Genres: Action, Horror,
Runtime: 105 minutes
Review done by: Nightmare Child
Starring: Rose McGowan, Freddy Rodriguez, Marley Shelton, Josh Brolin, Jeff
Fahey, Bruce Willis, Michael Parks, Michael Biehn, Tom Savini
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Synopsis: After an experimental bio-weapon is released, turning thousands
into zombie-like creatures, it's up to a rag-tag group of survivors to stop the
infected and those behind its release.
Seeing Grindhouse in theatres was one of the best movie going experiences
of my life. The crowds were roaring like you would see at a midnight movie.
Only this was during the day, that's how bad ass Grindhouse was. It was a
major trip going back to the exploitation films of the 70's and 80's. It was a
double bill, which meant that two movies were attached together along with
hilarious fake trailers. Grindhouse was easily the best film I've seen all year,
and that's sad considering that we've already reached the last quarter.
Nothing has yet to top the Grindhouse big screen experience. The film was
expected to be some sort of blockbuster. How could it not be? It's from the
same guys that brought us Reservoir Dogs, Desperado, Pulp Fiction, From
Dusk Till Dawn, Kill Bill and Sin City. There's a big audience for these movies,
so everybody figured that people would be lining up to see Grindhouse. It
didn't happen, in fact the movie did poorly at the box office (the exact
opposite). Was it because of the release date? The budget?
Was it because of the long run time? (which is unlikely considering that
people can sit through Jackson's Lord of the Rings). Whatever the reason
may be, the so called "cult fan base" decided to sit this one out; such a
shame. If you missed out on seeing Grindhouse in the theatre (which I'm
sure is a lot of you) then you should be ashamed of yourself. You missed a
once in a lifetime opportunity. With the poor and short lived theatrical run,
word came around that Grindhouse would be split and released separately
either in theatres or on DVD. The re-release never happened, so Dimension
decided to split the films and release them on DVD. The first one I'm
reviewing is Robert Rodriguez's zombie/contamination movie PLANET
TERROR. PT starts off with a trailer for MACHETE, a story about a Mexican
Hitman who gets revenge on the men that double crossed him. Machete
slices and dices at the bad guys along with his padre, a priest with guns.
What a perfect way to start the film and set up the vintage feel. We already
have a review for the entire Grindhouse lineup, so I wont waste time by going
into every aspect of the movie. I'll cover the basic stuff. After the MACHETE
trailer, Planet Terror opens with a dancing title sequence. We follow a go-go
dancer named Cherry Darling, a wrecker named El Wray and a bunch of
others as they struggle to survive during a viral outbreak that's turning the
town's citizens into flesh eating zombies. Planet Terror is an ode to the
horror films of the 80's. Largely inspired by the works of John Carpenter,
Planet Terror is loaded with guns, babes, violence and a go-go dancer who's
aiming to be a stand up comedian. Oh and she eventually gets a machine gun
for a leg. Sound silly? I suppose, but it doesn't necessarily play out in a silly
way. It's more fun and over the top than it is silly. There's a ton of humor in
Planet Terror, which comes from the lovable characters and dialog.
Planet Terror features an amazing cast of actors and actresses (new and
old). We get to see some familiar faces like Michael Biehn, Tom Savini and
Carlos Gallardo. If you're looking for a gory good time then Planet Terror is
the perfect film to watch. The movie is loaded with flesh eating zombies,
which of course means that you get to see some blood and guts. There's a
lot of that in here. This DVD includes the unrated and extended cut of the
movie. If you saw Grindhouse in theatres then you'll be surprised to see the
stuff that got cut out in order to fit the time slot. It's not much and it
doesn't take away key plot points (the "missing reel" is still missing as
intended), but the unseen footage was a real treat. If you love exploitation
like I do then this will be a match made in heaven for you. It certainly was for
me; I loved Planet Terror. It's the top favorite amongst Grindhouse fans
(though I still prefer Death Proof). Planet Terror is widely entertaining and
over the top. You just have to look past the nonsense.
Thinking logically will ruin the experience. The film features a grimy and old
look. This was partially due to the magic of special effects and real film
damage. Planet Terror looks like a run down print that's been played a dozen
times and even has a part where the film gets damaged and gets replaced
with a missing reel card that cuts out a chuck of the story. This is done
purposely, and I can honestly say that dirt has never looked this good on
film. The look and feel of Planet Terror is spot on perfect. The movie features
a ton of John Carpenter homage's which plays into Rodriguez's running joke
that Carpenter made PT between Escape from New York and The Thing. If
you're a Carpenter nut like myself then you'll be able to spot these things in
both the action and music. The soundtrack for Planet Terror is amazing.
Everything from the opening theme to the music at the end of the film, the
soundtrack created by Rodriguez is incredible. Planet Terror is something you
have to watch without having to examine or question every detail.
My best advice would be to sit down, relax and enjoy the ride. You don't
need your brain to enjoy this one. Don't ever question logic; it's exploitation,
not algebra. Everything speaks for itself. This two disc DVD set is packed
with extras. Disc one includes two commentary tracks. An informative one
with Rodriguez and an audience reaction track which is neat, but a little
pointless if you saw the film in a theatre. The bonus mateiral on the second
disc includes the featurettes "Badass Babes," "Tough Guys Of Planet Terror,"
"Casting Rebel," "Sickos Bullets And Explosions: The Stunts Of Planet Terror"
"The Friend," "The Doctor" And "The Real Estate Agent." The featurettes are
quite impressive, but not as impressive as the "10 Minute Film School with
Robert Rodriguez." That's the best feature on this set. What isn't included is
the much expected cooking school featurette. Rodriguez is saving that for
the double bill edition of Grindhouse which is expected to come out sometime
in the future.
I've been asked many times whether if Grindhouse was worth buying
separately or not. If you want to see Grindhouse again the way you saw it in
theatres, then I highly suggest that you wait. Dimension will be releasing a
newer edition, and most likely it'll have both films attached again along with
the fake trailers that have gone missing. I was a little disappointed when I
found out that the movies would sell separately on DVD. That just kills the
original concept for Grindhouse. It's two awesome exploitation movies for the
price of one. Let's hope they'll do it justice with the new release. More
features wouldn't hurt, I'm a sucker for bonus material. However, if you
prefer one film over the other and don't care much for special features then I
would recommend picking this up. If you're patience is wearing thin and you
want to see Grindhouse right away, then I recommend renting both DVDs at
the same time. You can have a double feature back at home. Either way
you're set to have a blast.
Online since: February 20th, 2006