is going to care about a woman torturing a man, because men somehow deserve it. Yet even think about the concept of a woman being tortured, and you have every pro-woman’s organization screaming protest.

    It’s not equality when concern for one gender over another takes precidence. Also, do you really think a parent who sees their son turned on by this torture, wouldn’t send them straight to a psychiatrist? Don’t you think it’s offensive to say, that adolescent boys are so primal and animalistic, that they’d get off to women being tortured?

    Hostel has information on their sites to raise awareness of the real horror of the human trade industry. It seems that you must know nothing about the horror film industry. Few if any horror films, show violence towards women while the woman just sits there without protest. The women fight back.

    I don’t see this in the romance films, if you want to look for a film genre that objectifies women just look there. It says, all women desire to be constantly sexually available, and isn’t it cute when they tease the guy and oops, land in bed? That is offensive.

    Do some more research on horror films before you jump on the OMG, they’re promoting torturing women bandwagon. How about talking to women like myself, who are fans of the horror film industry. If you watch something other than teenybopper fare, you’ll realize most horror films have a intelligent message AGAINST violence towards others.

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