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Film / Hostel

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Hostel is a 2005 horror/Torture Porn movie by Eli Roth and produced by Quentin Tarantino.

The film (and its sequels) revolve around Elite Hunting, a secret society of torture clubs, which use Eastern European hostels (basically cheap dorm-style hotels for tourists) and local women to capture victims for the wealthy to kill and torture at their leisure.

The first film featured male victims while the second film features female victims of the organization. A third film, which relocates the series to Las Vegas, was released Direct-to-Video in 2011. All three films are not to be watched while eating a bowl of spaghetti.

Not surprisingly, the film has been heavily censored in various countries and lambasted by the Czech Republic and Slovakia for their portrayal in the film. (It gets worse: The movie was not only set in Slovakia and filmed in the Czech Republic, it sports people with Russian names (uncommon thereabouts), speaking Russian, and dressed in uniforms that are probably from Ukraine. Also, it portrays the countries as they were in the late 1980s. No wonder both countries were offended.)


It should be noted that real-life hostels are emphatically not torture-chambers of any description. While they once had a reputation for being rather disreputable (in that they were largely unpoliced and prone to incidents of theft), recent efforts and gentrification have succeeded in revitalizing the modern hostel as a safe, secure, and family-oriented location.

Provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Beth in Part II is more badass than any previous protagonists by a fair margin — she gives Stuart, her torturer, a brutal Groin Attack with garden shears, joins the hunting club, and beheads the woman who tricked her and her friends into going to the hostel in the end. Oh, and she becomes one of the club members... i.e. the villains of the movie.
  • Affably Evil: Some of Elite Hunting's clients, like the Dutch Businessman, can be quite pleasant people...unless you're one of the people they've paid to kill, of course.
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  • Agony of the Feet: Josh. Hoo, boy...
  • And I Must Scream
  • Anti-Climax: In the sequel, between Beth simply buying her freedom from the Elite Hunting Club and her final scene only showing her killing Axelle and nothing more, the movie seems to simply come to a grinding halt rather than end.
  • Artistic License – Geography: The Amsterdam featured in the film's opening doesn't much resemble the actual Amsterdam. And the less said about the film's portrayal of Slovakia, the better.
  • Auction of Evil: In the second film, one scene shows wealthy people typing on their cell phones/computers, bidding for the right to torture and kill the women displayed on their devices' screens. The bidding is in the tens of thousands of dollars.
  • Ax-Crazy: The majority of the Elite Hunting clientele, none more triumphant than the American Businessman in the first film and eventually Stuart in the sequel.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Played straight in all three films. A few villains were killed but the organization in general continues and those running it continue to be millionaires from it. Did we mention the "heroine" of the second movie joins the organization at the end of the movie?
  • Berserk Button: Beth, when someone calls her a cunt. Stuart when his wife is mentioned
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Stuart seems much less enthusiastic about torturing someone than his friend Todd, but in reality he chose someone who looks almost exactly like his wife and his hesitancy in selecting weaponry is simply because he wants to beat her to death with his bare hands.
  • Big Bad: Sasha Rassimov, the leader of the Elite Hunting.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Many of the scenes include dialogue spoken in untranslated foreign languages—most notably, a speech delivered by the main character towards his torturer in German.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: The three protagonists in the first movie are homophobic and impulsive sex addicts who become targets of deranged sadists who pay thousands of dollars solely to torture victims to death. It's obvious what the lesser of the two evils is here.
  • Blood Bath: In the sequel, one of the clients of the Elite Hunting group is a woman who slices up a suspended female captive with scythes and sickles, and bathes in the blood that spills out of her wounds. The client just so happened to be named Mrs. Bathory as a Shout-Out to the Trope Maker.
  • The Can Kicked Him: The awesome climax.
  • Car Fu: During the escape scene.
  • The Cameo: Japanese filmmaker Takashi Miike is seen leaving the Elite Hunting club's slaughterhouse in the first movie.
    • The old man cannibal in Hostel Part II? That's Ruggero Deodato, director of Cannibal Holocaust.
  • Chainsaw Good: Though in an amusing case of Reality Ensuing, it doesn't end well for the would be chainsaw wielder.
  • Chekhov's Hobby: Beth's fortune. Beth was revealed to hold a vast fortune, the point of its mention not made clear until later.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Ultimately subverted. Paxton is implied to speak German earlier in the film. He shows he can later on to a German Elite Hunting club member, but it doesn't help him any.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: A lot.
  • Creepy Children: The Bubblegum Gang.
  • Deadly Road Trip: They target tourists.
  • Death by Sex: Averted. The only survivor of the first movie is Paxton, possibly the horniest of the main characters, while Josh, who was quite reluctant about their... activities is killed slowly and painfully. It's not an aversion as it's part of Eli Roth's overall themes as a writer; in his horror films, the virgin always dies horribly while the slut/manwhore is usually the last man standing. Although, in the second film, the only survivor is the sensible one who avoided hooking up with any guys. Then again, it may also be an inversion of Bury Your Gays due to Beth's Les Yay subtext with Axelle.
    • The second film somewhat subverts this as while the survivor is the one who avoids hooking up with any guys, she is not a virgin and it is the clearly virginal Lorna dies first.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Mrs. Bathory and possibly The Dutch Businessman. Since he has a daughter he might have a wife as well and he makes some creepy advances to Josh.
  • Depraved Homosexual: The Dutch Businessman. Possibly Axelle who may be lesbian or at least bi or maybe using her sexuality to manipulate Beth and maybe depraved. Or maybe she's just ruthless.
  • Developing Doomed Characters: Go ahead, admit it. Ten minutes into the movie, you were crossing your fingers in hopes that they would all just die already.
  • Double Standard: The Slovaks were pissed off enough with the film portraying their country as an ensemble of some of the most glaring and outdated East European clichés but they certainly didn't feel much better when director Eli Roth issued a formal apology... to the Icelandic Minister of Culture for having Eythor Gudjonsson star as a drunken Icelander.
  • Driven to Suicide: When the victim finally sees a reflection of the damage, Kana jumps into a train's path.
  • Epic Fail: In what is a borderline Deus ex Machina, the German Elite Hunter about to mutilate Paxton further slips on the fingers he cut off and is dismembered by his own chainsaw.
  • For the Evulz: This is basically the sole motivation of the Elite Hunting's customers for horribily torture and kill innocent captives.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: [[The Dutch Businessman is possibly the most brutal character of the whole 1st movie but he's shown to deeply love his little daughter. In an alternate ending he goes into a desperate Villainous Breakdowwn after Paxton kidnaps her as an act of vengeance.]]
  • Evil Laugh: Natalya
  • Eye Scream: Kana, the Japanese girl, has most of the skin around her eye blow-torched off, leaving it dangling nastily by the optic nerve. Paxton later has to remove her eye, in graphic detail.
  • Face/Heel Double-Turn: Todd and Stuart start out as the ones wanting to torture though Todd is very interested while Stuart is extremely reluctant but does not want to let his friend down. By the end, once Todd accidentally cuts Whitney, he gets horrified and tries to help her while Stuart starts increasingly enjoying brutalizing his victim.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Stuart of Part II. He was Evil All Along, but only "discovered" himself near the end.
  • Fanservice: See Hell-Bent For Leather.
  • Fan Disservice: Well, obviously. One specific example, though, in Part II: The nice-looking Heather Matarazzo isn't so nice looking when hung upside down and bled to death. Also, Stuart, having his genitals pried off with a pair of shears.
  • Fatal Family Photo: Both Oli and the Dutch Businessman on the train.
  • Fingore: Paxton loses a few fingers from the appointed torturer.
  • From Bad to Worse: Having half your hand cut off, escaping via dead body trolley, getting outside the hostel, going back in to save a girl and having to cut out her eyeball, only for her to kill herself 10 minutes later.
    • Hell, if ya want to go down that road, he went through all that for literally nothing, as he gets himself decapitated shortly after returning home in the sequel.
  • Gorn:
    • The only time this is not used is in the first 30 minutes of the first film.
    • The Mrs. Bathory scene in Part II brings the "porn" part of gorn to a whole new level.
  • Groin Attack: Beth to Stuart. With garden shears. With no discretion shot. Even the hardened killers working there recoil. Then she feeds his genitals to a guard dog.
    "Let him bleed to death."
    • In the first film, as Paxton was being taken to his room, he sees a few other people being tortured. One of them appeared to be suspended helplessly, with the man's genitals being twisted off. With a rather sickening crunch.
  • Heel–Face Turn: After acting all badass throughout Part II, Todd quickly realizes the reality of his actions after unintentionally wounding Whitney whilst playing with a saw, leaving the room disgusted.
    • Redemption Equals Death: Unfortunately for him, the Club answers to his departure by unleashing dogs on him, who promptly eat him.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: In the third movie, Justin gets tortured by a woman dressed in a leather cat suit. We have many close ups on her rear.
  • Hell Hotel: Well, yeah.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • Paxton's would-be killer in the first movie is killed by his own chainsaw/gun.
    • Stuart in Part II. Goes from client to game.
    • In Part III, the host of the Vegas death show, 'Wheel of Misfortune' releases the protagonist from the torture chair, just before Carter was about to kill him as a Take That! towards Carter. This causes a ripple effect resulting in him blowing the operation and him getting killed by the hands of Carter later.
  • Honey Trap: Natalya, Svetlana and Valla. Axelle to an extent in that she flirts with Beth.
  • Horror Films
  • Hourglass Plot: Todd and Stuart in Part II. The former starts out looking forward to torturing his victims, while the latter is clearly reluctant. Todd ends up disgusted with himself and refuses to kill Beth, which leads to his death, while Stuart turns out to be unrepentantly depraved underneath his passive façade.
  • Human Pincushion: In the third film, Justin's death involves several arrows from a crossbow shot toward his body.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The old man briefly seen in the sequel. He slowly cuts away at Miroslav's leg, puts it on a plate, and happily eats away at a table in the background.
  • Impaled Palm: Carter via corkscrew.
  • Improvised Weapon: There are some interesting tools on the tables...
  • It Only Works Once: Paxton manages to escape the facility in the first film by exploiting their poor security. In the sequel, these flaws have since been rectified.
  • Japanese Tourist: Kana and Yuki, though the girl that played Kana was actually British.
  • Jerkass: Paxton (at first) and Oli in the first movie, and Whitney in the second.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: The opening of the film shows that Paxton is certainly a fairly obnoxious Jerkass. That said, he proves more sympathetic as the movie goes on (between his backstory about watching a little girl drown as a kid and the guilt he feels over that to risking his life to try and save Josh and Kana)
  • Karma Houdini: Almost everyone involved in Elite Hunting. Notable examples being Sasha, Valla (the desk girl), Mrs. Bathory, the Cannibal, and the masked woman in leather.
    • Brutally and satisfyingly subverted in Part III. Just when it seems like Carter will escape with his life, he's captured by the not-quite-dead Scott, with a little help from Amy, and savagely slaughtered with an electric tiller.
  • Karmic Death: The Dutch Businessman, first getting his fingers cut off then having his throat slit just as he had done to poor Josh.
  • Kick the Dog: Natalya laughing at Paxton's reaction to Josh's body.
  • Kill the Cutie: Sweet, naive Lorna.
  • The Killer Becomes the Killed: The Dutch Businessman, Stuart, Carter, and various other clients.
  • Loves the Sound of Screaming: During Lorna's torture, Mrs. Bathory cuts off her gag just to hear the poor thing beg for her life before she bathes in her blood. Judging by the woman's reaction, this only arouses her even more.
  • Madness Mantra: I'm not that guy... I'm not that guy... I'm not that guy...
  • Male Gaze: See Hell-Bent For Leather.
  • Masquerade: The titular hostel and its workers.
  • Meaningful Name: As mentioned, the woman who bathes in Lorna's blood in the second film is named Mrs. Bathory.
  • The Mole:
    • Axelle in the second movie.
    • Carter in the third movie.
  • Multiple Endings: The director's cut has a much darker and more ambiguous ending where instead of killing the Dutch businessman, he kidnaps his daughter, but perhaps through either Executive Meddling or test-audience scoring, the other Rambo-style conclusion made it to theaters.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Todd is overcome with guilt at his actions after accidentally pushing the buzzsaw into Whitney's face.
  • Nebulous Evil Organisation: The Elite Hunting club.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Happens in all three movies.
    • In the original, Paxton would have been as good as dead if not for his torturer cutting off his handcuffs by mistake, then slipping and dropping his chainsaw onto himself.
    • In the sequel, Stuart frees Beth from her chair to try to rape her, allowing Beth to gain the upper hand and eventually escape.
    • The biggest one happens in the third, where Fleming orders Scott to be freed just as Carter prepares to torture him in order to make the session more exciting, only for Scott to escape the room.
  • Not So Different: The American Client who Paxton runs into rants about how weary he has become after a while of sexual pleasure-seeking, before mentioning how being in the Elite Hunting club is much more thrilling. As such, Paxton and his friends have spent the entire first half of the movie pursuing sexual escapades, and had they let the thrill get to their heads, it wouldn't be unlikely that they would join the club to torture people for kicks after growing tired of sex themselves.
  • Off with His Head!: Anyone who escapes from Elite Hunting, Axelle.
  • Pet the Dog: The Dutch Businessman despite being a cold-hearted murderer and torturer appears to be a very devoted father.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner:
    Beth: Na zdrowie. note 
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Some employees at Elite Hunting, like some guards and the cleaning crew, don't seem particularly sadistic and treat their job as simple everyday routine.
  • Revenge: Dished out in spades, when possible.
  • Revenge by Proxy: Paxton kidnaps and possibly off-screen kills the Dutch businessman's daughter to avenge the deaths of Josh and Oli in the directors cut only.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: Subverted, since it was rather based on a completely un-substantiated internet rumor of Americans being snatched up and sold to torturous thrill-seekers in central and Eastern Europe, but never has any evidence been given to support it. It did touch on the widely-reported popular travel-scam of attractive local woman in Central and Eastern European cities Honey Trap-ing young male tourists, but that often just leads to going to an old-town bar with elevator-only access and massively inflated bills, rather than seducing and then selling them off when inebriated to be tortured to death.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Josh, who in the Developing Doomed Characters part of the first film is presented as genuinely nice and likeable, more just the tag-along than the complete hedonists his companions are.
  • Saying Too Much: Stuart accidentally lets slip the fact that he knows Beth's name, despite the fact that she'd never given it. He hand waves her suspicions by claiming that he had overheard her friends talking.
  • Scars Are Forever: And hands and eyes don't grow back. This is presumably why Kana is Driven to Suicide after looking at her injuries in a mirror.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Beth's penultimate attempt to escape capture, before she realizes exactly what the rules are.
  • Severed Head Sports: The second film ends with a group of juvenile delinquents playing soccer with the head of the woman that betrayed the protagonist and her friends to an organization of serial killers.
  • Shout-Out:
    • When the men in part I arrive at the hostel, Pulp Fiction is playing on the television in the lobby. The Hostel movies were produced by Quentin Tarantino, who directed Pulp Fiction. Also, Paxton seeing Natalya, Svetlana, and Alexi in the road - and running them over with his car - references Butch running over Marcellus Wallace.
    • The use of "Willow's Song" from The Wicker Man (1973) is also an ominous bit of foreshadowing.
  • Slashed Throat: How Ms. Bathory finishes off her victim.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Carmen's Habanera plays while a cannabalistic old man eats Miroslav alive.
  • Splatter Horror: Hostel was the first movie of the Torture Porn resurgence of splatter horror in the 2000s.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Paxton is decapitated offscreen during the beginning of Part II.
  • The Syndicate: The Elite Hunting club.
  • Tear Off Your Face: This is Mike's fate in Hostel III.
  • They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: The most scary part of the Elite Hunting group is that most of the torturers are perfectly normal people, who have a life and loved ones. Especially made clear during the auction scene, where some of the bidders are shown.
  • To the Pain: The businessman who wanted to be a surgeon.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The men in Hostel Part I. The women in Hostel Part II however are notable aversions of this. It doesn't help.
  • Torture Porn: Along with the Saw franchise, this is one of the more notable examples of the modern Torture Porn genre.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: The local "enterprise" employs quite a few people, including a police officer.
  • Unwilling Suspension: In the second movie, Lorna (played by Heather Matarazzo), is suspended upside down over what looks suspiciously like a bathtub. What follows is a recreation of the Elizabeth Báthory legend.
  • The Vamp: Natalya and Svetlana.
  • Villainous Breakdown: The Dutch Businessman while being attacked by Paxton, to the point of pathetically begging for his life when he recognizes Paxton from his reflection.
    The Dutch Businessman: (sees Paxton's reflection) NO, PLEAS-
    Paxton: (slices his neck)
  • Viva Las Vegas!: The setting of III.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot and Vomit Discretion Shot: Paxton throws up while wearing a ballgag. Very little comes out until his torturer takes the gag off.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In-universe. Even though we know the fate of Oli, Paxton and Josh are left in the dark on whether he actually "went home" or not. The same applies to Lorna in the sequel.
  • Would Hurt a Child: In the director's cut of the first film, Paxton doesn't kill the German businessman, he kidnaps his daughter.

Alternative Title(s): Hostel Part II, Hostel Part III


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