Monday, May 08, 2006


On my last layover in AMSTERDAM, a colleague and I saw HOSTEL on his computer/DVD player. Presented by Quentin Tarantino, it begins in AMS with three backpackers, two Americans and one Icelander bent on sex and getting high. They get lured to a hostel in Eastern Europe which turns out to be a front for a black-market kidnapping ring. Hostellers disappear, usually after partying. They've been slipped drugs and are spirited away to this abandoned factory or whatever that is basically serving as a giant abattoir. Unbelievably affluent clients pay for the sick thrill of torturing these hapless travelers to death. Americans fetch the highest price...The film rattles around uncomfortably in your head for quite awhile after viewing it. You wonder if such a place could actually exist, if the normal-looking strait-laced businessman next to you gets off on donning slaugherhouse gear and turning a human-being into a pile of meat. And you wonder what kind of mind would enjoy such a grisly pastime...especially when one of the sadistic characters had a young daughter of his own... It draws parallels with the United States official line regarding their interrogation practices abroad, not to mention American arrogance and imperialism. You can easily understand why a stupid, swaggering fratboy American would fetch the highest bidding price for the flesh-rending... Some of the evil is punished...but it leaves an unsettled feeling in the pit of one's stomach to entertain the notion that this shit is closer to REAL than we'd like to imagine...


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