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Planet Terror
Grindhouse / Grindhouse Presents: Planet Terror

USA 2007
produced by
Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino, Elizabeth Avellan, Harvey Weinstein (executive), Bob Weinstein (executive), Sadra Condito (executive), Shannon McIntosh (executive) for Rodriguez International Pictures, Troublemaker Studios, the Weinstein Company, Dimension Films
directed by Robert Rodriguez
starring Rose McGowan, Freddy Rodríguez, Josh Brolin, Marley Shelton, Jeff Fahey, Michael Biehn, Rebel Rodriguez, Bruce Willis, Naveen Andrews, Julio Oscar Mechoso, Stacy Ferguson (= Fergie), Nicky Katt, Hung Nguyen, Cecilia Conti, Tommy Nix, Tom Savini, Carlos Gallardo, Skip Reissing, Electra Avellan, Elise Avellan, Quentin Tarantino, Greg Kelly, Troy Robinson, Derek Southers, Jason Douglas, Michael Parks, Jerili Romeo, Felix Sabates, Doran Ingram, Johnny Reno
written by Robert Rodriguez, music by Graeme Revell, Carl Thiel, cinematography and visual effects supervision by Robert Rodriguez, special makeup effects by Howard Berger, Jake Garber, Gregory Nicotero

Grindhouse

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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It seems the army has developed some bactereological weapon for mass destruction that turns humans into flesh-eating zombies, and now Lt Muldoon (Bruce Willis) orders his platoon to be infected, only to test the antidote - but the good Lieutnant that he is, he has himself infected as well. Thing is, things don't always go as smmothly as they should, and before you know it, the flesh-eating zombie soldiers have escaped the army base and are picking up some snacks from a nearby highway ...

In the meantime, Cherry Darling (Rose McGowan) has quit her job as a gogo dancer, and somehow this reunites her with her former boyfriend El Wray (Freddy Rodríguez), who seems to be nothing more than a petty criminal whom sheriff Hague (Michael Biehn) would just love to arrest but who ultimately will turn out to be a top gouvernment agent ...

Anyways, on the road, Cherry and El Wray come across zombies, and while they manage to fight them off, Cherry does get a nice zombie-legbite ...

El Wray and Cherry are off to the hospital, where sadistic Doctor Block (Josh Brolin) is trying to murder his wife Dakota (Marley Shelton) in a fit of jealousy - but that hardly matters anymore, because victims from car accidents keep piling up at the place, who are of course actually victims from zombie attacks, and who have one thing in common: Though pronounced dead, they rise again and start to attack and zombify the living. Cherry though is in luck, even if she doesn't see it yet, she gets her leg amputated and is therefore saved from instant zombification - but being on one leg only proves to be a bit of a problem when trying to evacuate the hospital.

Eventually, the survivors from the hospital massacre - among others Cherry, El Wray, sheriff Hague and Dakota - all make it to J.T.'s (Jeff Fahey) roadhouse where Cherry and El Wray have sex (as was expected), but which soon is under attack not only by the zombies but also by Lt Muldoon and his platoon, who have since been treated with the antidote and who now incarcerate all of our heroes at the army base, but unfortunately the antidote's effects are only temporarily, and soon they turn out to be not only simple-minded wannabe rapists (with Quentin Tarantino playing the most ruthless of the bunch), but also zombies ...

The finale pulls no punches, it's got helicopter rotorblades mowing their way through zombies (with the helicopter attached of course), Cherry gunning down zombies with a machinegun she's now got in place of a wooden leg, putting her gogo routines to good news, plenty of explosions outbalanced by plenty of witty dialogue, and and and ... Anyways, El Wray, Sheriff Hague and roadhouse owner J.T. are all allowed to die a hero's death while Cherry, Dakota and a few others get away by helicopter, to Mexico and the Ocean where they continue to fight off zombies with the sea in their back. And Cherry has since born El Wray's child ...

Stacy Ferguson aka Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas plays one of the zombies' first victims.

 

In a word, Planet Terror is an extremely funny zombie film ... but let's not jump the gun here, the film is no masterpiece, not even Robert Rodriguez' best film, it's just a brilliant spoof of genre fare from the 1970's (which it mimicks in look, to a point where the brandnew filmprint was made to look used and a reel is intentionally missing) and it does to zombiefilms what Rodriguez' From Dusk Till Dawn (also not his best film) has done to vampire flicks - which means the film is fast-paced and full of (self-)ironic action scenes (and let's face it, when it comes to ironic action, Robert Rodriguez is second to none), and while it may be a bit silly (which is actually intentional), it's also full of laughs which pretty much outbalance the many (well-made) gore scenes. Of course, on the negative side, the film lacks pretty much any kind of depth, plus it's a bit overburdened by pointless subplots, and Freddy Rodríguez fails to leave a lasting impression as the male lead (but of course, who cares about the male lead when you got a beautiful female lead with a machinegun attached to her leg-stump).

Anyways, if you don't exactly expect Citizen Kane and are able to laugh at people and zombies being graphically dismembered (and Rodriguez makes it to appear funny), you are in for a treat.

Recommended, but probably not to everyone ...

 

By the way, Planet Terror was originally part of the double feature movie Grindhouse which was chopped in two after the film's failure at the box office thanks to a misguided publicity campaign. Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof is its companion.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD