Grindhouse

Dan Goldwasser Movie Reviews

Wow, what a ride. Yes, I am referring to Grindhouse, the double-feature tribute to exploitation films by directors Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez. These films are not meant to be high-art, and will undoubtedly only appeal to a niche audience. But oh, I fit right into that audience, and this movie (or should I say, movies) was a blast! After a fake trailer for Machete (directed by Rodriguez), along with retro vintage movie theater bumpers, we’re treated to the first film:

Planet Terror (Robert Rodriguez): A rogue group of military scientists decide to sell off a lethal toxin, but in the process of a deal-gone-bad, some is released into the atmosphere. Residents of the small town are turning into brain-eating “sickos” (not zombies, since they’re not dead), and a rag-tag team of people – including a go-go dancer who loses her leg when attacked by a group of the sickos – team up together to save the city. It’s messy gory fun, and has a high energy that builds quickly, and sustains itself until the end.

In between the two features are three fake trailers for movies that don’t exist. Werewolf Women of the SS is directed by Rob Zombie, and has a great cameo that had the audience in stitches. Don’t! is directed by Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead) and is a great homage to the cheesy British horror movies of the 1970s where there was no dialogue in the trailers because they didn’t want people to know that the whole cast is British. And finally, the best one, Thanksgiving is directed by Eli Roth (Hostel) and was so awesomely delicious that the MPAA had them cut out some stuff otherwise the whole Grindhouse feature would get an NC-17 rating. So, keeping in the style of hacked reels and missing frames, they just cut out the offending snippets and left the horrid edits intact without redoing the audio. Vintage brilliance!

Death Proof (Quentin Tarantino): Four gals on a night out end up meeting Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell) at a bar, but he’s not all he seems to be. Now he’s after a new set of victims – but the tables will be turned! A throwback to the Russ Meyers films, Death Proof is typical Tarantino – lots of fascinating dialogue, with no real sense of plot. Finally the action kicks in, and holy crap it’s amazing. Casting a stunt woman as one of the lead actresses was a brilliant move, and it makes the driving sequences truly riveting. It ends on a huge high note, while the energy is through the roof.

Both movies are “missing reels”, which adds to the cheesy value, and both are scratched up and damaged in some respects. It’s just a big old FUN time. Not for the faint of heart, or easily grossed out, though. I can’t wait to see it again!