I have a new theory: every movie should begin with a scene involving a scantily clad Rose McGowan and a stripper pole. That would really take the sting off of films like Norbit. Where did this theory come from, you may ask? It came from the fact that I just got back from screening Grindhouse, the homage to 70s and 80s exploitation flicks co-directed by Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino. Just think about this concept; two directors with very loyal fanbases making a three hour long double feature packed full of blood, boobs and bad dialog. What about that doesn’t sound like fun?
It starts with an intelligently designed warning to the audience that some reels of the film are missing. And thanks to the MPAA, I’m sure that besides the fact that it works with the Grindhouse theme of the films, there were some parts that were missing. Mark my words though, it will make for a hell of a DVD release.
The first of the two directors to bring their films to the table is Robert Rodriguez (Sin City) with Planet Terror. It tells the story of a deadly virus released by the military (and a very creepy Bruce Willis) that turns an entire town and eventually the world into walking zombies who eat peoples brains. There is also a vigilante badass with serious ninja skills played by Freddy Rodriguez (Six Feet Under) who is in love with a girl who has a sweet shotgun for a right leg, played by the aforementioned Rose McGowan. That’s all you need to know about the plot, as it is pretty simple from there.
But what this film, and most other films from the exploitative genre for that matter, lacks in plot it clearly makes up in style. Be prepared for loads of sickening gore and plenty of creative killing. In any zombie movie it isn’t always about how gross your zombies look, but how intelligently you find ways to kill them off. The highlight here is a scene in which those who have survived the virus are rolling down a dark road in a huge tow truck plowing down zombies; it just goes to show that they exploding zombies bit has not yet lost its flavor. Rodriguez’s flair for the dramatic and subtle ability to make even the most disgusting movie moments funny shines through, giving audiences reasons to close their eyes and keep them open all at the same time.
Once you are done with film number one, you get to relax right? Not in the least. This, in fact is what I would easily call the best part of the entire experience. And I do consider this film an experience, one that must be had in the company of other die hard fanboys and fangirls. Tarantino and Rodriguez enlisted a few of their friends to make some fake trailers to match play during the intermission. Rob Zombie (The Devil’s Rejects) is first up with a trailer for Werewolf Women of the S.S., about… well, werewolf women created by the Nazis. And while fun, it doesn’t hold a flame to the next two trailers, the first of which is for a movie called Don’t Scream directed by Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead). Once you see the trailer you will not only know not to scream, but you will have a clear understanding of what else you should not do. The final trailer is from Eli Roth (Hostel). Eli delivers the ultimate trump card of a trailer with Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is about as depraved and absurd as a horror trailer could possibly get, and it just works so well.
The final segment is Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof, which stars Kurt Russell as a former stuntman turned psycho pervert who stalks hot girls and kills them with his car. And while Kurt Russell is every bit of a badass that he was as Snake Plisskin back in the day and the car chase scenes are intensely satisfying, it does seem that Mr. Tarantino gets in his own way a bit. As is his style, there is plenty of dialog between small ounces of action. Normally that works, but in this case it really drags the film out. Death Proof also feels a little bit too polished to be paired up with Planet Terror, but that is ultimately the beauty of the double feature; you get two great films that are so different, and yet there are equally as fun.
In the end, the verdict must be that this film is a hell of an experience when seen in a theater. In fact, it may turn out to be this generation’s Rocky Horror Picture Show. But use caution, this is not a film for the weak stomached mainstream audience of America. Use this simple equation to determine whether this is a movie for you: If you don’t have any interest in seeing this film already, watch the trailer. If that doesn’t get your blood boiling and have you on Fandango buying your ticket less than 3 minutes later, then you may want to pass. For those fanboys and fangirls out there, the ones who are revved up about this delicious double feature, rest assured that the payoff is grand; Grindhouse is everything you want it to be and more.
Related Topics: Quentin Tarantino