Customer Reviews: Grindhouse Presents, Planet Terror - Extended and Unrated (Two-Disc Special Edition)
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VINE VOICEon August 22, 2007
First, a word about this childish boycott. "Grindhouse" gave us two brilliant genre films for the price of one in the theaters. It was a once in a lifetime experience for most of us and a chance to see the two most bada$* directors in Hollywood give us 3+ hours of hardcore horror entertainment including the funniest faux-trailers your likely to ever see. And it bombed. Big time. Why? Because lazy America said it'd wait for the DVD because the film was too long and lost the chance to support a truly brilliant idea and show that we are sick and tired of cardboard cutout PG-13 teen horror and bad remakes of beloved cult classics. They went to see "Disturbia" instead. "Grindhouse" was what true horror fans -hell, what all true film fanatics- have been dying for and shame on all of you who missed it. So the studio took a loss for taking a chance on this idea and as a result, they've split the two films up with extra scenes that were cut for time and are giving us these two films as we haven't yet seen them, each in double-dic editions packed with extras. Awesome, right? Weeeeeellllll, now the same whiners who stiffed the films in the theaters are angry they missed out and want both films on one DVD (as if there'd even be room) for a discount price. Sorry, but it don't work that way. The theatrical cut was packaged as just that, an experience for the theaters simulating the double-feature drive-in days of old. Even if that experience would translate to DVD, why would the company re-release it in a form that already failed miserably? The bottom line is this: we now have another chance to show that THIS is what we as horror fans want to see and the only way to do that is to buy these great-looking DVDs. The notion that making the films bomb yet again on DVD is going to lead to some super-duper deluxe theatrical edition must have been conceived in the mind of a five year old on crack. If we don't support these editions, these films will die and the studio will waste no more money on this failed project or any like it in the future. This is basic business sense. Support true horror and boycott crappy remakes and bloated sequels *cough*Spiderman3*cough* instead.

"Planet Terror" as you already know, was Robert Rodriguez's half of "Grindhouse" and while it's artistically inferior to it's sister film (Tarantino's "Death Proof"), Rodriguez brings the campy action, hardcore gore, and zombie awesomeness hard and fast like you know he can. The music, as always, rocks and grooves, the deaths will make you laugh and recoil in disgust, and Rose McGowan may well be the sexiest thing on the planet. The story is nonsense, of course, and the dialogue is hammy and shooting a grenade launcher directly into the ground will NOT launch you into the air (not in one piece, anyway) like a superhero, but this film is of the kind where this sort of unreal madness only makes you love it more and leaves you drunk and giddy with the chaos. It's silly, but you will love it. Much of "Planet Terror" makes me feel like I'm watching the most kicka$# video game ever made; a game I'd really love to play.

The movie is packed with recurring jokes and funny, memorable dialogue (much of which is based on Rose McGownan's real personality) that pays off in spades down the line. Rodriguez did not skimp on the cast, either. Sure, he cast most of his family plus his doctor and even his freakin' real-estate agent, but they are all fantastic. Bruce Willis chews the scenery, Freddy Rodriguez is THE zombie-killing machine, Quentin Tarantino plays "rapist #1", and you know it's a true undead party when Tom Savini hits the scene. Also, Fergie plays a lesbian who gets her brain eaten by the marauding undead. Yes, I know if this was realistic the scene would have played out like the Simpsons episode where the zombies moan "braaaaaainsss" as they feel her head and then, finding none, leave the so-vapid-she's-sexy pop tart to ponder her 15 minutes of fame; but like I was saying, this is not a realistic movie and any dead Black-eyed Peas member is a good one.

If anyone knows how to do extras right, it's Robert Rodriguez. You've got the standard commentary, plus the audience reaction track from the film's premiere (a personal favorite), his patented "10 minute film school", and yes, the "Machette" trailer still precedes the film. Sweet. The rest of the bonus features largely mirror the "Death Proof" DVD with lots of love for the cast and stuntpeople; very informative and very entertaining. I was actually hoping for more restored footage to the actual movie then we get (more crazy babysitter twins, anyone?) and the visual defects and missing reel -which was fun in the theater- are still there and not nearly as cute, but these are my only gripes. I could seriously write for days about all the things I love about this movie, but I'll just say one more thing before wrapping up: I sure could go for some barbeque.

"Planet Terror" brings some seriously awesome action-horror that delivers everything you want in a zombie film and you'd be a fool to pass on it just because you don't get a whole other movie free. Buy it, buy "Death Proof", and then go wave your copies at the moron down the street who's boycotting.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon January 23, 2010
After seeing Grindhouse in the theaters, it became an instant favorite of mine. I've gone through a few DVDs so far (US DVD and Japanese 8-disc set) before getting the blu-ray - I have to say there definitely is an upgrade here (despite the old/torn up/dragged through the dirt look of the film). I'll start off by saying that it looks exactly as it was intended to look (and I hate it whenever people say that, as it usually means "It doesn't look that good, but it's not supposed to, so I give it 5 stars") - there is a significant increase in the sharpness of the film, but the blu-ray also includes an exclusive version of the film without the "grindhouse look" - a nice clean print if you ever just want to sit down and watch it without all of the damage (a very cool extra, even if just to check out). Overall the video is a significant jump from the DVD Release and looks very nice. Great audio track to go along with the video - definitely a fun action/horror movie to sit back and crank up the volume to. All extras from the DVD release are carried over and round out the package nicely (the only new extra being the scratch-free version mentioned above)

For anyone who has seen Grindhouse in theaters, it's important to note that this is only the Planet Terror portion of the film - it has been extended (almost half an hour longer) - this may be a good or bad thing based on which version you like. I personally like both versions (extended individual versions and the double-feature) for different reasons - currently, the double-feature isn't available on DVD or Blu Ray in the US, so there aren't many options.

What could have made it better? Picture in picture track and all of the theatrical trailers on the disc (currently the disc only has Machete on it).

If you don't have it on any format, I highly recommend it. It's a nice zombie/action movie - don't expect too many scares, but if you want to sit back and have a fun time, this is the perfect movie. If you own it on DVD, I still recommend the upgrade to the Blu Ray for the extra feature (scratch-free version) and the significant A/V upgrade.
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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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on September 22, 2014
Humor is one of those things which vary widely from person to person, therefore unless you have a penchant for gross, the cast of this film may not be enough to carry it for the non-zombie connoisseur who lets this be their introduction into zombie genre films. Rose McGowan is lovely, but "where's the beef" regarding using her name and cover photo pose as a huge teaser to get you to hope for some revealing footage from her performance. There are some recognizable actors and actresses here, but even reminding myself that this show is an intentional spoof film, I can't understand the undeserved hype and rave reviews by so many Amazon reviewers. If you're under 14 years old, you'll more than likely enjoy this film perfectly fine. I recommend "Zombieland" a 2009 release DVD with Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, & Bill Murray. At least "Zombieland" is entertaining.
The marketing gimmick of emphasizing this "Planet Terror" film is presented by Grindhouse is clever, but this is not a movie boiling over with sex or nudity. I could watch this film sitting in the same room with my daughter and my mother and not flinch.
From what some of my acquaintances have said, "Death Proof" with Kurt Russell has better special effects if you're a fan of death and gore. Maybe I'll get it next and hope for something worth having in my DVD movie collection.
My mind cannot grasp why the extended and unrated two disc special edition version of "Planet Terror" is a big selling point. I guess those giving 5 star reviews of this film are zombie genre aficionados, relatives of somebody in the cast, or investors hoping to recoup their money.
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on April 19, 2015
"Grindhouse" is a double-feature, in which one film, "Deathproof," was directed by Quentin Tarantino and the other, "Planet Terror," was directed by collaborator Robert Rodriguez. What I love about both films is the way they capture the B-moviegoing experience of the 1970s, with cheesy-looking "Coming Attractions" and "Feature Film" titles (both exactly duplicating the titles of the time), as well as the graininess, color fluctuations, grating electronic score, and rough film splices that I recall from my adolescence. The plot? Oh yeah. A bunch of small-town denizens battle zombies and military types when there is a major leak at a nearby chemical warfare plant. While retro in its appearance, the film is set in the new millennium, replete with cell phones. Wonderful melodramatic characters, but especially look for Josh Brolin as a vengeful doctor and of course Rose McGowan as the stripper heroine with the machine-gun leg.
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on October 22, 2007
What makes Planet Terror so good is that it is just simple fun. The plot the characters, the acting, the effects...they are all horrible. The film is simple one-liners, idiotic characters and over the top mayhem. It is an excuse to blow stuff up and spout cheesy lines while taking down zombies in a rain of blood. There are a few clunky "heavy" moments in the film that feel bogged down and are quite painful but if you can make it through them there is a fun ride in store for you. The filming made me laugh when the missing reel message popped up and the warbles and pops are a fun throwback to horrible, horrible "grindhouse" films.

I think there is a lot of the experience that was lost when the movies were split up outside of the theater. I wish that a true theatrical running of double-feature with advertisements and trailers was available because that is what I really want. By themselves, I wouldn't purchase either Planet Terror or Deathproof but I'd rent them for a weekend with the guys while knocking back a few and tearing into some good BBQ.
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on May 6, 2015
I love this movie; have seen it three times... it's hilarious! Highly recommended for its campy plot, special creature effects, graphic nature, and of course, cliche dialogue. If this is your type of thing, you're in for a treat!
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One of two Tarantino throw-backs to a bygone era of drive-in movies. Definitely worth watching along with Deathproof. Great acting, novel plotlines, and the usual Tarantino filmmaking twists that make him one of the best "new" directors of the last 20 years.
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HALL OF FAMEon October 16, 2007
The best part of Grindhouse (besides the fake trailers) was Robert Rodriguez's Planet Terror, which is now on DVD nearly a month after Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof was released. Though the Weinstein Company sadly decided to split the films for home video release (besides Machete, the fake trailers aren't here), the pair's Grindhouse films are an experience to say the least. Planet Terror revolves around Go-Go dancer Cherry (Rose McGowan) and her ex-flame El Wray (Freddy Rodriguez) who are caught in the middle of an undead outbreak. As survivors gather together, the military steps in with their own intentions, and thus let the blood bath begin. What really makes Planet Terror so good is that Robert Rodriguez is clearly having a blast with the proceedings, as he pays delightful homage to the exploitation flicks that inspired Grindhouse as a whole. There's nifty gore effects from industry master Greg Nicotero, and the rest of the cast, including Bruce Willis, Josh Brolin, Marley Shelton, Michael Biehn, Jeff Fahey, Stacy Ferguson, and Lost's Naveen Andrews, make memorable turns as well. Instantly enjoyable for zombie addicts and Rodriguez fans alike, Planet Terror is a deliciously bloody and gooey treat.
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on June 5, 2014
Campy? Sure. Disgusting? You betcha! Enjoyable from start to finish? Absolutely!
This is one of my favorite movies. It has everything. Humor, scares, zombies, guns, explosions, military personnel, and Bruce freakin' Willis! Fun all around!
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