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Planet Terror (film)

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Planet Terror
Planet Terror poster
Directed by Robert Rodriguez
Produced by Robert Rodriguez
Quentin Tarantino
Elizabeth Avellan
Written by Robert Rodriguez
Edited by Robert Rodriguez

Ethan Maniquis

Music by Robert Rodriguez
Starring Rose McGowan
Freddy Rodriguez
Michael Biehn
Jeff Fahey
Josh Brolin
Marley Shelton
Bruce Willis
Distributed by Dimension Films
Release date April 6, 2007
Humanity's last hope... Rests on a high power machine gun
— film's tagline

Planet Terror is a 2007 American action horror science-fiction film written, cinematographied, scored, co-edited, produced and directed by Robert Rodriguez, about a group of people attempting to survive an onslaught of zombie-like creatures as they feud with a military unit, including a go-go dancer searching for a way to use her "useless talents."

Plot

In a rural town in Texas, go-go dancer Cherry Darling (Rose McGowan) decides to quit her low-paying job and find another use for her "useless' talents. She runs into her mysterious ex-boyfriend El Wray (Freddy Rodriguez) at The Bone Shack, a BBQ restaurant owned by JT Hague (Jeff Fahey). Meanwhile, a group of officials at a nearby US military base, led by the demented Lt. Muldoon (Bruce Willis), are making a business transaction with a chemical engineer named Abby (Naveen Andrews) for mass quantities of a deadly biochemical agent known as DC2 (codename "Project Terror"). When Muldoon learns that Abby has an extra supply on hand, he attempts to take Abby hostage, and Abby intentionally releases the gas into the air. The gas reaches the town and turns most of its residents into deformed bloodthirsty psychopaths, referred to as "sickos" by the surviving humans. The infected townspeople are treated by the sinister Dr. William Block (Josh Brolin) and his unhappy, unfaithful bisexual anesthesiologist wife Dakota (Marley Shelton) at a local hospital.
Random zombie attacks begin along the highway, causing El Wray, with Cherry as his passenger, to crash his truck. In the aftermath, several zombies tear off Cherry's right leg. Also falling victim, fatally, is Tammy (Stacy "Fergie" Ferguson), who was on her way to into town to reunite with her former lover Dakota. When Tammy's body arrives at the hospital, Dr. Block recognizes her and by comparing text messages on the cellular phones of Tammy and his wife, realizes Dakota was about to leave him. He then attacks Dakota with her own anesthetic syringe needles, stabbing her repeatedly in the hands, rendering them useless, before locking her in a closet to tend to other patients, including Cherry, who despite her injury does not die.
El Wray is detained by Sheriff Hague based on past encounters between the two men. As the patients transform into zombies, El Wray leaves the police station and arrives at the hospital, attaching a wooden table leg to Cherry's stump. As El Wray and Cherry fight their way out of the zombie-infested hospital, Dakota escapes to her car, but in struggling to open its door with her numbed hands, accidentally breaks her left wrist. She eventually manages to drive away. Meanwhile, Block becomes infected and others, including Cherry and El Wray, take refuge at the Bone Shack.
Dakota retrieves her son Tony and takes him to her father, Earl McGraw, a Texas Ranger. Tony, who was given a revolver by his mother, accidentally shoots himself in the face after being told not to point it at himself. Cherry and El Wray make love in JT's bedroom. Due to a missing reel, what happens immediately following this is unknown, but when the film returns, Sheriff Hague has been shot in the neck by one of his own officers, and zombies are massing outside the Bone Shack, which is set on fire. Dakota, Earl, and Tony's crazed babysitter twins arrive at the Bone Shack. With Sheriff Hague badly injured, the group decides to flee to the Mexican border, before being stopped by a large mob of zombies. Muldoon's men arrive, and kill the zombies before arresting the group. They learn from Abby that the soldiers are stealing Abby's supply of the gas because they are infected with it and the only treatment is by constant inhalation of the gas, which delays mutation. They also learn that a small percentage of population is immune to the gas, suggesting a possible treatment, which is why Muldoon quarantined the survivors.
As Cherry and Dakota are taken away by two soldiers (Quentin Tarantino credited as "Rapist #1" and Greg Kelly credited as "Rapist #2"), the others defeat the security guards. J.T. sustains a gunshot wound in the process, and the group searches for Muldoon. Discovered by El Wray and Abby, Muldoon explains that he killed Osama bin Laden before he and his men were infected with DC2 and were ordered to protect the area. El Wray offers a respectful recognition of Muldoon's military service before he and Abby shoot the mutating Muldoon.
Meanwhile, Cherry is forced to dance by Rapist #1 while being held at gunpoint. Cherry attacks by breaking her wooden leg across the rapist's face and stabbing him in his eye with the stump. Dakota, after realizing she has regained feeling in her hands, quick-draws her syringe launcher and stuns Rapist #2. El Wray and Abby arrive to rescue Cherry and Dakota, and El Wray replaces Cherry's broken wooden leg with a modified M4 Carbine with a M203 grenade launcher attachment. She promptly kills Rapist #1 and several zombies with it.
J.T., wounded and lying beside his dying brother, stays behind to detonate explosives to eliminate the zombies still in the complex while the others flee. The survivors make plans to escape by stealing helicopters but must fight past the remaining zombies. Abby dies (and hope for a cure with him) when a ballistic projectile blows his head up. An infected Block then arrives and is killed by Earl, shortly before the survivors use the blade tips of their transport helicopter to decapitate all the remaining zombies. However, while saving Cherry from a zombie, El Wray is fatally wounded. In the epilogue, Cherry (now sporting a minigun prosthetic leg) leads the group and many more survivors to the Caribbean beach at Tulum, Mexico, where they start a peaceful new society amid a world-wide zombie infection. In the final moments of the film, it is revealed that Cherry Darling has given birth to El Wray's daughter (alluded to earlier during El Wray's final scene when he puts his hand on her stomach and restates his motto "I never miss").
In a post-credits scene Dakota's son Tony is sitting on the beach at the survivor's "base" playing with his turtle, scorpion, and tarantula.

Cast

  • Freddy Rodriguez - Wray
  • Rebel Rodriguez - Tony
  • Naveen Andrews - Abby
  • Julio Oscar Mechoso - Romey
  • Nicky Katt - Joe
  • Skip Reissig - Skip
  • Quentin Tarantino - Lewis

Soundtrack

main article: Planet Terror Soundtrack

Production

According to actress Marley Shelton, "(Rodriguez and Tarantino) really co-directed, at least Planet Terror. Quentin was on set a lot. He had notes and adjustments to our performances and he changed lines every once in a while. Of course, he always deferred to Robert on Planet Terror and vice versa for Death Proof. So it's really both of their brainchild." Tarantino has stated, "I can't imagine doing Grindhouse with any other director in the way me and Robert did it because I just had complete faith and trust in him. So much so that we didn't actually see each other's movie completed until three weeks before the film opened. It was as if we worked in little vacuums and cut our movies down, and then put them together and watched it all play, and then made a couple of little changes after that, and pretty much that was it." Rodriguez acted as cinematographer on Planet Terror, as he had previously done on some of his earlier films.

Many of the cast members had previously worked with Rodriguez. Before appearing in Grindhouse, Marley Shelton had auditioned for The Faculty, but Rodriguez chose not to cast her. She was eventually cast in the role of the Customer in the opening sequence of Sin City. Bruce Willis had appeared in Sin City. Tom Savini had previously acted in From Dusk Till Dawn, Michael Parks reprises the role of Earl McGraw, a role the actor first portrayed in From Dusk Till Dawn, and Quentin Tarantino himself appears in a small role, as he also does in Death Proof.

The film uses various unconventional techniques to make Planet Terror appear more like the films that were shown in grindhouse theaters in the 1970s. Throughout the feature and the Machete trailer, the film is made to look damaged; five of the six 25,000 frame reels were edited with real film damage, plug-ins, and stock footage.

Planet Terror makes heavy use of digital effects throughout the film, mostly for Cherry's fake leg. During post-production the effects teams digitally removed McGowan's right leg from the shots and replaced it with computer-generated props — first a table leg and then an assault rifle. During shooting for these scenes, McGowan wore a special cast which restricted her leg movement to give her the correct motion.

During pre-production, Tarantino and Rodriguez came up with the idea of inserting a "missing reel" into the film. "(Quentin) was about to show an Italian crime movie with Oliver Reed," Rodriguez recalls, "and he was saying, 'Oh, it's got a missing reel in it. But it's really interesting because after the missing reel, you don't know if he slept with a girl or he didn't because she says he did and he says that he didn't. It leaves you guessing, and the movie still works with 20 minutes gone out of it.' I thought, 'Oh, my God, that's what we’ve got to do. We've got to have a missing reel!' I'm going to use it in a way where it actually says 'missing reel' for 10 seconds, and then when we come back, you're arriving in the third act. [...] The late second acts in movies are usually the most predictable and the most boring, that's where the good guy really turns out to be the bad guy, and the bad guy is really good, and the couple becomes friends. Suddenly, though, in the third act, all bets are off and it's a whole new story anyway."

Trivia

  • Austin, Texas, USA
  • Luling, Texas, USA
  • Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

  • In the hospital scene where Wray is searching for Cherry, he finds her by seeing her right boot next to her hospital bed. The infected tore off and took her right leg along the roadside, the leather boot was still on it.
  • At the end, when Cherry shoots the last infected in Mexico, the close-up shows she shot its head off down to the brain stem. But a split second later, when they show it fall to the ground, the head is (mostly) intact.
  • When Tammy's Volvo breaks down, she parks it just in front of the sign that says 'Military base'. In further shots, the car is quite far from it.
  • When El Wray is going to Cherry's hospital room after the outbreak, the fire on the walls are all fire-bars emitting the flames on the bottom.
  • During the opening scene where Cherry is dancing there is a mirror in the background, in which, you can see the crew filming.
  • At the last gun fight scene in the movie, Cherry fires more than 3 grenade rounds without having to reload. In fact, the M203 grenade launchers only have a 1 grenade capacity.

  • Fully Loaded
  • You might feel a little prick

  • Rose McGowan originally suggested her friend Rey-Phillip Santos for the role of El Wray. Instead it went to Freddy Rodriguez.
  • The original title for Planet Terror was "Project Terror".
  • Robert Rodriguez specifically wrote the part of Dakota for Marley Shelton after working with her on Sin City
  • Robert Rodriguez wrote the first 30 pages of the script for Planet Terror back in 1998.
  • The scene where Wray and Cherry burst out on the motorcycle and Cherry fires the gun was filmed first and then redone with CGI.
  • The scene where Dakota jumps out of the window and lands on top of the trash cans was filmed twice, the first shot had a stunt double falling onto a crash mat from the original height and the second had her falling onto the trash cans from a scaffolding at a lower height. A car driving by was put in to disguise the switch.
  • A box of Great White Bites cereal can be seen in Dr. Block's kitchen. This fictional cereal can also be seen in Rodriguez' kids film, Shorts.
  • In the scene at the beginning of the movie in the go-go club, Cherry is zipping up the boot of her right leg when she says "I need a dramatic change in my life". Her right leg is also the same leg which is later amputated.
  • Total body count of Planet Terror segment is 281. El Wray has 52 kills, Cherry Darling has 50 kills and Sheriff Hague has 13 kills.
  • In Mexico this film was exhibited in its original unrated version in cinemas.
  • Felix Sabates, who plays Dr. Felix, is in fact a real doctor and is actually director Robert Rodriguez's personal physician.

Israel 21 June 2007
Russia 21 June 2007
Bulgaria 22 June 2007
Hong Kong 5 July 2007
Croatia 6 July 2007 (Vukovar Film Festival)
Estonia 13 July 2007
Philippines 18 July 2007
Denmark 20 July 2007
Finland 20 July 2007
Norway 20 July 2007
Turkey 27 July 2007
Croatia 2 August 2007
Spain 3 August 2007
Sweden 3 August 2007
France 14 August 2007
Japan 14 August 2007 (Chiyoda, Tokyo) (premiere)
Netherlands 16 August 2007
Greece 6 September 2007
Slovenia 6 September 2007
Singapore 20 September 2007
Japan 22 September 2007
Hungary 27 September 2007
Italy 28 September 2007
Germany 2 October 2007
Portugal 4 October 2007
Poland 12 October 2007
USA 15 October 2007 (Screamfest Horror Film Festival)
USA 16 October 2007 (DVD premiere)
Belgium 24 October 2007
Ireland 29 October 2007 (Horrorthon Festival Dublin)
Brazil 9 November 2007
Ireland 9 November 2007
UK 9 November 2007
Australia 12 March 2008 (DVD premiere)
Mexico 13 June 2008
South Korea 3 July 2008
Argentina 9 December 2008 (Buenos Aires) (premiere)
Argentina 11 December 2008
Peru 26 March 2009
Kazakhstan 28 June 2010 (Astana International Action Film Festival)

Sources

Planet Terror at Wikipedia.

Release Dates

Trivia

Videos

See Also

Robert Rodriguez

Quentin Tarantino

Grindhouse

Planet Terrror Gallery

General Quiz

Dimension Films

DVD & Blu-ray


Gallery

Planet Terror
Grindhouse Planet Terror - Death Proof
Fake Trailers Machete - Hobo with a Shotgun - Werewolf Women Of The S.S. - Don't - Thanksgiving
Main Characters Cherry Darling - El Wray - Dr. Dakota Block - Dr. William Block - Abby - Crazy Babysitter Twins - Lt. Muldoon - J.T. Hague - Sheriff Hague - Tammy Visan - Joe - Earl McGraw - Skip - Tony Block - Rusty
Locations The Bone Shack - Skip's Go-Go-Go Club - Hospital - Military Base - Police Station - Block Family Home - McGraw Home - Tulum
Music Planet Terror (soundtrack)
Galleries Planet Terror Gallery - Fan Art - Posters
Items Red Apple cigarettes - Great White Bites - "My Friends" - All Or Nothing Box - To Do List - DC2
Terms/Concepts Grindhouse - Amputation - Dismemberment - Useless Talents - Wray's Wreckage - Sickos - Movie References - Women in Cages
Vehicles AM General HMMWV - AM General M-939 - Blata - Cadillac DeVille Convertible - Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado - Chevrolet Bel Air - Chevrolet C/K-Series - Chevrolet Impala - Custom Made Dominator - Ford Crown Victoria - International Harvester R-Series - Lincoln Town Car Stretch Limousine - Mercedes-Benz SEL - Toyota Celica - Volvo 240

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