Are Europeans Evil?

When I can’t sleep, which is often, I watch horror films. (Yes, this makes total sense.) And I’ve noticed an odd trend of late in a number of horror/suspense films, including several big budget howlers: Taken (2008, with Liam Neeson playing a most unconvincing action figure), Wanted (2008, with Angelina Jolie, among others, and should get Most Improbable Shooting Effects award), Hostel (2005, perhaps deserves Grossout Award), and Hostel II (2007, perhaps Prettiest Girls Murdered in Most Gruesome Ways Award). Since I end there with Hostel II, let me add that it’s the lesser-disgusting of the Hostel flicks, but what they did they do to poor Wiener Dog from Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995)? (A great Todd Solondz film, that.) It’s the same actress grown up—Heather Matarazzo—and she didn’t deserve it. I won’t describe it, but the young college girl she plays probably never imagined this is how her European Tour would end.
But the truly odd trend that links these films is that they portray/imagine a Europe peopled with heartless, pseudo-chic creeps. In Taken Liam Neeson’s daughter is kidnapped by a sex-slave ring. In Hostel the males/females are sold to freaky rich creeps who like to torture people for fun. Wanted inhabits its own kooky niche, with Morgan Freeman being the leader of a ring of  assassins called The Fraternity, and is nutty in the way that Comic Book flicks generally are. Now I’m hardly any great globe-trotter, but I’ve been to Europe a couple times and have spent months in places like Poland and Norway, and generally THEY think of US as the violent prone maniacs, not vice versa. Perhaps this is the American way of lashing back at cliches.

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