It’s hard to choose any one single element of GRINDHOUSE that makes it one of the best genre films ever made. Is it the none stop action, the mind-numbing violence, the free flowing blood, the amazing stunts? It could be the great acting or even better directing. Just impossible to nail it down but take my word for it GRINDHOUSE is special and a film that fans will be talking about for years to come.
The concept is simple and brilliant. Create an experience that captures the look, feel and fun of attending a 70’s exploitation double feature. Growing up in rural Ohio I didn’t have access to the inner city GRINDHOUSE theaters that many laments about. I had the Sat. Drive-In and schlocky fun that a summer evening there would hold. GRINDHOUSE does an amazing job of bringing those days back. As I sat in the darkened theater Tuesday night I was taken back to sitting on the hood of my car with that speaker on a cord hung on the door jam watching the death and destruction on the giant white screen.
GRINDHOUSE is Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s love letter to the genre that seems to have shaped them into the film makers that they are and lucky for us it is a letter they have chosen to read aloud to all of us.
The film opens with a �coming attraction� of a film titled MACHETTE that is violent, bloody and hilarious. Great stuff and amazingly plausible. This film could be made and if the screening audience I sat with on Tuesday is any indication, could do quite well. Danny Trejo and Cheech Marin are amazing.
First up in the double feature is Robert Rodriguez’s PLANET TERROR. Man, this is a great film. Completely over the top and wrong in so many ways, it is a horror fans wet dream. The action and blood come at you non stop and the inventiveness in story, character development and technical achievement are ground breaking and jaw dropping to behold. The witty dialog is delivered in a rapid fire style that demands your attention and the visual assault is almost to much for the mind to comprehend. A nonstop parade of genre vets wander trough the scenes each one bringing another wrinkle into the digital fabric that Rodriguez has crafted. I was smiling from ear to ear as I watched heroes from my youth once again grace the screen. Micheal Biehn, Tom Savini, Jeff Fahey, Michael Parks, it was just awesome. So gory, so violent, so awesome. How they got an R is beyond me but they did and we should all be thankful. PLANT TERROR is a home run.
Next up was the much ballyhooed �faux trailers� that the internet has been abuzz about for the last 6 months. ROB ZOMBIE brings us Werewolf Women of the SS were we get to see Sybil Danning looking as hot as ever and we also get to see Nick Cage as Fu Manchu. Very interesting but probably the weakest of the bunch.
Edger Wright warns us to DON�T. A nonsensical throwback to some of the trailers I remember from my youth. I found them annoying then and nothing has changed. Quirky and fun but enough is enough.
And then the trailer to end all trailers, Eli Roths THANKSGIVING. Holy shit, I laughed so damn hard I think I pooped a little. Love this trailer and this one was by far the favorite of all those in attendance with me. I think I missed the first few minutes of DEATH PROOF as I cleaned myself off.
Quentin Tarantino’s DEATH PROOF is a little bit of a harder sell for me. First let me tell you about what I loved. Kurt Russell is AMAZING. The time he is on screen are moments of sheer genius. It’s been a while since we’ve seen Kurt kick some ass but he still has it and flaunts it like a pro. The car work is great and the women are beautiful. The problem? To much damn talking. Oh man, it was killing me. Now you have to remember that GRINDHOUSE runs a little over 3 hours and about 2 � hours in your ass is getting plenty numb and the last thing you need is a 15 minute on screen rant by 4 women sitting in a diner about life, love and cars. The dialog is well written and well acted, it’s just boring. Following the non stop action of PLANET TERROR and then the hysterical wrongness of the trailers I’m afraid that DEATH PROOF is a bit of a buzz kill. Trust me, when the girls go into the diner, use the time to go pee and get yourself a Pepsi, you won’t miss anything important.
But don’t take to long as DEATH PROOF ends very strong with one of the best car chases ever committed to film and a crowd pleasing ending that has the audience right back into the mood of the film and had everyone smiling as they filed from the screening.
All in all GRINDHOUSE is an absolute must see film that is ground breaking in its content and masterfully filmed and cast. This is the film that genre fans have been waiting for.
Now get out there and support it. It doesn’t get any better than this.