An Open Letter to Eli Roth

Posted by Peter Hall - April 18th 2006 @ 3:07 pm

In this month’s Fango (if you haven’t noticed yet, Fangoria is the only magazine I subscribe to) one of the fan letters printed was regarding Hostel and the “overt heterosexism and homophobia that permeates the film”, in addition to the film’s main torturer being bisexual. Eli Roth actually took the time to pass on a rebuttle to the magazine, which they published following the original letter:

Eli Roth responds: “Letters like this one reflect a very disturbing trend happening in cinema today: political correctness. This person is clearly out of touch with how young people in America speak. If you go to any high-school or college campus, kids use the word ‘gay’ to describe something they think is stupid or idiotic. I am trying to write characters who are real, and speak the way young American people actually talk to each other. When someone is acting like a pussy, they call that person a ‘fag,’ It does not mean that the person using it is homophobic or is saying that someone afraid to do something is homosexual. It’s interesting to note that this reader found no offense at burning a girl’s face off with a blow torch and then cutting her eye out, but was seriously distrubed by the words ‘gay’ and ‘fag.’

I remember when Basic Instinct came out, some activists were protesting because they were afraid that people would think that all bisexuals were murderers. Does this person honestly beliece that this movie will make people think homosexuals are killers? Come on. Grow up. Get over yourself. When I was in college, a student held a seminar on ‘recoverd homosexuals.’ He invited six ‘recovered homosexuals’ to talk about how religion cured them, as if they had some disease like alcoholism. About 600 angry people attended the seminar, many of them gay, and the whole room watched in amazement as these people on stage talked about using Jesus to choose ‘the right path’ and how they left behind a life of ‘homosinuality.’ This was an event I witnessed with my own eyes, and I used it as a basis for a character who acts out his repression through torture instead of religion.

Is this person saying I don’t have the right to write what I’ve seen into my scripts? Should we all just give up and make movies with characters so politically correct that they don’t offend anybody? Who wants their horror films safe? If you want safe movies that are politically correct, why are you reading this magazine? Why not spend your time fighting politicians who try to outlaw homosexuality, instead of filmmakers who are reflecting the world they see around them? However, Hostel clearly stirred something in this reader and sparked a discussion, which for a filmmaker is all you can ask for.”

I don’t care that the dialogue is juvenille – Roth wanted dumbass frat boys, Roth gaveth dumbass frat boys – but what tips my bullshit scale is that bit about, “a character who acts out his repression through torture instead of religion.”

Oh comeon, you liar! That thought never once entered your mind when you were writing that character and you know it. Wasn’t the whole motivation for his torturing people so that he could imagine he was the surgeon life wouldn’t let him be? Don’t make up shit just because someone attacked your movie. And what in the hell does that have to do with the ‘recovered homosexuals’ lecture?

Also, sure you have the “right to write” what you’ve seen in your scripts, but that doesn’t mean you have to. Just because every person of our generation refers to anything and everything as gay doesn’t mean you have to write it into your movie. You’re just selling idioacy to your target demographic.

I’ll be the first person to say people are stupid, because people are stupid, but at least I don’t underestimate your 18-25 aged male’s ability to relate to dialogue that isn’t heavily peppered with the words ‘gay’ and ‘fag.’ It’s not like people went into this movie and said, “Dude, that guy says fag alot. I say fag alot! This movie totally fucking gets me.”

Not being politically correct is fun and all, but filling your movie with such casual and derrogatory dialogue doesn’t make you some great crusader for free speech.

I don’t think Eli Roth is on a high horse here or anything, he seems like a perfectly cool and intelligent guy (and I still respect the hell out of him even if I hated both 2001 Maniacs and Hostel), but seriously, who are you trying to fool with that response?


rss 2 comments
  1. rjbrown
    April 21st, 2006 | 10:08 am | #1

    Yeah Eli Roth is pretty much full of shit.

  2. chris
    January 26th, 2007 | 1:07 pm | #2

    Hi – good points well made.

    I personally find fuckers who criticise the phrase ‘politically correct’ to be highly questionable…

    ‘I found that really racist’
    ‘your just being politically correct!’

    anyway, the homophobe idiot Roth equates cowardice with PUSSY! i know he’s from the USA and that phrase has become common, but like the over use of the word ‘bitch’ it’s use is sourced from a more misgynistic origin.

    And the film Hostel isn’t a good horror film either.

    His griping about the letter writer being able to put up with (‘a girl’ – how charmingly sweet of Roth) having her face burnt off but not gratuitous homophobia – the guy went to see a fucking horror film Roth you simple minded arrogant toss pot!

    I heard there was a HUGE amount of script editing involved in Hostel cos Roth stank it up so much… but there was NO excuse for making such a boring derivitive mess of a film, and patronising the audience, particularly abroad and faking some irony ‘it’s not real eastern europe, just hollywood europe’ or ‘it’s a deliberate critique of Americans abroad’…

    bullshit Roth

    time to come in now your time is up.

    btw – excellent site, keep up the brilliant work

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