GRINDHOUSE

 

Review by 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 just loved.

All in all this was a long movie but you didn't even notice

14 dead bodies (officially)
6 Breasts
32 Beasts
3 Car chases with 2 crashes and 0 Burns
8 Explosions
Leg Ripping
Finger biting
Lead pipe beating
Hand breaking
Needle gun shooting
BBQ eating
Zombie Fu
Turkey Carving
Were Wolves Howling
Knife up the bum
Heads Roll
Zombie Fu
Grindhouse FU

4 Stars
I say Check it out

 


Visit the official Dimension Films GRINDHOUSE movie website by clicking here.


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