in Shocktober

Grindhouse (2007)

It’s Halloween time and granted only one of the features here is a horror film. Still, I figured the whole experience was visceral enough for my list. Grindhouse was a special theater experience for myself. Never getting to know the twisted joys of going to a grind house theater in the 70s or 80s, Grindhouse was my chance to finally take in the grind house experience (complete with a double-feature and trailers). The style, attitude, effects and more make Grindhouse a cult oddity that will never quite be replicated.

Writer/director Robert Rodgriguez helms the first flick, “Planet Terror”, a pustule popping zombie-invasion flick complete with Rose McGowan’s sexy machine gun leg. McGowan draws the most attention as deadly go-go dancer Cherry Darling, the ex-girlfriend of the mysterious El Wray (Freddy Rodriguez). Marley Shelton also takes notice as bisexual anesthesiologist Dakota, wife to a heavily bearded and quickly infected Dr. Block (Josh Brolin). The bad guys are a gross collective of deformed soldiers led by Bruce Willis and the ride is non-stop. I love the cameos, the action, and the never ending bloodflow dripping down the screen.

Tarantino’s entry is a different beast entirely. “Death Proof” is a sassy tribute to 70s car chase movies with Kurt Russell in one of his best roles in years. Stuntman Mike (Russell) is hard drinkin’ and hard killin’ but still no match for a feisty group of gear-head girls featuring; Rosario Dawson, Tracie Thoms and Zoe Bell. The results can be slow and self-indulgent early on but the last half is a helluva a thrill-ride.

And how could I forget the trailers? Mexican action romp Machete is perhaps the standout. Weird to think that has turned into its own subpar franchise, who saw that coming? Edgar Wright’s British supernatural story Don’t is a strong second in the trailer department. Thanksgiving and Werewolf Women of the S.S. are nice additions but are lacking the same satirical stabs as the other two films. I could’ve watched a whole 90 minutes of grind-house trailers, good stuff.

Aaudiences should feel very fortunate that something like this found its way to theaters. A grind-house double-feature with trailers all for the price of one? Each helmed by a different cult fav filmmaker? Even the B-movies that Grindhouse celebrates didn’t have the same ambition or scope. Robert Rodriguez goes all out with explosions and gore while Quentin Tarantino orchestrates one of the most intricate and impressive car chase sequences in movie history. The trailers in-between the films are just the shiny, blood-red cherry on top. That’s what I’m talking about.

Grind House
That’s what I call gettin’ a leg up!