Double Bill #02: Grindhouse (Planet Terror & Death Proof)

This was the first time I saw the Rodriguez / Tarantino double feature as it was originally intended: back to back and with fake trailers in between. Originally, I saw the films separately when they came out in 2007 in an open air cinema on Crete. This was a special experience in itself and I really liked the movies. So what is the real authentic Grindhouse experience like? Well, what do you think? It kicks complete ass! It starts with the Machete trailer, which is so good they decided to actually make the movie. Then the first feature Planet Terror opens with that pole dancing sequence, the sexiest ever committed to celluloid. Rose McGowan is amazing as Cherry Darling, a go-go dancer who’ll soon have a machine gun for a leg. Rodriguez’ his contribution is a bat shit crazy gory virus zombie splatterpiece, while the Tarantino film that follows is… well a masterful genre film (in this case a carsploitation-horror), like only the maestro knows how to make them. What’s beautiful is that the films actually go together like burgers and fries. Tarantino-Rodriguez is a unique partnership in the history of filmmaking and this is a once-in-a-lifetime project. The two films have a lot in common. Apart from the shared cast members, they feature lots of lethal ladies; girls who kick ass, though they also suffer a lot. The guys in the movies are mostly psychos. And one of them is unforgettable: Kurt Russell as Stuntman Mike McKay. Another Tarantino-character made for the cinema wax museum. The Grindhouse versions of the films are cut a little shorter than the films released separately. Death Proof now also has a missing reel. Not coincidentally, it is the lap dance scene that is missing (Tarantino and Rodriquez are suggesting that a horny projectionist stole the reels, in Planet Terror a sex scene between Cherry and Wray is missing). Also, included in all gory glory are the fake movie trailers: Rob Zombie’s Werewolf Women of the SS, Edgar Wright’s Thanksgiving and Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving. O man, cult cinema just doesn’t come any better than this.

Cult Radar: Part 8

FilmDungeon is glad to explore the video trenches to find that oddball treasure between the piles of crap out there. Of Course, a treasure in this context can also be a film that’s so shockingly bad it’s worth a look, or something so bizarre that cult fans just have to see it. Join us on our quest and learn what we learn. Hopefully we’ll uncover some well-hidden cult gems.

Researched by: Jeppe Kleijngeld

Roadgames (Australia, 1981)

Directed by: Richard Franklin
Written by: Richard Franklin, Everett De Roche
Cast: Stacy Keach, Jamie Lee Curtis, Marion Edward, Grant Page

Pat Quid (Stacy Keach) is an American ‘truckie’ in Australia, assigned to drive a load of pork from Melbourne to Perth. Along the road in the outback, he gets suspicious of a fellow driver. He suspects the man might be a wanted serial killer and shares his suspicions with hitchhiker Pamela (Jamie Lee Curtis). Then she vanishes and the deadly cat and mouse game with the killer really takes off. Roadgames is an Ozploitation flick released in 2008 by Optimum Home Entertainment, who released many other Ozploitation classics around that time following the success of Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation (2008). It is clearly inspired by Hitchcock of whom director Richard Franklin (Patrick, Psycho II) is a major fan. Although the screenplay certainly has elements of engaging mystery, an adequate dosage of tension is missing in its direction. The musical score is composed by Mad Max’s Brian May (not to be confused by Queen’s Brian May). The killer is portrayed by famous Australian stunt performer Grant Page.

The Car (USA, 1977)

Directed by: Elliot Silverstein
Written by: Michael Butler Dennis Shryack, Lane Slate
Cast: James Brolin, Kathleen Lloyd, John Marley

A large, black two-door sedan is killing people randomly in a small desert town, blaring its horn rhythmically whenever it makes a kill. There doesn’t appear to be a driver in the car, as if Evil itself is behind the steering wheel. Sheriff Wade Parent (James Brolin) must find a way to stop the sedan, while also protecting his beloved ones. The Car is an unusual and entertaining thriller from the director of Cat Ballou. Although the dialogues and some of the acting sucks, the pretty awesome car action, the surroundings (Utah) and some eerie moments make it a decent movie in its kind.

Patrick (Australia, 1978)

Directed by: Richard Franklin
Written by: Everett De Roche
Cast: Susan Penhaligon, Robert Thompson, Robert Helpmann

A comatose killer named Patrick uses psychokinesis to infiltrate the life of his new nurse, the attractive Kathy (Penhaligon). Low budget ozzy flick does little to shock the viewer. It is, however, stylishly directed by director Franklin, who knows some tricks to create suspense. The cinematography and editing are also pretty well done. Thompson is at times effectively scary as Patrick, but because the film is overlong and outdated, he won’t get much shock out of the contemporary viewer.

Long Weekend (Australia, 1978)

Directed by: Colin Eggleston
Written by: Everett De Roche
Cast: John Hargreaves, Briony Behets, Mike McEwan

‘Their crime was against nature… Nature found them guilty.’ When this is your tagline, you know you got a potential cult classic on your hands. Long Weekend is about a loathsome couple who head into nature for a camping trip. They arrive at a beautiful, abandoned beach area and start treating nature like shit. Their irreverent behavior causes repugnance from the viewer. Luckily nature feels the same way and gives them what they got coming. Hilarious when you think about it and very satisfying as well. From the writer of Patrick and Roadgames and the director of Fantasm Comes Again comes a very awesome Australian cult flick. Besides funny, Long Weekend is also effectively chilling when it needs to be. Excellent work.

Election (Hong Kong, 2005)
OT: Hak se wui

Directed by: Johnnie To
Written by: Nai-Hoi Yau, Tin-Shing Yip
Cast: Simon Yam, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Louis Koo

Stylish crime film by Johnnie To about the election of a new Triad boss. Two rivals, Big D and Lok, both want the position which leads to a bloody internal battle. What is always good about Johnnie To’s gangster flicks is that there is a slight absurd touch about them. Election also has this in spades. The result is a violent, comical Hong Kong movie that offers some insight into the workings of a Triad family. Followed one year later by Election 2.