Thursday, March 5, 2009

Hostel 2: It’s All About Plausible Deniability, Man

“We’re just not seeing things the same way any more, baby.”

I really dislike horror movies, but I was intrigued by the whole “torture porn” thing that occurred with Hostel 2 so I had to have a look at it, like it or not. And I didn’t. But I was rewarded for my perseverance (though not monetarily OF COURSE): I discovered that the whole “torture porn” thing was all about plausible deniability. Check it out and see if you don’t agree with me.


Sasha said...

I have the perfect deniability of never having sat through a smegging second of either movie.

Pat Powers said...

Well, it WAS interesting. The form of Hostel 2 is purely an Internet SM fantasy. If you are into SM, the movie is in fact, straight up softcore SM porn. And interestingly, its graphic gore scenes aren't a lot different from what you can see on the SciFi Channel any Saturday or Sunday when it's in horror mode.

Kinda makes you wonder if the designation "torture porn" was created, not so much to label Hostel 2 and other films like it, but to establish that OTHER horror films AREN'T torture porn. Which, as far as I can tell, they are.

Sasha said...

I think it has to do with the movie's 'intent' to make it qualify. If the violence is prolonged and graphic and camera never pulls back or changes the audience's perception of what's happening on-screen, if there's no buffer zone then I guess it qualifies as torture porn. These films want to wallow in the blood, suffering and death onscreen. It's just a few steps to the left of the legendary snuff films we hear about. Granted, there are tons of dead teenager movies out there where pointless characters exist only to be killed haplessly one after another, but the camera tends not to linger for so long as in a Hostel or a Funny Games.

The violence is usually just a big splatter of blood, the 'eeewww' moment then a period of audience relief that tries to appear to be plot or character development before they cue up the next victim.

Friday the 13th is terribly violent, but you don't see Jason (or his mom in the first movie, re-makes be DAMNED) methodically slicing off his victim's skim in sections with the camera never pulling away except to record the victim's anguished screams.

Pat Powers said...

Yeah, but things are moving Hostel-ward. There's a particular movie called "Timber Falls" which opens with a long, graphic sequence of a woman whose hands have been nailed via large spikes to a board at shoulder height, crucifixion style. We see, up-close and personal, her pulling one hand off its spike. Then we see her take her bloodied, holey hand, and pull her other hand off its spike.

It aired on the SciFi Channel around 6 pm one Saturday. It's maybe not QUITE as bad as bandsaw-to-the-face in Hostel 2, but that sequence was MUCH shorter than the one in Timber Falls.

That sounds like the prolonged gloating over pain and blood that you're talking about.

wdstarr said...

A numerical nitpick: the first seven Gor novels (1966-72) were published by Ballantine Books, and edited by Betty Ballantine. It was with no. 8 (Hunters of Gor, 1974) that John Norman switched to Donald A. Wollheim's then-new DAW Books under a no-edit (or very little edit) contract. And basically kept DAW financially afloat in its early years; it was a great deal for both parties.

Pat Powers said...

Ah, you're right, I'm looking at Volume 7 and it's a Ballantine Book alrighty. I guess I was confused because, to my mind, that one, "Captive of Gor," is the point at which Norman really got into the the sex slavery, bondage and dominance thing, so I figured that would not have been one that Ballantine would have published. I bet there were some fights over that one!