George and I went to see Grindhouse last night, and I gotta tell you… It is not just a movie. It’s an event. Basically, this movie is made up of 2 feature length movies melded into one sitting. More bang for your buck, for sure.
Now, I’m a little young to remember seeing grindhouse pictures since I was born in the 70’s when they were in their heyday. But, John and I use to spend many nights in the 80’s watching the next best thing to grindhouse movies… the horrible schlock served up on late night HBO. We watched so many bad movies back then, I do have an affinity for them. Back then HBO only had so many first run type movies, so to fill the late night slots when John and I were still up watching, they had some of the worst movies ever. (John, does “Ninja 3: Domination” ring any bells?)
I knew going in to this that these would be so over the top that I had very low expectations. Which was a good thing, since I could just sit back and enjoy the ride. These movies were so outrageous in every single aspect, that they really came across as something that you and your buddies might think up just sitting around and trying to ‘out gross’ the next guy. For example, the zombie who pops a gigantic red boil on his neck and wipes the resulting slime on the doctor to infect him. Of course, in text that sounds absolutely horrible… and it is… but when you see it, you just laugh out loud.
There were a ton of laughs in these movies, but you were not laughing at comedic bits. You are laughing at things that are so crazy and so bizarre you can’t help but laugh. In fact, I was chuckling pretty much during the whole show.
So, the first movie was directed by Robert Rodriquez and was called Planet Terror. Basically a “zombies invade a small Texas town” flick. This was the one that was delightfully insane. Absolutely unlike any “studio” movie you have seen. It is really not that scary in a traditional horror sense. There are a few ‘jump’ scenes, but mainly it is so unreal you just can’t take it seriously. And that is the fun. There was just non-stop shooting of zombies with GALLONS of fountainous watery blood.Â Tremendous!
The other movie was Quentin Tarantino’s “Death Proof” which is a slasher meets muscle cars movie. Kurt Russell plays Stuntman Mike who is a deranged stalker of young girls (of course) but instead of using a knife, he uses his car to kill them. I enjoyed this movie better… it was a bit more reserved and realistic. Plus, Kurt Russell is awesome. The scene in the bar when he is watching the girls and using charm to chat them up is great. He has that charisma that you’ve seen so many times before, but you know that there is a creepiness to it behind the scenes. You want him to be a good guy, but you know he’s not. This film is also packed with some serious stunt work that was quite impressive to watch.
I also love how the directors deliberately “damaged” the film itself to look and sound authentic. There were skips and pops and burns and scratches and dirt and dust. It really lent an air of authenticity to the whole production. Almost takes you back in time from the pristine digital images we’re now seeing in theaters.
Perhaps the best part of this whole double-feature was the previews before and in between. Movies called “Machete” which is a 70’s style assassination flick, to “Werewolf Women of the SS” to a holiday slasher called “Thanksgiving”. These things were right in line with the theme of the night and really a lot of fun. Not to mention, that the use of 70’s style movie ‘feature presentation’ stock was just icing on the cake.
When you combine everything, you get a total movie going experience unlike anything you’ve had for a long time. It absolutely is an event. I can’t adequately describe it in words. The end product is far more than the sum of it’s parts and I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Set aside 3 hours, go to the theater and turn your brain off and enjoy the ride. You won’t regret it.