Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Halloween Challenge #6 (Part 1 of 2)

Planet Terror is the first part of Grindhouse, the Rodriguez/Tarantino double feature. Planet Terror is at it's heart and '80s zombie movie, but has some great exploitation and action elements to it. I like the story, as it deals with a Romero-style classic plot-line. The zombies are created by a military chemical weapon mishandled.

There is plenty of intentional cheese to this one. The feel is very much like any b movie you might have seen before, and to me has a very John Carpenter flavor to it, particularly the incidental music. It always reminds me of Assault on Precinct 13.

I tend to give Rodriguez a lot of shit because of all the announced projects that fall through, but man can he deliver when he gets around to them. This is not as good as some of his films, but for what it is meant to be it is excellent. I think it is better than the second half of From Dusk Till Dawn as a horror film, but not as good as his El Mariachi franchise.

There are a lot of great performances. Tom Savini, or as I call him, "Mister Zombie," has some great scenes, as does Jeff Fahey. Rose McGowan is made for this type of film, but Marley Shelton gets the big nod from me. She plays the "final girl" to the hilt, even though technically that is not her role.

Best part, and why I have the "Part 1 of 2" in the title, is that the original Grindhouse, as it was shown in theaters, is now on BluRay. I did not get to see it in the theater, and was always offended that they split the films for DVD. Now, I'm a happy camper! I have not looked at the features disc yet, maybe tomorrow when we look at part 2; Death Proof.

Verdict: Great take on the old style. Highly recommended.


Lisa said...

In Europe the two films were shown apart from each other in cinemas, because the commercial success in the US wasn't that great... Which sucks, since 'Death Proof' is a bit like watching 'Sex & the City' with blood & hot cars and Planet Terror makes it bearable (already giving my two cents on DP with this).
I am now waiting for the original Grindhouse DVD to come out in Germany, although I already own Planet Terror on DVD.

I think Rodriguez' main 'problem' was McGowan... he announced so many movies with her in the lead and the studios didn't want to give money for this/her.
Directors shouldn't have sex with their actresses- as long as they aren't Hollywood's A-class.
However, this problem should be solved by now...

Darius Whiteplume said...

Death Proof is slow going at times. You really only want to see the car chase at the end. I do love Kurt Russell though.

The Rodriguez/McGowan thing probably was much of his trouble. First she was supposed to be Barbarella (a movie I don't think you can remake) and then Red Sonja, which had promise (perhaps).

lyinglies said...

Okay, now that is one of my favorite movies of all time. Had you trashed talked it, I'm afraid our friendship would be good as over :P seriously. No, just kidding.
By the way, I hope you are correct in your previous comment about Red Sonja. I mean, damn...I like Rose McGowan, but I hope she didn't screw it up.

Darius Whiteplume said...

I'm not sure RS is really going to happen anymore. I don't even bother following RR's upcomings any more. If he makes it, and goes Deathstalker-style, I will be happy.

Lisa said...

I heard Red Sonja is dead.
The studios stopped investing into it, and this is how Rodriguez/McGowans relationship ended, too.

Although I am sad about RS not happening, it's a bless that he can now focus on doing films that WILL ACTUALLY HAPPEN.
And 'Machete' was a great success he needed in his career, or rather to prove that he still has one. And surprise, surprise, McGowan hasn't got the lead ;)

Copyboy said...

I might be the only one that actually enjoyed the first From Dusck 'til Dawn. Oh and El Mariachi kicked it old school!!! Still have to see GH.

Darius Whiteplume said...

@Lisa - I have heard mixed things on Macheté, but will see it eventually.

@CB - I liked FDTD up until the heavy vampire weirdness. It seemed to drag a lot in places. Once Satanico Pandemonium changed, the whole thing kind of went down hill for me. Up until then it was awesome.

Lisa said...

I haven't watched Machete myself, mainly because it wasn't released in European theatres yet. I have to wait until November and I don't want to watch it illegally (save my little soul), but I am excited about it since '09.
I've also heard mixed opinions (mainly that it is too long), but it was a positive feedback for Rodriguez after all the forth and back with his other projects.

@Copyboy: I enjoy the first FdtD more than the sequels. Although I was a bit confused the first time I saw it years ago. I don't like the ending, but the first scene is glorious.

Jay Amabile said...

I have to agree with u, I enjoyed Planet Terror - even more than Death Proof. I will probably be getting the blu ray

Lazarus Lupin said...

Death Proof suffers, if that's the word for it, by being too close to its source. Whereas Planet Terror has an obvious wink and a nod attitude. I like them both for different reasons, but when I'm blue I'd much rather plunk in Planet Terror.

Lazarus Lupin
art and review

Darius Whiteplume said...

@Jay - I think the special features on the Blu Ray are the same as on the DVD, but I don't typically care for them anyway. I like having it all in one piece though.

@LL - PT is definitely more consistently exciting, plus who doesn't want to see Fergie eaten by zombies?

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