Film / Planet Terror

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Planet Terror is the more action-oriented half of Grindhouse. A 2007 Robert Rodriguez film in which a military transaction goes awry and an experimental poison gas is released on a small town in rural Texas, turning the unsuspecting civilians turn into bloodthirsty zombies. The only people who can stop them are a Go-Go-Dancer with a gun for a leg, her expert gunman ex-boyfriend, a pair of crazy babysitter twins, a shellshocked doctor, a Jerkass cop, a crusty sheriff, a scientist obsessed with balls, and many other trailer-park freaks from deep in the Heart of Texas.


Humanity's last tropes...resting on a high-power machine gun are:

  • Adrenaline Makeover - Dakota
  • After the End: The epilogue.....Maybe
  • An Arm and a Leg: Cherry.
  • Attempted Rape
  • Badass: Most characters qualify, specially El Wray, Sheriff Hague, and Cherry Darling, who becomes a Handicapped Badass.
  • Bare Your Midriff: The female deputy after the "missing reel". Also, Cherry all the way.
  • Bilingual Bonus: "El Wray" is the phonetic English pronunciation of "El Rey"=The King. May double as a Shout-Out to Elvis Presley, and as a Punny Name.
  • Bi the Way: Dakota Block, who is married to a male doctor, but has a lesbian lover on the side and seems attracted to Cherry Darling.
  • Bittersweet Ending: DC-2 spreads around the world and no one has any way of finding a cure but Cherry is leading survivors to humanity's last foothold on the Mexican coast.
  • Body Horror: By the buckets.
  • Bond One-Liner
  • Boom, Headshot: Poor, poor Abby.
    • Muldoon says he delivered one to Osama bin Laden, along with a shot to the chest. Back in 2007, it was kinda funny; in 2011, it became really funny because that's how bin Laden really died.
  • Brain Food: The zombie-like mutants eat Fergie's brain, prompting the gag "Looks like we've got a no-brainer." Similarly, a repeated line throughout the film is "I'm gonna eat your brain and gain your knowledge," first said as a small boy is playing with his action figures, although by the time Josh Brolin starts saying it, it gets creepy/hilarious.
  • Bury Your Gays: Tammi is Dakota's lesbian lover on the sly, and ends up getting eaten by zombies.
  • The Cast Showoff: Marley Shelton has hyper-flexible wrists. This came in real handy.
  • Catch Phrase:
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Cherry unleashes a choice one at El Wray.
  • Combat Stilettos - Cherry, on her good leg.
  • Death by Cameo: Sure enough, Quentin Tarantino has a few minutes of screentime, in which he suffers a gruesome death. His character had it coming, though.
  • Deliberately Cute Child - Played by Robert Rodriguez' son, Rebel. Sadly, Infant Immortality is averted.
  • Everything Is Big in Texas
  • Exact Words: J.T. mentions that never will his brother share his BBQ recipe, even if he is dying in his brother's arms. When they are both mortally wounded, J.T. shares his recipe and his brother dies in his arms.
  • Explosion Propulsion
  • Eye Scream
  • Faking the Dead: JT, with sausage. Played for Laughs
  • Fingore: Poor, poor Dakota Block.
    • Deputy Tolo gets his ring finger bitten off by a zombie.
  • For Science!: Abby.
    "Science comes first but business comes a close fucking seconds."
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul - Dr. William Block. And keep in mind, that was before he was turned into a zombie. You gotta admit, those specs look good though.
  • Gatling Good: In the last scene of the film, Cherry has attached a minigun to her leg stump.
  • Girl-on-Girl Is Hot - "Goddamnit, girls. If you're gonna do that, do it on stage!"
  • Godzilla Threshold: In the wake of the sicko outbreak, the police force breaks out the "All or Nothing" box, which involves giving everyone a badge, a gun, and a deputy rank. Though they still won't let El Wray use a gun.
  • Gorn
  • Groin Attack: Abby seems fond of them, cutting off people's balls and keeping them in a jar. And the rapist soldier's testicles actually melt off.
  • Her Boyfriend's Jacket: Cherry wears El Wray's leather jacket, much to his chargrin since she left him and he was searching for it for months.
  • Homage: The action may be all Robert Rodriguez, but the horror suspense elements, down to the synthesizer music, is pure John Carpenter.
  • Infant Immortality - Averted, in one of the film's only genuinely horrific scenes. Robert Rodriguez said he used his own kid, Rebel, as Tony because he didn't want to 'kill' anyone else's kid.' He also made a less-violent cut of the film where Tony survives the movie for Rebel to watch.
  • Insistent Terminology: Cherry doesn't like being called a "stripper", she refers to herself as a "go-go dancer".
  • Ironic Echo
    • "I'm gonna eat your brain and gain your knowledge."
    • "It's go-go, not cry-cry"
    • "No dead bodies for Da-Da tonight."
      • "What did I tell you, Tony? Don't point the gun at yourself. Didn't I tell you that?"
  • The Jaywalking Dead: A small caravan of vehicles rips through several zombies, and one unfortunate dog. Also, as a possible subversion of the trope, earlier in the film, El Rey swerves to avoid a man he doesn't know is a zombie, ultimately crashing his car.
  • Leg Cannon: Cherry Darling had her leg eaten by zombies, and replaced it with an M-4 assault rifle, which she used to kick much ass. And then later, she had that replaced with a full-on minigun. It's a bit ambiguous how she fires it, though, since we never see her reaching down to pull a trigger.
  • Lost in Transmission - The audience sees "MISSING REEL." During the missing reel, it's implied, we'd have gotten to see Rose McGowan totally naked, plus the entire plot surrounding Wray's mysterious origins would have been explained. And when the film comes back, everything's on fire, and we'll never know why. Possibly the best cut in movie history.
    • There's a Meta-Gag in there as well. A presumed urban legend (re-told in the novel Fight Club) is that older movies would have their nude scenes cut shorter and shorter as projectionists removed a few choice frames for their collection. Notably, all of the sexier bits seem a lot more grainy, as if they've been watched more than the rest of the film.
  • Made of Plasticine - Everyone, human and zombie alike.
  • Mad Libs Catchphrase: "Useless talent # __"
  • Male Gaze: In Cherry Darling's go-go dance.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Subverted with Dakota after she gives her son a loaded gun to defend himself with, only to have him shoot himself in the head. She then starts cradling the kill and when her husband shows up, she shrieks blame at him for it.
  • No Name Given: We don't really know what Cherry's real name is. "Palomita" was just something Wray gave her.
  • Noodle Incident - The "missing reel". Cut to the diner on fire. Sheriff Hague had been shot. Dakota and her father, the babysitters, the go-go dancing club owner and some of the dancers somehow made it there.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Zombified soldiers still retain the ability to communicate among themselves and use guns.
  • Pair the Spares: Hinted at the end of movie, with Cherry and Dakota.
  • Panty Shot: Cherry gets a lot of these in her opening scene.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: El Wray is just about the shortest person in the whole movie. And yet, many an ass is kicked.
  • Rated M for Manly: Zombies, buckets of blood and gore and scantily clad go-go dancers. It does indeed qualify.
  • Reckless Gun Usage: Dr. Dakota Block gives a gun to her child, when she leaves him alone in a car. He shoots himself in the face (accidentally or not) within a few seconds of her leaving the car.
  • Rocket Jump: Cherry does this with her grenade launcher leg. One of the only non-videogame characters to perform this move.
  • Rule of Cool
  • Running Gag: "Best barbecue in Texas."
  • The Savage South: Zombies everywhere in good old Texas!
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: When the hospital eventually fills up with patients displaying the body-horrific symptoms of the disease, Dr. William Block and his co-worker decide it's time to leg it.
    Dr. Felix: Viral infections. They came pouring in. Some are rapidly developing coliform lesions... highly contagious. What do you think?
    Dr. William Block: Self preservation comes to mind.
    Dr. Felix: Yeah, let's get out of here.
  • Secret Ingredient: Throughout the first half of the mfilm, JT tries to find the perfect BBQ sauce recipe. Before he tastes a sample, it gets mixed with some of his blood, leading him to correctly deduce from it that all that was missing was a little bit of salt (since human blood tastes salty).
  • Serious Business: Barbecue.
  • Sexophone: Planet Terror's opening theme, played over Cherry's go-go dance routine. Later spoofed by the saxophonist playing it in the prison cell.
  • Shout-Out: El Wray (El Rey=The King), to Elvis.
  • Sociopathic Soldier: All of Lt. Muldoon's men, specially the one credited as The Rapist, played by Quentin Tarantino.
  • Sole Surviving Scientist: Abby, or he would have been if he hadn't gotten killed. This is lampshaded in the movie.
    Cherry Darling: I don't suppose anyone else here is a bio-chemical engineer?
  • Someone to Remember Him By: Cherry's baby from Wray.
  • Smoking Barrel Blowout: Requires some flexibility, as it's Cherry blowing on the automatic rifle attached to her leg-stump.
  • Squick: In-Universe, the reaction of Cherry, Dr. (Dakota) Block and even a fellow soldier when The Rapist pulls his pants down and his genitalia begins melting into a black sludge.
  • Staking the Loved One: Earl does this to his wife.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: The sheriff's car even explodes spontaneously for no reason whatsoever.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: Subverted: The groups' only way of escape is via a helicopter on the other side of a military base filled with zombified soldiers. Abby (Naveen Andrews, aka Sayid from Lost) sternly says "Follow me!"; the music starts pumping, you think you're in for the Crowning Moment of Awesome... and as soon as he peers around the corner, his head gets blown to pieces.
  • There Is No Kill Like Over Kill: The Rapist (played by Tarantino) tries to have his way with Cherry. He is smashed over the head with a table leg, impaled in the eye by the leg's broken end, has his privates melt off from the infection taking over him, has a syringe launched into his other eye, melts into an inhuman monster, pukes up his guts, then finally is shot in the crotch with a grenade launcher. Good grief.
  • The Unreveal: Due to the missing reel, El Ray's past is never revealed. We never find out why he's not allowed to hold a gun, and we don't know why the sheriff suddenly changed his mind.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Cherry in a big way.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Muldoon just wanted to find a cure for himself and his men. Wray acknowledges this by saluting Muldoon for his service to his country, just before shooting him.
  • Woman in White: Cherry in the ending.
  • Unusual Weapon Mounting: Gun for a leg, anyone?
  • Your Makeup Is Running
  • Zombie Apocalypse

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/PlanetTerror