Hostel: Part II (2007)

Hostel

Directed by Eli Roth [Other horror films: Cabin Fever (2002), Hostel (2005), The Green Inferno (2013), Knock Knock (2015)]

Looking a bit deeper into the business aspect of the torture industry, the second Hostel feels a bit more solid than the first, and doesn’t skimp out of any of the gore or brutality.

Picking up with Paxton’s life after his escape at the end of the first movie was an interesting beginning. I didn’t love the first sequence, but I found it acceptable, given the circumstances. After that’s dealt with, we dive into two plots: some young women decide to go to Slovakia to experience the hot spas, and two businessmen depart to Slovakia to torture and kill them. It’s sort of interesting to get dual perspectives on this, and I thought it generally paid off.

In part, I suspect, because most of the main characters were done pretty well. Lauren German wasn’t my favorite character, but as the main girl, she had guts. Heather Matarazzo, playing a geeky acquaintance of German’s, did well as the sweet, quiet girl with a rather depressing and brutal end. Richard Burgi and Roger Bart, who played the two businessmen, worked well together, and while obviously both were atrocious individuals, I thought both of them did a great job with their characters. The only main character I didn’t care for was played by Vera Jordanova – I didn’t like her character, and while she was a fine actress, I just felt sort of blah about the whole thing. Lastly, famous Italian horror director Ruggero Deodato had a fantastic cameo toward the end.

There are plenty of brutal scenes throughout the film. Occasionally some creepy ones pop up also. Insofar as gore, we get a pretty devastating bathing in blood scene, and you can’t help but feel bad as the individual in question is slowly cut open with a scythe. Someone gets their, shall we say, equipment, clipped off, which was done well. Another gets torn apart by dogs. Overall, the gore was strong. As for more subtly unsettling scenes, there’s a sequence where German wakes up in a misty hot spa, utterly devoid of others, which was filmed well. That leads into a chase scene that just sort of didn’t lead anywhere, but the spa scene alone was pretty good.

Hostel: Part II takes the best elements of the first movie and expands on them. I’d have liked some more background on the origins of the business itself, but still, it was okay. The bidding sequence early on was fun enough, I suppose, to cover up any lost potential in exploring the business deeper. The gore was top-notch, and plenty of scenes were decently suspenseful. I liked the first Hostel, and the second holds up also, and thus, I’d recommend it.

8/10

Halloween (2007)

Halloween

Directed by Rob Zombie [Other horror films: House of 1000 Corpses (2003), The Devil’s Rejects (2005), Halloween II (2009), The Haunted World of El Superbeasto (2009), The Lords of Salem (2012), 31 (2016), 3 from Hell (2019)]

I cannot express how much I despise the first 50 minutes of this film – I always have. Because I completely understand why Michael would kill his stepfather, his sister and her boyfriend. I can’t imagine a more annoying family than that. And therein lies the problem – I don’t want to understand why Michael is the way he is. It’s not necessary.

From the fourth Halloween film, Donald Pleasence’s character said it best: he’s evil on two legs. And while I appreciate what Zombie was trying to do, and I know he was told to make it his own, I cannot pretend that I enjoy the first half of this film. From the song “Love Hurts” to the quote “It hides my ugliness,” I just can’t help but cringe.

It does get better, though. Marginally. But Laurie’s character here is not the innocent girl from the original Halloween (her first scene, where she mimics being molested, shows us that) – her two friends are worse. In fact, there are few sympathetic characters here – funnily enough, I think the most sympathetic are Laurie’s parents, and we see what happened to them (same can be said for Danny Trejo’s character). We have some worthwhile sequences in this film, such as Laurie trying to escape from Michael nearing the end, but too much here just bothered me. Truth be told, the best character had such little time, and that, of course, would be Joe Grizzly. This might have some decent gore, but it’s just a disappointing movie, and a disappointing remake.

6/10

Fist of the Vampire (2007)

Fist of the Vampire

Directed by Len Kabasinski [Other horror films: Swamp Zombies!!! (2005), Curse of the Wolf (2006), Wendigo: Bound by Blood (2010), Ninja: Prophecy of Death (2011), Skull Forest (2012), Blood Mercury (2014), Angel of Reckoning (2016), Blood Prism (2017), Swamp Zombies 2 (2018), Schlock-O-Rama (2018, segment ‘Film Trailer’)]

I forgot during which October Challenge I first saw this film, but I remember thinking that it was likely the worst film I saw for the challenge. And upon rewatching it, that opinion hasn’t changed. This is one of the worst horror movies I’ve seen. In fact, on IMDb, this is one of the 18 horror movies I rated a 1/10. Only a select few make that listing, and this certainly belongs.

The acting is terrible, and while that is a problem, that’s far from the worst this movie had. The dialogue was weak – the delivery overly stale. No one’s heart really seemed in this movie, which is a shame, as since the plot was utterly atrocious (vampires running an underground fighting ring; an undercover cop infiltrates the ring and becomes one of their fighters), it needed something to carry it. Nothing was there to do so, though.

The nudity wasn’t particularly impressive, and the kills were blah. Sure, they had blood to an extent, so they tried, but it just didn’t ring as something worth seeing, and certainly nothing worth the wait. And the kung-fu fighting. *groans*. The overly-choreographed fighting that looked so fake was a prominent part of this movie. Another recurring motif – CGI bullets. CGI fire. Generic hard rock/heavy metal.

It was God-awful. This was simply a bad movie. The hammy dialogue at the end only made it worse. A true chore to get through in one sitting. Just avoid this, unless you’re like me and has to watch every other horror film nearby. On a quick side-note, the director of this flick, Len Kabasinski (who also acted in the movie), directed a low-budget 2005 flick I tepidly enjoyed titled Swamp Zombies!!!, so it’s a shame he couldn’t end up directing another low-budget favorite. In short, this movie simply isn’t worth watching, in my opinion.

1/10