Thursday, October 14, 2010

2010 Fright Fest: Planet Terror

Planet Terror (2007)
Rated R (for language, violence, and sexuality)

Directed by Robert Rodriguez

Marley Shelton
Rose McGowan
Freddy Rodriguez
Josh Brolin

Part of the Rodriguez/Tarantino homage to Grindhouse films, Planet Terror centers on an unlikely group of people fighting against a zombie-like hoard, while dueling with a military unit for control of the small Texas town they hail from. The warriors include Cherry Darling (Rose McGowan), an exotic dancer who is disenchanted with her life, Dr. Dakota Block (Marley Shelton), the abused wife of a surgeon who is having a torrid affair with her female lover, Tammy (Stacy "Fergie" Ferguson), Cherry's boyfriend El Wray (Freddy Rodriguez), a mysterious loner who's handy with a gun, and JT (Jeff Fahey), the owner of BBQ joint The Bone Shack.

The group has to deal with both the increasing numbers of zombies and the deranged military unit led by Lt. Muldoon (Bruce Willis). Muldoon and his men have been infected with the zombie virus, but to keep from mutating, they must continue to inhale the deadly agent that causes it, DC2 - codename "Project Terror". As the group starts to die off, there are less and less places for them to hide.

The best thing about this flick is the cast. There are several stars in main roles, as well as in cameos and you never know who's going to pop up next. (Some of my favorites: famous FX veteran Tom Savini as a cop, "Lost" alumni Naveen Andrews as Abby, the biochemical weapons dealer, and Quentin Tarantino as "Rapist #1")

The flick is supposed to be campy, but it's also an excellent example of true blood-and-guts horror. Along with flicks like Evil Dead 2 and Dead Alive, Planet Terror falls clearly into the "splatstick" genre - horror films that use over-the-top gore for laughs. The film scratches and missing scenes are intended as part of the tribute to the low budget Grindhouse films that Rodriguez and Tarantino loved as kids.

Fright Rating: 3 gasps out of a possible 5

This is a very gory film, so it will mostly appeal to true horror/Rodriguez fans. It's got some very funny moments and some great action scenes, but it's definitely a "hard" R, so adults only.

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