Casey C. Corpier
Now first off a little history for
you. The Grindhouses are the old theatres in the 1970s that you would go to in
Times Square or in the "Red Light" districts of the cities. If you have seen
Taxi Driver you see footage of Travis driving through the district and
you see the advertising for XXX, Live Nude Girls, and Topless, you see that he
drives past one theatre and you see a marquee for the Texas Chainsaw
Massacre. That is a Grindhouse. The Grindhouses were known for showing
Exploitation in a time before Video Stores. We didn't have them very much here
in Texas because we had plenty of Drive-Ins to show the films. The films were
largely created with the popularity of Herschel Gordon Lewis' films like
Blood Feast, and 2,000 Maniacs. Other films come to mind like
Evil Dead, I Spit on your Grave, Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS,
and I can't forget to include Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The Grindhouses
went out in the 1980s when many mayors and city officials wanted to clean up
the districts to make it safe for people to bring their families to the areas.
What was the biggest nail in the coffin for the houses was the invention and
the popularity of video. People no longer wanted to go to the houses when they
could just go to their local video store and check out the the videos in your
own home. The video and late night cable craze brought out it's own series of
exploitation horror for a new era.
With the current 70s nostalgic trend and the popularity of The Devil's
Rejects and Kill Bill, and the recent new films like Hostel
and Saw, all the guys who made those films have gotten together to
bring you Grindhouse.
I first saw the hype for Grindhouse back in October at the Spike awards
and I admit I was pretty excited. I'm a big fan of almost all of the guys
involved with the exception of Tarantino and (Eli) Roth, and they even
impressed me. I liked Kill Bill and Pulp Fiction but I don't
think that Tarantino is the "auteur" that everyone builds him up to be. I am a
big fan of Robert Rodriguez, but I don't think he is the "second coming". The
truth is all I see in them and Rob Zombie is three filmmakers who make movies
that they want to see and a lot of other people want to see as well.
They are fans making films for the fans and as a result they have a real "cult
like" following. I'm the same way, I just have a smaller following, but that
is because I've been to busy screwing around with small projects and need to
get off my ass. They are ok in my book, my only problem is I have to deal with
working with every second rate filmmaker who wants to be the next Rodriguez or
Tarantino and more scarily they think that they are the next Rodriguez
or Tarantino. It almost makes me want to hate them but I am not going to hold
it against them.
Damn that was a rant! Anyway...
Grindhouse has everything that you got in the Grindhouses in the 70's
right down to coming attractions and cheesy 70's theatre titles. You had the
trailers of the fictional films that were done by different directors. I
personally thought that the best one was Werewolf Women of the SS
directed by Rob Zombie, that really made me think of the Ilsa movies. I also
liked the trailer for a movie called Thanksgiving that was a jab at the
holiday themed slashers of the late 70's and early 80's. And I should mention
Don't, that was a jab at the titles of the 70's when you had movies
like Don't look in the Basement that was directed by the late S.F.
Brownrigg, who is the father of a friend of mine. And there's Machete,
that really reminded me of Shaft with Danny Trejo in the title role.
We are also treated to a double feature. The first film is Planet Terror,
a movie about a chemical outbreak that turns people into brain eating zombies,
with memorable characters that are trapped inside of a BBQ restaurant with
killer zombies outside wanting to get in. Here we have Rose McGowan playing a
"Go Go Dancer" that looses her leg to a bunch of zombies only to have it
replaced by a machine gun (a girlfriend for Ash), and a little guy named El
Wray that is the hero of the film which is typical for the genre that the hero
is often the ex-con that sees everything that is going on before everyone else
does. Planet Terror also has the cardinal rule for a good film -
"anyone can die at any moment". Featuring bit parts by genre greats Tom Savini,
Michael Biehn, and Jeff Fahey.
Death Proof is the other film on the bill with Kurt Russell as Stuntman
Mike, a serial killer that murders unsuspecting women with his car that he he
has made to protect him after he crashed the car at high speeds. Unfortunately
for him he has picked on the wrong group of girls, including Rosario Dawson
and the very beautiful Zoe Bell (by the way Zoe, I'm Single). This chapter
reminded me of the wheels of terror films also in the 70's.
Grindhouse was shot in the 16mm style of the 70's Exploitation era, and
you are actually led to believe that the film is taking place in the 70's...
that is until the characters pull out the text messaging equipment. Now I'm no
history expert, but I don't think that they had text messaging back then.
PRODUCT PLACEMENT! Aside from that the film even has the grainy effect and
even has "Missing Reels" in different parts of the film. There is even a scene
where the film gets off of the sprockets (thanks Tab) and that the audience
All in all this was a long movie but you didn't even notice
14 dead bodies (officially)
3 Car chases with 2 crashes and 0 Burns
Lead pipe beating
Needle gun shooting
Were Wolves Howling
Knife up the bum
I say Check it out
Visit the official Dimension Films GRINDHOUSE movie
website by clicking
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