Movie Review:
'Grindhouse' fulfills gore lore
Posted April 20, 2007

A film that promises to deliver all of the gore, sex, and tawdriness of 1970s exploitation films would seem to be setting viewers up for a letdown.

Instead, Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s “Grindhouse” delivers an effective homage with a double feature that doesn’t disappoint.

The film premiered April 6 to critical acclaim, if not a stellar box office.

The two films play back-to-back, resulting in a running time of over three hours.

Instead of the boredom that usually accompanies long films, audiences should expect a jam-packed, non-stop parade of bloodshed.

The first feature, “Planet Terror,” is Rodriguez’s tribute to campy zombie movies. Instead of a stale plot, the film provides a modern twist—the zombies are the result of a biochemical terrorist attack.

Rose McGowan stars as go-go dancer, Cherry – not a stripper, she firmly points out – who loses her leg to a cannibal zombie. Her boyfriend’s solution to the missing leg? A machine-gun that will efficiently aid in fighting off the zombies.

While heads are ripped off and brains eaten out, a slew of stars make cameos, including Bruce Willis and Fergie. The acting is superb due to the witty dialogue also supplied by Rodriguez. When Cherry laments the loss of her leg, she notes, “Now I’ll never be a stand-up comedian.”

Pseudo-previews shown during the intermission result in many laugh-out-loud moments. One preview entitled “Machete” showcases a Mexican hitman who seeks revenge on the men who set him up. The humorous tagline for the fake film – “They F***ed With the Wrong Mexican.” Other gore-fest previews included “Hostel” director Eli Roth’s “Thanksgiving” and Rob Zombie’s “Werewolf Women of the S.S.”

The second feature, “Death-Proof,” is Tarantino’s slasher flick starring Kurt Russell as a psychopath stuntman who kills young women with his car. The cast includes Rosario Dawson, Tracie Thoms and real-life stuntwoman Zöe Bell.

A fun twist to the plot occurs when a targeted group of women fight back. Revenge, though extremely violent, is sweet.

The visual effects in “Grindhouse” often include a grainy texture and occasional ‘missing reels’ that result in chuckles from the audience—all effects added greatly to the realistic aura of this tribute to vintage B-movie thrillers.

Both features take place in similar rural neighborhoods of Austin, Texas, in a decade that seems hard to define.

The cars are run-down oldies and the costumes have a vintage feel, but zombies still benefit from sophisticated technology like cell phones and surveillance cameras.

For those with weak stomachs, don’t let the excessive gore scare you away. The carnage is so over-the-top campy that the violence elicits giggles instead of gag reflexes.

“Grindhouse” successfully echoes the tasteless violence of Tarrantino’s “Pulp Fiction” and “Kill Bill,” while adding the stylistic art direction of Rodriguez’s “Sin City.”

Erin Konrad can be reached at

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