Grindhouse Review

Poster Art Country : USA
Year: 2007
Genre: Action/Horror
Format: Cinema
Running Time: 191 minutes
Distributor: Dimension

It's two-for-one night at the GRINDHOUSE with a take-no-prisoners double feature from Rodriguez and Tarantino....

Directed by Robert Rodriguez (Planet Terror segment) and Quentin Tarantino (Death Proof segment), with Eli Roth, Edgar Wright and Rob Zombie (fake trailer segments). Written by Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino. Starring Kurt Russell, Rose McGowan, Stacy Ferguson, Bruce Willis, Tom Savini, Josh Brolin and Naveen Andrews.

As I sit here about to write a review for one of 'my latest favorite' horror films, I canít get over the fact that I just walked out of the theater and lived a new cult classic. I have a shitload to say, so let's just start with Planet Terror from director Robert Rodriguez.

Itís no mystery that as far as zombie flicks go, many b-movie enthusiasts will tell you 'The Romero trilogy' is undoubtedly the best. I dare go a step further and state that Romero's trilogy is of course my favorite zombie series of all time. Of course, I love films like Return of the Living Dead as much as the next guy and Fulciís films I adore, but Planet Terror manages to make the list of cheesy, fun, horror b-movies... right along side classics such as Night/Dawn/Day, Return of, Zombie, etc...


The movie manages to capture your interest even before it actually starts. Planet Terror truly holds its own as a solid action thriller, and a great horror film and keeps your eyes glued to the screen for it's hour and thirty three. Just look at such surprise horror hits like the original The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Blair Witch Project; then take a close look at their advertising campaign. Grindhouse is no exception, and even if the events are completely fictitious, youíd still somehow find yourself more interested to find out how the story will unfold.

And speaking of effects, you canít really get more outrageous than some of those found in Terror. Of particular interest (and mt favorite) is seeing Stacy Ferguson (a.k.a. Fergie) getting eaten by 'sickos' then seeing her head scooped out like a melon... pure genius. Or how about Tom Savini getting torn apart rather than doing the tearing? It is a zombie film which manages to be funny and scary. Thereís absolutely nothing wrong with that, especially when a film proves to be this much film.


You rarely see a horror movie with genre faves such as Bruce Willis, Tom Savini, Michael Biehn, and Jeff Fahey. Add to the mix a hot chick with a gun for a leg (Rose McGowan), and a smokin' Doc Block (Marley Shelton) and youíve practically got B-movie heaven. Freddy Rodriguez also plays it cool as El Wray.

And in case we would forget that the movie should not be taken seriously, Rodriguez promptly adds a little cool bonus to the ending which features the movieís funniest moment. To briefly summarize my endless ramblings, I fully recommend this film to any Pit fiend because it is as close as you can get to cult movie perfection.


Oh, but there is more....we have some kick-assed 'faux trailers' in between the segments. First is Rob Zombie's Werewolf Women of the S.S. which was quite disappointing and looked too much like a music video. Go figure....it was cool to see Bill Moseley in the same frames with Udo Kier, though. Next is Edgar Wright's Don't....holy shit, this is the movie that has to be made for Grindhouse 2. Fucking brilliant.... it looked like The Unseen on crack. But just when I think Wright can't begin to impress me enough with Shaun and Hot Fuzz, he gives me thirty seconds of genius that had the audience in tears. Finally, the one that nailed everything about grindhouse is Eli Roth's Thanksgiving, a film that I would kill to see. Brilliant, funny, and by God the killer looks awesome. Another one I want to see for Grindhouse 2.

So, moving on to my favorite segment, the genius of Quentin Tarantino never ceases to amaze me. Death Proof is another fine example that the man can do anything. Equal parts Vanishing Point and The New York Ripper, the film stakes out its territory early on, with a sequence where Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell) stalks his victims, and carries out his sick game in his supercharged death proof vehicle. This is a slasher film where the killer uses a car instead of a knife. And when he uses that bastard, you would probably wish it was a knife.


After this we go back to see the start of a new chase, basically hitting the rewind button and starting all over again. A new set of would be victims, but we get to see more character exposition this time because we already know what stuntman Mike is up to behind the scenes. Zoe Bell, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rosario Dawson, and Tracie Thoms are all great and have a better dynamic than the first set of girls. And let me also just say that Kurt Rusell simply tears it up and stuntman Mike. This is his best role since Snake Plissken in Escape From New York.

The car chase sequences, and Quentin Tarantino's photography in general, are terrific, brimming with energy as the the cars charge across the roads, and through the countryside. This is also Tarantino's first stint as DP and he really pulled it off. Again I say, is there anything this man can't do?


Finally, we reach the end which totally shifts gears (no pun intended) and chews your brain up like pavement on one side and down the other. I was totally not expecting the outcome of this film. All I can really compare it to is the ending of a Rocky film....pinned to the back of your chair and cheering on, this is filmmaking at its best. The whole theater was shouting, cheering and clapping--and I can't tell you the last time I saw a film where the entire theater was cheering.

Tarantino wins the battle of the films in my opinion, but both segments totally own! This is NOT a fucking remake, not a retread of another film from another country....this is pure grindhouse, brought back from the dead! Go see it three times this weekend and make sure we continue to see these kinds of films.

100% approved Pit viewing.


Review by John Gray, for Pitofhorror.com

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