Rodriguez’s Planet Terror is a icksome pus-filled boil of a ride through a very dark Austin night.
And Tarantino’s Death Proof is a bruisome vengeful joyride through a very bright Austin day.
As homages to the beat-up B-films that filled grindhouse theatre screens in the 70s, I am surprised to say that I think that PT actually succeeds more than DP does–if only because the latter seems a little too clever for those kinds of films. Tarantino-penned dialogue is too quick-witted for yer typical B-movie. Also, DP feels like it’s a chunk out of a larger work, whereas PT is a more fully-rounded story. The performances in PT are pure cheese, whereas we get some pretty respectable performances in DP. Rodriguez stuck with the dark, pockmarked print but Tarantino’s looked pretty bright and clean. Both films had missing reels, though; I thought that was a nice touch. That Rodriguez succeeded in making a truer grindhouse flick than Tarantino (in my opinion, anyway) strikes me as ironic, since it was the latter who introduced the former to the genre. Go figger.
Nevertheless, don’t get the impression that I didn’t still enjoy DP more than PT. ‘Cause (and, now, this is really saying something), PT was–even for me–actually just a bit over the line when it comes to grue. It made me feel a little woozy, a little upchucky, a little, er… er… *urp*. It kinda put me offa my popcorn, if’n you know what I mean. But DP had me holding onto the arms of my chair for dear life, almost wishing I had hold of a couple of those belts that play an integral part of the story.
As you already (presumably) know, trailers for more (phony) grindhouse flicks are included in the package. Some play in front of the feature and more play in between the two. They’re a gas, and I will include them here (sorry, but some of these may disappear because they’re bootlegs). Beware that these trailers are explicit!
Edgar Wright‘s Don’t
Eli Roth‘s Thanksgiving
Rob Zombie‘s Werewolf Women of the SS
Included at Canadian screenings (not sure about elsewhere) is the winner of the grindhouse trailer contest that Rodriguez concocted for SXSW this year. (Weird coincidence: my buddy Frank–with whom I went to the screening–knows the Haligonian filmmakers who made the contest-winning trailer. Small woild.) You can see it here:
I hadda blast at this screening. I love the idea, I love the execution, and I loved the whole experience. It ain’t gonna appeal to everybody, though (duh, Harvey Weinstein!), and I’ve read that the films are going to be extended and released separately in Europe (and mebbe even here in the near future), and I think it’s a shame that some are considering this production a failure. I hope the original double-feature version will be available on dvd if they do go ahead with the recut.
→ originally published 2007-04-14