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Tarantino and Rodriguez continue to explore the B-movie world
Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez Direct the Horror "Grindhouse".
OPENING WEEKEND: $27,000,000
DOMESTIC TOTAL: $75,000,000
OTHER PREVIEWS: Alatriste (7/10)
  This Film is NOT a Future Release.
  The Following Preview has been Archived.

October 23rd, 2006: An homage to exploitation B-movie thrillers that combines two feature-length segments into one double-bill designed to replicate the grind house theatergoing experience of the 70s and 80s. In “Death Proof,” a psycho named Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell) stalks and kills beautiful women with his car. In “Planet Terror,” a small-town sheriffs’ department has to deal with an outbreak of murderous, infected people called “sickos.” A gun-legged woman named Cherry (Rose McGowan) and her martial arts-wielding partner (Freddy Rodriguez) take on the zombie army. The two films will be fused together by fake movie trailers.

What to Expect: The meticulous Quentin Tarantino and the manic Robert Rodriguez seem to clash in styles when it comes to directing, but by splitting Grindhouse into two halves, with each director paying his own tribute to the low-budget exploitation flicks of the past, they have found the perfect solution. Admittedly, the two are great friends first and fellow filmmakers second and that is why this is not the first time they have collaborated. Tarantino wrote the screenplay for From Dusk Till Dawn, a similarly themed genre picture that Rodriguez ended up directing. Both also shot their own individual segments for the rather unsuccessful ensemble comedy Four Rooms. Additionally, Tarantino guest-directed a scene in Rodriguez’s boldest artistic achievement to date, the recent Sin City. Grindhouse will easily mark their biggest collaboration, with both filmmakers at their peak if you don’t count Rodriguez’s last effort, The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl. Tarantino’s two-part Kill Bill series was a B-movie masterpiece, but it only seemed to hint at the sort of mayhem Grindhouse will contain.

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The idea came about from the many nights that the two filmmakers spent over at Tarantino’s place watching the grind house flicks of the 70s and 80s. It is a genre that never played in mainstream theaters, but found a way to compete with Hollywood releases with its nonstop graphic violence and sexual content. Both directors grew up with and learned from the films, but Tarantino’s fascination has been particularly deep. He has seen practically every single exploitation film made in those decades and loved to screen them for his friends. Incidentally, he would also intersperse various trailers for other movies during those viewing sessions.

This is where the formula for Grindhouse came from when the two decided to recreate those experiences and shoot their very own grind house flicks and trailers and combine them into one very unique film experience. Influenced by the slasher genre, Tarantino has replaced the knife with an automobile as the weapon of choice in his half of the picture, titled “Death Proof.” Rodriguez’s segment, titled “Planet Terror,” is an homage to the multitude of zombie flicks, but he has decided against explicitly calling them zombies in his story.

The official cast of stars in “Death Proof” goes as follows: Kurt Russell, Zoe Bell, Rosario Dawson, Vanessa Ferlito, Jordan Ladd, Rose McGowan, Sydney Tamiia Poitier, Marley Shelton, Tracie Thoms, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Mickey Rourke was originally cast as the sick killer, Stuntman Mike, and seems like the more inspired choice given his incredible transformation in Sin City, but Kurt Russell is not a bad replacement considering his past work in films like Escape From New York, The Thing, and Big Trouble in Little China with cult director John Carpenter. Zoe Bell, most famous for being Uma Thurman’s stunt double in the Kill Bill films, will star as the lead heroine by playing herself.

“Planet Terror” will star Freddy Rodriguez, Rose McGowan, Josh Brolin, Naveen Andrews, Marley Shelton, Michael Biehn, Stacy Ferguson, Jeff Fahey, and Michael Parks. In one scene, McGowan’s character finds herself in the hospital with only a stump remaining at the end of her left thigh. Tired of hearing her complain, Rodriguez’s character breaks off a table leg and shoves it into her stump, prompting her to get up and run around frantically. Eventually, the table leg is replaced by a machine gun and McGowan becomes the character seen on the poster and in the first trailer. To prepare for her part, the actress has admitted to obsessively staring at amputees to study their movement. Tarantino will also make an appearance in “Planet Terror” and will play a character named “The Rapist.” Actor Michael Parks will reprise his role of Texas Ranger Earl McGraw in both halves of Grindhouse. McGraw was last seen getting shot in the back of the head in the beginning of From Dusk Till Dawn.

Of course, let’s not forget about the promo transition between the two features. A sexploitation trailer for “Cowgirls in Sweden” is already known to be in the picture. The Danny Trejo (From Dusk Till Dawn, Con Air, Heat) clip “Machete,” about a machete-wielding renegade, has already made its debut to audiences in the first Grindhouse trailer. Tarantino did not want to spoil the promos any more by revealing any other details, but he’s hinted at a blaxploitation trailer, a kung-fu trailer, and a spaghetti-western trailer. Directors Eli Roth (Hostel) and Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead) have each reportedly contributed one as well. Tarantino has already announced that he hopes to make sequels to Grindhouse in the future and that it is very likely that the trailers that appear in the first film will actually be adapted into full-length features later on.

The original grind house movies spent most of the budget on cool posters, but were frequently in a horrid state and never delivered on the promise of the advertising. Much like those flicks, Rodriguez’s feature will even have a missing reel, which will leave his story with approximately a 20 minute gap. However, both filmmakers claim that this will not be just a good “crappy” movie and that it will feel more like an experience. They’ve taken their time with the project and have helped each other during their individual shoots. The release date has been pushed back by over a half a year, which has allowed for the buzz to generate. The films themselves were originally expected to be about 60 minutes long, but at this point it appears that the running time for each one will be closer to 90 minutes, which means that Grindhouse will be a true, 3-hour-long double-bill.

In Conclusion: Encouragingly, Tarantino claims that this is the best script that he has ever written, despite this being an exploitation film. Reportedly, the screenplay for “Death Proof” features a ton of fascinating dialogue between all the female characters. Influential French New Wave director François Truffaut once famously said, “I demand that a film express either the joy of making cinema or the agony of making cinema. I am not at all interested in anything in between.” In every sense, Grindhouse is a celebration of filmmaking. I believe, however, that it might not be able to reach the same artistic level of Kill Bill or Sin City. This is probably the campiest project for either Tarantino or Rodriguez and perhaps the cinematic genius within those last efforts might be sacrificed for a little more exploitative fun.

Similar Titles: Kill Bill, From Dusk Till Dawn, Dawn of the Dead (1978)
April 6th, 2007 (wide)
September 18th, 2007 (DVD)

The Weinstein Company LLC

Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez

Kurt Russell, Zoe Bell, Rosario Dawson, Vanessa Ferlito, Jordan Ladd, Rose McGowan, Sydney Tamiia Poitier, Marley Shelton, Tracie Thoms, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Michael Bacall, Eli Roth, Omar Doom, Freddy Rodriguez, Josh Brolin, Naveen Andrews, Michael Biehn, Stacy Ferguson, Jeff Fahey, Michael Parks, Danny Trejo, Nicolas Cage, Bill Moseley, Sheri Moon Zombie, Bruce Willis, Nicky Katt, Nick Frost

Total: 294 vote(s).


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Rated R for strong graphic bloody violence and gore, pervasive language, some sexuality, nudity and drug use

140 min





Grindhouse at RottenTomatoes.com

Grindhouse at AskMen.com

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