Happy Halloween! Part One of Quint's HOSTEL PART TWO set visit!!!
Published at: Oct. 31, 2006, 12:22 a.m. CST by quint
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. Have you heard that I was in Prague last weekend? Did I mention that?
Anyway, I was in Prague last weekend on a crazy-insane last minute visit to the set of HOSTEL PART 2. It was so last minute that when all was said and done, when all the dust settled, my flight got into Prague the morning I was due on set. Add on to that a 6 hour layover in New York, I had an interesting lead-up.
I don't find it particularly easy to sleep on planes, so in my 20+ hours of travel I slept nada. I got into Prague, had an hour to work out some hotel difficulties and grab a shower, then hit the set for 12 hours. I had a 40 hour day, but I found I didn't drag ass nearly as much as I expected to.
In that 40 hours, I saw a boobie, tons of blood, dismembered limbs and... other body parts, a beautiful city, a badass Russian character actress and met some really cool people.
I'm going to have two reports to deliver on my experience on the set of HOSTEL PART 2. The first is this one you're reading now and the second will hit in a couple months, a tad closer to release of the flick.
In the interest of full disclosure, I snuck into the first post-Toronto screening of CABIN FEVER in LA, knowing only it was a splash at the fest and getting a lot of positive response. I saw it, liked it, but was worried it was already being over-hyped and it was still many months from a theatrical release. My review reflected that. In the months afterward I met Eli Roth, the director, and we became quick friends. Of course that influenced how my visit went. The real difference is of visiting a friend as opposed to visiting a stranger. If you decide that the below is just me plugging for a friend, that's your prerogative. All I can say is that I'm approaching this set visit as I have all the visits I've done for the site before this one... on LOTR, KONG, TRANSFORMERS, AUTO FOCUS, THE COMPANY, WORLD TRADE CENTER and the rest.
My goal with these reports is to make them as detailed as possible, to do my best to make you guys feel like you were there, too. Opinion will be a part of these reports, of course, but my first priority is to give an accurate depiction of what the visit was like. So, let's get to it, shall we?
On the way to set, I was given a little rundown on the flick. As most of you know, the sequel focuses on a group of American college girls studying abroad. I believe they're art students and fall into some familiar cliques. One is the shy friend (Heather Matarazzo), one is the wild and crazy friend (Bijou Phillips) and one is the no nonsense sensible friend (Lauren German). If I remember correctly, Phillips talks the other two into a weekend trip to Prague and on the train up they bump into an artists model from school that tells them about this GREAT and cheap hostel. And the journey starts.
The aspect of the plot that really grabbed my interest, though, was the decision to delve deeper into the business end of the torture. I was told we see more of the people who get to a place where they decide to buy a human being to torture and kill and the whole process they go through when they make that decision. What's required of them, what they require for their money, the choices they're offered, etc.
The stages, on the outskirts of the city, were very industrial looking and unassuming in the cold, grey morning. I was led straight to the set, built in what looked like the largest space in the buildings. When I walked in all I could see was the skeletal wood backing of the interior sets.
I didn't get more than a few steps before I was hailed by Eli. He was setting up the first shot of the morning and had a group around him needing his verdict on things from lighting to effects. He told me to stay where I was, that I wasn't allowed to see the set until he got his ducks in a row and could lead the tour.
It wasn't long before he came back and started showing me around the rather impressive construction. Eli said that he was adamant about filming on location for the majority of HOSTEL PART 2, just like he did on the original, but his set designer asked to be given a chance to sway him. And the set he built changed Eli's mind, at least in regards to filming the torture room stuff. My understanding is they did a ton of location work at the beginning of shooting, including a week in a tiny town near the Austrian border, population 700 or so.
On the original film they just dressed up the same room differently for each different torture room and for the sequel there were multiple rooms built, each having its own personality and looking wildly different than the others.
They built a complete, inter-connected set involving a long hallway, with spring-loaded bars that can shoot out from the walls, trapping someone in the hall, and about 7 rooms off of this hallway. At the end of the hall is a plexiglass security room, with a dozen monitors up and security guards always watching. After the shenanigans that Jay Hernandez's character pulled in the first movie, the big wigs behind all this have upped the security, which would include cameras in every room, this security observation station and the emergency bars that can cut off an escapee or intruder.
The first room I saw was a pretty open room. It wasn't being used that day, but it had this really freaky back wall... It was fenced off with rusty chain-link, strips of dried out skin hanging off the ragged wire like beef jerky. Behind this fence the wall had crumbled in, leaving a mountainous pile, through which trickled a small river of blood. A single, harsh lamp hung between the fence and the crumbled wall.
On another wall of this room was a work bench hidden behind a thick plastic, semi-transparent. The plastic was dirty and behind it was a long bench with various disgusting tools of torture laid out.
Another room was very simple, kind of classic HOSTEL with just four blank walls, a single chair in the middle of the room with one light above that chair.
There was one room that looked really creepy... just a large room with a large ceiling. But hanging from the ceiling were some really nasty chains. I was told that one of the characters meets her end in this room, being hung naked... upside-down and... well, it was all very disgusting, but should make for a great scene.
This next room I think will be the favorite for fans of the series... The whole idea of following a buyer as he makes his choices, pays his money, sees his options... That's what I find really interesting. And this room is all about that. It's kind of like the upgrade room. Like when you buy a car and the salesman tells you that for just an extra thousand you can get this package, which includes a sunroof, automatic locks and a Sirius radio or something.
This room is for those upgrades. On one side you have racks and racks of clothing and some pieces that are on display, like a school girl outfit, a cop outfit, leather bondage, etc. On the other wall is a grid of different types of instruments of torture and death. Hammers, scythes, knives of all shapes and sizes, chainsaws, buzzsaws, saw blades, guns, pliers... about anything you could think of that you don't want used on you by some crazy yuppie sumbitch.
Each of the tools had a number next to it. So I guess it'd be a little like going to a McDonalds. "I want the #12... can I super size that buzzsaw?"
There's a picture of this wall on Eli's Myspace blog and the newly released teaser has a version of this.
The last room I want to talk about was a bit strange. It looked like an off-Broadway, rundown make-up room. Grimy, rectangular mirror, giant lightbulbs all the way around the border and a chair with handcuffs on it. They use this room to clean-up the victims... and this is the room I saw the majority of shooting this day.
But that's a different story.
In Part Two of my exciting visit to HOSTEL PART TWO, I'll take you to the KNB room where I saw some gore, and I'll discuss how Bijou Philips kept crying while the coolest Russian lady I've ever seen, Lillian Malkina, hovered over her. I promise to not keep you hanging too long.
Hope you enjoyed the write-up and have a very happy Halloween! I'll be having my first Halloween in Los Angeles, so I'm sure to get into some mischief.
I leave you good folks with one of my favorite pictures taken during my time in Prague... if HOSTEL PART TWO is half as creepy as this pic, then we're in for something that'd live up to THE FREAK's tageline... "This movie won't just scare you. It'll fuck you up for life..." Enjoy!