‘Grindhouse’ brings out the big guns

Ally Melling

Hot women. Extreme violence. A go-go dancer fighting zombies with an M-16 for a leg.

In short, Grindhouse has everything you could want from a movie and more, and it’s finally here in all its gory, campy, over-the-top brilliance. And it was so worth the hyped wait.

Filmmaker friends Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino team up again not only with each other but with modern horror auteurs Rob Zombie (The Devil’s Rejects), Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead) and Eli Roth (Hostel). The result is a thrilling homage to the great exploitation films of the ’70s, a fan tribute to the daring, B-movie cult films that inspired them to be the directors they are today.

Grindhouse consists of four fake trailers spread out between two short films, Rodriguez’s Planet Terror and Tarantino’s Death Proof.

In Planet Terror, Rose McGowan (The Black Dahlia) plays Cherry Darling, one of many people in a small town affected when a biologically designed plague is released into the atmosphere and transferred by the carnage of mutated humans. Together with lover/gunslinger El Wray (Bobby‘s Freddy Rodriguez), scientists Abby (Naveen Andrews of “Lost”) and Dr. Block (Marley Shelton from American Dreamz), Cherry must battle the zombies and the military. Keep a look out for support from veteran actors Bruce Willis, Michael Biehn and Jeff Fahey.


Starring Kurt Russell, Rose McGowan, Rosario Dawson, Freddy Rodriguez

Directed by Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino

Distributed by The Weinstein Company

Rated R for strong graphic bloody violence and gore, terror, some sexuality, nudity and drug use

Stater rating (out of five): ?????

Planet Terror: ?????

Death Proof: ????

Rodriguez cleverly gives Planet Terror that filtered, dusty, ’70s film look and uses “missing reel” sequences to both make the audience laugh and speed up the story. The movie’s darkly funny script, intentional cheesiness and gratuitous blood, guts and guns reassure the smart moviegoer there’s still some originality and respect left in mainstream Hollywood past unoriginal crap such as Saw III.

Tarantino’s Death Proof carries a different, yet equally awesome feel as Kurt Russell’s psychopathic Stuntman Mike character stalks young women and murders them with impressive cars. Mike eventually meets his match in a final car chase with a trio of vengeful women in a 1970 Dodge Challenger (a la Vanishing Point).

For most of the segment, Death Proof has a slower pace than Planet Terror and carries a lot of unnecessary scenes and dialogue. But that doesn’t mean Tarantino’s latest tribute to female revenge movies is bad in the slightest. Every eccentric scene with Russell wipes the slates clean, making the audience miss him as an actor.

As if these two amazing films were not enough, all four of the Grindhouse trailers are so great the audience will wish they were real movies.

Rodriguez’s fake trailer for Machete stars Danny Trejo as an assassin who gets women and revenge when his turncoat employers realize “they just f***** with the wrong Mexican.” Zombie’s trailer, Werewolf Women of the S.S., is a direct homage to the 1975 gore/sexploitation film, Ilsa: The She-Wolf of the S.S., with real-life wife Sheri Moon Zombie donning the swastika and the riding crop. Wright’s spoof, Don’t, is a hilarious tribute to ’70s horror trailers, and Roth’s Thanksgiving trailer combines so much dark humor and ridiculous gore, you’ll cry from laughing. Keep a sharp eye for incredible cameos in these from actors such as Cheech Marin, Bill Moseley and Nicolas Cage (with a scene-stealing line as Fu Manchu).

Don’t join the rest of America and be fooled by Blades of Glory or Are We Done Yet?Grindhouse is the greatest, most entertaining movie released in years. Amazingly fun and adrenalized, it’s an achievement in film that embraces its cool and silliness and literally has the audience shouting, cheering and laughing out loud.

Contact ALL correspondent Ally Melling at [email protected].