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Friday, October 26, 2007

Halloween Double Feature

I got Robert Rodriguez’s half of the Grindhouse double feature, Planet Terror on Netflix. I saw it in the theatre and seeing it again on DVD has confirmed my suspicion that this is Rodriguez’s best film to date. It works as a pinnacle of his career, displaying everything he’s learned in the fifteen years of his career since his first feature, El Mariachi.

Planet Terror has his best characters of all time. It achieves what I think Once Upon a Time in Mexico failed at, which is to pack the movie full of an equally distinct, interesting, and compelling cast of characters. Freddy Rodriguez and Rose McGowan are hilarious and awesome as the two lead badasses in a cast full of badasses. Countless other memorable actors from an amazing cast including Naveen Andrews, James Brolin, and Michael Parks. The gore is original and exciting, and also with a lot of humor and style.

Best of all, Planet Terror has a rocking and reeling story that functions more like a light-hearted adventure in the vain of Jurassic Park than a traditional horror movie. Every second of each of the many intertwined subplots is blowing you away with emotion, gore, action, sex, suspense, comedy until the geniusly absurd ending. It goes from go-go bar to a military base and then eventually to the ruins of an ancient civilization. It goes in every wild direction it can and it is beautiful.

Of course, Death Proof makes an awesome second half to the double-feature, with its severe change in tone that still maintains the sense of fun from Rodriguez’s movie.

The other day I didn’t have Death Proof, nor did I have a life to live, so I watched His Girl Friday to complete the double feature instead. It was an awesome companion to Planet Terror, its polar opposite in some ways. Made by Howard Hawks in 1940, it has a tiny cast, about three different sets, and it’s completely colorless. It’s also just as entertaining as Death Proof. Cary Grant is as bad as any motherfucker breathing today and never badder than in His Girl Friday. Just like Planet Terror, this movie never lets the audience rest for a second. The jokes are fired off like out of a machine gun and the characters are as beautifully drawn as in any novel.

It’s not a horror movie, but fuck whoever says you can only watch horror movies on Halloween. These are two cool movies that will actually, in my estimation, make you a more interesting person after having watched them back to back.

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