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Review: Planet Terror

Updated: Mar 30, 2022

Director: Robert Rodriguez

Writer: Robert Rodriguez

Genre: Action, Horror, Sci-Fi, Comedy

Release year: 2007

Runtime: 105 min

This film's plot depicts an evening of bio-chemical-zombie invasion. Stripper Cherry (Rose McGowan) plans to leave town; she meets pint-sized, boisterous ex-boyfriend Wray (Freddy Rodriguez). They are the power couple who help the other in their bid for survival. If you are unable to suspend your disbelief, then you might as well leave it here as it only gets more bizarre from here on in.

The film is the second part of a two-part series called Grindhouse. The name is based on a retro genre signified cheap, tacky films screened mostly outdoors, in generally dodgy areas. Because of the overall low budget, the content was gore, violence, and nudity. The films' aims were to make a profit easily. The reels were so often reused that they were discernable through their wear and tear, sometimes even missing reels and being out of sync.

Rodriguez pulls this aesthetic off by digitally adding 70s filters with scratches and relying on his tongue-in-cheek shots. He created a retro soundtrack and wrote an appropriately tawdry screenplay. The amount of gore depicted will please zombie film lovers everywhere. With everything from a man who keeps a jar of his enemies’ balls to a gun-legged stripper; there is never a dull moment.

Because of the typical self-indulgent and long-winding film-making technique of Tarantino and Rodriguez, Grindhouse was not particularly well received. In fact, many critics found the films cheesy and unremarkable. But the consensus was that Planet Terror was better than Death Proof, which was the first part of their Grindhouse series.

I tend to disagree though. Planet Terror has gore, laughs, and sex on a gun, but its sister Death Proof had a little bit more girl power, which excused some of its faux pas. Nonetheless, I will say Planet Terror is worth a watch, particularly if you are a movie buff.

Audiences have come to expect stellar productions from the director of From Dusk til Dawn and Desperado. Still, the film is considered as something of a downgrade from those cult classics. Comparisons aside, one can hardly fault Planet Terror which did precisely what it was meant to do. It grossed us out, scared us, made us laugh, and at times even got us hot and bothered.

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