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The Hostel trilogy is a series of horror films originated by Eli Roth, released between 2005 and 2011. While Roth wrote, directed and co-produced the first and second films (both notably "presented" by Quentin Tarantino), the third was made without Roth's involvement, being directed by Scott Spiegel and released Direct to Video.

The series centers 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. Each film features similarly unwitting American protagonists who wind up in the clutches of the society while embarking on hedonistic journeys; while the first and second use college students backpacking through Europe, the third centers around a bachelor party in Las Vegas.


Hostel was Roth's first project following the success of Cabin Fever, and assisted in no small portion by the aforementioned Tarantino, a big fan of the film, who pushed Roth to create an original story as he was receiving various directorial offers on horror remakes. All three films utilize the same style, containing Roth's pre-established likings for prominent splatter elements and the occasional Black Comedy, this time presented through the world of extreme torture. In fact, it was the first film that was among the flock that directly inspired the coining of the term "Torture Porn". While its actual applicability to this series is a mildly contentious subject, all three films are definitely not to be watched while eating a bowl of spaghetti.

Not surprisingly, the films saw heavy censorship in various countries as well as fierce criticism from the Czech Republic and Slovakia for their portrayal in the film.note  For the record, 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:

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    Tropes across the series 
  • 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.
  • 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?
  • Big Bad: Sasha Rassimov, the leader of the Elite Hunting.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: A primary focus of the series, in many shapes and sizes.
  • Creepy Child: The Bubblegum Gang, who appear in the first and second films.
  • Deadly Road Trip: Elite Hunting targets backpacking tourists, and the first and second films revolve around groups of them.
  • 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.
    • 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. However, it 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.
  • 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.
  • Fanservice: Its exploitation by way of the Honey Trap and other methods is the driving force of Elite Hunting.
  • For the Evulz: This is basically the sole motivation of the Elite Hunting's customers.
  • Gorn: It's Eli Roth, what did you expect? However, the Mrs. Bathory scene in Part II brings the "porn" part of gorn to a whole new level.
  • Groin Attack:
    • In the first film, as Paxton is 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.
    • In the second film, 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."
  • Hell Hotel: Well, yeah.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • Paxton's would-be killer in the first movie is killed by his own chainsaw and gun.
    • Stuart in Part II. Goes from client to game.
    • In Part III, the host of the Vegas death show Wheel of Misfortune releases Scott from the torture chair just before Carter was about to kill him. This causes a ripple effect resulting in him blowing the operation and him getting killed at the hands of Carter later.
  • Honey Trap: Natalya, Svetlana and Valla. Axelle to an extent in that she flirts with Beth.
  • 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.
  • Jerkass: Paxton (at first) and Oli in the first movie, and Whitney in the second.
  • 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.
  • The Killer Becomes the Killed: The Dutch Businessman, Stuart, Carter, and various other clients.
  • Masquerade: The titular hostel and its workers.
  • The Mole:
    • Axelle in the second movie.
    • Carter in the third movie.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Syndicate: The Elite Hunting club.
  • 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.
  • Too Dumb to Live: If the first and third films are anything to go off of, it's as if Elite Hunting specifically targets men who think exclusively with their dicks, allowing women to goad them into increasingly sketchy settings. ** The women in the second film are notable aversions of this, but it doesn't help.
  • Took a Level in Badass: By the third act, both Paxton and Scott are hardened into action heroes that make great escapes, killing anyone in their way.
  • Torture Porn: Along with the Saw franchise, this series is one of the more notable examples of the genre's modern definition.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: The local "enterprise" employs quite a few people, including a police officer.
  • 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.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Both the first and third films feature men throwing up from inebriation or shock.

    Tropes in the original film 
  • Agony of the Feet: Josh, in one of the film's most memorable moments, has both Achilles tendons slit by the Dutch Businessman.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: The Dutch Businessman's last words to Paxton are a plea for mercy right before his throat's slit.
  • 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.
  • The Can Kicked Him: Paxton kills the Dutch Businessman in a stall of the train station's bathroom.
  • The Cameo: Takashi Miike, whose film Audition was a primary influence for Roth in structuring the film, is seen leaving the Elite Hunting club's slaughterhouse and offering a word of caution to Paxton.
    "Be careful. You could spend all your there."
  • Chainsaw Good: Amusingly subverted. Paxton's torturer Johann attempts to use one on him, at one point having its active blade running dangerously close to his face, but he ends up slipping on the ball gag he gave Paxton and sawing off his own leg.
  • 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.
  • Creator Cameo: Eli Roth has a split-second cameo towards the start as a friend of a guy who fails to use a bong properly.
  • 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: After Kana stumbles upon her reflection and sees the extent of her disfigurement, she throws herself at an oncoming train, her blood splattering on innocent onlookers. It's never explained, but the prioritization of beauty in Japanese culture likely has something to do with it.
  • 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.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: The Dutch Businessman is possibly the most brutal character of the whole movie, but he's shown to deeply love his little daughter. In an alternate ending, he goes into a desperate Villainous Breakdown after Paxton kidnaps her as an act of vengeance.
  • Evil Laugh: Natalya lets out multiple sinister laughs as she reveals her true nature to Paxton, and he's abducted and dragged away shortly after.
  • Eye Scream: The center of arguably the most gruesome moment in the film. Kana 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.
  • Fatal Family Photo: Both Oli and the Dutch Businessman on the train.
  • Fingore:
    • In the fight between Paxton and his torturer Johann, Johann's chainsaw comes loose and severs two of Paxton's fingers.
    • Paxton cuts off two of the Dutch Businessman's fingers in the end.
  • From Bad to Worse: Paxton gets put through the wringer. 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.
  • Japanese Tourist: Kana and Yuki, though the girl that played Kana was actually British.
  • 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).
  • Karmic Death: Paxton finishes off the Dutch Businessman the same way he finished off Josh — holding him up in front of a mirror before slitting his throat. He wasn't in the room to see how Josh actually died, however, which may imply that by being led to the same murder methods, he may be Not So Different from him after all.
  • Kick the Dog: Natalya laughing at Paxton's reaction to Josh's body.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Revenge by Proxy: The alternate ending has Paxton exact his revenge on the Dutch Businessman by leaving him be, and kidnapping his daughter.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: Subverted, since it was rather based on a completely unsubstantiated 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 film is presented as genuinely nice and likeable, more just the tag-along than the complete hedonists his companions are.
  • Shout-Out:
    • When the men arrive at the hostel, the lobby TV is playing a dubbed version of Pulp Fiction, which was directed by the same Quentin Tarantino that encouraged Roth to make the film and produced it.
    • Paxton seeing Natalya, Svetlana, and Alexi in the road - and promptly running them over with his car - can also be said to reference Butch running over Marcellus Wallace.
    • The use of "Willow's Song" from The Wicker Man (1973) is also an ominous bit of foreshadowing.
  • Villainous Breakdown: In the alternate ending, the Dutch Businessman has an Adult Fear-induced one when his daughter gets kidnapped by Paxton, panicking trying to find her before screaming her name in anguish to a point it made him Unintentionally Sympathetic as an Alas, Poor Villain moment for him, hence the ending change.
  • Would Hurt a Child: In the director's cut, Paxton doesn't kill the Dutch Businessman but kidnaps his daughter.

    Tropes in Part II 
  • Action Girl: Beth 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.
  • Angry Guard Dog: Todd gets mauled to death by a pack of them as punishment for refusing to kill Whitney.
  • Anti-Climax: 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: 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.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Beth does not respond kindly to being called a cunt. Stuart finds this out the hard way.
    • 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.
  • Blood Bath: One of Elite Hunting's clients is a woman who slices up Lorna as she's nude, suspended and 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 Cameo: The old man cannibal? That's Ruggero Deodato, director of Cannibal Holocaust.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Beth's fortune. Beth was revealed to hold a vast fortune, the point of its mention not made clear until later.
  • Depraved Homosexual: 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.
  • 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. He was Evil All Along, but only "discovered" himself near the end.
  • Fan Disservice: If the image of Heather Matarazzo naked isn't tainted by her being captive and hung upside down, the small detail of her body being slashed by a scythe might do it.
  • Heel–Face Turn: After acting all badass throughout, Todd quickly realizes the reality of his actions after unintentionally wounding Whitney whilst playing with a saw, leaving the room disgusted.
  • Hourglass Plot: Todd and Stuart. 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.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The old man briefly seen He slowly cuts away at Miroslav's leg, puts it on a plate, and happily eats away at a table in the background.
  • Kill the Cutie: Sweet, naive Lorna.
  • Loves the Sound of Screaming: During Lorna's torture, Mrs. Bathory cuts off her gag and pokes/tickles her skin with the scythe just to hear the poor thing shriek and beg for her life before Bathory bathes in her blood. Judging by the woman's reaction, this only arouses her even more.
  • Meaningful Name: As mentioned, the woman who bathes in Lorna's blood in the second film is named Mrs. Bathory.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Todd is overcome with guilt at his actions after accidentally pushing the buzzsaw into Whitney's face.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner:
    Beth: Na zdrowie. note 
  • Redemption Equals Death: Todd's attempt at saving his morals by refusing to kill Whitney is answered by the Club with an unleashed pack of dogs, who promptly eat him.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • Slashed Throat: How Ms. Bathory finishes off Lorna.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Carmen's Habanera plays while a cannabalistic old man eats Miroslav alive.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: The film's opening focuses on Paxton, ending with a sharp curveball as his girlfriend walks downstairs one morning and finds his decapitated corpse sitting at the dining table. It was enough to make some fans boot the whole film from the series canon.
  • Unwilling Suspension: 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.

    Tropes in Part III 
  • Entitled to Have You: Carter feels this way about Scott’s fiancé Amy, which is why he wants to kill Scott.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: In the third movie, Justin gets tortured by a woman dressed in a leather cat suit.
  • Human Pincushion: Justin's death involves several crossbow arrows being shot at his torso, with a final one being shot through his head.
  • Impaled Palm: When Amy is seemingly about to pour Carter some wine, she instead drives her corkscrew through his hand (and the table) as she reveals she hasn't fallen for his scheme.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: Just when it seems like Carter will not only get away with leaving Scott for dead and stealing Amy, he's captured by the not-quite-dead Scott with a little help from Amy, and savagely slaughtered with an electric tiller.
  • Male Gaze: Even for a series as sex-focused as Hostel, this one in particular contains a gratuitous amount of close-ups on women's rears.
  • Not Quite Dead: Carter locks Scott behind a gate seconds before a system of rigged explosives annihilates the Elite Hunting building, seemingly killing him. However, when Carter later begins his plan to seduce Amy, it's revealed that not only did Scott survive the blast (albeit with gnarly burns on his backside), but he colluded with Amy beforehand to take Carter out once and for all.
  • Tear Off Your Face: How Mike is killed.
  • Viva Las Vegas!: The setting of the film.

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


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