Sunday, June 17, 2007

Oh, Bloody Hell

Can you imagine that if at the end of every one of Stanley Kubrick's movies, he made an announcement that stated: you better see this one because I'm not making another movie for about six more years. It would be shameless, but might be motivation since Kubrick's movies were so good. You might just want to get your fix in, knowing that it will be some time before you see another.


The same cannot be said of Eli Roth's movies. Damian over at Windmills Of My Mind has posted about a recent message from Eli Roth's MySpace page about the poor reception to Hostel II. You can read Eli's message here, but allow me to paraphrase. He blames poor receipts on piracy of his movie. Along with his "poor me" message, Eli very subtlety issues a couple of threats. One that says that he plans on taking the rest of the year off before making another movie, so in actuality we're looking at at least two years before we see another movie from him. Man, two whole years. That's 730 days! His second threat is about the death of the 'R' rated horror movie saying that by going to see Hostel II, you are sending a message to Hollywood. He asks all of his "friends" on MySpace to invite their "friends" to go see the movie this weekend because that would really make a difference. He asks his "friends" to invite non-horror movie fans. Now, I have yet to see Hostel II, but I can say based on the subject matter, if you want a horror newbie to stay away from horror forever, bring them to a screening of Hostel or its sequel for they represent horror movies as a whole about as much as The Benchwarmers' represents comedy as a whole.

My problem with Eli Roth is (and I have stated this in many comment sections of many blogs) is that I don't like him being the poster child for horror. I appreciate that he has brought horror to the forefront, but to me horror deserves better. I did not care for Cabin Fever as a debut (you want to see a good horror debut, check out Malevolence). I also don't care for how Roth promotes his films as some sort of cathartic response to the war in Iraq and 9/11. I don't have to see Hostel or its sequel to know that they are not that important of films. And now, Eli tells us that we better see this one because he won't be making another for a while and that by not seeing this, we're contributing to the death of good horror? I would just like to see Eli's film based on what others have to say about it, not him.

Damian asks the rhetorical question "is Eli serious?" And the problem is, I think he is.

My last bit on this is this: I can say what I will and others may to about Eli Roth, but he certainly has made us all a flutter about what he is doing. And like chum in the water, we're all circling and feeding off of it. I honestly plan on seeing Hostel II because I believe it a bit hypocritical to comment on this as much as I have without seeing either I or II. I have made this bed and now I must sleep in it. And as a horror lover, I am interested in seeing where the current state of horror is even if I necessarily don't agree with it. But past that, I'm done talking about Eli. He's really not worth my time if I don't ultimately respect him. He's really given me no reason to.

9 comments:

Mexican said...

what an idiot.

I love Roth's films, but he is expecting too much in a very crowded summer.

Damian said...

Yeah, Roth's comments surprised me at first but then, after I thought about it, I realized that they shouldn't have. They represent typical "Roth logic," i.e. that of an immature child who is finding that people don't want to "play with him" so much anymore. So, he's blaming everyone else, ignoring the possibility that he might have had something to do with it himself. His "threat" to not make a movie for another year (as if it really were a threat) is akin to saying "I'm picking up my ball and going home."

Also, I don't think you're being hypocritical. People make judgements all the time about things without having personally fully experienced them. We sort of have to. I said something to that effect over at Cinematical on a post about Nikki Finke calling Hostel II "disgusting" without having seen it:

Perhaps a more important question than whether or not one can call a film "disgusting" before seeing it is whether or not a person can say ANYTHING about a film prior to seeing it. Is watching trailers, seeing clips from the movie and reading a number of reviews that describe what happens in the film sufficient to decide whether or not the movie is "disgusting" or "dark" or "pleasant" or whatever? Furthermore, how much of a film does one have to see before one can legitimately form an opinion about it? 100%? 50%? Can I turn off/walk out of a film 20 minutes into it and still be able to tell other people about it? Or do I actually have to watch a film multiple times to be able to properly appreciate or evaluate it (since some people say seeing a film once isn't enough to "get" it?

What this really boils down to is what degree of knowledge do we demand from ourselves and from others on any given subject? How much information does one need before one can form a definite conclusion about anything? Is personal experience the ONLY way by which a person can can legitimately praise or criticize something? Is 20/20 vision ONLY possible in hindsight? Do I have to personally take cocaine to know it's not good for me and to advise others, with any kind of authority, not to do it? I don't think so.


Not that I'm saying you shouldn't see Hostel II, but I think there's no need to feel guilty making claims about it before having seen it (just so long as, in the midst of whatever you're saying, you always remind folks that you haven't seen it yet and therefore leave the possibility open that you could be wrong).

Piper said...

Damian, you make great points about seeing the film or not seeing the film but I feel I come at it a bit differently. I'm making generalizations about Roth's career thus far and I've only seen one of his movies. I personally (personally) feel that I need to be a bit more educated about his films. It's only a couple more so it's not like it's too taxing. But then again, it's Roth, so maybe it is.

Damian said...

Well, you're a very conscientious moviegoer, Piper. I like that about you. :)

Ray said...

Roth's idea of horror films is completely wrong headed. Gore is EASY to pull off, Eli. That's why hacks like you can make film after film of bloody special effects and call it a horror film.

I haven't seen a truly scary and unnerving horror film since the first time I saw Blair Witch, and before that ... hmmm ... they reissued "Alien" at the theaters in the nineties...

Man, the horror film is going the way of the Western ...

Piper said...

Seriously Ray, you should check out Malevolence. It's an excellent horror movie made in the tradition of the older horror movies placing the emphasis on suspense instead of gore. Because you're right, anyone can do gore. Gore really takes no thought.

Now if Roth were to pursue a career that was much like what he showed in the Thanksgiving trailer, he might be on to something. But right now he seems lost.

Ray said...

Piper, I have seen Malevolence. I thought it was a fairly effective horror film. Malevolence demonstrates that building tension, and then paying off that tension with well-executed scares, works better than simply trapping people in rooms and torturing them. Sure, when we watch people being gutted onscreen, we get upset/nervous/grossed out, but not truly SCARED.

Sheamus the... said...

good and interesting thoughts...i will get back to you after I eat the chum.

the mexican said...

Hey,

I linked you on my post:

http://sirjorgecomics.blogspot.com/2007/06/jason-todd-lore-and-eli-roth-is-idiot.html

yep...thanks for the comment :)