Why the "Grindhouse" DVD should be one movie and not two!

by Eric Melin on September 12, 2007

in Blogs

Next week, on September 18, The Weinstein Company begins their long quest to make their money back on the much-hyped Quentin Tarantino-Robert Rodriguez box office failure “Grindhouse.” Despite being one of the funniest and most exciting cinematic experiences of the year, the 3-hour 11-minute double feature proved to be the most expensive inside joke ever (Christopher Guest’s niche mockumentaries don’t cost nearly that much!), coming in with a reported $67 million budget.

In their first genius move (all sarcasm intended), the Weinsteins opened the uber-violet dark comedy on Easter weekend, where it grossed a paltry $11 million. The focus on box office being what it is, “Grindhouse” was branded a failure in three short days, and was forever doomed in the minds of much of the theater-going public. Eventually it passed the $25 million mark, but just barely.

All this was during the unlikely success story of the equally violent and pretentiously serious “300,” a movie that grossed $210 million. The message was clear:

We Americans take our violence seriously, and we have no sense of humor about it. We want it to be simple, morally righteous and look like a videogame. Satire and irony should not interfere with our bloodlust.

death proof dvdSomebody should have told this to the makers of “Shoot ‘Em Up,” which tallied a paltry $5 million this past opening weekend.Anyway, enough of my bitching at moviegoers who didn’t “get” the brilliance of “Grindhouse,” or were scared away by the prospect of seeing a film where the heroine has a machine gun for a leg. (I don’t know how many times I heard the words “That looks stupid” from people I talked to about the movie. Isn’t that the point?) What I am here to really bitch about is the way the studio has chosen to release the DVDs.

The two halves of the double feature are coming out separately; opposite from the order they appeared in the theatrical “Grindhouse.” Tarantino’s “Death Proof” is first, arriving in a Two-Disc Extended and Unrated version on September 18. Rodriguez’s “Planet Terror” will follow on October 16 in the same format. According to Wikipedia, Best Buy will also release exclusive steelbook copies of both, each containing a bonus disc of unknown features.

Part of the fun of “Grindhouse” was the fact that it paid tribute to the 1970s exploitation film experience by including fake trailers (directed by Rodriguez, Rob Zombie, Edgar Wright and Eli Roth), 70s-style ads (for a “local” Mexican dive restaurant, among others) and vintage concession inserts. The “Death Proof” DVD will contain none of this, and the “Planet Terror” DVD looks like it will contain only the Rodriguez-directed “Machete” trailer.

It really stinks for the viewer that we will be unable to replicate the theater experience at home, although I assume that after they raise enough money from two separate DVDs, they will eventually do a 3 or 4-Disc Super Secret Special Theatrical Cut plus Extended Unrated Cuts version as well. The special features for “Death Proof” seem like they barely justify a second disc at all. Here’s the lineup:

Grindhouse Presents Death Proof – Extended and Unrated (Two-Disc Special Edition) (2007)

Special features:
*) Never-before-seen footage including the “missing reel” (containing Vanessa Ferlito’s unseen lap-dance sequence) as well as a black-and-white segment in the film’s second act
*) Finding Quentin’s Gals featurette
*) The Guys of Death Proof featurette
*) Kurt Russell as Stuntman Mike featurette
*) Introducing Zoe Bell featurette
*) Quentin’s Greatest Collaborator: Editor Sally Menke featurette
planet terrorThe good thing about this is that the extended cut of the film is the one shown at Cannes and across Europe. The possible bad thing about this is that the extended cut of the film is the one shown at Cannes and across Europe. European critics did not greet this version with much enthusiasm. In my view, “Death Proof” is proof positive that QT knows how to set up and then defy audience expectations. It feels just right at the theatrical length, and as much as I’d like to see the deleted scenes, I’d like to see the US theatrical cut again and own it on DVD.They’ll probably pull a “Lord of the Rings” on us and release both the extended and theatrical cuts in a year. If that is the case, they would also have to delete just enough special features from the first version, and include some new stuff to make them just slightly different enough that obsessed fans will have to have both.Although the details of the “Planet Terror” DVD have not been officially released, Wikipedia claims it will have an extended cut, audio commentary with Rodriguez, deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes featurettes, trailers (including the faux trailer for “Machete”), and as with previous Rodriguez DVDs, 10-Minute Cooking and Film Schools. This should be taken with a grain of salt, however, because the site also reports that the “missing reel” of “Planet Terror” will be included in its extended cut. From what I know of the film, this is impossible because it was never even filmed.“Grindhouse” was a unique cinematic experience that will never be replicated at home. But then again, so was my first KISS concert. That didn’t stop me from buying loads of KISS DVDs so that I could look back on my experience and remember it fondly. The original theatrical experience of “Grindhouse” should (and probably will, in a year or two) be released together so that fans of the movie can remember their theatrical experience at home too.Extended cuts are cool. These upcoming DVD versions may be even better than the original films. I don’t know because I haven’t seen them yet. But sometimes I’m not in the mood for longer versions of my fave films. Sometimes I’d rather watch the original “Lord of the Rings” cuts and not Peter Jackson’s extended cuts. Hell, sometimes I barely have enough time to watch the theatrical cuts. (I haven’t watched any versions of the “LOTR” trilogy in years.)Regardless, the only way to properly serve the cult fanbase of “Grindhouse” would be to ensure that all versions are available in one package, not spread out over two $22 padded double-disc sets and some inevitable hulking 4-disc version with slightly different special features a year or two down the line That is what Dimension did with Rodriguez’s “Sin City.” You can watch all the stories within the film as longer, separate entities or you can watch the shorter theatrical cut with everything cleverly thrown together.That said, they’re probably going to get some of my money soon. I won’t buy either of these 2-disc versions, but I may have to rent them just to see the extended cuts, unless I can borrow them from some other sucker. But I’ll be waiting patiently for the big fat edition with my fingers crossed. The fact that the fake trailers (whom many critics and fans—myself included—mentioned as big highlights) are not scheduled for release yet tells me that they have something up their sleeve for later. They are counting on us not being patient and spending our money on “Grindhouse” three times.After waiting this long for the old school “Blade Runner” cuts, I believe they have underestimated my patience.

*** It won’t do any good now, but here’s some links to petitions that are against splitting the movie up:

A Petition against the Region 1 split of Grindhouse

The Split of GRINDHOUSE petition(UK theatrical)

Rebuild the Grindhouse in the UK

***And a petition for “Machete” to be made into a full-length feature. (Not sure if this is a good idea)

Eric is the Editor-in-Chief of Scene-Stealers.com and writes the Screen Stealers column for The Pitch. He’s President of the KCFCC, and drummer for The Dead Girls and Ultimate Fakebook. He is also Air Guitar World Champion Mean Melin. Eric goes to 11. Follow him at:

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

1 awas1980 September 12, 2007 at 12:21 pm

Edgar Wright announced that his trailer for Don’t, which was created for the Robert Rodriguez/ Quentin Tarantino double feature Grindhouse, will not be available on the forthcoming individual DVDs for either film. “I think that the trailers won’t turn up until they release Grindhouse as a double disc set,” Wright said during a press conference for the DVD release of Hot Fuzz. “They’re releasing the films separately and then there will be a “Grindhouse Edition” later and that’s what the trailers will appear on. I was sad that they won’t get shown in other territories in the world, so that’s a bit of a shame, but that’s what’s going to happen.”

http://dvd.ign.com/articles/809/809931p1.html

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2 awas1980 September 12, 2007 at 12:21 pm

Edgar Wright announced that his trailer for Don’t, which was created for the Robert Rodriguez/ Quentin Tarantino double feature Grindhouse, will not be available on the forthcoming individual DVDs for either film. “I think that the trailers won’t turn up until they release Grindhouse as a double disc set,” Wright said during a press conference for the DVD release of Hot Fuzz. “They’re releasing the films separately and then there will be a “Grindhouse Edition” later and that’s what the trailers will appear on. I was sad that they won’t get shown in other territories in the world, so that’s a bit of a shame, but that’s what’s going to happen.”

http://dvd.ign.com/articles/809/809931p1.html

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3 Randall September 12, 2007 at 1:58 pm

To my shame, I never made it out to see Grindhouse in a theater. I don’t see as many movies as I used to, and three hours is a long commitment. Anyway, I don’t intend to watch the whole mess until it’s inevitably presented in its theatrical form, complete with the trailers I heard so much about. I understand that they want to recoup their investments, but I hate these money grabs. The artistic intent was to put them together as one package, and that’s the way I want to see it.

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4 Randall September 12, 2007 at 1:58 pm

To my shame, I never made it out to see Grindhouse in a theater. I don’t see as many movies as I used to, and three hours is a long commitment. Anyway, I don’t intend to watch the whole mess until it’s inevitably presented in its theatrical form, complete with the trailers I heard so much about. I understand that they want to recoup their investments, but I hate these money grabs. The artistic intent was to put them together as one package, and that’s the way I want to see it.

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5 Alan Rapp September 12, 2007 at 10:43 pm

I have to disagree with you on this. Although Grindhouse worked okay as a double feature in theaters I thought each of the two films would have done better separately. Although a double set would be nice (and no doubt is coming down the line at some point) it makes sense to split the films into separate DVD’s. I will agree with you however on the loss of some of the feel of double feature, the trailers of the other films (what do you put on each disc?), and the overall style, though you would lose some of that just by the transfer to a different format anyway. But I just can’t get that worked up for a film that was a modest success in recreating look and style of what amounts to two pretty average flicks. Then again, you liked it far more than I did. You can read my review.

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6 Alan Rapp September 12, 2007 at 10:43 pm

I have to disagree with you on this. Although Grindhouse worked okay as a double feature in theaters I thought each of the two films would have done better separately. Although a double set would be nice (and no doubt is coming down the line at some point) it makes sense to split the films into separate DVD’s. I will agree with you however on the loss of some of the feel of double feature, the trailers of the other films (what do you put on each disc?), and the overall style, though you would lose some of that just by the transfer to a different format anyway. But I just can’t get that worked up for a film that was a modest success in recreating look and style of what amounts to two pretty average flicks. Then again, you liked it far more than I did. You can read my review.

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7 Joe September 13, 2007 at 6:07 pm

This is a travesty. I loved Planet Terror, didn’t much care for Death Proof (despite some big high points – i.e. that car crash scene in the middle) and loved the fake trailers and extras. Everything contributes to the overall experience and that;s what we should be able to get. Fuck you Harvey Weinstein!

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8 Joe September 13, 2007 at 6:07 pm

This is a travesty. I loved Planet Terror, didn’t much care for Death Proof (despite some big high points – i.e. that car crash scene in the middle) and loved the fake trailers and extras. Everything contributes to the overall experience and that;s what we should be able to get. Fuck you Harvey Weinstein!

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9 Allan September 13, 2007 at 9:36 pm

I will be a sucker and buy both of them. I will fell very cheated if I don’t get the trailers for the other movies. I luved the length of Death Proof in the theater and was wanting more. I’m sure if you ask me nicely I will let you borrow them.

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10 Allan September 13, 2007 at 9:36 pm

I will be a sucker and buy both of them. I will fell very cheated if I don’t get the trailers for the other movies. I luved the length of Death Proof in the theater and was wanting more. I’m sure if you ask me nicely I will let you borrow them.

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11 blackpage September 19, 2007 at 5:29 pm

I’m not surprised they’re releasing them seperately due to the fact that it bombed so badly in theaters. Maybe they can fool people into thinking these movies never had anything to do with Grindhouse, and ride the names of the directors to profit-town. I’m not helping though, I’ll be renting, not buying the Deathproof DVD.

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12 blackpage September 19, 2007 at 5:29 pm

I’m not surprised they’re releasing them seperately due to the fact that it bombed so badly in theaters. Maybe they can fool people into thinking these movies never had anything to do with Grindhouse, and ride the names of the directors to profit-town. I’m not helping though, I’ll be renting, not buying the Deathproof DVD.

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13 Poor Napoleon September 30, 2007 at 6:51 pm

This is actually some pretty cunning marketing, but not sure if I agree with it. When the Death Proof DVD came out, you could pick it up for anywhere from 14.99 to 19.99. Along with it was a 5 dollar off coupon for Planet Terror. Do the math. Once Planet Terror comes out, it’ll be a bargain and people will pick it up, even though they’re aware of the inevitiable ultra edition, because it’s so cheap. Genius Ent./Weinstein Co. are trying to milk the fans for all their worth. I loved the theatrical experience. This cheapens (for the lack of a better word) the whole thing.

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14 Poor Napoleon September 30, 2007 at 6:51 pm

This is actually some pretty cunning marketing, but not sure if I agree with it. When the Death Proof DVD came out, you could pick it up for anywhere from 14.99 to 19.99. Along with it was a 5 dollar off coupon for Planet Terror. Do the math. Once Planet Terror comes out, it’ll be a bargain and people will pick it up, even though they’re aware of the inevitiable ultra edition, because it’s so cheap. Genius Ent./Weinstein Co. are trying to milk the fans for all their worth. I loved the theatrical experience. This cheapens (for the lack of a better word) the whole thing.

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15 ChrisKnudsen October 9, 2007 at 8:58 am

I heard the Death Proof: Director’s Cut was worth a look. I might rent it sometime at a Dillion’s when I am browsing the 59 cent racks and then I go “You know I heard that the Director’s Cut was worth a look.” I go home and then I just won’t have the time to watch it so I just return it. I will eat the Mike and Ikes I got that day though.

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16 ChrisKnudsen October 9, 2007 at 8:58 am

I heard the Death Proof: Director’s Cut was worth a look. I might rent it sometime at a Dillion’s when I am browsing the 59 cent racks and then I go “You know I heard that the Director’s Cut was worth a look.” I go home and then I just won’t have the time to watch it so I just return it. I will eat the Mike and Ikes I got that day though.

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17 David Bruce Murray October 31, 2007 at 12:31 am

I had a genuine cheap movie theater type of experience viewing this double feature.

We saw all of _Planet Terror_, but about a third of the way into _Death Proof_, the film broke. More specifically, it melted. In fact, the projector was gummed up to the point that they couldn’t repair it in any reasonable amount of time.

At first, I thought it must be part of the deal, but that wasn’t the case. The manager came in very apologetic and gave us all free passes.

I’ve been watching movies at this particular location since the late 1980s and they rarely have mishaps with their projectors. The odds of it happening with this particular film and the degree of damage had to be astronomical. I can’t think of any other film where it would be more appropriate.

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18 David Bruce Murray October 31, 2007 at 12:31 am

I had a genuine cheap movie theater type of experience viewing this double feature.

We saw all of _Planet Terror_, but about a third of the way into _Death Proof_, the film broke. More specifically, it melted. In fact, the projector was gummed up to the point that they couldn’t repair it in any reasonable amount of time.

At first, I thought it must be part of the deal, but that wasn’t the case. The manager came in very apologetic and gave us all free passes.

I’ve been watching movies at this particular location since the late 1980s and they rarely have mishaps with their projectors. The odds of it happening with this particular film and the degree of damage had to be astronomical. I can’t think of any other film where it would be more appropriate.

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19 Dana January 18, 2008 at 8:06 pm

I am totally watching the worthy version tonight, I hope your DVDs arrived safetly!

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20 Dana January 18, 2008 at 8:06 pm

I am totally watching the worthy version tonight, I hope your DVDs arrived safetly!

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21 ak May 6, 2008 at 1:00 pm

I didn’t read all of the comments on here but I do know a thing or two about the goings on of the real Grindhouse. First of all you can only buy Planet Terror and Deathproof as the 2 disk directors cut with the special features and so on. They are not only planning but are in the process of making Machete which will go straight to DVD and I think will be pretty great. Rodriguez is can stretch a budget, look at Desperado. I am one of the sucker fans and I bought both movies as soon as they came out. On the special feature disk of Planet Terror Rodriguez says that they will be bringing out a directors cut Grindhouse as is was in theaters with both films back to back and all the wonderful trailers between another 10 minute film school and Rodriguez’s cooking school featuring Texas BBQ. This will also have the missing reel which was filmed and apparently contains footage of Bruce Willis’s character mostly. I am astounded that Terantino and Rodriguez went along with the destruction of their masterpiece. I hope this doesn’t discourage them to do another brilliant film like this.

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22 ak May 6, 2008 at 1:00 pm

I didn’t read all of the comments on here but I do know a thing or two about the goings on of the real Grindhouse. First of all you can only buy Planet Terror and Deathproof as the 2 disk directors cut with the special features and so on. They are not only planning but are in the process of making Machete which will go straight to DVD and I think will be pretty great. Rodriguez is can stretch a budget, look at Desperado. I am one of the sucker fans and I bought both movies as soon as they came out. On the special feature disk of Planet Terror Rodriguez says that they will be bringing out a directors cut Grindhouse as is was in theaters with both films back to back and all the wonderful trailers between another 10 minute film school and Rodriguez’s cooking school featuring Texas BBQ. This will also have the missing reel which was filmed and apparently contains footage of Bruce Willis’s character mostly. I am astounded that Terantino and Rodriguez went along with the destruction of their masterpiece. I hope this doesn’t discourage them to do another brilliant film like this.

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