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on December 31, 2017
I love this movie. It's a trip back to my drive-in theater days. The sound of the crappy metal speaker hanging from daddy's side of the wood panel station wagon. Playing on the playground equipment while the sun set. Theater popcorn, jammies, blankets, asleep before the second reel of the John Wayne western, or war movie. Mostly westerns. PLANET TERROR boasts perfect casting. Love the creativity in the story, like Marley Shelton having numbed hands, then broken wrists, starting her car with her teeth. This is the kind of stuff that makes it better than the genres it mocks, because it really does develop a story and really does have excellent production values. I love how quickly he accepts Cherry without a leg, as if to say, "So what? That's nothing. Let's go!" The movie sets out to be campy fun and it succeeds.
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on November 4, 2011
You know Hollywood has probably gone too far when film-makers consciously set out to make bad films. Or at least "so-bad-it's-good" films.

In this case action director Robert Rodriguez of Sin City and Desperado fame and Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction) sought to replicate the whole "grindhouse" cinema effect with a movie called... drum roll please... Grindhouse.

Grindhouses were cheap cinemas in the 1970s which showed B-rate exploitation flicks all day long -- usually in the form of double bills.

Grindhouse (the movie) consisted of a "double bill" of two movies, namely Death Proof and Planet Terror. The cinema prints of both movies were deliberately "aged" with scratches, faded colors and so forth to replicate the whole watching a battered print at a grindhouse cinema effect. Planet Terror actually has a faux trailer before the movie itself starts (it is quite funny and very reminiscent of those 1970's action flicks) for a fictional movie titled Machete.

It even has a deliberately "missing reel," letting the audience fill in the dots between scenes themselves. The DVD, by the way, goes one step further: you can select an audio track that replicates the cinema experience - you can hear an audience jeering and a guy eating pop corn in the seat next to you.

Death Proof starred Kurt Russell as a serial killer who drives a 1970s muscle car and targeted young women -- that is, until a group of them fights back.

In Planet Terror -- Rodriguez's flick -- cannibalistic zombies overrun a small town when a top secret virus is set loose at the nearby military base. The gore and violence is way over the top with some scenes directly stealing from movies such as The Thing, Evil Dead and Total Recall.

The most notable image from the movie is of a sexy Rose McGowan as an amputee with a machine gun as a prosthetic. Sensitive viewers should take care to avoid it. It stars several Rodriguez regulars and Bruce Willis in a small cameo. Watching it is like watching some forgotten straight-to-video effort from the early 1980's -- Highly stylized and reminiscent of B-movies from that era, the color palettes are often a sickly green with a dated synth music score (of the sort Carpenter's films were noted for) on the soundtrack. Its like watching a movie you have never seen before, but feeling as if you had, but can't remember when.

Cinema audiences however never got the joke as the whole "grindhouse" experience was as alien to today's young teenaged audiences that frequent today's multiplexes as were the concept of a drive-in.

There were many incidents of audience members not realizing that the movie consisted of a double bill and leaving the cinemas before the second feature started. Cinema owners weren't too happy at the film's long running time either and didn't go to any trouble to keep the movie running when the film proved to be a box office disappointment.

For the non-US. market (as well as the DVD release) it was thus decided to market and release the two movies separately. Thus with padded running times Death Proof and now Planet Terror are released as separate movies. All that remains of the whole "grindhouse" title is the "Grindhouse presents" moniker.

Back when Grindhouse was released as one feature in the cinemas director Tarantino remarked on the film's odd concept that audiences were desperate for something fresh, new and different. It would seems that he was wrong as Grindhouse proved to be a major box office disappointment. Or was he? Perhaps this was a film that proved to be too creative for its target audience, in this day and age of high tech video games, and instant gratification movies that have to 'dumb themselves down' so audiences 'get it'. I think this was a film that the target audience needed to be kids - if not teens back in the late sixties, early seventies to appreciate what had just been viewed.

THE DISC: The movie plus audio commentaries are to be found on the first disc. As stated previously, the film print has been deliberately aged to look much older than it is with all kinds of scratches, splotches, color fades and the like.

The second disc is filled with behind-the-scenes making of featurettes and interviews with the various actors and creative people involved. Unfortunately no time is spent on explaining the whole "grindhouse" phenomenon and inspiration to any newbies. But it is interesting -- and ironic! -- to see how 2000's high-tech computer technology is used to replicate a low-tech early 1980's B-grade look and feel to the movie.

RECOMMENDATION: Worth a look-see, particularly if you miss those genuine early 1980's B-grade straight-to-video efforts from that era's home video boom, and want to take a trip back to a time when movies were what they were - enjoyable, smart, and full of effort.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon March 15, 2012
Despite the homogeneous nature of cinema, I keep going to the movie theater. Largely, it's because of dudes like Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Taratino, both of whom go their own way and offer up something that's so distinctively theirs that their names have become name brands for a certain type of film. When they collaborated on GRINDHOUSE, I knew it was gonna be something outrageous and offbeat, something decidedly unhomogeneous. With fanboy nudges and winks galore, these two maverick directors take us back to 1970s shlock with their gleefully offensive homage. In its sheer excess and blatantly hokey sensibilities, their efforts pull no punches. The audience is treated to crass, old school sensationalism, incidental nudity, fake-looking geysers of blood, and rampant and visceral disembowelment. I loved the hell out of it. In their simulation of that grungy sensation one feels when in them cruddy, shady theaters of old, Rodriguez and Tarantino willfully insert scratches on the print, projector miscues, sound goofs, and bad dubbing. We even have title cards apologizing for missing reels, which occur in the most inconvenient of times. My neighbor, who is old as dirt and had also frequented this film, remarked that that exactly was what it was like when he attended those low-rent, B-movie playhouses of yesteryear. I realize that this DVD only has PLANET TERROR, but I'm stubborn enough to not split the two films. I'll be mentioning both as watching them back-to-back in the theater enriched my original viewing experience. The double-feature bill trots out Rodriguez's PLANET TERROR and Tarantino's DEATH PROOF. Let's start with PLANET TERROR or, as I like to call it, Rodriguez's cheesily apocalyptic PLANET TERROR.

THE film title alone is reminiscent of many of those old time, sci-fi/horror B-movies. The plot centers around a mass zombie attack. We witness humanity's last stand as embodied by a one-legged go-go dancer (played with jaded brusqueness by Rose McGowan), her inexplicably lethal boyfriend (Freddie Rodriguez), an adulterous, needles-touting nurse, and a few others. It's a cup overflowing with campy dialogue and over-the-top, hilariously staged horror and action sequences. It also offers up a print that is marvelously grimy and grainy, and Rodriguez himself comes up with a pretty effective John Carpenter-like synthetic score which helps to drive the storyline. By the way, creature make-up artist Tom Savini gets a bit part here as he plays a digit-less deputy, while Naveen Andrews is great fun to watch as a testic1es-collecting bio-engineer. Fun, fun, fun.

The second billing is Tarantino's very talky DEATH PROOF, which is a callback to films such as VANISHING POINT, DIRTY MARY, CRAZY LARRY, and the original GONE IN 60 SECONDS (all of which are referenced in this flick). And, if anyone's seen the 1965 flick FASTER, PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL! then DEATH PROOF will strike a certain familiarity. Kurt Russell does a deliciously villainous turn as the scarred Stuntman Mike who applies his death-proofed vehicle to do away with gorgeous females. But he makes the worst mistake of his life when he picks on fellow stuntperson Zoe Bell (who doubled for Uma Thurman in KILL BILL and who, here, plays herself).

With respect to the very natural Zoe Bell and her awesome ship's mast stunt, to me, the one to watch is Sydney Poitier (yes, it's his daughter) who plays the casually sexy Jungle Julia, she of the ravishing feet. Meanwhile, Rosario Dawson again can't help but sizzle on screen, while the very pouty-lipped Vanessa Ferlito... pouts her lips. If you're into extended dialogue which bears that distinctive Tarantino flourish, then the first half of this film is right up your alley because it's all significantly verbal and catered to the gentler sex - "gentler" being qualified here in that f-bombs are dropped with relished abandon. However, if you're an action fan, just wait 'til the second half because, then, Tarantino not only pulls out the stop signs, he smashes you in the mouth with 'em.

I have to mention the quartet of coming attraction trailers which ran in the theater. They ranged from the hilarious (MACHETE - "He just f***ed with the wrong Mexican!") to cliched shlock (DON'T and WEREWOLF WOMEN OF THE SS) to vaguely disturbing (I don't even want to know what was going on in Eli Roth's THANKSGIVING). MACHETE's faux trailer was so outrageous that it inspired an actual motion picture. There's also an ad for some kind of Tex-Mex restaurant with dubious shots of its menu samples, which made me queasy just looking at 'em.

Rodriguez and Tarantino, in their celebation of exploitation films, inject GRINDHOUSE with their exuberance and subversive humor and their love for shlocky cinema. By doing so, they elevate this film tiers above the basement genre of their intended tribute. Their gifts for crafting cinematic icons are again on display as Cherry Darling, Stuntman Mike, and Zoe Bell - à la the Bride or El Mariachi - have become film cult figures. At three hours long, yeah, my bum did fall asleep, but it's a small price to pay to gain admittance into blissfully trashy paradise.
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on October 16, 2014
The production value and creativity exhibited through that is really remarkable, and there are a lot of fun ideas here. It has a really great cast - except for one casting choice: Freddy Rodriguez. He just doesn't have the screen presence and complex snarliness this character requires.

And despite the great job of the other actors and the great look of the film, this has something missing that was also missing (unfortunately) from "Machete" which could also have been a blast. There's a hole of some kind at the middle of Rodriguez's movies, something missing. They 'grind' on you, or should I say they grind you down. Despite all of the attempted humor and kookiness, they are just too heavy is some inexplicable way. (Sin City survives well though.)
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HALL OF FAMEon August 27, 2009
It's "Night of the Living Dead" meets "Showgirls" meets "Smokey and the Bandit"...!

When toxic biochemicals are released into the Earth's atmosphere, transforming innocent bystanders into flesh-guzzling zombies, mankind's only hope lies with former go-go dancer Cherry (Rose McGowan), who wears a machine-gun in place of an amputated leg...one of her many "useless talents"...

That's the bizarre plot of PLANET TERROR, writer/director Robert Rodriguez's homage to the blood-spattered, beaten-up horror movies of the 1970s. This was originally part of the double-feature presentation "Grindhouse" along with Quentin Tarantino's DEATH PROOF, and whilst both movies play well as a double feature, you can easily enjoy PLANET TERROR as a stand-alone movie experience.

Rose McGowan is a natural fit for the role of Cherry; and it's a complete mystery--to this reviewer at least--why it's taken her so long to be the leading lady of an action/horror film; she's perfect! Rodriguez's script is totally tongue-in-cheek with lots of fun references and cliches for the veteran horror experts. Marley Shelton, Josh Brolin, Bruce Willis, Freddy Rodriguez, and "The Crazy Babysitter Twins" co-star.

The Blu-ray comes stacked with extras, including director commentary, cast interview featurettes, "scratch-free" version of the movie, audience reaction track, "Film School" tutorial featurette and BD-Live components. The perfect movie for starting a lazy weekend!
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on February 21, 2009
What more is there to say about what, in my view, is a brilliant, unashamed exploitation zombie movie that's already a classic? Yes, I know, the Grindhouse double-feature didn't too so well in the theaters but maybe the public wasn't yet ready for such advance cinematographic material. Maybe it still isn't and maybe it will never be. I know that I will never get myself tired of anything Tarantino or Tarantino-related and a movie where Tarantino, if fact plays a part and it's supposed to be the B-movie to Quentin's 'Death Proof' is a Tarantino movie to me (sorry, Robert Rodriguez). Just for the fun of name-dropping, did you know that Fergie (yes THAT Fergie) ends up eaten here? That Bruce Willis falls flat on the floor, as it decomposes? That Carlos Gallardo (El Mariachi) plays the main gunslinger? That Robert Rodriguez kills (the character played by ) his own preschool son - his son plays a part where he ends up dead. That his real-life family doctor actually plays a doctor? There's so much to learn and talk about and it's all on second disk's extra but Rose McGowan absolutely steals the show. She played a relatively short part in Death Proof but her Planet Terror role is likely to be the role of her lifetime. She's simply perfect, sensational, stunningly beautiful and deadly accurate when it comes to shooting with that leg-mounted machine gun.

But, I wasn't planning to talk much about the movie itself. I only wanted to make some brief remarks about the Blu-ray edition of Planet Terror.

To my surprise, Planet Terror goes a lot farther than any of the previous Tarantino-related (yes, I know, it's Robert Rodriguez) Blu-ray releases in actually taking advantage of the Blu-ray technology. A lot farther than Death Proof, Kill Bill or Reservoir Dogs.

Disk one, has TWO versions of the movie. The 'scratched' original and, surprisingly (because Death Proof lacks it) a mostly 'clean' copy. In addition to the 'regular' and the traditional 'commentary' sound track it's possible to select the 'audience reaction track' (available on the 'scratched' version only. Interestingly, the 'clean' version does not include the 'Machete Man' introduction.

The sound track is Dolby TrueHD or Dolby 5.1 in English and it is so on both the 'regular' and the 'audience reaction' tracks. French and Spanish tracks are also available in Dolby 5.1 only. Subtitles are English or Spanish but not in French.

As it is the case with Death Proof, BD Live is one of the options listed as a 'special feature' but, when selected, you are told to that it is not available at this time and to 'check back later'.

The second disk is full of rather interesting featurettes. There's an 11 minute one titled '10-minute film school' where Robert Rodriguez talks about the making of the movie, there are shorts on 'the gals' and the 'boys', extras on the special effects, trailers, etc., etc., etc. and, to my surprise, the quality of extras is quite decent.

Briefly: it goes a long way but not 'all the way' toward taking advantage of Blu-ray, some of the options and features implementation are confusing (see above), for reasons impossible to comprehend it claims to have BD Live but it does not, the second disk, full of extras is actually worth watching.

This edition earns its 4 stars.
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on March 6, 2008
The Good Things:
*Good, exciting, engaging story with lots of action.
*No shortage of violence and gore; fans of blood and guts should be satisfied with this.
*Some action scenes are downright awesome (like when Cherry uses her leg-gun to kill a bunch of zombies...).
*Characters are good.
*Dialogue is good.
*Music is great.

The Bad Things:
*This is definately the grossest movie I have ever seen. Lots of gut-ripping, heads-exploding, brain-eating, torrents-of-blood, melting tallywackers, and other gross bits all over the place.
*Also lots of disturbing tidbits (but could also be good, because it makes the film edgy).
*Some campiness and plenty of parts that are very absurd (but this could be a good thing, because it's stylish and entertaining).
*All of the movie is made to look old on purpose (which I think is good, because it's adds some interesting effects and serves as homage to 70s films (and older "Grindhouse" films)).

At last, a zombie movie that's not overly dreary, dumb, or boring! Much like "Sin City," this film is an action flick with lots of blood and gore, but with none of the seriousness of "Dawn of the Dead" or "28 Days Later." Instead, you can have fun with this one. It may not be as deep or intelligent as other zombie movies, but it still has good characters, some suspense, and a pretty good story. Highly reccomended for anybody who likes blood and gore, zombie movies, or absurd movies (like "Sin City" or "Shoot 'Em Up").

This feature was released alongside with "Death Proof," which is sold separately (but I think $20.00 is still good enough for one good movie).
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on February 11, 2018
A Robert Rodriguez film with a lot of very good supporting cast members that make this several cuts above the usual zombie film. Rose McGowan is mesmerizing in the lead role with her beauty and acting. Bruce Willis can play the hero or the villain with equal dexterity. A pretty good way to spend a couple of hours.
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VINE VOICEon January 18, 2012
Got this and Grindhouse Presents, Death Proof - Extended and Unrated (Two-Disc Special Edition) for a friend that really wanted to have the movies, but was bigtime excited about the fake movie trailers. I was able to get both of them, in "Used-Very Good" condition, for under $10 total, shipped, and was thrilled about the cost savings.

Until my friend reported back that the fake trailers are NOT included in this set.

If you have a blu-ray, then you can get Grindhouse (Two-Disc Collector's Edition) [Blu-ray], currently at $19.95 from Amazon. But if you don't have a blu-ray, then you have to get this one, Grindhouse (2 Disc Collector's Edition) (Death Proof / Planet Terror), which is currently at $34.99. I'll have to watch that one to go down in price.

I just wanted to post this review to make sure you can see at a glance that this set does not include the trailers. Hope this helps.
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on September 20, 2012
It's a pity that Quentin Tarantino's/Robert Rodriguez's tribute to Grindhouse films didn't get the respect it deserves when it was first released. Filled with faux coming attractions (2 of them, Machete and Hobo With A Shotgun, would eventually be real films), with a double feature, the 2nd being Tarantino's Death Proof. Rodriguez's contribution, Planet Terror, is the superior one.

Cherry Darling (Rose McGowan, who does a great dance in the opening credits)picks the wrong time to quit her job and leave town: it becomes overrun by zombies thanks to "Planet Terror," which is a bio-nerve gas. Seems that the military (Led by Bruce Willis, who is just all kinds of cool) needed it for personal reasons (I don't wanna spoil the storyline, but a line about Bin Laden seems weird considering), but a greedy scientist (Naveen Andrews) has other plans and accidently unleashes it. Pretty soon a group of survivors, including Dakota (Marley Shelton) whose all shades of crazy Dr. hubby (Josh Brolin) doesn't take kindly to her leaving him for her girlfriend (Black Eyed Peas's Fergie). Led by El Way (Freddy Rodríguez), they have to escape the zombie stampede.

It's an INCREDIBLY GORY FILM!

But that's what Grindhouse is about and kudos to Rodriguez for knowing this. It even has a "reel missing" scene that happens at the most inappropriate time, and the result is just fantastic.

If you want the whole movie, which includes the trailer, go for it. But if you just want to enjoy the bloody mess of Planet Terror, then go for it. You'll love it.
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