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Published:April 2nd, 2007 15:30 EST
GRINDHOUSE Double Feature Event

GRINDHOUSE Double Feature Event

By Jessica Baird

Two of Hollywood`s most explosive and exciting directors have teamed up for Grindhouse, an over-the-top thrill ride which opens this weekend.

Longtime friends and collaborative filmmakers Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino, who have previously worked together on films From Dusk Till Dawn and Sin City, pay homage to the exploitation films of the 1960s and 1970s with this double feature event.

The name of this double dose adventure is actually taken from the movie theatres in urban areas that once played such films as Vanishing Point and Dirty Mary Crazy Larry.

Rodriguez and Tarantino fell in love with these often absurd, but always entertaining films and set out to create a double feature that no average moviegoer would soon forget.

The first film in this double feature is Rodriguez`s Planet Terror, which provides a new take on the zombie films of the past. Tarantino`s Death Proof fuses speedy car chases with gory and horrific elements, and is second on the bill.

Considering their adoration for these types of films, and the movie houses that played them, the directors` enthusiasm trickled down to the cast and crew as well, according to several cast members in a recent phone interview.

While discussing Tarantino, Death Proof cast member Traci Thoms said, His energy inspires everyone. Most people would sweep floors in the background of a Tarantino movie. "

Echoing this statement was actress Vanessa Ferlito, who plays Arlene in Death Proof,

They take chances and they do what they want to do, " she said. They`re so unique. It`s preposterous to think anyone can do what [they are] doing. "

Marley Shelton is the only actress to appear in both Planet Terror and Death Proof, and she also appeared in Sin City. Working with these directors, Shelton said, is always a hugely gratifying experience.
"It allows me to do things I`ve never been able to do onscreen, " she said. Whatever they`re going to do is going to be so cool. "

Some of these "so cool` elements include Rodriguez`s heroin in Planet Terror having a most unusual limb. Actress Rose McGowan plays Cherry, a go-go dancer whose leg was ripped off and is now replaced by a machine gun. These sorts of quirks are essential to the spirit of Grindhouse films as well as past Tarantino and Rodriguez productions.

Other salutes to the low-budget exploitation genre are evident in the lack of continuity and choppy nature of these films. Typically, a film crew would consist of a script supervisor to make sure each frame matches the one before it, but in this double feature, lines are often repeated or the quality of the film looks lackluster.

Stuff doesn`t match on purpose, " Thoms said. Continuity went out the window. "

These characteristics of the Grindhouse inspired films may be unconventional to the average moviegoer, but the actors and directors of this double feature wouldn`t have it any other way.