By Tyler Davidson
By Tyler Davidson
Audiences flocking to see “Grindhouse” on April 6 should expect a film combining several shocking elements of 1970’s slasher and exploitation flicks, including (but definitely not limited to) gratuitous shots of nudity, graphic decapitations, and yes, even a fat man chewing on a baby.
If you haven’t stopped reading at this point, “Grindhouse” might just be right up your alley. Comprised of two full length features by Robert Rodriguez (“Sin City,” “Once Upon A Time in Mexico”) and Quentin Tarantino (“Pulp Fiction,” “Reservoir Dogs”), the film is a throwback to the days when only the most graphic and disturbing of pictures would frequent theatres devoted primarily to movies of this type, often back-to-back. The adrenaline rush of experiencing the ultimate taboos in cinematic form was enough to attract a wide variety of patrons to these “grindhouses,” and they flourished until the 1980s, when the advent of home video all but decimated the [counter-] culture.
The first half of this horrific double feature is Robert Rodriguez’s “Planet Terror,” an 80-minute zombie flick that features amongst the cast of characters a go-go dancer named Cherry Darling (Rose McGowan) that lost her leg in an attack by the monsters, only to have it replaced with a functional machine gun by her boyfriend, Wray (Freddy Rodriguez.)
Next up is Quentin Tarantino’s “Death Proof,” a picture designed to bring audiences back to the slasher films of the 1970s and 80s. Set mostly on a movie set itself, “Death Proof” sees an aspiring actress named Lee (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) as well as a makeup artist (Rosario Dawson) and two stuntwomen (ZoÃ Bell and Tracie Thoms) terrorized by a stuntman (Kurt Russell) in 70s muscle cars that he deems “100 percent death proof.”
Scattered throughout “Grindhouse” will be several mock trailers for other “grindhouse” films, to which the directorial talents of several breakthrough horror directors have been lent. “Hostel’s” Eli Roth will create a trailer for a movie called “Thanksgiving,” a take on the rampant holiday-themed slashers found in the genre, while Rob Zombie will helm a trailer called “Werewolf Women of the S.S.,” a self-explanatory creature feature starring Nicolas Cage. Yes, that’s right… Nicolas Cage.
“Grindhouse” has already found itself in the midst of controversy, as a March 15 article in the New York Post reported that the picture was on the fast track to an NC-17 rating, the virtual kiss of death in the movie industry. However, the film, despite scenes depicting things like a topless Nazi concentration camp, managed to get away with an R rating with only minimal cuts made (which will undoubtedly be restored if and when the ever-popular “Unrated” cut is released on DVD.)
Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino are two of the best at their craft, and as such, their combined forces should make “Grindhouse,” if nothing else, two-and-a-half hours of pure entertainment. The picture will definitely not be intended for all audiences, but for those unaffected by straight-up gore, nudity, and just debauchery in general, it will be a film not to be forgotten for a long, long while.