When Grindhouse, the double feature excess extravaganza by directors Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, was released in theaters, it opened to overwhelmingly positive reviews but absent profits.
The main reason behind the box office bomb had to do with marketing and the realization that while an exploitation film project by two of the greatest aesthetic directors in the business should bring about a developmental shift in filmmaking and American cinema, American and international audiences were not ready to accept such a gratuitous and tastefully tasteless evolutionary step.
As a direct result, Dimension Films elected to separate the two films come DVD-release time and make back some bank in the home theater department. Planet Terror, the Robert Rodriguez zombie puss-fest, has finally reached store shelves in a two-disc special edition DVD last Tuesday.
The most enticing feature of the Planet Terror DVD is, first and foremost, the uncut and extended sequences added to the film. Overall, the film is much smoother and polished in its unrated form. Some extended action sequences, a little more sparkle to the story and a copious amount of added gross effect allow the DVD version of the film to really accentuate Rodriguez's adoration for sloppy exploitation films.
Rodriguez continues to expand the film with the unique features of the DVD. The Audience Reaction Track, which can be played alongside the film the way audio commentary would, is a smart but simple feature. It plays gasping and disgusted sounds from actual theater audiences after every offensive scene in the film. Every blown-off body part or helpless victim devoured is enhanced at home in the illusion provided by this feature.
Commentary by Rodriguez, film trailers, and a still poster gallery make up the latter end of disc one, validating the price of the DVD on its own.
Disc two of the DVD holds all the special features that explain the film, from casting Rodriguez's doctor and real estate agent to how Cherry Darling's machine gun leg was designed. This entire disc is narrated by the man himself and provides fans the window into his perverse genius.
The best feature on this disc is the 10-minute Film School that enlightens the closet filmmaker on how to execute the action of Planet Terror. At the 10-minute mark, Rodriguez speaks of the eventual release of a two-disc Grindhouse Special Edition DVD with both films attached. On its own, however, the Planet Terror two-disc DVD has enough worthwhile features that make it a treasure to be wedged in between Desperado and Sin City on your DVD shelf.