Robert Rodriguez’s last few movies, the family friendly "Spy Kids" and the technologically glossy "Sin City" seem to have evolved greatly from his cheap and dirty early work. Now he’s taken his old "El Mariachi" style to the extreme.
"Planet Terror," his half of "Grindhouse," is not only gory and violent, but it even uses bad filmmaking as an artistic device, with jump cuts and scratched up film.
“We’d be shooting really quick and trying to get everything as perfect as we can,” recalled Rodriguez. “And just before we’d start a take, somebody would verily say, ‘Oh wait, we can see the light back there.’ I’d say, ‘Oh, it’s a ‘Grindhouse’ movie, keep shooting. We can’t pause for that. No one’s going to notice that.’ It was very much like ‘Mariachi.’ It felt a lot of times where it was one take here, one take there and really just getting the more raw feel of it, just to make it more authentic.”
Of course, Rodriguez still had the budget to replace Rose McGowan’s leg with a machine gun via CGI. No real "Grindhouse" movie could do that. “What we wanted to do here was take the spirit and the idea of the Grindhouses from the ’70s but make something completely that seemed like it was from another planet so when people saw it, they’d really enjoy it and go back and try to find movies like it and not be able to find any. So that was sort of the idea.”
Still, Rodriguez can knock out a movie fast. It’s his partner, Tarantino, who likes to take his time. “I shoot really fast for what we had to do because we just had a lot of action. I had to shoot fast in order to keep my budget lower because of all the special effects and all that. Since his was mostly dialogue, he doesn’t have to shoot it that quick. He can concentrate more on getting those performances where since I’m having, if you look at how much stuff my movie has, it’s just so jam packed with production value. The only way to afford that is if I shoot quick so I have to make myself shoot faster if I want to have all those bells and whistles.”
Check out our "Grindhouse A to Z" feature for a fast and furious rundown of all the best exploitation classics that inspired Tarantino and Rodriguez’ double feature sleaze-fest!!