Planet Terror directed by Robert Rodriguiz
Death Proof directed by Quentin Tarintino
Fake trailers directed by Robert Rodriguiz, Rob Zombie, Edgar Wright, and Eli Roth
Planet Terror stars Rose McGowan, Freddy Rodriguiz, Marley Shelton, Jeff Fahey, Michael Biehn, and Bruce Willis.
Death Proof stars Kurt Russel, Rosario Dawson, Zoë Bell, and Tracie Thoms.
Those who know me know that I’m not big on scary movies. But I had to make an exception for Grindhouse, based on who was making it. I’m sure you’ve read the history in a dozen other movie reviews by now. Grindhouses were independent, low-budget inner city movie theatres. Their bread and butter was double features of low-budget exploitation films. Grindhouses went the way of the dodo in the mid-1980s, when low-budget exploitation films started going straight to video. But Quentin Tarintino and Robert Rodriguiz were raised on low-budget exploitation films, and often re-created the grindhouse experience for their friends in their home theatres. And then, they thought, “Why not re-create it for the whole world?” Given the growing home theatre market, it looked as though Grindhouse would be a true theatrical experience, something growing increasingly rare these days.
First up in this double feature is Rodriguiz’s film, Planet Terror. A mysterious green gas from an abandoned army base soon starts turning a small Texas town into a horde of oozing, festering, cannibalistic zombies. It’s up to a broad group of survivors – like a one-legged go go dancer, a man with a mysterious past and a deadly accurate aim, and gruff redneck sheriff – to fight their way to a cure and/or survival.
Following some very entertaining fake trailers, we get Tarintino’s film, Death Proof. Stuntman Mike is a former Hollywood stuntman, with a car that he’s rigged to be death proof. He goes up and down the highway stalking and then killing young women in horrific car accidents. But then, he meets his match in a group of stuntwomen off on a road trip. Who will live and who will die on this highway of death?
What I Liked
I like Tarintino’s film more. Everyone says it’s slow to get going, but I like the fact that we get a chance to actually get to know our victims. Makes their death all the more horrific. The fake trailers in between are amazing. My favourite there has to be Rob Zombie’s, called Werewolf Women of the SS. There was even a low-budget ad for the restaurant next door which was great. And Rodriguiz’s film was so ridiculously over the top that you can’t help but love it.
What I Didn’t Like
OK, I get that part of the Grindhouse experience is a missing reel or a missing scene with the note on the screen saying, “Missing Reel. With Apologies, the Management.” But, in Planet Terror, Rodriguiz chooses to have the reel with all the exposition go missing, and it’s annoying as hell! And Eli Roth’s fake trailer, a slasher film called Thanksgiving, is just disgusting.
I feel really sad now that I missed the Grindhouse experience. Or that, because this is tanking, they’re thinking about re-releasing these films separately a few months down the road. This is truly and definitely a theatrical experience. See it as quick as you can.