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I must admit that despite its ridiculousness, I love Planet Terror. I re-watched it the other day so a friend could watch it and although I don't think he necessarily appreciated some of the humour as much as I did, we were both left feeling like we'd been thoroughly entertained.
This was directed by Robert Rodriguez who is very well known for his plentiful experience in the movie industry, with work including The Faculty, Sin City and Once Upon A Time In Mexico, so he knows his stuff. Planet Terror is actually one half of a dual movie, combined with Death Proof to make the second half, the latter of which I believe flopped when released in the US. The two together formed what was known as 'Grindhouse'. I'm yet to see Death Proof but it's on my 'to watch' list. I would probably say that both are quite cult flicks, and neither seem to be truly mainstream popular, despite some quite famous cast names. Planet Terror roughly falls in to a zombie comedy horror genre, so there are teaspoons of gore and tablespoons of humour for good measure.
The general gist of the film is that an experimental bio-nerve gas gets released in a Texas military base pretty much by accident. The problem with this is that despite its fairly remote location, there are people around to get affected by the gas, and the results don't have a healthy prognosis. You guessed it - those exposed turn in to zombies! This little town is on the verge of being overrun by mutating flesh-eating zombies, and as the virus spreads, the danger is one that threatens the world as they know it.
Various characters are introduced before, during and after the outbreak and several come together to form a collaborative survival effort. The collection was eclectic, including a stripper called Cheery and her ex-boyfriend El Wray, a sheriff, a doctor, Their mission? To survive through the night, try to find a cure and/or to escape.
The premise isn't anything majorly unique in itself when made simplistic; chemicals make zombies, zombies kill, group of unaffected try to survive. However, the film still manages to set itself apart from the rest in other ways, so despite the ending perhaps not being as strong as I would have liked, or as believable (if you can even expect that from a zombie flick!) it was still a unique viewing experience.
The first thing you'll probably notice is the film quality itself, in terms of the camera effects. The film is shock like an old movie, you know, with the lines and jumps and black smudges. It gives the film a darker edge, makes it a little moody and sets the bar for what's to come. That is, the comedy appeal. The humour won't be to everyone's taste but it's quite refreshing to see it be so bold, stupid and sarcastic in a way that comes across as being genuinely quite amusing to me rather than slapstick or patronising. For instance, when Cherry loses her leg and her darling ex decides to replace it with what looks like a table leg, so she's hobbling along, scantily clad with a wooden leg, and toting guns at the same time. Okay, it's more amusing to watch than it is to describe! The flick integrates seen-before clichés and reuses them here, such as with the sex appeal of having at least one semi-naked girl (Cherry in this case). But it's done in a sarcastic way, knowing the mickey is being taken of these kinds of genres, jokes and stereotypes.
Aside from the instantly obvious, one of the things that made this so enjoyable and a little different to many other zombie flicks was the depth of characters and side stories that accompanied the bloodfest. For instance, we learn about the relationship between go-go dancer Cherry and wayward Wray, plus a bit about their individual backstories. Or the story between Dr Brock and his wife, their relationship problems and how they then try to kill each other. It's by no means very 'deep', but it's more than is often given in such films and it made it that little bit more interesting and three dimensional, also offering us a small reprise from the gore and zombie infestation.
The tempo was upbeat throughout with very little downtime so I don't remember finding myself bored at any point. There's plenty of action and gore and some reasonably good effects to boot, which should keep action, comedy and zombie fans happy. I loved the way the film seemed to come together quite seamlessly as the music, scenes, effects and cast all added to the darkly humorous tones and darkly gritty, blood pumping atmosphere. The only reason for a star being knocked off for me was the premise and ending, which I felt could have been stronger.
The cast is quite impressive, with characters including Rose McGowan (Cherry Darling), Josh Brolin (Dr William Block), Freddy Rodriguez (Wray), Bruce Willis (Lt. Muldoon), Marley Shelton (Dr Dakota Block), Naveen Andrews (Abby) and Stacy Ferguson aka Fergie from Black Eyed Peas (Tammy) amongst others. I really enjoyed seeing the familiar faces and it gave the film that extra bit of credibility, though Rodriguez, who I didn't recognise from anything prior to this, was equally watchable as Wray. Willis had a smaller role as the evil Lt. Muldoon, but again, his presence was entertaining and brought the standard of the film up a notch. McGowan had quite a large role along with Rodriguez and again, I felt the choice was a good one as actors/actresses played their respective roles well and made the characters engaging.
Overall, this is one that really needs to be seen to be understood and appreciated. Granted, it won't be everyone's cup of tea but if you can accept it for what it is then it does its job well; it's sarcastic, dark, energetic and 'quirky' in a way that makes it stand out from the crowd as a cult classic, and is therefore one I'd recommend giving at watch at least once.
DVD released 2008, running time 101 minutes, rated Certificate 18
Selling on Amazon for £7.75
Back in 2007, Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez got their crazy heads together and decided to release a double bill tribute to the old cheap, exploitative Grindhouse films which often featured monsters, blood, guns and scantily-clad women, often at the same time. The idea was to release this as a double bill, complete with fake trailers (some of which - Machete and Hobo with a Shotgun - were subsequently made into full-blown films).
Sadly, by the time it reached our shores, Grindhouse had tanked in America. Assuming that British audiences would be as stupid as their American counter-parts and not understand the heavily ironic tone of the whole enterprise, Grindhouse was hacked in two, shorn of several fake trailers and released as separate films... where they tanked.
Planet Terror is the Robert Rodriguez-directed part of Grindhouse. It's deliberately schlocky B-Movie plot sees a chemical weapon released on a small town in Texas which turns the majority of its inhabitants into flesh-eating zombies. A small group of survivors must band together and try and fight their way to freedom.
Everything about Planet Terror is very deliberately cheesy and (in a good way) awful. Rodriquez does everything he can to recreate that feeling of "cheapness" that pervaded the Grindhouse films that were knocked out as cheaply and as quickly as possible. The dialogue is clunky, the special effects ropey and the picture quality and sound rough. Great big scratches intrude onto the screen all the way through; colours suddenly change, moving from vibrant to washed out, to vibrant again - often within the same scene. Sound is similarly awful becoming hopelessly muffled at times, or the mix being all wrong so that the dialogue is drowned out by some irrelevant background noise.
The direction is also similarly awful - all done in that same, knowing way, of course. Rodriguez has characters talking with their backs to the audience, or presents the action from confusing camera angles that make it almost impossible to work out what is going on. There's even a "missing reel" (complete with authentic caption) where a whole chunk of the film has vanished and you have absolutely no idea what links the events in the scene preceding it to the events immediately after it.
You need to think carefully about all this. If it sounds like a fun and clever homage to the bad films of yesteryear, then you will lap up Planet Terror. If you have a soft spot for terrible, schlocky, low budget B Movies, then it will be right up your street. If you're not old enough to remember when some films really were this bad, then you will hate every minute of it, seeing it as little more than a smug exercise in self-indulgence.
There does come a time when all the tricks and in-jokes start to wear thin and smack of an over-indulgent director playing around in a great big toy box. Thankfully (in a rubbish kind of way), there is also a decent film in there too. For all its deliberate awfulness, Planet Terror is good fun if you share my weakness for rubbish B movies.
The plot is pretty hackneyed, even by the standards of the zombie genre, but it does mean that there is plenty of time for action. Talking is limited, shooting zombies is everything. Planet Terror is fast-paced and fun.
It takes all the staples of the genre (pretty women, guns, lots and lots of blood) and mixes them together in a very satisfying way. The film, of course, was sold on the image of Rose McGowan wearing a machine gun as a prosthetic leg, yet that doesn't actually happen until fairly late in the film. It's brilliant when it does, but Planet Terror doesn't solely rely on that gimmick for its success.
Fans of so-called video nasties will enjoy the gleeful bloodletting as the red stuff squirts all over the screen and zombies are shot, blown up, run over or even, in one memorable sequence, mown down by a helicopter. The human characters suffer too, with one being torn apart in a way which is hilariously reminiscent of some of worst effects from zombie films over the years. Yet, whilst it aims for cheesy, the special effects in Planet Terror are great, exactly as you would expect from Rodriguez. The zombies look suitable scary and oozy and the deformities caused by the virus as pretty grotesque.
It's clear that the cast have bought into the whole joke and each plays their part with a ponderous earnestness that deliberately clashes with the daft tone of the film. No-one hams things up (which would have been a mistake) and it's played as though they are starring in the most important and worthy film ever. Particular praise must go Rose McGowan as the sarcastic, world-weary Go Go Dancer (not stripper) Cherry Darling. Despite suffering the indignity of having a table leg and then a machine gun as a limb, she manages to be funny, tough, sultry and sexy. Backing up against her is an excellent Freddy Rodriguez as the slightly mysterious (and jacket obsessed) Wray. Both get the tone the film is aiming for perfectly and create brilliant leads for the others to follow.
They don't make 'em like this anymore, that's for certain and on the one hand, that's a very good thing. The improvements in cinematic sound and picture quality means that now even the cheapest films can look and sound OK. On the other hand, I do miss the bonkers, nonsensical plots, the laughably bad special effects and the awful acting and dire-logue that B Movies used to supply. If you share that same nostalgic yearning for truly cheesy monster movies, then Planet Terror is for you!
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Running time: approx. 105 minutes
© Copyright SWSt 2012
I don't want to beat around the bush with this one, so I'll just start by stating "I love this film". Now, Rodriguez & Tarantino are two of my favourite directors. They are my top idols when it comes to filmmaking. So, when I heard the news that they were both collaborating to produce a "double feature" inspired by the Grindhouse movies. I was so hyped to watch this at the theatres and was on board from the get-go.
The first one presented was Robert Rodriguez's "Planet Terror". Which I can say without a doubt is my favourite one out of the two. If you're not aware of "Grindhouse", back in the day, there were theatres that played exploitation films that were created outside of the Hollywood industry. With the freedom to just make low budget, non-sense, violently exaggerated movies, that would have been to extreme or not appreciated at the time by the "masses". But, they were fun and got the job done.
Late one night in a rural area of Texas, a biochemical gas is accidentally released from a US military base. It spreads out to the nearest town, transforming people into mutating, flesh-eating, deformed zombies. An assortment of various people immune to the substance, band together to survive the night. We follow along with some colourful characters. Cherry Darling (Rose McGowan) who is an ex-go-go dancer. El Wray (Freddy Rodriguez), who arrives back to town and has a mysterious past. Dakota Block (Marley Shelton) a doctor who's trying to survive with her son from the zombies and her husband. And, the rest (too many awesome characters to describe on this synopsis). Now, being the minority residents of this world. They fight their way through the night to find a safe haven in Planet Terror.
I remember in my first viewing, I was surprised that the entire film was presented with scratches, hairs, dust, and dullness in colour to make it feel authentic. Yet, I love the look of it and I wouldn't have it any other way. The film, jump cutting around and the "missing reel" moment is a nice touch.
Now, I couldn't tell the complete roster of characters in the synopsis. But, there are so many great ones. Dr. Block (Josh Brolin), the sheriff (Michael Biehn), the steakhouse owner (Jeff Fahey), the scientist (Naveen Andrews), the deputy (Tom Savini), the crazy babysitter twins (Electra and Elise Avellan), and even more! Not only do we have one, but three very generous cameos from Quentin Tarantino, Fergie, and Bruce Willis! This is reaching overload on the awesome-o-meter.
That catchy flat synthesiser music, along with a dirty saxophone playing. It does remind me of the soundtracks John Carpenter composed for his movies. The theme song is very catchy and the overall music is just as outstanding as the rest of the movie. This is a perfect film from an artistic sense, and from an entertainment standpoint. And, that's why I love it!
You can not deny the John Carpenter feel to this movie (which Rodriguez admits was a huge influence). It is dripping with his style. Now, I also love Carpenter's work and if you are a fan of - Escape From New York, The Thing, Big Trouble in Little China, and Assault on Precinct 13. This is very much in the same ball park. With some good old zombie/sci-fi thrown in the mix. Not only is it an homage to those cult favourites, but it kicks them all out of the water.
It feels like a classic movie that was never made... Except it was, many years later. If this came out in the 1980's the way that it is. This would have been a masterpiece amongst the times. I even have the balls to state that this film is better than Terminator, Terminator 2, Rambo, Die Hard, and Aliens (I still have to see that last one. But, I stand by my statement). And, those films as you already know are classics.
If you love anything remotely related to - cartoons, comic books, and video games. Well that's perfect! Because it has that quality. A girl, who has a machine gun for a leg. If that doesn't hook you in, than I guess this isn't meant for you.
I really would have wanted this to spark a trend, or perhaps pioneer the way for more films like this to be provided with the high budget and marketing for a film of this kind. But, at least this one got produced and I am very happy for that. It hurts knowing that this did very poor in the box office, and I'm not sure if the awareness of its existence is well known since it flew under the radar. There were other spoof trailers, that were played during the "intermission" that I would have loved to have seen turn feature length. But, it just wasn't meant to be I suppose.
There are certain exceptions for films that enter the realm of absurdity. Because movies can create anything your imagination can muster. Entering a place that doesn't exist in real life, that takes you along on an exciting adventure. I'm taking into account that this isn't going to be for everybody. It is pretty gorse, and the word "juicy" comes to mind when I think about the zombies. There are some sick images.
I really can't stop commenting on how much I adore this film. For moviegoers and anyone who wants tasteless, creative, outrageous fun. Make this a priority and rent it at least. If you have not scene this yet, please check this out and spread the word. This deserves to be a large cult hit and has the pizzazz to back it up.
Before "Planet Terror" started, there was a faux trailer for a movie called Machete. Robert was planning on making that next, but due to Grindhouse's low appeal it seemed like it wouldn't see the light of day and he moved on to do other projects. Thankfully, Rodriguez decided to complete Machete. And, I can not wait to check that one out. Now, if only he could get around to making another "Sin City" sequel.
Part One of Robert Rodriquez and Quentin Tarantino's Grindhouse Films is the best by a fair shot. A virus ravishes through the planet turning the population into blood thirsty zombies: so far so cliche. The beauty of this film lies in its send ups of all the horror cliches and embodies the Grindhouse films: cheap films of grotesque nature, pushed out at cheap prices, while the underlying genius of the directors and writers bubbles underneath its surface. The film is in a constant grain with crackles and pops across the film's surface. One scene becomes entirely missing at one point leaving you wondering 'how did that set fire?'. A homage to the problems that occurred during the time Tarantino and Rodriquez were watching these kinds of film.
There are some wonderful archs within the story, including finding a perfect BBQ sauce recipe and the best way to replace a leg.
The best way to watch this film is alongside it's partner and the hilarious adverts made by other directors for fake films shown in between. If a cinema near you decides to re-air the whole experience again, I guarantee it'll be the best 3 hour cinema experience you could ever imagine. For this is how the films were meant to be seen: the cinema, big screen, big action, big explosions.
Robert Rodriguez of Mariachi fame directed this rather intriguing film that I really enjoyed watching. It has a simple low budget appeal to it and some solid performances, it is also fun to look out for the odd cameo appearence sprinkled in here and there.
The film opens with a deal being struck between a bunch of criminals led by a character called Abbey and played by Naveen Andrews, and a group of special forces operatives led by Muldon, played by Bruce Willis, over the purchase of some poison gas however the deal goes wrong and the gas is released and it infects a local town turning those who are infected into zombies with an appetite for human brains. Also they can pass on the zombie infection as well.
The hero of the film is a mysterious drifter called Wray, played by Freddy Rodriguez however he comes into conflict with the local sheriff who is played by Jeff Fahey. The love interest for Wray is a sexy dancer called Cherry who is played by Rose McGowan.
Rose McGowan ... Cherry
Freddy Rodríguez ... Wray
Josh Brolin ... Block
Jeff Fahey ... J.T.
Michael Biehn ... Sheriff Hague
Bruce Willis ... Muldoon
Naveen Andrews ... Abby
This is certainly a rather violent film with a decent amount of blood and guts on display but it is also quite a stylish movie with a lot of appeal. In places the violoence is quite gratuitous in the way a Tarantino film can be, actually Tarantino did a sister film to this in the same style.
It has a certain schmuck quality to it with some ham fisted dialogue but this is intentional and part of the attraction, the low budget means that you have Rodriguez casting family and friends in some of teh roles to cut down on the costs so there are some cringe worthy performances in the film.
However the main performers like Willis and McGowan are very good, Willis as the unstable army man is in very good form. If you can cope with gthe gore this is an entertaining film and different enough to be interesting and well worth seeing.
Planet Terror was released as a 'grindhouse' double with Death Proof. The story begins with a group of soldiers seemingly buying chemical weapons, however things go pear shaped and the chemical ends up getting released into the air. Soon the toxic gases start to infect and disfigure the locals, who turn into zombie like creatures. A group of survivors are forced to fight for their lives and a way out of the mess they find themselves in (Mess being literal, with the amount of body splatter thats around).
Basically this film aims to replicate the exploitation films that were popularised in the 70's. In this case they exploited violence, heavily, with a bit of sex thrown in.
Good points about this movie? Well, its pretty graphic, if you like that. I wouldn't say it was realisticly graphic, but it was graphic! Basically anything that could explode, burst, splatter, squirt or ooze did so emphatically at every given opportunity. The story was ok too, pretty basic, but then these films aren't supposed to be clever or terribly interesting. Also there was a pretty awesome spell of martial arts, sadly only lasted a small section. I'm at a bit of a loss what else I can say in a postitive light.
If you want to see a gore-fest crammed with some pretty smoking hot girls (And maybe 1 or 2 nice guys, sorry girls it seems the director didn't have females in mind) in minimal clothing and some really cheesey but fairly amusing lines, knock yourself out with this one!
Bad points, well...I'm just not a fan of this type of film. In which case, obviously I'm not going to enjoy it. My biggest problem is the fact you don't know if its a comedy or serious. I mean, a girl with a machine gun on her leg...well, its just funny. And when the joke wore off, you then start to ponder how on earth she fires the thing without touching anything.
Beyond that there are some really funny moments...like a guy on a mini motorbike. The acting was pretty lame too, or rather the acting was so good at being cheesey it made you cringe. Again this was probably intended, so if you like that kind of thing then this is for you.
Overall in terms of its genre, this film is probably quite good. However it doesn't work for me.
Written and directed by Robert Rodriguez, Planet Terror is one half of the Grindhouse double bill along with Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof. The film stars Rose McGowan, Freddy Rodriguez, Marley Shelton, Bruce Willis and Josh Brolin. A nerve gas is released which turns the infected into zombies, the unifected band together to fight the zombified citizens.
Planet Terror is a zombie film in the style of the B movies of the 1980s, full of ham acting, damaged film reels and goriness.
I thought the film was lame, but in a good way. If you take Planet Terror seriously then you probably won't like it, it's a horror-comedy, totally overthetop but that's the beauty of it. When watched together with Death Proof as Grindhouse, Planet Terror is definitely the star-full of action and without loads of Tarantinos overrated 'famous' dialogue. I'm not a fan of zombie movies on the whole but this is different as it doesn't ask you to believe the unbelievable, it's just a bit of a laugh. A good no-brainer film that will keep you entertained throughout.
Cherry Darling - Rose McGowan
Wray - Freddy Rodriguez
Dr William Block - Josh Brolin
Dr Dakota Block - Marley Shelton
Lt. Muldoon - Bruce Willis
Abby - Naveen Andrews
Tammy - Stacy Ferguson
Also posted on ciao under the name shabbating
Planet Terror is a 2007 Action / Horror / Sci-fi movie directed by Robert Rodriguez and is a tribute to the almost dead "Zombie Movie" genre of film.
The Plot :
In a small town in Texas, Go-Go dancer Cherry Darling ( Rose McGowan ) decides to quit her low paying Go-Go dancing gig and pursue another career for her "Useless" talents, after quitting and whilst sitting in a Diner called the Bone Shack, run by JT Hague ( Jeff Fahey ) she runs into her Ex-Boyfriend "El-Wray" ( Freddy Rodriguez ).
Meanwhile elsewhere on a Military Base, a group of US Army officials led by the demented Lt. Muldoon ( Bruce Willis ) are making a secretive business deal with a scientist named Abby ( Naveen Andrews ) for mass quantities of a deadly Bio-Chemical agent nicknamed "Project Terror" , after a struggle the agent is intentionally released into the air above the town and begins to infect the towns residents, turning them into Bloodthirsty, Mindless Psychopaths and they begin to be treated by local Doctor William Block ( Josh Brolin ) and his abused, Bi-Sexual, unfaithful anesthesioligist wife Dakota ( Marly Shelton )
Random attacks by the Zombiefied residents begin to take control of the town and the uninfected townspeople face a battle for survival and escape of the doomed town, all the while facing the impending threat of the rogue US Army platoon who aren't all they seem !!
So there you have it, this sounds like the plot from something you might have watched 20 years ago as a kid, or something that would be in the bargain bin segment of your Local DVD shop, and thats exactly what Rodriguez set out to do, this is an Homage, plain and simple and does everything it sets out to do very well.
At its original theatrical cut of 80 Minutes it runs just long enough so it doesn't outstay its welcome, the Acting is perfectly Hammy, and music and
cinematography are spot on for what they're trying to achieve and its short run time means that you don't find yourself beginning to get bored of whats going on, even the extended version on DVD only runs 25 more minutes and still manages to stay within the time frame where your interest is held.
I like the idea of this movie very much, and while I think the Zombie Movie genre should stay dead and buried ( get it ?? ) where it belongs in mainstream cinema, the occasional homage by a director with the talent and obvious passion for the genre will do just fine.
Well worth a look if you like this kind of thing, but if you're looking for oscar winning performances, or incredible special effects out of your Hollywood Blockbusters. you may have to search elsewhere !!
Originally made as part of Tarantino's 'Grindhouse' doubel bill, ie a brilliant attempt to recreate the feel of cheesy 'exploitation' flicks of the 70s, the Robert Rodriguez-directed 'Planet Terror' is a hilarious horror comedy in which a lethal vapour has turned everyone in a backwater American town into a bunch of slavering zombies, following the attempts of the local populance as they try to survive the outbreak. Rose Mcgowan stars as Cherry Darling, a disillusioned gogo dancer who loses her leg to a zombie near the start of the film and goes through most of the film on a makeshift wooden peg-leg, before having a prosthetic 'machine-gun-leg' fitted at the end, allowing her to employ her skills as a pole-dancer in mowing down hordes of zombies in a most bizarre and fetishistic way.
The film has several big-name actors appearing in support roles throughout, such as Michael Biehn (Terminator, Aliens) as a hardnosed local sheriff and Bruce Willis as the leader of a mysterious band of renegade soldiers who rove around in heavily armoured jeeps and wear strange gasmasks over their faces. There are other welcome cameos too, with Tom Savini (Dawn of the Dead, From Dusk Til Dawn) as a bumbling cop and Quentin Tarantino as a grotesque and sex-crazed member of Willis' grim band of troops.
Planet Terror is a funny and intelligent action film masquerading as a brainless b-movie clunker, and it does a great job of capturing the feel of the films it parodies, deliberately generating a amateurish and roughly thrown together feel with dodgy edits, dirty, scratchy prints and even a missing reel at one point. Whilst CGI does appear throughought it is used sparingly and with caution, unlike in most hollywood films where it seems to end up lazily splattered all over the screen, and there are plenty of hugely endearing old-school special effects on offer in the form of blood squibs, latex effects and good old-fashioned explosions.
Laden with completely daft and over the top gore effects and knowingly cheesy acting, its an absolutely brilliant film that has a lot in common with Tarantino's earlier horror comedy 'From Dusk Til Dawn'. The film also includes some hilarious fake trailers, including one for a low-brow, dodgy looking film called 'Machete' starring Danny Trejo and Cheech Marin (both of whom appeared in From Dusk Til Dawn) as a Mexican hitman and gun-wielding padre respectively. Another Rob-Zombie-directed great trailer advertisies a film called 'Werewolf Women of the SS', and is every bit as funny and daft as it sounds. All in all its a cracking film, highly recommended for fans of both Tarantino and dodgy horror B-movies
Zombies, explosions and a rather attractive Rose McGowan with a machine gun for a leg? What isn't there to love about this movie?
Planet Terror is one of a two-part phenomenon known as 'Grindhouse', the other part being Quentin Tarantino's 'Death Proof'. Rodriguez and Tarantino, having grown up with grindhouse movies in which viewers would get two movies back to back decided to create a grindhouse for the current generation. My only gripe about this DVD is that it wasn't combined with Death Proof in the UK meaning that we have to experience them separately. This isn't the fault of this product though, which in itself is amazing.
Planet Terror is as the praise on the DVD box says 'an instant classic'. It features a number of big names starring as memorable characters in a story filled with all the gore and guns you would expect from a zombie movie. The plot is remarkably innovative in that the bad guys are people you probably did expect doing it for reasons you wouldn't have. This is something learned as part of a subplot, of which there are many in the movie. They all interweave fantastically before coming together in a special effects laden zombie stand-off which sees Bruce Willis' face melt and Quentin Tarantino's bits fall off. This is certainly a unique experience that only Rodriguez and Tarantino could create.
The DVD contains a number of interesting featurettes including an insightful recording taken at comicon. For the price, you can't go wrong.
Grindhouse receives a fitting tribute from Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino through both Planet Terror and Deathproof. Made to be shown back to back in true grindhouse fashion, both films are full of blood, gore cheesy one liners, badly aged filmreels and blatant perversion something which made grindhouse movies so popular.
I saw these two back to back and found that both were thoroughly enjoyable. So much so that they now take pride of place in my DVD collection.
Planet terror focuses on a small town were a secret arms deal of chemical weapons goes terribly wrong and the chemical is released into the atmosphere. Suddenly the town becomes infected and begin to turn into flesh eating monsters. The fate of the town and the world relies upon the actions of a go-go dancer named cherry and a mysterious stranger with a surprising past.
A definite must see for all horror fans. Some great one liners.
Robert Rodriguez's 'Planet Terror' was originally released alongside Quentin Tarantino's 'Death Proof' to make up the Grindhouse double feature, which was a tribute to the whole Grindhouse genre and their favourite B-movies.The term 'Grindhouse' is an American term referring to a theatre that mainly showed exploitation films, which is a genre of film that relies on the exploitation of something (eg. a big star, special effects, sex, or violence) for it's success. To put it in an exploitation sub-genre, Planet Terror features elements from the early zombie films and splatter films.
It was released in 2007, but was considered a flop, mainly due to a poorly considered release date on Easter weekend and poor advertising, but if you like this sort of film, you will love Planet Terror.
In a rural town in Texas, go-go dancer Cherry (Rose McGowan) becomes disillusioned with her work, and attempts to try and use her various useless talents to find a new job. Whilst she contemplates her problems at the 'Bone Shack', the self-proclaimed best steakhouse in Texas belonging to a man called J.T, she meets former boyfriend Wray (Freddy Rodriguez), and he manages to persuade her into taking a lift home with him.
Elsewhere, Dr. Dakota Block (Marley Shelton) is trying to escape from her controlling husband (Josh Brolin) who is also a doctor, and plans to run away with her son Tony (Rebel Rodriguez). She plans to make her escape later that day, and leaves for the hospital with her husband for one last time, although he is a bit suspicious.
In another unrelated incident, scientist and black-market dealer Abby (Naveen Andrews) faces a group of renegade military men led by Captain Muldoon (Bruce Willis) at an abandoned military base, and a shootout commences when they attempt to take Abby hostage. During the shootout, Abby shoots a container of an experimental, highly contagious, gaseous biological weapon, and releases the potent gas into the air. Unfortunately, the gas turns people into flesh-eating zombies.
As more and more people become contaminated with the deadly disease, and the hospitals fill with patients about to turn into zombies, it is up to Wray, Cherry, Dakota, the local police force, J.T, and a few other survivors to try and find an antidote to the disease, and keep their lives.
Rose McGowan plays the female lead and delivers a brilliant performance. The word 'bad-ass' could have been invented for the character of Cherry Darling, an ex-stripper who is forced to become a brutal fighter when the hordes of zombies attack.
She is very convincing in the role of a woman who is weary of the world, and wants to strike back. This is shown brilliantly when, after the loss of her leg, Cherry returns with a 'customization' that would leave any zombie running in fear.
Freddy Rodriguez is pretty good as El Wray, the legendary fighter who falls for Cherry. He portrays a classic male action hero, a man who knows how to lead a team of fighters, 'never misses' with his bullets, but also knows how to take care of a woman.
Marley Shelton is decent as the loving mother and not-so-loving wife Dakota. She manages to pull off the 'determined strong-willed lady' quite well, although there's nothing special about her performance.3/5
There are lots of good performances in this film from quite an impressive cast. Josh Brolin is particularly brilliant as Dr Block, for which he gets a 5/5. Bruce Willis is equally impressive as Muldoon, and he is another 5/5.
Jeff Fahey's scenes are always enjoyable as J.T, and he deserves a 4/5. And strangely, Naveen Andrews, who plays the absurdly posh English scientist with a strange obsession for collecting his victims testicles in a bag, is also brilliant, and gets 5/5.
There are no bad performances in this film, perhaps because it's a deliberately cheap thriller and doesn't require too much ability, but the concept of the film just wouldn't work without this standard of acting.
It was a bold move by Tarantino and Rodriguez to try and reproduce a genre of film that only had a small following in the first place, and if you go by general opinion, they failed. But I'd urge you not to avoid this film just by reputation, as I did at first, and to give it a shot.I was pleasantly surprised when I started watching, and the simplistic thrill-a-minute style of the film captivated me. Rodriguez uses deliberately over-the-top special effects, obscene amounts of blood and gore, and comedy, to good effect, and the finished film is a great piece of work.
Before the film even starts, their is a trailer for the fake film 'Machete', which adds to the Grindhouse feel of the film with what could have been a brilliant film itself if they'd chosen to make it. Watch the trailer on Youtube to get the feel of the genre, and if you enjoy it, you should definitely watch Planet Terror.
To further show that this is indeed meant to be a remake of the Grindhouse film genre, Rodriguez edits his shots to make them look old and worn, as if the film had been scratched. The film also stops for a 'missing reel' which, if the reel had ever been made, would have missed about 10 minutes of footage. These little touches just add to the whole feel of the film.
On the whole, the film is superbly directed. There is a great, tense, soundtrack throughout the film, which works fantastically with the film. He gets the best out of his actors, and the plot of the film works perfectly with the way it is brought to life through the directing and editing.
I would definitely recommend this film to anyone over the age of 18. If you're looking for a film that you can watch and enjoy without having to take seriously, then Planet Terror is the one for you.
It's much more than your average zombie thriller, but it also contains all the elements that make the zombie films so successful and popular. But unlike those horror favorites, this is superbly acted, well directed, and funny, as well as having a number of well-implemented twists to keep you guessing. A great film, just not for the faint-hearted!
This film has a really simple story, as it should do, being based on Grindhouse movies. The bottom line of the story is that a chemical is released into the air, turning people everywhere into zombies. Our man El Wray has to sort things out with typically bloody results.
Now I'll just mention here that I'm not really the biggest fan of zombie style films, they tend to be quite boring. Films like "The Hills have Eyes" (okay it's not really a zombie film) but I tend to find that style pretty tedious. Resident Evil films are entertaining for a little while and definitely watchable, but certainly nothing to write home about. At first glance this really does seem like one of that style of films, zombies are here lets shoot them, and that's pretty much all there is to the story.
The thing that saved this film in my opinion is the directing, the fact that there essentially isn't a story really doesn't matter. It's certainly highly entertaining and very over the top of course; you shoot something and it WILL explode. Someone does there is plenty of blood, and the effects used look really nice in days of too much CGI some of the old style effects fit really well, although modern techniques are used as well.
The film doesn't take itself too seriously, which kind of makes the OTT of it okay and it gives it certain uniqueness. It is also quite strange watching it, as it just feels old due to the old cameras used, various effects cigarette burns in the film, old titles and adverts, even an entire film reel missing, this means that you keep thinking it's back to the 50s or 60s, and it never fails to amaze you when they whip out a mobile phone, or mention Bin Laden or other recent events.
On the subject of the missing film reel, although this is quite clearly for effect, I really don't like this part of the film. It was confusing at first as to what was going on, and it kind of makes you lose your way in the story as a fair bit of it is clearly missed out. Just my personal opinion, although it's a cool touch, I'd leave it myself.
As well despite the blatant over the topness and ridiculousness of it all, it does kind of have an underlying thoughtfulness to it; you could imagine a lot of the things which happen actually happening should we ever get a zombie outbreak, so it seems somehow realistic(ish).
I'd definitely recommend this film to anyone, although I'd say it is probably a lot down to personal taste as well, seems to be a bit of a love it or hate it thing. If you don't 'get it' you may come off thinking this is a just 'The Evil Dea' waaaay past it's sell by date, give it a go though.
This of course was supposed to be watched as a double feature with Death Proof by Tarentino in America, but as the uncut version is pretty long I didn't watch them back to back, I have the separate films instead. I'll be reviewing Death Proof soon though as I have just watched that too! Anyway give it a watch, see what you think!
The first thing I have to mention is this... I think Robert Rodriguez is one of the finest directors/editors in the world ever!!! He has made some fantastic films that are exactly what I want to watch, he, along with his great friend and contemporary Quentin Tarantino, knows film so well that he is able to pick out the essense of different genres and work with them brilliantly to create his films with skill and flair.
Planet Terror is certainly no exception, in fact it is one of his finest works. Starting life as one of two films intended as as double headed homage to the exploitation/action films of the 60s and 70s, Planet Terror was Robert
Rodriguez' contribution to Grindhouse, as I'm sure everyone is aware, the other film was Quentin Tarantinos' Death Proof. Sadly the grindhouse concept seemed to go over the heads of cinema goers in America and audiences for the double bill were low, so low in fact that it was decided that for the rest of the world, the Grindhouse name would be dropped and the two films would be released separately.
The first to be released was Death Proof which was fairly well received, and enjoyed. It was quite a surprise to many that Planet Terror took some time to be released after this, with a lot of people thinking that it must be due to it being quite a poor film...this is most certainly not the case, it is yet another wonderful piece of film making from a brilliant director.
Set in Rural Texas, the plot of the film is fairly standard 60s-esque sci-fi fodder. A chemical is released into the air that infects people and turns them into bloody thirsty mindless creatures (zombies if you will...), the film focuses on a mixed group of people struggling to survive while the world around them turns horridly and bloodyily sour.
Rodriguez perfectly captures the feel and spirit of the films he is paying homage to, with his great use of filming and editting techniques lifted straight from such films. He has even included film grain effects and slight mis-syncing of the sound and picture in places to really give the feel of the low buget churned out films he is making his own version of, and it all works brilliantly.
On top of this, he has assembled a great collection of characters in the group trying to survive the terrors around them. A disillusioned Go-Go Dancer, an estranged (due to the wifes' lesbian affair) husband and wife, some crazy babysitting twins, a Sheriff and a BBQ grill chef to name just some of them. The most mysterious of them is A young chap named El Wray who seems to have a shady past involving weapons and combat though we don't find out about it, he is also an old flame of the Go-Go Dancer Cherry...
The acting as you would expect from a film of this type which is a homage to poorly acted (in a lot of cases) low budget movies is quite over the top and a little corny in places, just as it was supposed to be, in the context of the film it is perfect.
The special effects in this film are as I have come to expect from a Rodriguez film. There is a masses of blood flying around and some terrific zombie make-up and flesh tearing, this certainly is really rather gorey, but in such an over the top and fun way it's brilliant. The star of the show though for the special effects has to be the removed limb of Cherry Darling the Go-Go Dancer, played by Rose McGowan, which is replaced by first a table leg and later (and to great effect) and assault rifle!!! It is so daft and imaginative that it just works so very well in this film, it really is brilliant!
From the brilliantly realised style homaging to the amazing special effects and as ever superb editing, this really is a corking film from a technical viewpoint. Even better is that is a fantastically fun film too, if you like action, zombies, gore, comedy, explosions, gun fights, women with guns for legs, this has it all in bucket loads (well ok only one gun legged woman!). It is one of the most fun and exciting films I have seen for ages and is certainly one that I will be watching many times in the future too, I love this film!!!
There is literally only one negative thing to say about this film, and that is the fact that it wasn't released with Death Proof in the double header Grindhouse as was originally intended, I would have loved to have gone to the cinema to watch these two films back to back, it would for me have been on the greatest cinema experiences ever!!!
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Writer: Robert Rodriguez
Genre: Action - Comedy - Horror - Thriller - Sci-Fi
Released: 10th March, 2008 (DVD)
Rose McGowan (Cherry)
Freddy Rodríguez (Wray)
Josh Brolin (Block)
Marley Shelton (Dakota)
Jeff Fahey (J.T.)
Michael Biehn (Sheriff Hague)
Rebel Rodriguez (Tony)
Bruce Willis (Muldoon)
Naveen Andrews (Abby)
Cherry, a go-go dancer, is dissatisfied with her life, and is still pining for Wray, the man she left because she had felt that he didn't understand or believe in her. On her way back to him, she is nearly run over by soldiers on their way back to their base, and is injured. When she finally finds Wray, it is to discover that he too hasn't forgotten her. As they begin to rekindle their relationship, strange things are happening to the people in the town. The people are coming down with a strange illness that turns them into mindless flesh-eating zombies, and those unaffected by the disease join forces in order to fight the creatures and to find out what's going on.
Unfortunately for Cherry, the wound on her leg festers, and she ends up having it amputated. With the entire hospital filled with zombies, there's no time to feel sorry for herself, and Wray bullies her into accepting her condition - encouraging her to fight regardless of her missing leg.
When the uninfected group makes their way to the army base, they discover that a group of soldiers is responsible for contaminating the population with a gas created for chemical warfare. The gas, although devastating towards most of the population, is the only thing that is keeping the group of soldiers from turning into mindless zombies - and the only cure against the gas is the uninfected group of people fighting to stay alive.
'Planet Terror' is the most entertaining horror-comedy I have ever seen, and although Rodriguez directed it, there is that so-very-noticeable Tarantino touch to it.
The movie resembles an old film, complete with snowy bits, missing frames, and at one point, a message on the screen stating that a reel is missing! Watching it brings back memories of old drive-in movies, and the old 8mm reels under projectors that used to get stuck and burn a frame. The entire creation is so incredibly imaginative, so brilliantly shot and directed that although the storyline is a bit daft, the viewer just can't get enough.
The acting is beautifully executed with billboard names such as Bruce Willis and Naveen Andrews taking a backseat and allowing not-so-known actors to take the spotlight. You can just feel that the actors loved making this movie - just as much as the viewer will love watching it!
The storyline is a bit daft and predictable, but it doesn't matter because the dialogue is clever and the special-effects are brilliant - not to mention the atmosphere that simply oozes with malevolent intent and the promise of some fast-paced action that will explode into a gore-fest of zombie parts, puss, blood and internal organs.
What really astounded me was that I might actually like such a movie - but I did! Zombies are not my forte, and blood and gore are not for me, but the pure brilliance and creativity of this movie won me over within the first five minutes of viewing.
'Planet Terror' is weird, it's totally insane, it's mind-boggling - and 100% brilliant. Watch it.
The lower-profile half of the Grindhouse double bill that flopped at the US box office in early 2007, Robert Rodriguezs Planet Terror comes with lesser expectations. However, dont let that fool you: this is a fun, pacey zombie film, that displays less self-indulgence than Tarantinos Death Proof, and doesnt skimp in the entertainment stakes either. The plot is thin and quickly covered, but basically amounts to the release of a gas that creates lots of zombies. Stuck in the midst of the zombies is a small bunch of people who try and fight them off (among, er, other things). It doesnt, fortunately, take long for Planet Terror to set all this up, and the stage is soon set for what we all paid our money for. Action. Violence. Characters of ill-repute. And, heck, a bit more action too. Thus, Rodriguez delivers his tribute to the grindhouse movies hes clearly inspired by, and Planet Terror proves to be a fine piece of work. With fast, exciting action sequences, leg-less Rose McGowan turning in sterling work in front of the camera, and stylish work behind it from Rodriguez, the film gels well. Its director has perhaps bettered it himself with From Dusk Til Dawn, but that doesnt mean that theres not plenty to enjoy here. Taken either with its double-bill partner or as a standalone dish, Planet Terror is well worth your time. --Jon Foster