Two doctors find their graveyard shift inundated with townspeople ravaged by sores. Among the wounded is Cherry, a dancer whose leg was ripped from her body. As the invalids quickly become enraged aggressors, Cherry and her ex-boyfriend Wray lead a team of accidental warriors into the night.
***Black comedy/thriller/horror about biochemically-birthed zombie outbreak in central Texas*** Created by writer/director Robert Rodriguez, “Planet Terror” was originally part of the double feature called “Grindhouse,” released in 2007. The other movie was “Death Proof” by Quentin Tarantino. Both were standalone stories, although vaguely connected. They were a deliberate attempt to recreate the experience of a double feature at a B movie house in the mid/late 60s-70s with the prints intentionally marred by scratches and blemishes or, in this flick, a whole reel supposedly missing. Trailers for fake movies, like “Machete,” were also part of the package. The plot of “Planet Terror” involves a biochemical outbreak in central Texas that (big surprise) turns people into zombies and the ragtag group that teams-up to fight ’em, led by Freddy Rodríguez and Michael Biehn, the latter a sheriff. Hotties Rose McGowan and Marley Shelton are on hand, the former acquiring a machine gun implant in replace of her amputated leg. (How exactly she pulls the trigger to massacre zombies is anyone’s guess). The movie comes across as a melding of “Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!” (1965), “Night of the Living Dead” (1968) and “Dawn of the Dead” (1978), but with the modern tone of “Slither” (2006) with its gross, deliberately offensive black humor. McGowan is a highlight throughout, especially her opening go-go sequence whereas Freddy Rodriguez is surprisingly formidable. Their romantic arc is kind o’ touching. Another point of interest is the quality cast, rounded out by the likes of Bruce Willis, Josh Brolin, Naveen Andrews and Fergie. At the end of the day, though, “Planet Terror” fails to rise above the low-budget sorta-genius of Syfy schlock like “Flu Bird Horror” (2008), “Wyvern” (2009) and “Sasquatch Mountain” (2006) even though it cost literally twelve times as much. Go figure. The film runs 1 hour, 45 minutes and was shot in central Texas (Austin and Luling, which is 22 miles south of Austin) and Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico. GRADE: C