Planet Terror (2007)

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The Rodriguez side of the Grindhouse films, but still with a good dollop of Quentin Tarantino mixed into the cinematography. This film is both a stereotype and a mick-take of the horror film classic. Before we even get to the actual film, I would like to sing the praise of the opening credits, which include a mock-trailer for a film called Machete. Sound familiar? That’s because Planet Terror fans liked the trailer so much that it was decided to get loads of the original trailer cast back (as well as several famous faces) to create a feature length film. THAT is how bad-ass the trailer was!

The beginning of the film certainly appeals to male viewers, with the opening scene revolving around one of our main characters (a Go-go Dancer called Cherry Darling) doing what she does best – gogo dancing. We are introduced to her as a sassy, back talking and disillusioned lady, wearing a leather skirt and a boob-tube,  who gives her boss the finger and storms out when she is criticised for crying while dancing: ‘Its Go-go, not Cry-cry.’

We then jump to the cause of all the horror to follow, where we see a load of military soldiers arriving at an undisclosed location to pick up ‘The Shit’. Here we see the introduction of SAYID FROM LOST as well as a brief appearance from Bruce Willis. A notable feature of this bit of the film is Sayid’s jar of testicles which he has harvested from those who have failed him, complete with a testicle-harvesting device. During ensuing confrontations the ‘Shit’ is released into the atmosphere and we see several of the soldiers’ faces melt off – badass! The rest of the film revolves around our main characters – and there are a fair few of them – dealing with these somewhat unfortunate circumstances.

As mentioned the film follows several main characters, with Cherry Darling, and a mysterious chap called El Wray taking the major lead roles. We also meet a Lesbian anaesthetist who gets caught up in the apocalypse while trying to leave her husband, a doctor, for her lesbian lover (who gets her brains nommed out). We have a Rib house owner who brags about making the best BBQ in Texas, his brother the local sheriff, Lesbian anaesthetist’s  son and her husband who turns murderous when he discovers she is leaving, Several inept policemen, spicy latino twin babysitters, the owner of the strip club and various other people I am sure I am forgetting. Together this rag-tag crew battle it out to make their way to the Rib house, getting stuck in various predicaments along the way.

Due to a ‘missing reel’ (half way through a sex scene) the film jumps right to all the main characters having appeared in the rib house, with us unsure how lots of them got there. The rib house is now on fire and El Wray has been discovered to be some sort of famous bad-ass war hero, rather than the criminal he was believed to have been.  I quite like the missing reel plot loophole, as it in-your-face stops the film makers from having to explain lots of bizarre bits and plot holes, as well as giving the finger to plot issues in many older horror films.  For the rest of the film you are left not knowing who El Wray is, while all the other main characters know exactly who he is and cryptically mention things that don’t make sense to us – clever! Oh, did I mention that Cherry has her leg ripped off by zombies and replaced with a chair leg, a kid shoots his brains out, a woman accidentally snaps her wrist opening a car door,  good ole’ murderous doctor does a bit of pustule bursting and we get a good glimpse of some rotting scrotum – NICE!

The second half of the film gets even more ridiculous, with fighting, explosions, gore, Cherry’s leg being replaced with a gun (with added rocket launcher) zombies blistering, melting and eating people and a cameo from Tarantino as a would-be-rapist soldier whose penis turns to slop and drops off. Nice. The film is done with typical Tarantino-style gore and is really completely pointless, with very little character development, lots of explosions, implausible goings on, gore and grit – as well as hot (if dishevelled and severely injured) women. If you expect this to be a serious film you will be sorely disappointed – it’s not a comedy, but it certainly does not take itself too seriously. That said, this film is GREAT! If you are a fan of the genre as a whole then this film will be totally up your street as both a parody and an epitome of zombie horror and it has everything you could possibly want (minus much of a plot). I appreciate it from a cinematography perspective and as a piece of art, but it’s also just a great watch – perhaps not while eating.

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