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By JASON COMERFORD

The media hysteria over the so-called "torture porn" genre has, thankfully, come and gone, leaving in its wake a lot of bad movies that exist only to carve up good-looking young actors. Ironically, Eli Roth's Hostel Part II is one of the better examples of this short-lived subgenre, despite sinking like a stone upon its release in 2007. Much less explicitly violent than its reputation might suggest, Hostel Part II is a surprisingly intelligent extension of the first film's fictional world, with a number of genuinely chilling setpieces (one eerie sequence in an outdoor sauna is among Roth's finest achievements as a filmmaker) and some surprising plot twists.

Roth's usual musical collaborator, Nathan Barr, returned to the franchise for the sequel, and delivered one of his finest efforts. Barr is the multitalented musical artist best known for his scores for HBO's True Blood, as well as his collaborations with the comedy troupe Broken Lizard (among them Club Dread and The Dukes of Hazzard). Barr, who performs many of the instrument parts heard in his scores, began his career with an eight-month stint as an assistant to Hans Zimmer, and he's been going strong ever since, with recent Emmy nominations for his work on Netflix's Hemlock Grove and FX's The Americans.

Barr's score for the first Hostel cleverly injected a sense of fairy-tale fancifulness into the proceedings, and his score for the sequel continues in the same vein throughout, with a number of bristling attack cues and quieter, more ominous tones. But the most interesting cue of the whole score is Barr's mournfully beautiful overture, "Suite ('Amid a Crowd of Stars')." Solos for harp, violin and oboe lead into a swelling theme for string choir and orchestra, a stirring and darkly pastoral lament for the film's ill-fated characters.

Varese Sarabande released the soundtrack to Hostel Part II upon the film's release in 2007; the CD release is now out of print but easily found on the secondary market and from digital retailers such as iTunes.

Hostel Part II villains

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The Moment in Question:

Click [here] to listen to a sample
of "Suite ('Amid a Crowd of Stars')"
from Hostel Part II, composed by
Nathan Barr.

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... .. Nathan Barr


Installment Prize:

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end of each week through
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for this installment.

Hostel Part II album cover

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Awesome Websites!

Soundtrack available at SAE


Next Installment:

Maurice Jarre goes under the knife.
Eyes Without a Face

about the author

READER COMMENTS:

Howlin' Wolf  
The prize selection and drawing for Week 3 coming this weekend!
     
Peloquin  
Nathan Barr is a great composer of the horror scores and I find very stealth in being a composer. I know that he is out there as a composer, just feel his talents sometimes overlooked. There are many composers that are awesome in their musical story telling as Barr is. About the film, I never got into this as for me it felt like another version of the "Saw" franchise... which it did. Torture-Gore is not my personal style, though I do try to collect the scores as that is my style. Thank you again for another great entry and sharing up a great composer Nathan Barr.
   
David W.  
I lost it at "torture porn!" HA! That is what this genre really is. Nathan Barr does a great job on all that he does.
   
Annie  
Nathan Barr was not on my radar until about a year ago... so happy that someone told me about him. I absolutely adore the suite from Hostel Part II. One of my favorite pieces!
     
Scott  
Hostel and Hostel 2 are excellent scores. Out of everything that has been presented so far on 13 Chills, these probably get far more plays than anything else. Nathan Barr created a couple of scores that outlast and outshine the movies for which they were written.
     
Josh   Powerful, beautiful music! I personally prefer Barr's score for the first film (especially the Herrmannesque main titles and Julee Cruise-style wordless female vocals) over that of its sequel, but part II is definitely worth seeking out for fans of eerie, melodic soundscapes. I haven't seen any of the Hostel films, though, so I can't comment on how well they function on screen, but the music can stand on its own apart from the films.  
     
Jonathan  
Haven't watched the movie, but I really appreciate Nathan Barr's melodies. It's great how he uses the orchestra and creates the "fairy-tale fancifulness."
     
Jeff   I haven't seen the movie since it first came out on DVD so I don't really remember the music. But hearing the sample provided, I want to give the score another listen, and maybe re-watch the film.