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Love crappy movies but are too ashamed to admit it? Are you a big Rob Schneider fan but you're tired of being burned? Not sure if you want to waste your money on the same old movie? That's why you have Joe.

Joe Loves Crappy Movies is by Joseph Dunn. Joe willingly goes to see the very worst that Hollywood has to offer. Whenever a crappy movie comes out Joe will be there to see it, make fun of it, and actually review it. Nothing is safe, and nothing is sacred. From the big budget action disasters to the low brow fart based comedies, to anything starring Martin Lawrence? Joe will tear it apart.

With each entry you'll get not only a comic poking fun at the movie, but also a detailed review. Joe's not educated in film or cinematography or acting, he's just a guy that draws comics and likes movies. So if you're looking for the everyman perspective and a little joke in comic form... you're in the right place.

Hostel Part 2

Starring: Lauren German, Roger Bart, Heather Matarazzo, Bijou Phillips, Richard Burgi, Vera Jordanova

Directed by: Eli Roth

Lion’s Gate Films - Official Site of the Movie

Discuss Hostel Part 2 on the boards!

Torture has been sprinkled in a series of different thrillers over the past couple of years, many of them worth recommending if you’re into this sort of thing, but very few of them center their story completely around it and do it to quite and an extream. At least not to the extent of Eli Roth’s Hostel franchise. Movies like last fall’s Turistas have put their own interesting spin on torture in film, but have never came close to the terror and fear that Eli Roth was able to generate with a simple concept and some brutal visuals. And it’s fun. It’s shocking. Some people really get off on that, but can we really take this horror sub-genre seriously if their grand message is only “Isn’t realistic and excessive gore fun?”

I want a message. I want a deeper meaning to legitimize it. Zombie movies have survived for decades because they’re not just the risen dead gnawing on brains, there’s a larger message of mob mentality, society, and politics (depending on who your director is). As appealing as the “living dead” are conceptually, it would get old quickly if there weren’t some greater truth hidden in its cynicism. When the original Hostel was released last year, that was the sort of message I was looking for. Not necessarily some unique take on politics or society, but some other message behind the story, a method to the madness, some personal commentary when the blood is wiped away. Then at least there would be a point to it all. But point or not, these movies are freaky and difficult to watch (in a good way) and there will always be an audience for that.

Hostel 2 picks up where the first one left off closing the story of one man’s escape from a secret hunting club where the big game is gullible young college students. He is the lone survivor of three men who got lured into the very secret, very deadly game when they first checked in to a mysterious hostel. The sequel takes that familiar premise and puts a clever new twist on it. This time instead of three guys it’s… three girls. Ok, that’s not so much “clever” as convenient, especially since the films slow build pacing and sudden climaxes play out nearly identically, but movies about people getting butchered aren’t really concerned with being clever.

The three girls (newcomer Lauren German, indie-pro Heather Matarazzo and socialite Bijou Phillips) end up falling for the same tricks as they’re seduced into getting comfortable while the dangerous folks around them prepare to have them slaughtered. To Roth’s credit, he’s actually a skilled storyteller when it comes to character development and anticipation. He makes you wait for the kill and he knows how to make that wait an anxious one.

The best thing that this movie does is show the other side of things. In the first film, we all sort of knew what was going on even though we were only seeing things from the naïve tourist’s perspective, but this time around Roth was kind enough to give us a better look at the business end of this secret hunting club. We see how the victims are lured to the hostel, how their passports are taken, scanned in, and submitted online for worldwide bidding. We see the clubs strong control of the community. We see a new perspective on the motivations of the bidders and what really brings them to the club to kill someone. (Roger Bart and Richard Burgi do a great job playing different ends of the spectrum and were an exciting addition to the film.) The most twisted part of the entire process to me involved a town fair where the bidders would watch their future victims from across the yard, almost as if they were picking out which cow they wanted for dinner later that night. It really drove home how demented the whole things was.

This is all before we really see anything visually disturbing though. Anything really frightening. But things have changed. Before, the scariest thing in a movie was what they weren’t showing us. A perfect example is the ear removal in Reservoir Dogs. That shit is CRAZY scary! Somewhere along the line someone decided that it would be a lot more upsetting to actually show what was happening. And they were kind of right. The build-up to these scenes is difficult but the scenes themselves are excruciating. I found myself twisting in my seat and hiding behind my hands desperately hoping for it to end. But at the same time I kept watching. I guess because I wanted to know how far they were going to go with it.

Hostel 2 goes far but with different results. One attack that featuring a fully naked woman hung upside down over a bathtub with her killer taking a sickle to her was truly upsetting. Visually you see way too much but for me the real terror came in the actress’s performance. Her screams and pleas during the scene where impossible to escape. You’ll be praying for inevitable death to come sooner just so her pain will stop. Credit to the performer who made something that was all ready far too real, that much more genuine. It’s something I never want to see again, but it was a horror movie scene that will not soon be forgotten.

The second of the two major mutilation scenes I can’t even get into without spoilers but I don’t think it had the effect that Roth desired. The crowd I was with was laughing and hooting instead of screaming and squirming. And that’s a problem, because the way the movie is set up, far too much weight is put into these two scenes being effective. If they don’t work correctly the entire first half is a tease to nothing. And while part of me never wanted to see the gruesome torture scenes to begin with, the final scene left me horror blue balls.

The movies story does recover nicely though in the final stand that our heroine takes. In the first film we were treated to a stealthy and vengeful escape that left the audience revitalized and satisfied. There’s still hope that the good guy can win, or at the very least wiggle out of town with all his limbs. The sequel takes a different approach, but it’s not the obvious one. Without going into spoilers and revealing which character does what I’ll say that the heroine’s final fate was one that surprised me quite a bit. At the same time, it made me fear for humanity. (If you’d like to know what happens go to this post on the boards for a brief but detailed explanation of the films big climactic moments.)

Fear for humanity would be a great hidden message to go out on, but I get the impression that most of what unravels is Hostel 2 is a joke among the creators in how gruesome they can get. As much as I hope for that deeper subtext while watching this movie and movies like it… it’s not there. Hostel 2 is really just shock and gore for the sake of entertainment. And that’s fine in its way, I can appreciate real horror fans that grew up on slasher flicks and were inspired to take things to a new level in order to freak out the younger audiences. Theirs something beautiful and pure in their passion of the art form, but the films would hold more weight, and the genre would have a longer lifespan, if it was more than passionate directors trying to out gross each other.

Rating: 5 out of 10 - I liked where they took the story and how it was presented, but I can’t say that I was terribly impressed with Hostel 2 as a whole. It has good elements but it far from a good movie. After a slumpy box office stand I suspect this is the end of the franchise, but certainly not the end of horror. There will always be a market for it no matter how extreme it gets. In a year someone is going to raise the bar and you’ll start hearing stories about people throwing up in movie theatres again. And I’ll be there looking for a message. I just hope it’s not the guy behind me that’s doing the throwing up.

Pass. Many of you might know my basic reaction to horror on DVD. I’ve seen it once so I know why and when it’s going to be scary, and when you remove the scary moments from most scary movies, what you’re left with often isn’t worth revisiting at all. I liked the set-up in Hostel 2 but it was neither interesting nor poignant enough for me to break out my wallet again. If this is what you’re into though, by all means – buybuybuy.

Hostel - The original Hostel is much stronger than its sequel, partly because the concept of “extreme gore” was a new one. Audiences had never been exposed to this amount of on-screen brutality and the box office reflected that. Curiosity got the better of us and people came out in droves wanting to know how far the MPAA let them go. And those torture scenes were pretty intense. More so than Hostel 2, though I can’t figure out if that’s because it was the first time I had seen anything like that or because they really were that much better. Either way, audiences knew what to expect the second time around, and no movie will live up to expectations.

It was an incredible weekend at Wizard World Philly. Tons of great new creators I’ve never met before were there debuting some really fun new stuff. I can’t wait to dig through the pile of comics I bought. As it is though, I’m a little distracted with Scott Pilgrim, a book that Phil got me hooked on. Is it wrong that of Scott’s romantic choices I prefer Knives, the Asian 17-year-old groupie?

On the business end of things, the show was an even greater success. We’ve done the Philly show for 4 years now and I feel like we’ve finally reached a place where we understand what the crowds want and how to market it to them. The Turtle vs. Bunny T-shirts went over huge, and I can’t wait until the trade debuts later this year (more on that soon). For a while I was afraid that we were becoming a glorified t-shirt store, but people really started to respond to the brand new Matriculated Collection. What a relief. People responding to the shirts is fantastic, but in our hearts it’s the stories we tell that we hope people will really be drawn to.

Philly was an all around great show with full days and some hard partying nights. It’s making me really look forward to San Diego Comic Con and Wizard World Chicago later this summer. If you’re attending either of those shows be sure to track us down and say “What’s up?”

Last week I contributed a guest comic to Bored and Evil‘s anniversary celebration. Such a fun strip to work on. How often do you get to use Jason Voorhees (or “Jake” as he’s referred to in BandE) as a comical character? I guess as often as I like considering I do a comic about movies. But when one comic has been doing it so well for so long, anything I try would just be a cheap knock off. Thanks to Robert for the invite. Be sure to check out his stuff. And I’ll see you soon.

Live Journal/Myspace/Rotten Tomatoes/Buzz Comix/Top Web Comics/Comics on the Ipod/The Webcomics List/Online Comics/Wikipedia/Comixpedia/JLCM Map!

Joe – The creator of the strip who has embraced giving crappy movies the chance they deserve. Like the majority of the cast he’s obsessed with boobs.

First Appearance - The Introduction

Yeo – Yeo is Joe’s wife and often the voice of reason in the strip. Having her act rational allows the rest of the cast to embrace being in a comic strip which primarily involves randomly punching people, interacting with fictional characters and talking about boobs. Yeo is smart, beautiful and way too good for Joe. Don’t tip her off.

First Appearance - Fever Pitch

Irv – Joe’s movie-going sidekick who’s always down for watching Jason Statham crescent moon kick some thug through a plate glass window and getting some drinks before after and during a Vin Diesel movie. Like the majority of the cast he’s obsessed with boobs.

First Appearance - Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior

Agent 337 George Jones – A government Agent that took over for Joe after he was bad-mouthing President Bush in the V for Vendetta strip. George ran the show for over a month bring a much needed sense of patriotism and justice to both the strips and reviews. He eventually got too attached to his work, empathizing with Joe’s plight to give crappy movies a fair shake. In a way he came to love crappy movies as well and was pushed out of the position. He spiraled out of control and ended up in prison. His adventures will be told in the limited series JLCM Presents: 337 Locked Up which is set to début Christmas of 09.

First Appearance - V for Vendetta

Other Notable Appearances: Stay Alive, Ice age 2, Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector, Slither, Here Comes Guest week, Let’s Go To Prison

Leonidas – The former king of Sparta who has traveled into the future and is having trouble coping with the modern times. Yelling loudly and kicking people into giant holes doesn’t really work the same way it did in the olden days. As time as gone by he’s adjusted but it’s a safe bet that he’s always one bad message away from throwing a spear through someone.

First Appearance - 300

Other Notable Appearances: Four Brothers, Strip# 300, The Golden Compass, Rambo, Untraceable, The Ladies of Max Paybe

Palpatine – Former Senator, Emperor of the Galactic Empire, Sith Lord... He shows up in the Joe Loves Crappy movies galaxy on occasion to let people know that they’re being stupid. No one’s really sure how he shows up in this universe but chances are it breaks all kinds of copywrite laws.

First Appearance - Episode III: The Dark Side

Other Notable Appearances: Four Brothers, Night Watch, Saw 3, Are We Done Yet

Slow Billy – Billy is a sweet kid but he’s not the sharpest tool in the shed. If you’re watching him for the day be prepared to explain to him the plot of the movie or how popcorn works or, not so much where babies come from, but what babies are. He’s a complete moron.

First Appearance - Four Brothers

Other Notable Appearances: The Chronicles of Narnia, The Da Vinci Code, Vantage Point, Journey to the Center of the Earth

Kyle the Movie Snob – Be careful what fun facts about movies you tell your friends at a friendly gathering or in line for the latest blockbuster, because if you’re even slightly wrong, Kyle will be more than happy to let you know. He usually gets what’s coming to him though. Poor guy has cracked three ribs since joining the JLCM cast.

First Appearance - Ultraviolet

Other Notable Appearances: 16 Blocks, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Transformers, Journey to the Center of the Earth

Jean-Luc Picard – Another lawsuit waiting to happen is Jean Luc Picard who, towards the end of the strip’s first year, became the go-to background character. If there was ever a seat to fill or a random person to place wandering around in the background, nine times out of ten it was Picard. While Picard has crossed paths with Irv he and Joe have never met. Perhaps they will some day but for now just can an eye on the background.

First Appearance - The Producers

Other Notable Appearances: I’m not telling you, that’s no fun. It’ like Where’s Waldo – go find him!

Ice Cream Sandwich – Delicious and… deadly? Usually when you see someone eating an Ice Cream sandwich, someone else is experiencing a substantial amount of pain. Still, how nice is an ice cream sandwich on a hot summer day?

First Appearance - Saw IV

Other Notable Appearances: Bee Movie, Run Fatboy Run, Saw V