Optional page text here. The Beast's Lair: Eli Roth and Hostel

Monday, July 17, 2006

Eli Roth and Hostel

Eli Roth is a writer and director who has brought us the two horror films Cabin Fever and the recent Hostel, presented by Quintin Tarantino. Cabin Fever was a major disappointment and I have yet to see Hostel. However, some interesting debate has been brewing concerning the latter film and Roth has made a quote that I am dumbfounded by.

Here is the deal. Hostel is a movie that has a clearly heterosexual guy who is friends with a guy who is apparently struggling with his sexuality. Throughout the film, the word "fag" and "faggot" are used, as I read from one fan, 5876 times. The seemingly exaggerated use of the word has brought some heat and some questions raised to Roth, who wrote and directed the film. Supporters are saying that the terms tie into the plot and the very nature of the film itself deals with the struggle these two guys are having and the homophobic nature of the heterosexual. Others are saying that it has nothing to do with the plot, and even if it did, that it is just simply overkill.

When I read Roth's response to these questions, in two parts, I was confused to say the least.

Quote #1 (these are not verbatim) "The term "fag" is no longer used as a derogatory word toward homosexuals, but used by teenagers to mean anything that is weak, stupid or needs strength."

Ok, so from that quote, which is just simply not true, Roth is making the point, whether he realizes it or not, that the word does not play a developmental role in the film. If he thought it did, he wouldn't justify it's use as a being a word that doesn't mean what it used to. He would instead explain how the word was important in the development of the characters, their tension with one another, and the overall plot outline.

Quote #2 "What I don't get is how people who watch a man's face being burned off and blood flowing like a river can raise so much fuss over this one word."

Oh my goodness. Here is a quote from a man who sadly doesn't understand his own film. Horror fans, and I mean true horror fans (if you have seen Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer and think you are a horror fan, think again) will be floored by this quote. George Romero, Lucio Fulci, Dario Argento, and the list goes on, would never say such a thing. There is good horror and bad horror. Just because a film has a bunch of blood, torture and violence does not make it good. In fact, it can make it terrible. The proper use of gore is sometimes essential to tell a story, and those who have a talent for it can stun us with visually disturbing pictures that are needed to connect with the plot and understanding of the message. I can list movies that are successful largely due to their gore and movies that are terrible largely due to their gore. So, to think that Roth views horror fans as being hypocritical for being disgusted by the needless use of a derogatory word because they appreciate properly used gore demonstrates a real shallow understanding of not only the genre, but also the fans.


Anonymous rexwilder said...

I have not seen Hostel either (which makes our responses a little more difficult, although I don't think you have to see it to respond to his comments), but on their face, those comments don't make a lot of sense. To give him the benefit of the doubt, I suppose he may have just gotten frustrated with all of the questions, etc. regarding the homosexual undertones (or "overtones") and just fired off a stupid response. If that's not the case and the word fag and the tone didn't play a developmental role, he inserted a needless distractor in his movie. (Of course, Tarentino has shown a propensity to enjoy "colorful" language and images, so maybe Ross is mad because T. made him do it and now Ross has to answer all of the questions on it!)

July 18, 2006 11:06 AM  
Anonymous Paul, in South Park said...

Hey, Beast!

I saw over on Pastor Scott's blog regarding your intentions to pursue your "MDiv".

GO FOR IT, my friend. You are knowledgeable, forthright, humble, honest and pretty darn down to earth.

You will be in my prayers.

Thanks for your words.

July 18, 2006 6:45 PM  
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