ALL ZOMBIE FIGHTING BABE!
Thank all that's holy for Cherry Darling and her Machinegun Leg!
Lovely Rose McGowan stars as Cherry Darling, a beautiful Go-Go Dancer with a heart of pure platinum and a history rife with tarnish and rust. Although her little world is filled with pain, it's about to get a whole lot bigger, and a whole lot more painful. After she decides to quit this job of shit, Cherry is almost run down by a convoy of insane military men led by Bruce Willis' Lt. Muldoon and his Mad Scientist counterpart Naveen Andrews' Abby! As Cherry limps away on her damaged leg, Muldoon and Abby discover, to their sadistic horror, that the chemicals they seek are escaping into the air as the monsters it hath wrought have escaped into the town.
Yes. Zombies! The Dead Walk Again, thanks to a Poisonous Gas brought into existence as part of the War on Terror! Zombies who hunger for Human Flesh! Zombies who lurk in every corner. Zombies! The Undead Ghouls who stalk the night.
As Mass-Infection sweeps the Texas town where Planet Terror is set, Dr. Dakota Block (Marley Shelton) is preparing to leave her husband (Josh Brolin's Nolte-esque Dr. William Block) for her Lesbian Lover Tammy (Stacy "Fergie" Ferguson from the Black Eyed Peas). Unfortunately, Zombie Plagues rest for no man... and no Lesbian either. Between battling walking corpses, treating the living (soon to be Living Dead) and butting heads with each other, the Block's have their hands (when they're working) quite full!
But back to Sweet, Sweet Cherry, who finds herself at The Bone Shack, a barbeque pit of one JT Hague (Jeff Fahey), where she runs into her ex-Boyfriend El Wray (Freddy Rodríguez)! The bad news is that the newly ordained Zombie Hoarde is on the loose, and they don't have a taste for Barbecue drumsticks! But they do have a taste for Leg and Thigh... specifically... Cherry's!
Bad news for them, the local Sheriff (JT's brother, played by Michael Biehn) and his capable deputies Tolo (Tom Savini) and Carlos (Carlos Gallardo) have more of an eye toward arresting El Wray for carrying his big fucking gun than for killing Zombies (at least at first). Worse news is that between the evil military and the evil, mutating zombies (which now include actors Nicky Katt and Quentin Tarantino in their line-up), the good guys may or may not stand a ghoul of a chance.
But is there a light at the end of the Terror Tunnel? Can the Mad Scientist, the Freedom Fighters, the Liberated Lesbian Wife, the Renegade Wrecker and the one-legged dancer unite to save the future of makind? Perhaps... If the inventive folks can figure out a creative prosthesis for sweet, sweet Chaste Cherry! I'll give you a hint... look at the movie poster!
Planet Terror is undeniably an exploitation film (that new leg is milked for all it's worth in the advertising material), but it's a remarkably fun one. As the first half of the Grindhouse Double Feature it makes the best of the fractured subgenre that spawned it. If this movie got any more tongue-in-cheek, it would be illegal in Georgia! However, like Death Proof (both its successor and, in some ways, its prequel), Planet Terror remains gloriously deadpan and self-assured in its b-movie sensibilities and comedic irony. There are enough obscure references, over-the-top dialogue and silly situations to pique the interest of any fan of Zombie Flicks, Grand Guignol and Giallo.
Further, the grind house motif is seen in the scratchy, melting prints (all intentional) and the "missing reel" that cuts out a large (and theoretically very interesting, as Rose is naked) section of the flick. In truth, the plot is both derivative and ridiculous, but it's delivered in such a complexly comedic way that it works super-well. Plenty of writer/ directors shoot for cheese and suck... it takes someone like Rodriguez and his "brother" Tarantino to shoot for cheese and fucking rule!
From the bubbling (Nightmare City-remeniscent) faces of the Zombie Legions to the loveably sanctimonious dialogue to the cheap special effects (though, let's face it, Troublemaker Digital Studios can make anything look expensive), Planet Terror is so great because it knows it's so bad. And it's good to be bad! Even at its intentionally cheesiest, this is a good, funny, scary and sarcastic film. Purely entertaining.
Nor is this exactly a "period piece". Though firmly set in the 1970's thematically, much of the style of dress and technology (like hand-held compters) proves out the fact that the film is set in the present (or at least, 2006).
One more quick note... the hotness. Marley Shelton is a super-beauty and Fergie's got it going on with those humps of hers. Even those Babysitter Twins (Electra Isabel "Elise" Avellan and Electra Amelia Avellan) have it going on in their own sweet way. But that Rose McGowan... GOOD LORD! Even with the gun sticking out of her skirt, you still want to see what's underneath it. Hully Gee!
Of course, Planet Terror is more than just a pretty Rose, and a Rose by any other name might not get that sweet Four Stars out of Five. Planet Terror works so well as a Zombie Film, not because it's made by a Hollywood Director... but because it's made by a Grindhouse fan! Viva le Paracinema! Viva le Paracinema! Viva le Paracinema! So until a group of progressive zombies get together and start their own film festival complete with every classic, sex, shock, biker, cannibal chambara, zombie, mondo, splatter, women in prison and other explotation-style movie ever made... I'll see you in the next reel. Actually, I'll see you even more then. I'll see you at the Grindhouse!
Zombie Problems are No Problem for Brother Kneumsi!
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