Saturday, April 30, 2011

Day 30 of the 30 Day Horror Challenge: GRINDHOUSE

Day 30 - Your favorite horror film of all time -

“You'll Come Home for the Holidays... In A Body Bag”

My favorite horror film of all time… is GRINDHOUSE. If you have any questions, please address them to the tattoo on my left arm that is a re-imaging of the famous double feature movie poster complete with “GRINDHOUSE” marquee. Only my tattoo artist knows for sure. GRINDHOUSE (and we will be henceforth referring to it in all caps for both effect and accuracy) embodies everything that makes horror the genre we frickin’ love. It’s pretty darn funny. It’s pretty damn bloody. It has a cheesy plot that somehow you allow your “suspension of disbelief detector” to overlook. Some cult stars. Some big names. Lots of hype. A great poster (thanks Edward D. Wood, Jr.). Soundtracks that rock! And… two movies for the price of one. Also, lots of fake trailers, gimmicks and novelties. It’s why you read Famous Monsters of Filmland. It’s why you’ll start reading Mad Monster. Let’s get down to it because I’m sure I’ve lost half my audience if one ever existed at all.

Cult Stars and Big Names:

Most of these come up in the faux trailers but with both movies included together with the intermission and all created by notable directors Rob Zombie, Eli Roth, Edgar Write Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez you have a comprehensive list of who’s who in B, cult, “grindhouse”, shock, exploitation, horror, Italian, action cinema. Cult Stars and Big Names include Danny Trejo, Udo Kier, Sherry Moon Zombie, Nicholas Cage, Bruce Willis, Sybil Danning, Freddy Rodriguez, Zoe Bell, Rosario Dawson, McBill Mosely, Rose McGowan, Nick Frost, Simon Pegg and Michael Biehn (in missing any of the cult stars that you truly wanted to see me mention please go watch the movie again, point at the screen loudly until they magically appear before your eyes and both you and I will be happy horror fans). So that’s like the Ocean’s Eleven of horror right? Closest to Creepshow in number of famous bodies I would think. The people who made this thing obviously have love for the genre, love for talented actors and actresses; They know where to find and tickle their audiences funny bone. Oh… you thought I forgot one, right? KURT RUSSELL! And his fabulous cars.

Great Posters (see for yourself):


First off, let’s talk trailers. Fake trailers that have soundtracks that are from or sound like they are form some fairly old, forgotten films. Next we have Planet Terror with a stunning opening sequence to begin the movie. I mean that saxophone had somebody rubbing one out in the theatre. Remember that saxophone in Lost Boys? Remember how you got to make out with that sexy miss or mister… GRINDHOUSE has got that too, lover. It’s inspired by the music of John Carpenter and used in Carpenter’s films so that’s probably why you love it so god damn much. Move on to Death Proof. That juke box in the background… that’s Tarantino’s (or so I’m told). This is a classic Tarantino soundtrack. It pulls all the punches. I have literally gotten pulled over by the law due to the virility of the music in this picture. I mean Jack Nietzsche… you don’t stand a chance! “Chick Habit” to close the whole thing out… some Ennio. Some Smith. I’m a soundtrack junkie. This is the musical experience you’ve been waiting for if you have remotely eclectic musical tastes and not just stuck on the beauty of Goblin or 80’s metal in your features. Check out smith doing one of the "hair swingin'-ist" songs from Death Proof:

Next… Gimmicks, Novelties and Fake Trailers:

I love film grain. I don’t need the latest Blu-Ray transfer of anything (although I might take it if it has some cool extra footage attached). I grew up on VHS and with antenna television… bad cable and family movies shot on 16mm film (I think… few more tests). I like noise pops. Hisses. I like vinyl. I like retro. I buy the Throwback Mountain Dew and Pepsi in the stores because of the packaging (and because of the taste). I like my shirts scuffed and aged, my Converse black… I like my trailers old and late 70’s early 80’s. I love what these artists did with these pictures (trailers included). Scratch it up, throw dust at it (use CGI to imitate age), scratch it again with something different this time, burn it… It’s more like a celluloid rape scene than film production. Make sure to make it look like there’s a reel missing or that the film has broken or burned.

You know what I love… advertisements for the concession stand. I like hot dogs and even doubly so when they dance and sing. Classic advertisements. Classic sponsorships for non-existent restaurants. MPAA warning shorts involving panthers. Advertisements to go see a movie while you in the fucking movie theatre. And Trailers. I love trailers. I watch DVD’s and Youtube’s and Facebook’s and the end of a VHS tape and the beginning of the VHS tape for trailers. Give me a fake trailers and I’ll watch ‘em. I’ll wait for the movie to come out even though I know the chances are so slim. I love that the faux trailers in GRINDHOUSE gave us Machete and Hobo With a Shotgun. I think of Thanksgiving as a short film and not simply as a trailer created to frame a double feature. Don’t makes me laugh… because I’ve enjoyed the Don’t movies, thought of them in just the same way that Wright’s trailer does and still want to see the movie. Werewolf Women of the SS features sexy women in SS uniforms. One more time… it has sexy women… dressed in SS uniforms… and turning into werewolves. It’s like the hybrid of Night Porter and the Howling. Nicholas Cage as Fu Manchu… makes sense. Make any of these movies into a picture and I’ll watch it, most like love it. The rumor that Thanksgiving and Don’t are slated to be GRINDHOUSE 2 makes me sick with anticipation, mostly because I know it will never happen after the financial let down the first offering gave Dimension. I hope that somebody decides this labor of love is well worth it and realizes they may lose multiple millions just to make it. Then I hope they don’t lose said millions.

I still haven’t figured out why it failed. I’ve read the reasoning given by the critics. I think it probably had to do with poor timing. Everyone said “too funny to be scary, too scary to be funny”. I say bullshit. Horror fans love to laugh and have very refined senses of humor (have you seen the shit we watch?). To scary to be funny… to whom? Probably the church-going Easter crowd who won’t take little fifteen year old Johnny to see a movie called Planet Terror on Easter (all I want in my Easter basket is two tickets to the cinemaplex please). The failure was in the market research not in content. So many Karloff fearing horror fans haven’t seen this one. It’s a failure of marketing (did you see those fucking posters!). I don’t truly know. I know I saw the fucker twice in the theatre and would gladly see it every year in lieu of half the drivel their putting out now which is not to slam on remakes as you may think… that’s a slam on drivel.

Planet Terror has all the blood and gore and guts you’ll need. Has all the action, sex and cheesy acting you’ll need. Has all the one liners (I’m going to eat your brains and gain your knowledge). Dr. Block has three friends… four if you count Fergie! Planet Terror has the most amazing Barbeque you could ever hope to purchase. Planet Terror has a one legged stripper which you ain’t never seen… and you been to Mexico. Planet Terror has useless habits and melting zombies, heads exploding, jars of testicles… Planet Terror is good for strong teeth and healthy bones. Planet Terror challenged Pepsi and Viagra In a taste test and won… because it washed down the Viagra with the Pepsi and fucked the shit out of your ever loving mind!

Moving on… Death Proof is a sophisticated film about muscle cars, the men and women who love them, about socially imbibing alcohol in Austin, TX, eating fine Texas-Mexican cuisine and waking up dead (missing a leg or face). It is also an educational film on how to play the game Ship’s Mast. It is also an review in classic “car” cinema (Vanishing Point, Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry). Girls win. Girls die. Cars die. Kurt Russell laughs. Kurt Russell cries. Quentin Tarantino makes a movie that has the longest false start in the history of cinema (maybe). Death Proof is like Baby from Dirty Dancing; Nobody puts Death Proof in the corner. Death Proof fought Bill Brask and won because Bill Brasky couldn’t stop watching it.

I don’t want to give you a synopsis of the movies. They’ll speak for themselves. This picture runs complete on IFC. Sit down one late night and watch it. This movie is out on Blu-Ray… GO BUY IT (and buy me a Blu-Ray player). The fake trailers are on YouTube for you to watch (some in this blog). Please watch them and laugh. Play them when you’re sad and lonely instead of drinking. Watch them while getting up in the morning when you need a pick me up and forgot to buy coffee. Watch them when you’ve had too much coffee and can’t sleep. Watch them while you sleep. Watch it. Enjoy it. Take your prescription to the pharmacy counter and fill it. Do not watch the separately released version of this film. GRINDHOUSE is one movie and should be treated this way. This isn’t the motherfuckin’ Civil War.

-Dr. Planet Terror

Hold the Drivel… also… GRINDHOUSE!!! (Hold your friend close, but GRINDHOUSE closer)

Also if you think that I duplicated a listing by having Death Proof on this list in addition to GRINDHOUSE you can remove your innards, cook them and serve them for sweat breads.

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