Just in time to be extremely early for its DVD release(that’s our story, and we’re sticking to it), three of our movie critics review the double feature Grindhouse with Death Proof and Planet Terror, spawned by Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, and question if Thanksgiving and Don’t will ever make it to the big-screen.
by The First Black Scream Queen
Looking for a double dose of gore, mayhem & flesh? Well, look no further my little horror slaves. Grindhouse far exceeds the three in a way only the dynamic duo, Quentin Tarantino & Robert Rodriguez, could do.
From Rodriguez’s “Planet Terror” , comparable to the excitment of slam-dancing only with zombies and blunt objects, to Tarantino’s “Deathproof” which was like listening to classical music with a fine Chianti while surgically dismembering your victims; oh, it kept my juices boiling. If that wasn’t enough, much like the classic drive-ins of the exploitation era, they sprinkle in these faux trailers all over the place. They are so well done you’re wondering “Well, when will that come out!”
Whether your fancy is tickled by a crazy Stuntman named Mike (played by Kurt Russell) that prides himself on hunting gorgeous, seemingly helpless women with his death-proof car (Deathproof); or an infected town of people with a sexy woman named Cherry(Rose McGowan) shooting zombies with her GUN for a leg..(that’s right!) & her bad-ass man (Freddy Rodriguez) with the kung fu grip, you are guaranteed to leave the theatre knowing that you can pull out your cigarette and smoke. These guys have ravaged you, taken you to your climax, ask if you were satisfied & went to sleep.
One a scale of 1-5 bloody boobs…I give this film five bloody boobs!
by Rye Silverman
The movies of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez sometimes feel
less like the work of filmmakers and rather more like fans who have
perpetuated a con on us all by finding a way to make a living from
their fandom. There is no denying that pretty much every movie made by
either filmmaker is a nod of love to the movies they have devoured over
their lives. They are celluloid versions of the conversations the rest
of us tend to have over beers or coffee, or at best in a film studies
class in college.
For a duo of professional fans, the creation of a movie like Grindhouse
feels like an artistic inevitability. Unlike their previous fanboy
ventures, like Kill Bill with its nod towards kung fu movies and the El
Mariachi series and its love for the western, Grindhouse seems devoid
of the postmodernist spin the guys usually give their work. Both movies
in the double feature fully dive into their respective genre and all
the glory therein without the self aware wink towards contemporary
The better of the two movies is Rodriguez’s Planet Terror. It is a
movie that is truly in love with itself, coming to life as soon as it
bows, with Rose McGowan dancing on a pole to the jazzy, saxophone
sounds of the Rodriguez composed theme song. Of the two, this one does
dabble more in cinematic affectations, artificially grainy film, and a
strategically placed missing reel, but it accomplishes a solid goal of
bringing the viewer into its world. Terror creates a universe that, by
the time it happens, we are willing to believe that a girl not only has
a gun for a leg, but is able to mow down zombies using it with little
effort. It revels in gratuitous gore and the tease of sexuality.
The Tarantino effort, Death Proof also contains a missing reel gag,
but otherwise sheds the meta details of its partner. But at least for
me, it lost a little bit of the fun as well. It isn’t a bad movie,
and when Kurt Russell appears on screen as the homicidal Stuntman Mike,
Proof really shines. But when he isn’t, and we have long, dragging
scenes of dialogue between the female leads, it feels less like an
actual Tarantino movie and more like someone made a movie doing to the
Tarantino style what he has done in the past to the films he loves.
Forced dialogue about how great the old car movies used to be drags on
for too long and makes the viewer long for the splatter of zombie flesh
from Terror. But all is forgiven when Russell drives back into frame,
and the movie finishes extremely strong with an amazingly fun final 30
seconds, with a strategically placed use of “Chick Habit” by April
March as the credits roll.
For the most part, Grindhouse works because it reminds the viewer of
the moviegoing experience that seems to be harder and harder to obtain
today, when DVD sales have begun to rival box office take, and more and
more movies are being viewed on someone’s computer screen bootlegged
from the internet. The irony of this of course is that the movie has
famously bombed at the box office, leading to talk of separating them
into individual films when released on video. This means the true
Grindhouse experience will be something that was limited to those who
saw it during it’s brief run at theaters.
When was the last time you got to see two movies for the price of one?
Well, if you have the misfortune of being born in the mid to late 80’s or later still…
YOU have never ever known the joy of getting a double feature at all.
Much less two movies by two master filmmakers. Hell, the 70’s double features didn’t even offer that. I still can’t remember what else was playing when I saw the Enter the Dragon double feature… but it damn sure wasn’t Jaws.
GrindHouse is a powerful and fun attempt to bring back the feeling of the double feature, drive-in movie vibe that held a sub-culture of American film making and watching for the better part of a couple of decades. All in all it, I’d have to say, it’s a success… serious enough to give layered storylines and great actors… silly enough to poke fun at itself and the art of film making.
It revisits the classic cult movies put together with spit and pocket change that gave birth to a dozen new directions and future styles of editing seen in movies world wide today. Including but not limited to pulp horror and comic book flicks most of which, go directly to DVD. (most of which, we find are still put together with spit and pocket change).
Expect the unexpected… off-beat story arcs and well, never really knowing when, how or why. Expect a wild ride from the men who brought you Pulp Fiction, Four Rooms, Sin City, From Dusk To Dawn and Desperado. In two twisted little tales that could have fallen out of some nerds mint condition copy of Amazing Stories or Pulp Tales of… whatever.
GrindHouse is a must see… I mean wake up it’s Tarantino and Rodriguez for christ sake, it’s historic to boot… the throw back to the double feature. Now all we have to do is get somebody to bring back real butter on movie popcorn.