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DVD Reviews – Planet Terror (Director Robert Rodriguez)

Posted by Adrian on February 26, 2008


As I mentioned in my expose of Japanese Grindhouse (refer here), in regards to the term Grindhouse. Which wasn’t a veined criticism (or maybe it is?) of the ideas behind the movie Grindhouse. That it is really a term not many people would get if they didn’t know their movie history. The kitsch aspect of Grindhouse era was the presentation of the Grindhouse movies, i.e sloppy editing, scratchy film, blurred colours, offset angles, crazy zoom action and so on. All that adds to the charm of the Grindhouse movie genre. Planet Terror duplicates all that, right down to the scratched film, blurred shots and the movie reel going haywire.

So it is understandable why the two movies were split from the one banner ‘Grindhouse’ and released separately aiming for the DVD market.

Planet Terror is a such a good movie, Rodriquez has thrown in all the things we love about the 70’s, 80’s b-grade movie charm. Lets face it Hollywood can make a movie that is so over budgeted and forgettable, but all these small budget, risque flicks that fell under the Grindhouse genre can still stand the test of time. Although Planet Terror would have had a substantial budget behind it, as oppose to the low budget b – grade movies that Planet Terror pays homage too.

I like Rodriquez’s style, he makes a movie that is action packed, blood soaked (his violent movies) and with a ton of schlock. The movies are fun and this what Planet Terror is, a fun flick. It would have been awesome making this, with Planet Terror you get 70’s psychodrama medical flicks (TV soap operas), that 70’s synthesized acid tripping music combined with 70’s George A Romeo zombie flicks, some 80’s zombie drama (military conspiracy, chemical warfare and a zombies), back to some Grindhouse themes of small American town psychosis, make the movie look old and scratched, show a missing real (“apologies from the management”) whilst a ‘deep throat’ inspired 70’s sex scene goes missing. I mean it’s a work of art, modern art, an in joke. Maybe most people won’t get it, and there would be nothing worst than having a movie ‘geek’ point out all the 70’s, 80’s Grindhouse/b-grade influences in Planet Terror.

But then again, to make this movie worth while maybe you should sit down with you wife/husband/girl friend/friend/special friend and go through some early John Carpenter flicks, especially listening to the scores, look at Carpenters ‘The Thing’ (gore), watch Dawn of the Dead, check out some early porn – that would be a good start.

Stand out scenes? Because there is a lot going on in Planet Terror, a lot of characters intermixing with the backdrop zombie theme, it’s hard to pinpoint memorable scenes. I mean, they are so many memorable scenes. The psychopathic doctor, who before checking patients, pops a thermometer in his mouth and checks his own pulse. That scene to me, is a Quentin Tarantino inspired scene, especially when the psycho doctor discovers his wife’s female lover ends up dead (brain scooped out by zombies), and he then crunches the thermometer in his mouth. Just small scenes like that, layered onto the main theme of the zombie plague about to engulf the world.

If you are an 80’s child (generation X’er) and you remember the huge amount of b-grade movies that came out of the 70’s and 80’s. You’ll love this flick, you will identify with it’s homage to a time in cinema when movies were churned out that that in someways, deliberate or not, had social/political/sexual/ and dissent messages.

Well worth checking Planet Terror, also look for the trailer of the Grindhouse movie that doesn’t exist (under Planet Terror clip) – Machete.

Machete trailer


3 Responses to “DVD Reviews – Planet Terror (Director Robert Rodriguez)”

  1. sir jorge said

    i still haven’t seen this one, I really have to soon.

  2. […] by Adrian on April 14, 2008 Great soundtrack, awesome movie (check my review here) and one of the best intro’s you’ll see (love that […]

  3. […] note: watch Robert Rodriguez Planet Terror homage to 1970’s end of the world drama’s, wi… […]

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