100 Days of Horror welcomes you to ... SATANFEST 2013

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"Y'all know me, know how I earn a livin'. I'll catch this bird for you, but it ain't gonna be easy. Bad fish! Not like going down to the pond and chasing bluegills and tommycods. This shark, swallow ya whole. Little shakin', little tenderizin', and down you go. And we gotta do it quick, that'll bring back the tourists, that'll put all your businesses on a payin' basis. But it's not gonna be pleasant! I value my neck a lot more than three thousand bucks, chief. I'll find him for three, but I'll catch him, and kill him, for ten. But you've gotta make up your minds. If you want to stay alive, then ante up. If you want to play it cheap, be on welfare the whole winter. I don't want no volunteers, I don't want no mates, there's too many captains on this island. Ten thousand dollars for me by myself. For that you get the head, the tail, the whole damn thing."

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

100 Days of Horror Day Five - "Planet Terror!"


Greetings with the stickiest of the icky firmly in hand this humid Wednesday morning!

Yes, it's "Hump Day," a phrase which I loathe (then why the hell did I just use it?). I am working from home today and also taking off to get fitted for a tux at some point, because my friends thought it would be a hoot to put me in their wedding party. And of course I have put it off until the very, very, very last minute. And it has to be done today. Dammit.

And enough with the boring shite. Today's selection for the 100 Days of Horror challenge is the first one I am actually excited about - Robert Rodriguez's "Planet Terror!"

i have been dying to watch this movie for weeks but abstained because I knew it was on this list. I had to settle for its partner, the superior "Death Proof," directed by Quentin Tarantino. As far as I am concerned, this movie has just about everything I love about movies - it's funny, it's cheesy, it's well directed and well acted and it looks great. It goes to show how cool cheese can be if it's treated in a serious manner. Not every cheesy movie has to be as bad (well, so bad it;s good) as "Night of the Comet," which should probably be on the list, too ... oh well.

Planet Terror (2008): Directed by Robert Rodriquez. Starring Bruce Willis, Rose McGowan, Freddie Rodriquez, Josh Brolin, Michael Biehn, Jeff Fahey and Marlee Shelton.

The Skinny: the first part of the two-part “Grindhouse” movies, “Planet Terror” revolves around a secret biological weapon and the havoc it unleashes on a small town. Made with the 80s cheesiness factor firmly in place, this film emerged from a project between Quentin Tarantino and Rodriguez as an attempt to recreate the 70s-era Grindhouse double bill films of their teens. It succeeds, in that they make a quality product seem shittier by leaving in the damage marks, stressing the sound quality and even including a “missing reel.” The idea was largely lost on audiences, who somehow failed to grasp the fact that they were getting two great films from two top-drawer directors for the price of one. Granted the whole affair – complete with fake trailers that are worth the price of admission alone – was almost four hours. But still … it was four hours of Rodriguez and Tarantino! Oh and in case you didn’t know: one of the trailers, “Machete,” is now a full-blown film in the “Grindhouse” tradition, hitting theaters Sept. 3! Danny Trejo! See it!

What’s Good: “Planet Terror” manages to seize that cheesy 80s John Carpenter-esque atmosphere while retaining sharp acting, snappy dialogue and a host of stock characters given new life by quality actors like Tom Savini and Michael Biehn. It also captures the murky lighting and pulp dialogue synonymous with low-budget films from time immemorial – again, totally on purpose. But by stocking his lead roles with solid actors like “Ugly Betty” regular Freddie Rodriguez (who is capable of delivering a line like “I never miss” in reference to both his shooting ability and his fertility and make it golden) and Josh Brolin, Rodriguez transforms the cheese into coolness.

What’s Bad: It is very gory, so if that is something you dislike, you’ll hate this fucker from the get-go. Plus, there IS a “missing reel” segment of the film, so you miss a good 15, 20 minutes towards the final third of the film, but again that was intentional. It pissed a lot of people off, but it was still intentional. It’s also a little long for a horror movie, but trust me – it squeezes excitement out of every second. Also, the presence of Rose McGowan is sometimes enough to turn you away, but she actually delivers in this movie with a combination of sexy/cool and one-legged machine gun disco action (I’m telling you – it’s badassery at its best).

Why we like it: We don’t like it, we luurve it! For starters, it’s Robert “From Dusk Til Dawn” Rodriguez, and he is a modern horror god. He understands that if you treat the material – no matter how bizarre or unbelievable it may be – as a serious topic, even the cheesiest of premises (like vampires living in ancient pyramids in Mexico) can blossom with new life.

Memorable Stuff: Lines, lines, lines. Tarantino cameos as a rapist army dude, and says one of the greatest things I have ever heard in a movie: “I've seen me a lot of weird shit in my day, but I ain't never seen a one-legged stripper. I seen me a stripper with one breast. And I seen me a stripper with twelve toes. I've even seen me a stripper with no brains at all, but I ain't never seen a one-legged stripper. And I've been to Morocco.” If that doesn’t please you, then you should probably be looking elsewhere for you entertainment.