Grindhouse: Planet Terror (DVD)
Directed by Robert Rodriguez
Distributed by The Weinstein Company
The premise of the Grindhouse double feature was to create two films harkening back to a time when the bizarre and insane were celebrated weekly at your local movie theater. Quentin Tarantino cranks out a film called Death Proof, calling on the gods of sexploitation and 70’s funk to spin a yarn that would make Shaft yell “Shut yo mouth!” Robert Rodriguez offers up something a little different. As if conjured straight from the hell of 1000 bastard B movies…Street Trash is it’s brother … Chopper Chicks from Zombie Town is it’s sister…and it’s momma sure feels like Day of the Dead. The child is called Planet Terror. It would live up to its name or die trying. You’ve got Rose McGowan sporting an automatic rifle for a leg, Bruce Willis commanding an army of toxic zombies, Freddy Rodriguez slicing into the undead like a little Mexican ninja and if all that weren’t enough, Michael Biehn and Jeff Fahey spend the bulk of the film arguing over a BBQ recipe.
Can you turn down a movie that kicks off in a go-go bar and ends on a military base in a showdown with an undead army? Didn’t think so. This is one psychotic ride...the kind where you have to turn your brain off and just enjoy the sheer lunacy of it all. If you aren’t capable of such a feat and have been chomping at the bit awaiting the new Queen Elizabeth movie, this is not the show for you. For me, I used to think things this amusing could only bee seen in the pages of my grittiest comics, where writers seem just a little more fearless then their Hollywood brethren. Thank God Rodriguez is reading the same books I am!!
Now its DVD time and Planet Terror boasts a 2 disk special edition with an extended and unrated cut. To be honest, it’s been so long since I’ve seen the film; I couldn’t point out one extra bit of footage if I tried. Even the “missing reel” is still in place, so not sure where the extended footage comes into play. Special features on disk one include commentary from Robert Rodriguez, a damn fun audience reaction track that’s going to be killer at my next party, international poster gallery (as usual, the Japanese had the best one), international trailer (which pretty much gives away the entire movie) and sneak peeks (aka trailers from movies dropping on DVD, set to a backdrop of Bruce Willis staring scornfully at a bag of male testicles. Priceless.)
If you are so inclined, you can also count the Machette trailer as an extra. This is tied right to the front of the film and is the only trailer to make the cut in this collection. Stay tuned for the giant sized Grindhouse Collector's Edition with both films included for the trailers you crave.
Disk 2 kicks off with 10 Minute Film School where Director Robert Rodriguez takes us through the special effects tricks used through out the movie. I’m always amazed when a reveal like this is given and we find out where CGI is used when we just assumed it was the real deal. Rodriquez breaks it down, demystifying the gun leg, chopper effects, zombie oozing and even the subtle 70’s film haze draped over the entire film.
The Badass Babes of Planet Terror introduces you to the conception and realization of the few ladies in the film, unlike Quentin’s female foot fetish free for all. These are pretty straight interviews going back and forth between Rodriguez and each woman until we come to the Crazy Baby Sitters who are so damn animated, they should have had their own mini dv to run around the set with for DVD extras!
The Guys of Planet Terror takes you on a golf cart tour of our genre’s most loved men, so understandably, this runs a bit long! When your police force alone is made up of El Mariachi, Sex Machine and that dude who kicked the Terminator’s ass, you take your time. Casting Rebel is all about Rodriguez’s son who played Tony in the film. This sequence is all at once cute and hysterical, as Rodriguez explains he still hasn’t told his son he does in the film. Watch the bit and you’ll find out why the little bowl headed kid was in the dark.
Since 10 Minute Film School revealed all the cutting edge CGI tricks used in this movie, Sickos, Bullets and Explosions: The Stunts of Planet Terror delves into the human aspect. Here you’ll see humans exploding, humans stumbling around on fire, humans propelled through the air…it’s all out human carnage, all for the love of film making. Stuntmen rule and this is their love letter.
The Friend, The Doctor and the Real Estate Agent is a profile of Robert’s three friends whom he inserted into his film for added reality, with great results. It’s a quirky, quick little piece that’s more anecdotal that interview-y with a relaxed tone that works well as a sort of closing statement.
Now I know what you are going to say. Where’s the cooking school segment?! Rodriguez assures us this will be coming in the collector’s edition with both films, providing a recipe for BBQ that you’ll fight your brother to the death over. The real question is, can you wait until the new set comes out to own Death Proof and Planet Terror?? This is just going to be one of those moments where I advise you to just bite the bullet and enjoy sooner than later. At the very least, the Weinsteins have provided a coupon for 5 bucks off your purchase of Death Proof with a purchase of Planet Terror…so you see? They really do love you.
4 out of 5
4 out of 5