I just read through Harry Knowles’ article on Hostel: Part 2... and I agree with him.
Some of you already understand how insane a thing this is for me to say; you’ve heard about my reaction to the first movie and how it put me off real-gore horror movies for serious-like. And if you know me a little better, you know how unhappy that makes me. Scare flicks were something that Marty and I really bonded over, and I was sad to lose the thrill of them.
So when I go to read Harry’s thoughts on the film, I’m not thinking of seeing it. But I do want to know what’s up with the sequel to this movie that had such an unexpected, but profound, effect on my squeam reflex and my ability to deal with graphic violence.
The things he says are reasonable, if you’re not me. To those who consider the graphic heights of this movie a symbol of the worst and ultimate depravity of our culture, he says to grow up—suddenly I wonder if he isn’t right. It’s hard for me to say, because I still haven’t quite reached a verdict in analyzing the reasons the first Hostel movie upset me so badly. I have thoughts and theories and speculations, but I haven’t come to any hard decisions. So I am very open to what he’s saying, even if I know—beyond a shadow of a doubt—that I won’t see the movie. Hell, I couldn’t even get through Black Christmas. Forget it.
But I still want to know why.
I have suggested that it’s the dearth of a good plot, or a higher purpose, or a real reason for all the mess and the gore. Marty and I listed other movies we enjoyed. Slither was awesome. Even Texas Chainsaw Massacre felt like it had a point, and it was incredibly, physically scary for me. We watched House of Wax when it came out and absolutely adored it. There were others. Why was Hostel so bad? Why did it shake me so thoroughly?
When Harry tells us the reason we really watch horror movies, for the escape, for the survivor story, I agree with him completely. It’s not about the depravity. It’s about how the victim gets away, how the enemy is vanquished. I agree whole-heartedly and yet I remember that even in Hostel, one victim got away. One enemy was vanquished.
But I don’t remember the rest. It’s gone out of my head. (And I’m glad.) I only ran Black Christmas this last week because I still want to know what’s going on. Why do I feel this way? Is it really about something that Hostel is? Or is that just an excuse I use when I don’t know the real answer, and can’t seem to find it?
I’d probably have to watch Hostel to find out… and I don’t know that that’s going to happen.
All the same, it’s a good article. If you’d rather not see the movie, but you’re interested in the culture and ideas surrounding it… Harry is a good read.