Grindhouse - Limited EditionOverview -
Two of the best genre filmmakers of a generation join forces for a mammoth-sized cinematic excursion into schlock, horror, and high-octane exploitation filmmaking - Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s Grindhouse. This fan-favorite cinematic event picks up a new deluxe Limited Edition release from Australia’s Via Vision offering up the full cinematic event and both extended versions of Planet Terror and Death Proof complete with hours of exciting extrafeatures. Highly Recommended.
The complete double feature experience from Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino in a 4-disc Limited Edition 3D Lenticular Hardcase.
Includes the Theatrical and Extended versions of the films, a bonus disc of special features, plus art cards!
Acclaimed directors Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino pay tribute to exploitation cinema in this epic double feature. With all star casts including Rose McGowan, Josh Brolin, Kurt Russell and Rosario Dawson, and featuring fictitious exploitation trailers directed by Rodriguez, Rob Zombie, Edgar Wright, Eli Roth, and Jason Eisener.
Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take
Some movies are more memorable for the experience of seeing them rather than the movies themselves. A throwback experience like Grindhouse from Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino could have precariously slipped into kitsch but managed to recreate a cinematic experience of a bygone era while staying true to the filmmakers' tendencies and finding a fun original tone to their respective features. Audiences just didn’t know what to expect, or if they had expectations, they got something completely different.
I saw this when it hit theaters opening night in 2007 on the biggest screen I could find in Chicago… and I was one of five people there. For a primetime opening night screening for two back-to-back films from two of the hottest directors of a generation, that was a shockingly small audience. Before it was over there would be two walkouts. Judging from the overheard conversations, of the three that made it to the end I might have been the only one who enjoyed it. But then I also knew what I was getting myself into.
Part of the issue, I think, that plagued this film’s financial reception was the simple fact that people didn’t “get” what the grindhouse experience was all about. It’s not just the quality of the film itself, or the condition of the print, or how sleazy the genre is, it’s also a feeling, a vibe, an atmosphere, and if you were at the right/wrong theater even a smell. In my youth I saw plenty of rough double features in some pretty dingy Detroit area theaters. These were the kind of screening rooms you weren’t sure if you’d be able to leave because the floor was so sticky with spilled soda (or at least that’s what you hoped it was). My most memorable one of these was when someone was screening their tattered personal 35mm prints of Alien and Predator and they were in rough barely watchable shape but half the seats were broken, the popcorn was stale, the soda was flat, and by God in heaven, I hope no one ate any of the hotdogs at that place! So going into Grindhouse I kinda knew what to expect and as a three-hour-plus experience I enjoyed it, but I didn’t love it. I didn't start to love the films themselves and the original theatrical experience until repeat viewings on DVD and Blu-ray.
The other issue I think that stymied this experience was the disparate nature of the two films Planet Terror and Death Proof. They’re very different and I certainly felt the tonal whiplash segueing from the schlocky bloodletting to the artful excursion into suspense and terror (with excruciatingly long dialog sequences). One minute you’re digesting something akin to Umberto Lenzi’s Nightmare City and the next you’re hip-deep into something that’d resemble a Dario Argento version of Vanishing Point. Watching them separate in their full extended uncut forms (especially Death Proof) felt much more satisfying. It was a great idea for these two filmmakers, but a little more cohesion probably would have done them some favors.
Universally everyone seemed to love the fake trailers - some of which became actual real (or should it bee "reel") films. While we’re still waiting to see Rob Zombie’s Werewolf Women of the S.S. or Edgar Wright’s Don’t as feature-length films, we’ve enjoyed two Machete films and hopefully, we’ll someday see Machete Kills in Space. Hobo With A Shotgun turned out pretty well and having just got back from seeing Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving, I hope we have a new ongoing holiday-themed horror franchise to carve up and enjoy. While Grindhouse was a notable box office flop in its day, the film has managed to conjure up something of a lasting cinematic legacy. Separate or together I still enjoy both Planet Terror and Death Proof even if they’re not the career highlights for either filmmaker.
Now for more in-depth coverage of Grindhouse and the films within, check out the reviews from my colleague Joshua Zyber:
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Grab your popcorn buckets and oversized sodas, Grindhouse comes home to Blu-ray in a new deluxe limited edition 4-disc release from Australia's Via Vision. This set offers the full theatrical Grindhouse experience along with separate discs for Death Proof, Planet Terror, and an additional disc dedicated strictly to bonus features. All are pressed on Region Free discs (even if the artwork indicates Region B). The discs each load to their own animated main menu. The discs are housed in a standard multi-disc case with individual trays and not stacked. Also included is an envelope with eight art cards all held together with a slick hard stock lenticular slipcase.
As Josh wrote in his previous reviews of these films (linked above), it’s damned hard to assess these transfers on traditional merits when each film is supposed to look like it’s been stored in the trunk of your cousin’s broken-down 85 Chevy Impala that hasn’t left the back yard in decades. Any nicks, scratches, specks, missing frames, missing reels - they’re all there by design. You’re not supposed to enjoy a pristine experience so don’t expect one... except there is one in the extra features of Planet Terror and it looks nice but it's weird to see it that way.
For the Theatrical Grindhouse transfer, the visuals pick up a nice little uptick in quality moving away from the old VC-1 encode for full AVC MPEG-4 experience with a nice healthy bitrate. Now this isn’t exactly a night-and-day improvement, but I felt like compression anomalies that were apparent (beyond the intentional ones) on the previous disc weren’t as intrusive. Colors are big and bold and/or weathered and desaturated as necessary. This transfer also retains the proper uniform 2.35:1 aspect ratio of the original theatrical release.
For Planet Terror we return to the “home video” edition aspect ratio where Rodriguez requested the film be opened up to full 1.85:1 rather than keep to the 2.35:1 of the Grindhouse theatrical experience. Not seeing any difference from the 2009 disc, it’s still a solid stylish transfer. I’d love to see what a full 4K HDR restoration would (or even could) do for this film, but as is it’s still a strong HD release.
Like its cinematic sibling Death Proof arrives with the same 2.35:1 transfer as before. As it was shot on 35mm, it’s the more “filmic” of the two features, but all credit to Rodriguez for convincingly faking it on his side. The appropriate “deterioration” effects like nicks and scratches are retained. There’s no “Scratch Free” version here. Colors that are blown out or desaturated are intentional. All stylistic approaches aside it’s still a dynamite looking film and a very effective Blu-ray experience. Again, a 4K release would be quite something. Maybe next year for the film’s 17th Anniversary?
On the audio front, since the individual discs of Death Proof and Planet Terror are virtually identical to past releases, the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio tracks return - and that’s not bad at all. The audio for each film gives a nice full surround experience - obviously to varying degrees depending on each film. Dialog is clean for both, any dropouts or missing bits of dialog are intentional.
Now the nice thing for Grindhouse, Via Vision was able to give this disc an audio upgrade to lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 along with an LPCM 2.0 mix. While the 2.0 track is solid in its own respects, fans will really enjoy the extra heft and oomph of the DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix. Dialog is clean and clear without issues - again when and where you’re supposed to hear it. The blast of explosions and gunfire, the roars of car engines sound much stronger than the old Dolby Digital 5.1 track found on the 2010 disc. I felt the low end had a lot more rumble and impact. Flipping on my receiver’s DTS Neural:X function was a nice extra kick adding additional space and atmosphere to the elements.
On the bonus features front, we’re essentially given the motherload of everything that’s been previously released. There are hours of excellent content here and if you’ve never gone through any of it before, you’re in for a long and fun treat. Now worth noting on the Bonus Features disc, which is essentially a repeat of the previous Grindhouse bonus features disc, a bunch of the extras are listed in an “All New Grindhouse Bonus” sub-category, but they’re not new, they’re all the same ones from before just listed that way. All told, this remains one of the most comprehensive and exhaustive bonus features collections ever assembled.
- Audio Commentary (Planet Terror) featuring Robert Rodriguez
- Audience Reaction Audio Track (Planet Terror)
- Grindhouse Trailer (HD 2:22)
- Planet Terror Trailer (HD 2:17)
- Death Proof Trailer (HD 2:21)
- Thanksgiving Trailer w/ Eli Roth Jeff Rendell Commentary (HD 2:34)
Planet Terror Disc:
- Audio Commentary featuring Robert Rodriguez
- Audience Reaction Track
- “Scratch Free” Version (HD 1:41:48)
Death Proof Disc:
- No Extra Features
Bonus Features Disc:
- Planet Terror Extras -
- Robert Rodriguez’s 10-Minute Film School
- The Badass Babes of Planet Terror
- Casting Rebel
- Sicks, Bullets, and Explosions: The Stunts of Planet Terror
- The Friend, The Doctor, and the Real Estate Agent
- Planet Terror Poster Gallery
- Death Proof Extras -
- Stunts on Wheels: The Legendary Drivers of Death Proof
- Quentin’s Greatest Collaborator: Editor Sally Menke
- The Guys of Death Proof
- Kurt Russell as Stuntman Mike
- Finding Quentin’s Gals
- Uncut Version of “Baby, It’s You”
- Introducing Zoe Bell
- Double Dare Trailer
- Extended Music Cues
- Death Proof Poster Gallery
- ALL NEW Grindhouse Bonus* -
- All New Planet Terror Bonus:
- Robert Rodriguez’s 10-Minute Cooking School
- The Makeup Effects of Planet Terror
- All New Death Proof Bonus:
- The Hot Rods of Death Proof
- From Texas to Tennessee: The Production Design of Death Proof
- Trailer Bonus:
- Extended Werewolf Women of the SS Trailer
- Extended Werewolf Women of the SS Trailer Audio Commentary
- The Making of Extended Werewolf Women of the SS Trailer
- Extended Don’t Trailer
- Extended Don’t Trailer Audio Commentary
- Don’t Storyboards / Trailer Comparison
- Don’t Storyboards / Trailer Comparison Audio Commentary
- The Making of Don’t Trailer
- Don’t Poster
- The Making of Thanksgiving Trailer
- Additional Bonus:
- New York Times Talk with Lynn Hirschberg
- Comic-Con 2006
- Hobo with a Shotgun Trailer Contest Winner
Grindhouse was a one-of-a-kind cinematic experience. An effort to recreate the grimy double feature viewing experience of old, the theatrical version missed its audience but the film gradually picked up a cult following thanks to the extended solo releases of Tarantino’s Death Proof and Rodriguez’s Planet Terror. Today, Australian label Via Vision gives fans a reason to revisit Grindhouse (if you don’t already own them). This exhaustive 4-Disc set gives you everything, the complete Theatrical experience, the Extended cuts of both films, plus hours of excellent extra features all wrapped up with a lenticular cover and some art cards. Already a difficult one to find, it may be more appealing as a collector’s item, but certainly a worthy addition for the collection. Highly Recommended
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