Exclusive: Dread Central Visits the Set of Hostel Part III
Greeted by the production’s unit publicist, I descended into the sub-basement of the Temple, where director Spiegel (the man who co-wrote Evil Dead II and directed 1999’s From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money) was prepping a shot on what was Day 14 of the 20-day shooting schedule. Surrounded by cargo containers modified for the purpose of transporting human captives (it is a Hostel flick after all) courtesy of production designer Robb Wilson King, I chatted with special makeup effects guru Robert Kurtzman, who was overseeing Hostel Part III’s splatter and, in this case, a gag involving a cattle prod.
“Tonally it’s similar to the other films,” Kurtzman said of Part III, which is executive produced by Rui Costa Reis, Mike Fleiss, and Eliad Josephson with producer credits going to Chris Briggs and Spiegel. “It’s not as heavy with the goring and skinning and things like that [which were part of the other films] although we do have arms coming off and faces coming off, meat cleavers in faces, and guys getting shot with arrows while they are being tortured, so there’s still a torture element.”
With the buzz on set being that Hostel Part III (review here) isn’t intended to be a visceral as its predecessors, we queried Kurtzman, whose impressive filmography includes a bevy of gore-splattered genre classics and who had just wrapped his work on Lucky McKee’s The Woman, as to what degree of filmic violence audiences could expect.
“How much Scotty really wants to show is a bit different then the other ones,” Kurtzman offered, who in lieu of the scene’s scripted "cut ear" gag needed to substitute the cattle prod effect due to an unfortunate talent scheduling conflict. “Part of that is due to this film being a bit more psychological, and part of that is the budget, too, as it’s a lot smaller than the first two films.”
In this digital age the absence on set of the Red camera system (the go-to rig for many a straight-to-DVD horror production) is readily apparent, and Kurtzman commented on this, “Scotty’s shooting the flick in Super 16 so he and [cinematographer] Andrew Strahorn are going for a grittier look. The other Hostel films were shot on film, and he definitely wanted the ‘film look’ on this one, too.”
We hung back to witness Kurtzman work as he switched between the prop prod and real one as well as the finessed blocking required to ensure the safety of the cast. Such was naturally time-consuming, as was the impact of the rather passionate performance of one of the film’s performers, whose repeated kicks against the cage he was held in not only dislodged its door but sheared its hinges completely. As the production moved decisively to correct the situation, I departed to the auditorium to chat with the film’s principals; Hallisay, Pardue, Stone, and Coy.
“Scott’s like a little kid shooting this,” said lead Brian Hallisay, who portrays the unfortunate groom ‘Scott’ at the center of Hostel Part III, of his director. “He’s so excited and has endless enthusiasm. He loves this, and he brings that sort of infectious spirit to it. Last week we were shooting nights from eleven at night until noon on the following days, and he just kept us all in good spirits.”
Of his character, Hallisay (who assuredly could be the younger brother of Timothy Olyphant, given their facial similarity) said, “I’m definitely the target [as the groom], and without giving it away, I escape at some point, and as they always are in things like this, sometimes when you think someone is dead, you aren’t really sure. We shot one of those reveals last night, and it was great!”
Commenting on his inclusion in the notorious franchise, Hallisay (whose acting career for the bulk has been based in television) stated, “Hostel was wildly successful, and it’s cool to be a part of that. I don’t know what sort of anticipation there is for the third film, or if people are writing us off, but having seen the first two films, and knowing what we are doing here and the script that we are working with and the types of shots that we are getting, I think it’s going to be great. I think there’s a lot more going on [in the story] right from the beginning, and I think people will be pleased with it, I really do. I hope it satisfies that fan base.”
As fans of the Hostel universe are accustomed to violence perpetuated on Americans in an Eastern European setting, I questioned Hallisay on his thoughts regarding the new geographical placement.
“It still has that global contingent,” commented the 33-year-old actor on the flick’s flavor, “but the fact that it takes place in Vegas, in a place where you can basically bet on anything… this movie sort of takes that to the next level, where it’s a type of casino where they are betting on lives, and/or how long it’s going to take someone to die, in this crazy sadistic underworld, which is basically Vegas anyway.”