Michael Parks, a character actor who enjoyed a career renaissance in recent decades thanks to high profile roles in films by Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez and Kevin Smith, died Wednesday at the age of 77.
Parks made his acting debut in a small role in 1961 on the sitcom The Real McCoys, and, racked up dozens of roles on both television and feature films, most notably as the casino owner and drug runner Jean Renault on the second season of Twin Peaks.
After years playing bit roles in made-for-TV movies, Westerns and slasher films, Parks was cast as Texas Ranger Earl McGraw in Rodriguez’ 1996 vampire flick From Dusk ’til Dawn. Quentin Tarantino, an associate of Rodriguez’, then cast Parks in a dual role for Kill Bill: Volume 1 and Volume 2; in the former, he reprised the McGraw role, while the latter found the actor playing Mexican pimp Esteban Vihaio.
Parks would portray McGraw once more for Tarantino and Rodriguez in the directors’ Grindhouse films. Tarantino also recruited Parks for a small role in Django Unchained.
Parks’ career revival also resulted in roles in Ben Affleck’s Argo, The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford and a pair of Kevin Smith horror flicks, Red State and Tusk.
“Michael was, and will likely forever remain, the best actor I’ve ever known. I wrote both [Red State] and [Tusk] FOR Parks, I loved his acting so much,” Smith posted on Wednesday. “He was, hands-down, the most incredible thespian I ever had the pleasure to watch perform. And Parks brought out the absolute best in me every time he got near my set.”
At the time of his death, Parks was cast in the upcoming Christian Bale film Hostiles.
“Coming up with a concept for a movie like True Romance, that I have been a huge fan of for years and is among my favourite Tony Scott films of all time, wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be when I first got the proposal. There are so many brilliant quotes, memorable scenes and a mind-blowing soundtrack on top of it all. The Hawaiian shirted Cupid I went with, symbolizing the bizarre romance between Alabama and Clarence, came to me as a revelation and I felt I had a winner. I desperately wanted to not only catch the mood of the film, but also include as many characters as I could possibly fit. I love every single performance from the movie and I felt like everyone deserved a tribute.” – Grzegorz “GABZ” Domaradzki
Samuel Leroy Jackson (born December 21, 1948) is an American film and television actor and film producer. Jackson was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee, with his mother, Elizabeth Jackson, and his maternal grandparents and extended family. Initially intent on pursuing a degree in marine biology, he attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. After joining a local acting group to earn extra points in a class, Jackson found an interest in acting and switched his major. Before graduating in 1972, he co-founded the “Just Us Theatre”.
Jackson began acting in multiple plays, appeared in several television films, and made his feature film debut in the blaxploitation independent film Together for Days (1972). After these initial roles, Jackson proceeded to move from Atlanta to New York City in 1976 and spent the next decade appearing in stage plays. Throughout his early film career, mainly in minimal roles in films and various television films, Jackson was mentored by Morgan Freeman. After a 1981 performance in the play A Soldier’s Play, Jackson was introduced to director Spike Lee who would later include him in small roles for the films School Daze (1988) and Do the Right Thing (1989). He also played a minor role in the 1990 Martin Scorsese film Goodfellas as real-life Mafia associate Stacks Edwards.
After gaining critical acclaim for his role in Jungle Fever (1991), he appeared in films such as Patriot Games (1992), True Romance and Jurassic Park (both 1993). In 1994, he was cast as Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction, and his performance received several award nominations and critical acclaim.
Directed in a highly stylized manner by Quentin Tarantino, who co-wrote its screenplay with Roger Avery; the film is known for its rich, eclectic dialogue, ironic mix of humor and violence, nonlinear storyline, and host of cinematic allusions and pop culture references. The film was nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Picture; Tarantino and Avary won for Best Original Screenplay. It was also awarded the Palme d’Or at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival. A major critical and commercial success, it revitalized the career of its leading man, John Travolta, who with Samuel L. Jackson and Uma Thurman, received Academy Award nominations.
Pulp Fiction connects the intersecting storylines of Los Angeles mobsters, fringe players, small-time criminals, and a mysterious briefcase. Considerable screen time is devoted to conversations and monologues that reveal the characters’ senses of humor and perspectives on life. The nature of its development, marketing, and distribution and its consequent profitability had a sweeping effect on the field of independent cinema (although it is not an independent film itself). Considered a cultural watershed, Pulp Fiction’s influence has been felt in several other media.
Jackson has since appeared in over 100 films including Die Hard with a Vengeance, The 51st State, Jackie Brown, Unbreakable, The Incredibles, Black Snake Moan, Shaft, Deep Blue Sea, Snakes on a Plane, 1408, as well as the Star Wars prequel trilogy and small roles in Tarantinos’ Kill Bill Vol. 2 and Inglourious Basterds.
More recently, he played Nick Fury in the Marvel films Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, and The Avengers, the first five of a nine-film commitment as the character for the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise. Jackson’s many roles have made him one of the highest-grossing actors at the box office. Jackson has won multiple awards throughout his career and has been portrayed in various forms of media including films, television series, and songs. He is next up in another Tarantino movie, Django Unchained, and in the ever-delayed remake of Robocop.
Roger Avary (born Roger d’Avary; August 23, 1965) is a Canadian film and television producer, screenwriter and director. He worked on the screenplays for Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, the latter of which earned both him and Quentin Tarantino an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay at the 67th Academy Awards. He also directed the cult films Killing Zoe and the excellent The Rules of Attraction among other film and television projects.
When in 1981, Video Out-Takes co-owner Lance Lawson (a name that comes up repeatedly in Avary and Tarantino’s films) left to open the now famous Video Archives, Avary went along, writing the store’s database program. Under the vision of Lawson, Video Archives became a gathering place for a group of cinephiles, who became known as “Archivists”. Among this group, Avary met an odd and brilliant film enthusiast, Quentin Tarantino. The two became friends, introducing each other to their favorite films.
Early in his career, Avary made a number of contributions to some of Quentin Tarantino’s movies. He worked as a cinematographer on Tarantino’s unfinished first film, My Best Friend’s Birthday. He had written a script called “The Open Road” which Tarantino rewrote. Avary took on the producer’s role, and he and Tarantino tried unsuccessfully for several years to get funding so that Tarantino could direct the script himself. Eventually, the script was sold to French producer Samuel Hadida and became the movie True Romance.
Avery and Tarantino worked together on Natural Born Killers, directed by Oliver Stone; Avary also co-wrote the background radio dialogue in Reservoir Dogs (1992), and designed the “Dog Eat Dog” logo which appeared in the end credits.
Most notably however, Avary contributed material which, combined with Tarantino’s, formed the basis of Pulp Fiction (1994) for which he and Tarantino won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. Avary’s bizarre 1994 Oscar speech (for Best Original Screenplay) consisted of “I want to thank my beautiful wife, Gretchen, who I love more than anyone else in the world… I’m gonna go now ’cause I really got to take a pee.” The “pee comment” was a reference to all five films nominated in 1994 for Best Picture having a key scene where a character excuses themselves to use the bathroom.
Avary also wrote and directed the neo-noir cult thriller Killing Zoe (1994) which Tarantino executive produced. Avary had initially intended to write a screenplay completely devoted to his travelling experience through Europe, for which Tarantino suggested the ironic title Roger Takes a Trip. But when producer Lawrence Bender called Avary during location scouting on Reservoir Dogs asking if he had a screenplay that took place entirely in a bank so that they could take advantage of an inexpensive location they had no use for, Avary told Bender that he had such a script—and quickly wrote Killing Zoe in under a week, using elements of his European trip as inspiration. The film was honored with le Prix très spécial à Cannes 1994, the very same year that Pulp Fiction won the Palme d’Or.
From 1985 to 1986, Avary attended Menlo College, in Atherton, California. The school, “a West coast Bennington”, laid the foundations for his film adaptation of the Bret Easton Ellis novel The Rules of Attraction. In 2002, Avary directed his adaptation of the novel, which he also executive produced. His film from within the film, Glitterati (2004), used elements of Victor’s European trip and was shot on digital video. In 2005, he purchased the rights to another Bret Easton Ellis novel Glamorama, and is currently developing it for himself to direct.
In 2006, Avary wrote a screenplay adaptation to the hit videogame, Silent Hill (2006), with French director and friend, Christophe Gans, and Killing Zoe producer Samuel Hadida.
According to Avary’s biography on the American “Killing Zoe” DVD, Avary directed a small, independent musical production of “Beowulf” for the stage in Paris in 1993. Beowulf seems to have been a lifelong obsession with Avary.
In the late 1990s, Avary was hired by Warner Bros studio to adapt Neil Gaiman’s comic series The Sandman to the big screen. After he was fired, Gaiman and Avary started work together writing an adaptation of the epic poem Beowulf. The film was finally produced in 2007 with Robert Zemeckis directing, utilizing performance capture technology.
On January 13, 2008, Avary was arrested under suspicion of manslaughter and DUI, following a car crash in Ojai, California where a passenger, Andreas Zini, was killed. In December 2008, he was charged with, and pleaded not guilty to, gross vehicular manslaughter and two felony counts of causing bodily injury while intoxicated. He later changed his plea to guilty on August 18, 2009.
On September 29, 2009, he was sentenced to 1 year in work furlough, (allowing him to go to his job during the day and then report back to the furlough facility at night), and 5 years of probation. However, after making several tweets about the conditions of his stay on Twitter, Avary was sent to Ventura County Jail to serve out the remainder of his term. On July 10, 2010, after spending eight months in jail, Avary was released.
Robert Anthony Rodríguez (born June 20, 1968) is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, cinematographer, editor and musician. He shoots and produces many of his films in his native Texas and Mexico.
Rodríguez was born in San Antonio, Texas, the son of Mexican-American parents Rebecca (née Villegas), a nurse, and Cecilio G. Rodríguez, a salesman. He began his interest in film at age 11 when his father bought one of the first VCR’s, which came with a camera. Rodríguez grew up shooting action and horror short films on video, and editing on two VCRs. Finally, in the fall of 1990, his entry in a local film contest earned him a spot in the university’s film program where he made the award-winning 16 mm short Bedhead.
This short film attracted enough attention to encourage him to seriously attempt a career as a filmmaker. He went on to shoot the action flick El Mariachi in Spanish. El Mariachi, which was shot for around $7,000 with money raised by his friend Carlos Gallardo and participating in medical research studies, won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival in 1993. The film, originally intended for the Spanish-language low-budget home-video market, was “cleaned up” with several hundred thousand dollars before being distributed by Columbia Pictures, while still being promoted as “the movie made for $7,000”.
His next feature film was Roadracers, a 1994 made-for-television film. The film originally aired on the Showtime Network as part of their Rebel Highway series that took the titles of 1950s-era B-movies and applied them to original films starring up-and-coming actors of the 1990s and directed by established directors such as William Friedkin, Joe Dante, and Ralph Bakshi. Rodriguez was the only young director to participate in the series.
His next film and first major release was Desperado (1995), a sequel to El Mariachi starring Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek in their first American roles. Rodríguez went on to collaborate with Quentin Tarantino on Four Rooms, a 1995 anthology comedy telling four stories set in the fictional Hotel Mon Signor in Los Angeles on New Years Eve. Tim Roth stars as the main character of the frame tale; he also appears to some degree in all four stories. The movie was directed by Allison Anders, Alexandre Rockwell, Rodriguez and Tarantino with each of them directing one “room” of the film.
Rodriguez continued his work with Tarantino, a partnership that thrives to this day, on the vampire thriller, From Dusk Till Dawn (1996). The film was followed by two direct-to-video follow-ups, a sequel, From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money and a prequel, From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman’s Daughter (1999). They were both received poorly by critics. Danny Trejo is the only actor to appear in all three. Rodriguez, Tarantino and Lawrence Bender served as producers on all three movies.
He followed up with the science fiction horror film, The Faculty (1998), written by Kevin Williamson (Scream 1 and 2). Then in 2001, Rodríguez enjoyed his first $100,000,000 (USD) Hollywood hit with Spy Kids, which went on to become a 4-movie franchise. A third “mariachi” film also appeared in late 2003, Once Upon a Time in Mexico which completed the Mariachi Trilogy.
2005 was the year that he broke through to a wider market with his adaptation of the Frank Miller graphic novels series Sin City. Rodríguez insisted that Frank Miller direct the film with him because he considered the visual style of Miller’s comic art to be just as important as his own in the film. However, the Directors Guild of America would not allow it, Rodríguez chose to resign from the DGA, stating, “It was easier for me to quietly resign before shooting because otherwise I’d be forced to make compromises I was unwilling to make or set a precedent that might hurt the guild later on.” By resigning from the DGA, Rodríguez was forced to relinquish his director’s seat on the film John Carter (an lucky break!).
Sin City was a critical hit in 2005 as well as a box office success, particularly for a hyperviolent comic book adaptation that did not have name recognition comparable to the X-Men or Spider-Man. He has stated that he is interested in eventually adapting all of Miller’s Sin City comic books, and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is currently in production.
Rodríguez also released The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 2005, a superhero-kid movie intended for the same younger audiences as his Spy Kids series. However, the film was not a major success.
Rodriguez wrote and directed the film Planet Terror for the collaboration with Quentin Tarantino in their double feature Grindhouse (2007). This film was a throwback to the Grindhouse exploitation cinema of the late 6o’s and 70’s.
In 2009 he released Shorts a family comedy adventure in keeping with his Spy Kids style. In 2010 he produced Predators and directed Machete an expansion of a fake trailer Rodriguez directed for the 2007 film Grindhouse. It starred Danny Trejo as the title character. Trejo, Rodriquez’ 2nd cousin, has worked with him on Desperado, From Dusk Till Dawn, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, and Spy Kids, where Trejo’s character was also known as Machete.
He operates a production company called Troublemaker Studios, formerly Los Hooligans Productions. Rodríguez not only has the unusual credits of producing, directing and writing his films, he also frequently serves as editor, director of photography, camera operator, steadicam operator, composer, production designer, visual effects supervisor, and sound editor on his films. This has earned him the nickname of “the one-man film crew.” He calls his style of making movies “Mariachi-style”
Harvey Keitel (born May 13, 1939) is an American actor. Some of his most notable starring roles were in Martin Scorsese’s Mean Streets and Taxi Driver, Ridley Scott’s The Duellists and Thelma & Louise, Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, Jane Campion’s The Piano, Abel Ferrara’s Bad Lieutenant, James Mangold’s Cop Land, and Nicolas Roeg’s Bad Timing.
Keitel grew up in the Brighton Beach section of Brooklyn, with his sister, Renee, and brother, Jerry. At the age of sixteen, he decided to join the United States Marine Corps, a decision that took him to Lebanon, during Operation Blue Hat (to bolster the pro-Western Lebanese government of President Camille Chamoun against internal opposition and threats from Syria and Egypt). After his return to the United States, he was a court reporter for several years and was able to support himself before beginning his acting career.
Keitel studied under both Stella Adler and Lee Strasberg, eventually landing roles in Off-Broadway productions. During this time, Keitel auditioned for filmmaker Martin Scorsese and gained a part in Scorsese’s student production, Who’s That Knocking at My Door? Since then, Scorsese and Keitel have worked together on several projects. Keitel had the starring role in Scorsese’s Mean Streets, which also proved to be Robert De Niro’s breakthrough film. He later appeared with De Niro in Taxi Driver, playing the role of Jodie Foster’s pimp ‘Sport’.
Originally cast as Captain Willard in Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, Keitel was involved with the first week of principal photography in the Philippines. Coppola was not happy with Keitel’s take on Willard, stating that the actor “found it difficult to play him a passive onlooker”. After viewing the first week’s footage, Coppola made the difficult decision to replace Keitel with a casting session favourite, Martin Sheen.
Keitel drifted into obscurity through most of the 1980s, taking mainly supporting roles in some good movies such as Bad Timing (1981) by Nicolas Roeg, The Border (1982) by Tony Richardson and Falling in Love (1984) with Robert De Niro and Meryl Streep. He continued to do work on both stage and screen, but usually in the stereotypical thug roles. In 1987 he again worked with Scorsese as Judas in The Last Temptation of Christ (1988). Another supporting role to Jack Nicolson in The Two Jakes (1990) before Ridley Scott cast Keitel as the sympathetic policeman in Thelma & Louise in 1991. That same year, he landed a role in Bugsy, for which he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
Keitel’s career revival continued when he starred in Quentin Tarantino’s debut Reservoir Dogs (which he co-produced) in 1992, where his performance as “Mr. White” took his career to a different level. Since then, Keitel has chosen his roles with care, seeking to change his image and show off a broader acting range. One of those roles was the title character in Abel Ferarra’s Bad Lieutenant (1992), about a self-loathing, drug- addicted police lieutenant trying to redeem himself. He also appeared in the movie The Piano in 1993, and played an efficient clean-up expert Winston “The Wolf” Wolfe in Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction (1994).
Keitel was back in a big way, he starred in Smoke and Clockers (both 1995), then in 1996 he had a major role in Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s film, From Dusk Till Dawn, as the religious father of two, whose camper van is hijacked by Seth (George Clooney) and his twisted brother Richard (Quentin Tarantino). In 1997 he starred in the excellent crime drama Cop Land, which also starred Sylvester Stallone, Ray Liotta, and long-time collaborator Robert De Niro.
He’s been incredibly busy through the last decade, featuring in a lot of movies… can someone please give him another gritty leading role to get his teeth in to..?
Eli Raphael Roth (born April 18, 1972) is an American film director, producer, writer and actor. He is known for his role as Donny “The Bear Jew” Donowitz in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds for which he won both a SAG Award (Best Ensemble) and a BFCA Critic’s Choice Award (Best Acting Ensemble).
Roth began shooting films at the age of eight after watching the Ridley Scott classic Alien (1979). He made over 50 short films with his brothers Adam and Gabe before graduating at Newton South High School and attending film school (the Tisch School of the Arts) at New York University, from which he graduated in 1994. By the age of 20, and while still a student at NYU, Roth ran the office of producer Frederick Zollo, eventually leaving to devote himself to writing full-time.
Through his internship with producer Fred Zollo in years prior, Roth met David Lynch and remained in contact with him over the years, eventually producing content for Lynch with his fledgling website in the late 1990s. Roth moved from NYC to LA in 1999; shortly thereafter he wrote, directed, edited, produced, animated, and provided voices for a series of animated shorts called Chowdaheads for Manderlay Sports Entertainment.
In 1995, a year after graduating from NYU, Roth cowrote Cabin Fever with his roommate and friend from NYU, Randy Pearlstein. Roth based the premise of the script on his own encounter with a skin infection he contracted while training horses at a farm in Selfoss, Iceland, in 1991. Much of the script was written while Roth was working as a production assistant in 1996 for Howerd Stern’s movie Private Parts.
Cabin Fever was made in 2001 on a budget of $1.5 million raised from private investors. Roth sold the film to Lionsgate at the 2002 Toronto Film Festival for $3.5 million, the biggest sale of the festival that year. The film was released in 2003 and was Lionsgate’s highest grossing film of the year, earning $22 million at the U.S. box office and $35 million worldwide. The film made Roth a new star in the horror genre. In his 2004 Premiere Magazine interview for Kill Bill, Quentin Tarantino called Cabin Fever his favorite new film and Roth “the future of horror.”
Roth’s second feature film, Hostel, was made in 2005 on a budget of a little more than $4 million. It opened to No. 1 at the box office in January 2006, taking in $20 million over its opening weekend. It eventually went on to gross $80 million worldwide in box office, and more than $180 million worldwide on DVD. The movie plot is said to take place in Slovakia, however, all the exteriors were shot in the Czech Republic. The story line is naively simple – three friends are lured to visit a hostel in which they think that all of their sexual fantasies will come true. Instead, they drop into the clutches of an international syndicate offering a first-hand torturing and killing experience to the sadistic pleasure of rich tourists. The film was voted the No. 1 scariest movie moment on the Bravo TV special 30 Even Scarier Movie Moments. Empire Magazine readers voted Hostel the Best Horror Film of 2007.
Roth reportedly turned down numerous studio directing jobs to make Hostel. He took a directing salary of only $10,000 on Hostel in order to keep the budget as low as possible so there would be no limitations on the violence. In January 2006, film critic David Edelstein in the New York Magazine credited Roth with creating the horror sub-genre ‘torture-porn,’ or ‘gorno,’ using excessive violence to excite audiences like a sexual act.
In the country supposedly depicted in the movie, the Slovak Republic, it generated unanimously indignant reaction in general public and official representatives. The artistic qualities of the movie aside, the very story is said to have slandered Slovakia, a country mostly unfamiliar to the non-European audience. Roth argued that he selected Slovakia as a setting for the picture to show Americans’ lack of knowledge. “Americans do not even know that this country exists. My film is not a geographical work but aims to show Americans’ ignorance of the world around them.”
In 2007, Roth directed the faux trailer segment Thanksgiving for Grindhouse in addition to appearing in Death Proof, Quentin Tarantino’s segment of the film.
Roth made a Hostel sequel in 2007, Hostel: Part II opened in sixth place with $8.2 million and went on to total $17.6 million by the end of its theatrical run. The film cost $10.2 million and made $35 million dollars worldwide and another $50 million on DVD and pay television.
In 2009, Roth co-starred with Brad Pitt in Quentin Tarantino’s World War II epic Inglourious Basterds, playing Donny Donowitz, a.k.a. “The Bear Jew.” He also guest directed the Nazi propaganda film-within-the-film, Nation’s Pride
Roth, through his company Arcade with Eric Newman and Strike producer Marc Abraham, produced the horror film The Last Exorcism, (originally titled Cotton) which was directed by Daniel Stamm. The Last Exorcism, which cost $1.5 million to produce, opened to over $20 million dollars in the U.S., and earned the #1 opening spots in Canada and the U.K. It earned over $40 million dollars at the U.S. box office, totaling $70 million worldwide. Roth has also produced Hostel: Part III. He is currently working on The Man with the Iron Fists and Endangered Species.
Last post featuring more poster art inspired by the films of Quentin Tarantino.
The first of a few random postings of poster art from Quentin Tarantino films…
In the near future, the economy has collapsed, unemployment has soared and juvenile crime has exploded. Fearful of their nation’s youth, the Japanese government passes The BR Law: Each year, a 9th grade class is sent to a remote island where they will be locked into exploding neck collars, given a random weapon, and forced to hunt and kill each other until there is only one survivor left. CHIAKI KURIYAMA (Kill Bill) and screen legend TAKESHI KITANO (Boiling Point, Brother) star in the movie that has been argued, acclaimed and banned around the world. More than a decade later, it remains one of the most savage, shocking and emotionally powerful films of all time. Now experience the complete Director’s Cut of KINJI FUKASAKU’s uncompromising masterpiece — nominated for 10 Japanese Academy Awards — available uncensored and unrated for the first time ever in North America.
So the second hostel features 3 girls instead of 3 lads; see what he did there, totally different approach. They are the apparently as-rich-as-Bill Gates Beth (Lauren German), her feisty friend Whitney (Bijou Phillips) and tag along nerd Lorna (Heather Matarazzo – who deserves better material than this and is given nothing to do).
The movie opens with Paxton from the first movie waking from a ‘oh no it was a dream’ shot, it wasn’t he’s decapitated. The girls head to the hostel in Slovakia and are drugged, kidnapped and we’ve been here before.
The killings this time around include an Elizabeth Bathory style bathing in a bath of blood, a guy torn apart by the facility guard dogs and a circular saw to the face, well, hair but the face comes off with it…
SPOILER ALERT. Beth turns the tables on her torturer and makes a deal with the mafia types to escape. To do so though, she must kill as apparently that’s house rules. So she cuts off her would-be-torturers genitals and throws them to a guard dog!
Worse than the first one; it repeats the same structure without improving on it which shouldn’t have been too difficult. There are a few scenes that you know are added to set-up another possible sequel… please God NO.
A disappointing effort from Eli Roth who’s really enjoyed the limelight he’s been thrust into over the last few years since. ‘Cabin Fever’ was a great debut; it promised so much and won him so many fans as he spoke like a fan of the genre. He seems to be coasting along when he really should be pushing to make something great, he probably has the ability we’re just waiting to see it.
Quality: Averagely well made 2 out of 5 stars
Any good: Not really 1 out of 5 stars
Three backpackers in Amsterdam are locked out of their hostel. They trawl through the red light district, get drunk and are given information about a hostel in Slovakia where the girls are beautiful and love American men. The hostel is ‘To die for’
These opening scenes are supposed to give us some time to get to know our lead characters and therefore have some empathy for them when they’re inevitably tortured and killed.
Anyway the guys, Americans Paxton (Jay Hernandez), Josh (Derek Richardson) and Icelander Oli (Eythor Gudjonsson) head off to Slovakia and check-in to the hostel. On first impression it seems like the hostel is as they were led to believe. Not at all a front for a rich man’s club where they pay small fortunes to torture and kill backpackers with impunity… Or is it..?
Soon enough, they’re drugged, kidnapped and strapped into chairs in murky rooms… Torture ensues: tendons cut, fingers and toes severed etc, the usual stuff… then it’s a blow torch to an eye.
This is Eli Roth’s second feature after his fun debut ‘Cabin Fever’. Despite the bigger budget, higher production values and Quentin Tarantino as executive producer it’s not as good as his debut. Sure it’s a good idea for a horror film; it’s just not that good an idea. We’ve seen similar themes before and I’m sure Roth and Tarantino have seen the same movies being fans of horror and Grind house.
I just don’t buy it. The whole premise of a hostel where these kids disappear from was like an ‘anti-The Beach’ and pointless.
SPOILER ALERT. Paxton’s escape and revenge is a little too contrived and totally unbelievable. The car chase killing of the bastards who led him to the hostel is a bad joke and the train station revenge feels like an add-on idea.
Not as bad as I’ve described it. But if you like this sort of thing, seeing people tortured then you’re sick and fortunately for you there are better movies out there. The horrific ‘The Girl Next Door’ was made on a fraction of the budget and has realistic, empathetic characters. Also ‘Martyrs’ leaves this in its wake for creepy chills and disturbing scenes of torture. If you can handle it ‘Salo: 120 Days of Sodom’ will disturb, horrify and scare the shit out of you in equal measures.
Quality: Well made 3 out of 5 stars
Any good: Not really, 2 out of 5 stars