The Butchers of Grindhouse

The term "grindhouse" is used to describe an era of film making full of bad dialog, horrible directing, cheesy music and the worst possible scripts to films of the 60's and 70's. These unabashedly exploitative flicks used to play as double and sometimes triple features in seedy former burlesque theaters that were converted into sticky-floored, last-run movie houses. Despite rarely making more money that the sub-shoestring budgets they were made with, directors like Roger Corman, Russ Meyer, and John Waters have been elevated in recent time to icon status for their pioneering efforts in this style of film making.

Back then they were just called bad movies. Now it's a genre.

The recent movie "Grindhouse" was a collaborative effort between directors Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, shot as a tongue-in-cheek homage to the gory, glory days of grindhouse cinema. As released in theaters, the film was essentially two separate films. "Planet Terror" directed by Rodriguez and "Death Proof" directed by Tarantino - with a variety of trailers for far-fetched coming attractions sandwiched in-between. The two films were less of a movie and more of a movie experience: a documentary of sorts designed as a tribute to introduce a new generation of people to the strange "boobs and blood" world of grindhouse cinema. The film didn't do that well in the box office ($25 million to date, from a budget of $65 mil.) but we figured that the DVD would be a big draw for fans.

Which is exactly why distributor Dimension films decided to chop the movies up and release them as two separate DVDs. Much to the dismay of fans, "Death Proof" came out as a special edition, two disc set on Sept 18th and "Planet Terror" got the same treatment coming out a month later, on Oct 16th.

Why cut the movie up? Well that's a no-brainer: Dimension wants to try and re coop expenses as much as possible from these two films and they know fans of the genre will want to buy both discs. Why sell one movie when you can cut it up and sell two movies for twice the price?

And you just KNOW that somewhere down the line, Dimension will re-release a DVD of both movies "Together for the first time since their release in the theater!" Complete with new, never-before-seen and utterly pointless footage that really should have been left on the cutting room floor, boring new commentary by the directors and whatever other bells and whistles they can throw into it to convince the sucker movie-watching public that they should buy this new edition. Thus, Dimension makes a profit three times over for one bad movie.

The Hollywood money machine strikes again.

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