Horror movie-maker Eli Roth's hit new torture film HOSTEL is based on an internet idea where rich businessmen can pay to kill strangers.

The Cabin Fever director was so disturbed by one Thai website, which offered clients the chance to shoot people in the head for $10,000 (GBP5,500), he decided to use it as the basis of his film, which shot to the top of the US box office at the weekend (08JAN06).

In Roth's harrowing new movie, travelling Americans are lured into a five-star hotel in Eastern Europe, which doubles as a torture test ground for the Russian Mafia.

The director says, "We were talking about what's the most disgusting, sickest thing we'd seen on the internet and I was certain it was the two naked Japanese girls vomiting into each other's mouths in a bathtub.

"(This guy) sent me the link to this website where you could go to Thailand and, for $10,000, walk into a room and shoot someone in the head and the site claimed the person you were shooting had willingly signed up for this. We sat there and said, 'Is this real?'

"What matters is that somebody realised that out there there's some businessman that is just so numb that hookers don't do anything, drugs, stripclubs, money - it has no effect. They're looking for that next thrill and that struck me as very real."