Horror is Dead. Eli Roth killed it with a single poster.

Posted by Peter Hall - December 14th 2006 @ 10:06 pm
Hostel 2 International One Sheet

It is this Hostel II poster – and this poster alone – that has convinced me studio horror has no future.  It may not be dead in the sense that blood and synaptic nerve firings keep it physically animated and profitable, but it is as dead as any other junkie unable to kick its self destructive ways:  Futureless without a hope – nay, care – for redemption whose classification as living is a mere matter of technicalities.

I realize this isn’t going to be the One Sheet you see in your local cinema.   It is the "international" poster, so chances are you’ll only ever see this on a computer monitor, but the fact that it exists is what pisses me off in the first place.  Not the image itself, but the obvious thought process behind its creation.

We get it, Eli.  You’re soooo gross.  We’re all soooo offended by the things you dare put in a movie.  Your films are soooo edgy that an indistinguishable close up of split flesh – any flesh – is the only visual that can truly convey your art.

Gods forbid you should put an actual character on your poster.  Or, perhaps more accurately, Gods forbid you should put a character actually worth a damn in one of your movies.

I used to love you, Eli.  I bought this site in dedication to your declaration on the Cabin Fever commentary track.  And now you’ve gone and made a complete liar out of me.  All you’ve done with this marketing ploy is cemented the fact that gore has defeated story and character.  The shock has slain the art of shocking. 

The chicken is eating the egg.


rss 19 comments
  1. December 15th, 2006 | 6:42 am | #1

    A lot of people seem to think this is a fantastic bit of shocking marketing, but it does nothing for me, while I don’t find raw meet attractive in anyway I don’t find It shocking, it’s not like I have not been in a supermarket before.

    I think your right though it’s just viral marketing for the internet. I thought Cabin fever was fun, Hostel was pretty boring for the most part, it seems to appeal more to Americans who have never travelled and believe that Europeans and other nations hate them, when in reality in my experience Americans find a pretty warm welcome in most tourist destinations. As with any tourist it’s a case of not acting like a dick in other nations, but that applies to any traveller.

  2. December 15th, 2006 | 8:28 am | #2

    Hostel isn’t about not *acting* like a dick, it’s about not *being led* by your dick. If those guys were just a smidge less horny and a tad more high, they would have never left Amsterdam, and the movie could have been billed as “National Lampoon’s Hostel”.

    Cabin Fever, on the other hand, was total shit. Peter, please stop reminding me that it inspired you to do anything (even a website as cool as this one). It hurts each time I hear that.

  3. December 15th, 2006 | 8:49 am | #3

    I was actually just talking about Tourism in general and not about Hostel. If you liked it fine, a lot of people did. I personaly found it boring but that’s just how I felt, I’m not expecting everyone to feel the same.

    I just commented because I have seen a lot of people based in America really liked the Americans are worth more angle, it plays on a fear intrinsic to many people in that nation. As I am not American and have travelled, it’s not something which worked or was intended to work for me. My point was just a wider one about the fact that most tourists are not hated because they are part of the economy, unless they act like dicks which travellers from all nations sometimes do. I understand why they needed to act that way for Hostel, but I still found it dull for the most part, but hey you can’t like everything.

  4. December 15th, 2006 | 9:06 am | #4

    No, I get what you’re saying. I don’t really know that Roth does, but I see where you’re coming from.

    For the record, I thought Hostel was OK. Then again, I was expecting a complete train wreck like Cabin Fever. I have no plans to ever see Hostel 2.

  5. Christine
    December 15th, 2006 | 11:42 am | #5

    I have no arguement as far as American tourists go… so I will go off topic and say I’m tired of seeing “Quentin Tarantino presents” everywhere. I mean, is that really suppose to make me jump up and go see the movie? If anything, after the past few years of his name being splattered everywhere and anywhere that it really doesn’t deserve to be, the idea of seeing the movie seems much less appealing. I not too fond of Eli Roth, but I sure as hell think his name needs to be given credit before Quentin Tarantino’s. But…thats just me.

  6. December 15th, 2006 | 12:20 pm | #6

    Actually, I think the full title is something like:

    Quentin Tarantino presents the Screen Gems production of a Lions Gate film, Eli Roth’s Hostel Part II: Electric Hosteloo

    …but they couldn’t fit all of that on the poster and still make room for all of the raw meat.

    Actually, that poster kinda looks like an anti-smoking ad. This is the healthy lung, soon to be followed up by the grayer smoker’s lung on a future poster before the film’s release. Collect them all!

  7. Christine
    December 15th, 2006 | 4:30 pm | #7

    hahaha….nice observation

    well, if that is the case, then I suppose Eli Roth’s subliminal anti-smoking sentiment makes the advertisement good for something…

  8. December 15th, 2006 | 5:16 pm | #8

    It’s also been my experience (though I’ve not traveled anywhere except the UK) that Americans aren’t actually perceived as the scum of the earth by every native of every other country. Unless you’re going to go hang out in the Middle East or Columbia, you’re probably not going to have your head chopped off for money. That’s just some tourism thought in general.

    In regards to Hostel’s tourism thought process… American’s costing more – to me – is pointless. Sure, if you’re going to bank on people genuinely hating Americans, it works. But in the reality, it’s not that these people are paying to go kill different nationalities. They’re paying to go kill people. The emphasis placed on what country they’re from seems entirely arbitrary to me and actually takes away from the far stronger concept that there is a group of people who pay to torture people, period. That’s all the movie should have focused on. The people, not their flags. Not that Roth made a feature length dissertation on geopolitical hatred, but still.

    But all of this is null and void because the movie failed miserably in all regards. That mob of kids is still the funniest thing I’ve seen all year.

    And yeah, Quentin Tarantino needs to get his ego up off other people’s movies. Or, if he is going to keep that up, he needs to get around to making more movies of his own on a far more frequent basis.

  9. andy sell
    December 18th, 2006 | 12:39 pm | #9

    you know, i actually don’t mind this poster all that much.

    color me crazy.

    because, honestly, i HATE eli roth and want him out of my genre ASAP. no deposit, no return, buddy. out. NOW-ish.

    but this poster? the only things that REALLY bug me about it are the “Quentin Tarantino presents” and the “Eli Roth’s” because that name-above-title crap has always brought some serious red to my eyes.

    well, and yes, i agree, roth’s intention behind it was horrible and insulting and reflects his poor attitude toward the genre in general. and yes, makes me despise that frat-splat nonsense he stands for even more.

    but… i really find it aesthetically interesting.

    not shocking.

    not awesome.

    just… different. interesting.

    sue me.

  10. andy sell
    December 18th, 2006 | 12:52 pm | #10

    oh, and Peter… i appreciate the hyperbole here. really i do.

    but, honestly, i would never give roth enough credit to grant him accountability in something as extreme as the full-on Death of Horror.

    not even in the slightest.

    the guy is a pimple on the face of a genre that is older than all of us could ever hope to be. it outlasted the imitation clowns in the 80’s, it’ll outlast this guy too.

    the only thing that really troubles me is that this genre has a way of edifying anyone and everyone (and their work) who has a relatively high profile during any of the “upswing” periods. they are absorbed into the genre’s history and granted legitimacy.

    i mean, there were people in the past who have made pretty popular horror films, some even hailed as classics, that i, quite frankly, don’t get. i don’t see what’s so great about them.

    meanwhile, there are titles that have been completely ignored and given almost no recognition whatsoever, that i feel are amazing, unheralded gems that informed the genre in more ways than a lot of the big ones.

    wait…

    what was my point?

    oh yeah, eli roth sucks and needs to stop. but Horror is something far more powerful than him or his fans or the idiot studios that keep green-lighting such garbage.

    we made it through Gothika.

    this too shall pass.

  11. December 18th, 2006 | 5:16 pm | #11

    True, he didn’t actually kill the entire thing – hyperbole is what I do best – but he is christening its death blow.

    The increasing abandonment of substance for superficiality in the horror genre is killing it. It is increasing its profitability, but it is bleeding the soul out of the entire enterprise, as far as studio involvement is concerned. Indie and foreign affairs are still thriving with originality and actual balls, but studio horror is falling under the pressures this new style is exerting.

    The success of Hostel 2, which isn’t guaranteed but damn near unavoidable, is just going to seal the deal that original, story and character driven horror with muscle tightening suspense is dead in studio deals.

    Unless of course Hostel 2 contains those things….

    But who are we kidding?

  12. andy sell
    December 18th, 2006 | 7:11 pm | #12

    yeah, i agree.

    but let’s face it, major studio horror has been dead and rotting openly for well over a decade now (with the odd exception here and there).

    and anyone who holds their breath for a HOSTEL film with interesting characters and strong substance will soon join it.

  13. andy sell
    December 20th, 2006 | 12:50 pm | #13

    so i just read on CHUD.com that this poster got MPAA approval for the US…

    they also posted an email from Roth where he’s all bragging and stoked and talking about how people are going to puke when they see this hanging in their local multiplex or whatever…

    man, i hate that guy.

  14. December 20th, 2006 | 5:23 pm | #14

    Case and point.

    What a damned joke.

  15. Christina
    May 19th, 2007 | 8:14 pm | #15

    Eli Roth doesn’t suck because of one poster. He sucks because his movies suck too. I went to the original Hostel expecting great things and lots of gore. I was so beyond disappointed. The first Hostel was not gorey. There was basically 2 gorey parts that were tame compared to some of the better movies out there today.
    The rest of the movie was a porno and I did not pay $7 to see a bunch of girls boobs.
    BOOO HOSTEL SUCKS! I will not be seeing the 2nd one. Eli Roth Sucks and I will never spend my money seeing his films ever again.

  16. R.J. Sayer
    May 22nd, 2007 | 11:05 am | #16

    I think we can all agree that – whatever the reason – Eli Roth just totally sucks.

    To date, the only thing he’s done that i’ve been even mildly impressed by was the THANKSGIVING trailer.

  17. chris c
    May 26th, 2007 | 9:03 am | #17

    ….and the Thanksgiving fake-trailer looks crap too! There’s something slimily misogynist about the whole decontextualised thing, supported by his oft quoted attempts to return to a less PC time (I suggest he return to… NO i won’t even go there)… if his films were shocking, revolting, radical or inventive I would forgive at least some of his failures to articulate basic narrative devices like character development.

  18. May 26th, 2007 | 9:19 am | #18

    Amen.

  19. Horror B
    April 27th, 2009 | 1:29 pm | #19

    I didn’t like it whan Eli Roth ‘blamed’ the ‘success of horror’ on George W. Bush. I was personally insulted as a writer, reader and movie fan of the genre. The horror genre’s popularity is based on the hard work everyone puts into it, from the writer to the make up artist. To ‘blame’ someone for its success degrades that hard work and the people involved.

    Eli Roth is a talentless hack, and he should just stick with putting on glitter lipstick and blush. I hate him, he’s an asshole and the worst thing that could happen to the horror genre.

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