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Planet Terror
UKScreen Rating:

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

Pole-dancer Cherry (McGowan) quits her job and finds herself in a run-down barbecue shack where ex boyfriend El Wray (Freddy Rodriguez) turns up out of the blue.
Meanwhile, at an army base up the road, Lieutenant Muldoon (Willis) is cutting a deal with a mad scientist (Andrews), who’s come up with a gaseous treatment for a chemical weapon that causes him and his men to turn into green, slimey, bubbly monsters if they take off their gas masks.
But the infection gets out and patients are turning up at a local hospital with gangrenous bites which grow until they become taken over by a hunger for human flesh and they launch themselves at unsuspecting fellow patients and doctors.
On their way home from the steak-house, Cherry and El Wray are attacked by a group of zombies, who rip off Cherry’s leg.
Soon, a rag-tag group including medics, police, Cherry (with a table leg standing in for her lost appendage) and a gun-toting El Wray find themselves holding out against the blood-hungry zombies who by now comprise most of the local population.
Can they save mankind from the kind of infection we’ve seen in other films, like 28 Days Later? But in this case, of course, the heroics must be done with tongue pressed firmly in cheek?

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

OK, you get the picture. This is trashy B-movie as trashy as it comes. And that’s precisely the point.
Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino set out to recall the days of the seedy 1970s grindhouse movies with their double-bill, which got broken back in two for the UK release, which, in a sense, defeated part of the object of the whole enterprise.
Rodriguez is more successful in capturing the seedy B-movie feel – in a sense, this is the anti-Deathproof. Planet Terror is deliberately claustrophobic, lacking in almost any dialogue (save a few knowing one-liners), full to bursting point with special-effects make-up and takes itself far less seriously — as shown by the fact that in this apparently 70s-set story, half the characters are texting each other on their PDAs.
It’s a shameless gore-fest, harking back to its 1970s forebears with everything from scratchy images, tacky gunk dripping from every orifice and even a missing reel.
It’s exactly what Rodriguez set out to create – a relentlessly gory, cheap and cheerful horror – but that’s the thing – the films it’s not so much parodying as copying were indeed made on ultra-low budgets, but Rodriguez (and to a lesser extent Tarantino) has spent modern day big-money on making a film look as cheap as possible.
It’s knowing nods back to a previous era will be of little interest to anyone who didn’t grow up with the genre, but it’s undoubtedly fun. You’ll be hiding behind your hands and squirming as puss squirts across the screen.
But there’s really very little of substance to the film, and while this seems to be a more successful fit for the B-movie criteria than Tarantino’s grindhouse effort, there still doesn’t seem to be much point in venturing to the cinema, unless you love green goo and puss.
It’s the kind of film much better suited to a night in front of the DVD machine with beer and curry – just don’t drink too much beer or you might be put off your vegetable korma.

opens 9th November 2007

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