Friday, May 11, 2007

Add-ons for the grindhouse

Posted By on Fri, May 11, 2007 at 8:25 PM

Like Snakes on a Plane, the self-contained double feature Grindhouse appears to be a phenomenon that appeals to niche nerds more than mainstream movie-goers. After more than a month in theaters, the schlock homage has earned less than $25 million (and cost more than twice that). Supposedly audiences were repelled by its running time of more than three hours, and the Weinstein Company may break up Robert Rodriguez's Planet Terror and Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof for separate release.

In the past week, Grindhouse has shown its influence in ways that suggest it might have a longer life than its ticket sales suggest. Last Friday, the humor website Something Awful observed its regular "Photoshop Phriday" with an amusing feature, "Grindhouse Posters for Movies That Never Played at Grindhouses." The idea is to use images and taglines that make wholesome movies or prestige dramas seem completely lurid, like this: "See the secret shame of England's pagan past given horrifying new life! An orphaned boy inducted into the world of the occult elite! A frightening fraternity of fresh young-man flesh! HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE!"

The other might be just a coincidence, but it's one of those weird ones (and may include a minor spoiler. The newly released zombie film 28 Weeks Later… is more serious and scary than Grindhouse's Planet Terror in every possible way. But Planet Terror beat the new film to the punch with a stunt/gag that involves helicopter blades being wielded against zombie hordes with predictably splattery effects. I have no idea which film came up with the idea first (I believe the original Dawn of the Dead featured the first collision of zombie skull and helicopter blade), but Grindhouse gets bragging rights for showing it first.



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