Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Movie Review: GrindHouse

A grindhouse, as I understand it, used to be a theatre where you'd go to see a double feature of rather cheaply made movies full of excessive violence, gore, and sex. They'd use whatever film they could find as cheaply as possible, some lame makeup, and dreadful dialog.
This movie is supposed to be a spoof on those movies. No, spoof is the wrong word. Comically intended homage, maybe?

The movie opens with a trailer for a made up movie called "Machete" about a bad ass Mexican hired to kill a senator and then get taken out so he couldn't talk. Instead he loads up on machetes and goes after the senator and the guys who hired him.
There's several real movies like this, but "Machete" is supposed to be low budget-high gore instead of high budget-medium gore.

Then we get into "Robert Rodriguez's Planet Terror". A back street deal between some scientists and the military goes wrong and a deadly gas is released that causes horrible blisters and deformities while turning people into mindless cannibal zombies. The film is horribly scratched and melting in places. The color quality changes from scene to scene. A missing reel means we lose the best part of a sex scene the story jumps from the safety of the BBQ hut into the middle of a zombie raid. The dialog is written to mock the bad dialog from the real movies. The gore isn't as bad as in movies like "Dead Alive" where you spend the first 10 minutes choking back the gag reflex but it's pretty bad.
If you've seen the trailers then you already know about the go-go dancer who gets some military grade hardware as a replacement for the leg that gets devoured by zombies. Really, that line tells you everything you need about this movie.
It has Tom Savini as a police officer. That either means something to you or I can't explain it.

There's an intermission where some more fake trailers are shown. One by Rob Zombie ("musician" and writer/director of the gorefest "House of 1000 Corpses"), one by Eli Roth (writer/director/producer/actor of the gorefest "Hostel"), and one by Edgar Wright (writer of the comedy "Shaun of the Dead"). There's also an ad for the restaurant next door showing some rather unappetizing food.

Then we see "Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof". This isn't as gruesome as the first movie. It starts with a long stretch of Tarantino style banter between three girls heading out for a night on the town. We meet Stuntman Mike who explains what a "death proof" car is and why a stuntman needs these specially rigged cars. Then driving and death.
For the next part of this movie we see four more girls out for a good time. One of these actresses is primarily a stuntwoman and is here for a good reason. These girls are in town for a movie they're filming and have a few days off. After much more Tarantino dialog they find a car for sale which is a replica of one in their favorite car film. They take it for a test run so they can do some really stupid stuff with it. No, I can't tell you what. Stuntman Mike shows up again and there's a long car chase that is a lot more dangerous than the dangerous stuff they already had in mind.
After surviving Stuntman Mike these girls decide to turn the tables. They go back after him and the movie ends on a "girl power" note.

This movie must be watched with a whole bunch of people. The Easter sunday crowd was about right. Big theatre with a couple of dozen people well spaced out. It's really a theatre experience movie but I'll probably get it on DVD anyway. Eh... maybe not. Really, you need a mob of people.

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