Grindhouse (Blu-ray Review)

  • Reviewed by: Tim Salmons
  • Review Date: Mar 28, 2024
  • Format: Blu-ray Disc
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Grindhouse (Blu-ray Review)


Robert Rodriguez/Quentin Tarantino/Eli Roth/Rob Zombie/Edgar Wright

Release Date(s)

2007 (February 23, 2024)


Dimension Films (Via Vision Entertainment)
  • Film/Program Grade: B
  • Video Grade: A-
  • Audio Grade: A-
  • Extras Grade: A

Grindhouse (Blu-ray)



It’s almost criminal that Grindhouse wasn’t the success that it should have been when it hit theaters back in 2007. The theories as to why are numerous, including audiences being confused about the concept and not understanding that it was actually a throwback double feature experience; that it didn’t have the best advertising; or that audiences simply weren’t interested in it. The truth is that it was a little bit of everything. Despite Quentin Tarantino’s and Robert Rodriguez’s track records at that time, Grindhouse became a cult film experience upon arrival. Both films, Planet Terror and Death Proof, were later released in full on home video separately, but for those who paid their money to see them the way they were meant to be seen, there was nothing, nor has there been anything since, quite like Grindhouse.

In Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror, a small Texas town is overrun by zombies when a deadly biochemical is released into the atmosphere and the town’s various survivors have to shoot their way out, but not before military forces show up with their own agenda. In Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof, a maniacal ex-stuntman has outfitted a car that prevents him from being critically injured in an accident, intentionally crashing into and killing other drivers, but mistakenly going after three thrill-seeking women who will stop at nothing to take him down. Adding to the authentic grindhouse experience is a set of advertisements, interstitials (or snipes), and trailers for several fake films (two of which, as of this writing, have been realized as actual feature films), all of them cult in nature and their tongues planted firmly in cheek. There’s the overcaffeinated actioner Machete by Robert Rodriguez, the gonzo Nazi exploitation offering Werewolf Women of the S.S. by Rob Zombie, the British-sold-as-American horror extravaganza Don’t by Edgar Wright, and the straight-up holiday slasher Thanksgiving by Eli Roth. Some theatrical screenings added in an additional trailer for Jason Eisener’s Hobo with a Shotgun, which won a contest held by Robert Rodriguez at SXSW, and was also later made into a real film.

While the experience of seeing Grindhouse is its own thing altogether, most fans concur that neither Planet Terror or Death Proof are the better works of Rodriguez and Tarantino, but trimmed down into a single package, they work like gangbusters. It’s reflective of the kind of double feature experiences one might’ve experienced in the 1970s and 1980s. Not all of the films released on those double bills were gems, and their distributors knew it. Doing everything from falsely selling the content of those films to repeatedly changing their titles over time (the title card for Death Proof is patched over the title original title of Thunder Road, for instance). Both films go the extra mile by mostly appearing as battered film prints, complete with scratches, audio dropouts, and (again, completely tongue-in cheek) “missing scenes.” It’s all a part of the fun of the experience. Then there are the trailers, which are all hilarious and subsequently became more popular than the main films themselves, especially in the Youtube and TikTok eras where anybody and everybody with an iPhone can make splendid parodies of various genres.

Unfortunately, the idea of re-experiencing something like a grindhouse double feature was lost on most audiences at the time of its release, especially those who weren’t around in the 1970s and 1980s in places like Los Angeles or New York City where it was commonplace. There were even reports of some audience members leaving the theater when the first film was over, which is mind-boggling when you think about it. Times have changed since as double features have been kept alive by fringe, repertory, and drive-in theaters (with the latter particularly decimated, but never fully dead, as the great Joe Bob Briggs correctly and continually asserts on a regular basis). It’s a shame because, speaking personally here, I would have liked to have seen more of these experiences; not necessarily from the same filmmakers, but more of the same concept with more varied types of projects. Alas, it was never meant to be. And while the original version of Grindhouse took a very long time to come to home video, nothing quite eclipses that initial theatrical viewing.

On a very crucial side note, it’s important to bring up that this is one of many films from The Weinstein Company, and one starring Rose McGowan, who was the most vocal initially about the horrible things that went on at that company and others under the watch of Harvey Weinstein before charges were finally brought against him. And though it fits into the exploitation aesthetic, one must also acknowledge the exorbitant amount of misogyny on display in this film, which for me personally, co-mingles with the real life events in a way that’s difficult to separate. I’m a firm believer that one must always try and observe a film of its own merits with bias, nostalgia, and personal politics set aside as much as possible, but we must also acknowledge the pain and suffering of those in front of and behind the camera who were ignored during this production and others like it. That all said, let’s move on, and celebrate the works of those who can’t move on.

Machete and Planet Terror and were captured digitally by Robert Rodriguez using Panavision Genesis HD cameras and Panavision Primo lenses in HDCAM SR. Thanksgiving and Werewolf Women of the S.S. were captured digitally by cinematographers Milan Chadima and Phil Parmet using Arricam LT cameras and Cooke S4 and Angenieux lenses. Don’t was shot by cinematographer Jess Hall on 35 mm film using Arricam LT and Arricam ST cameras and Cooke S4 and Angenieux lenses. Death Proof was shot by Quentin Tarantino on Super 35 mm 3-perf film (Fuji Eterna 500T 8573) using Arriflex 435 ES, Panavision Panaflex Millennium XL2, and Panavision Panaflex Millennium cameras and Panavision Primo lenses. All were finished for Grindhouse as a 2K Digital Intermediate with an aspect ratio of 2.35:1. (Note that the extended version of Planet Terror was later released in 1.78:1.) Though Grindhouse was released on Blu-ray by Lionsgate in the US in 2010, Via Vision Entertainment has put together a package that includes not just Grindhouse, but the extended versions of Planet Terror and Death Proof.

As Grindhouse was heavily processed in post-production to give the aesthetic of a battered film print, replete with scratches, speckling, staining, bouncing and blurry frames, and a general overall loss of fine detail, the only way to fully judge it comes down to color and encoding. With a bitrate that often sails above 40Mbps, primarily sitting in the upper 30s, it’s certainly given its strongest possible shot, despite being a much older high definition master. Color is all over the place, but everything appears accurate to the source. Blacks are as deep as they can be and nothing appears amiss. For its age, it holds up much better than many of its ilk.

The extended version of Planet Terror offers a much less consistent bitrate, primarily sitting between 20 to 30Mbps, though occasionally climbing and even spiking beyond 40Mbps as the film goes on. Meanwhile, the extended version of Death Proof retains its theatrical aspect ratio with a bitrate that’s on par with its Grindhouse counterpart, though slightly lesser. It’s also mostly similar visually, although black and white sections of new footage occasionally pop up. The “Scratch-Free” version of Planet Terror is not entirely accurate. It’s mostly scratch free, aside from some cracked frames and footage taken directly from Grindhouse that apparently doesn’t exist any other way, specifically the “Missing Reel” section. That said, it offers far greater depth and contrast in a fully open aperture, 1.78:1 to be exact, but loses the intended aesthetic.

Audio for the main feature is included in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio with optional English subtitles. As to be expected, it’s a very active and boisterous track with a heavy emphasis on sound design, particularly music and sound effects. Dialogue is given plenty of authority when needed, and low end activity is frequent. Audio is included for the extended version of Planet Terror in English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD, with additional 5.1 Dolby Digital options in English, Spanish, and French. Subtitle options include English SDH and Spanish. For the extended version of Death Proof, audio is provided in English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD and 5.1 Dolby Digital, with optional subtitles in English SDH.

The 4-Disc Blu-ray release of Grindhouse from Via Vision Entertainment was originally produced as a Limited Edition of 2,000 units only, with a set of 8 photo cards and a thick, lenticular case. That set appears to be out of print on Via Vision’s website, but is still available elsewhere. The standard edition replicates the insert and disc-based contents, but with a slipcover instead. The following extras are included on each disc:


  • Audio commentary on Planet Terror by Robert Rodriguez
  • Planet Terror Audience Reaction Audio Track
  • Grindhouse Trailer (HD – 2:22)
  • Planet Terror Trailer (Upscaled SD – 2:17)
  • Death Proof Trailer (Upscaled SD – 2:21)
  • Thanksgiving Trailer with Audio Commentary by Eli Roth and Jeff Rendell (HD – 2:34)


  • Scratch-Free Version (HD – 101:48)
  • Audio Commentary by Robert Rodriguez
  • Audience Reaction Audio Track




    • Robert Rodriguez: 10 Minute Film School – Planet Terror (HD – 11:50)
    • Badass Babes: The Girls of Planet Terror (SD – 11:49)
    • The Guys of Planet Terror (SD – 16:30)
    • Casting Rebel (SD – 5:38)
    • Sickos, Bullets, and Explosions: The Stunts of Planet Terror (SD – 13:16)
    • The Friend, the Doctor, and the Real Estate Agent (SD – 6:40)
    • Planet Terror Poster Gallery (HD – 34 in all)
    • Stunts on Wheels (SD – 20:39)
    • Quentin’s Greatest Collaborator: Editor Sally Menke (SD – 4:36)
    • The Guys of Death Proof (SD – 8:14)
    • Kurt Russell as Stuntman Mike (SD – 9:32)
    • Finding Quentin’s Gals (SD – 21:13)
    • The Uncut Version of Baby, It’s You Performed by Mary Elizabeth Winstead (SD – 1:46)
    • Introducing Zoë Bell (SD – 8:57)
    • Double Dare Trailer (SD – 2:34)
    • Extended Music Cues (HD – 10:28):
      • Gangster Story from the Motion Picture Piombo Rovete
      • Italia a Mano Armata from the Motion Picture Italian a Mano Armata
    • Death Proof Poster Gallery (HD – 17 in all)
    • All-New Planet Terror Bonus:
      • Robert Rodriguez: 10 Minute Cooking School – Texas BBQ (HD – 8:30)
      • The Makeup Effects of Planet Terror (SD – 12:02)
    • All-New Death Proof Bonus:
      • The Hot Rods of Death Proof (SD – 11:46)
      • From Texas to Tennessee: The Production Design of Death Proof (SD – 8:01)
    • Trailer Bonus:
      • Extended Werewolf Women of the SS Trailer (HD – 4:59)
      • Extended Werewolf Women of the SS Trailer with Optional Commentary by Rob Zombie (HD – 4:59)
      • The Making of Werewolf Women of the SS Trailer (SD – 8:48)
      • Extended Don’t Trailer (HD – 1:35)
      • Extended Don’t Trailer with Optional Commentary by Edgar Wright (HD – 1:35)
      • Don’t Storyboards/Trailer Comparison (SD – 1:40)
      • Don’t Storyboards/Trailer Comparison with Optional Commentary by Edgar Wright (SD – 1:40)
      • The Making of Don’t Trailer (SD – 9:40)
      • Don’t Storyboards Still Gallery (HD – 70 in all)
      • Don’t Poster with Extended Don’t Score by David Arnold (HD – 5:54)
      • The Making of Thanksgiving Trailer (SD – 6:27)
    • Additional Bonus:
      • New York Times Talk with Lynn Hirschberg (SD – 64:36)
      • Comic-Con 2006 Featuring the Directors and Cast of Grindhouse (SD – 23:35)
      • Hobo with a Shotgun Trailer (SD – 2:00)

This is a substantial amount of bonus materials, culling together most, but not all, of the previously-available extras on DVD and Blu-ray. The BD Live option is no longer viable, but there are also some scattered extras from various releases across the world that didn’t make it onto this set, specifically in Japan. That Blu-ray release contains a number of on-set and red carpet interviews with the cast and crew, as well as B-roll, and several Japanese TV spots and trailers. The German Blu-ray release includes a Music Jukebox option, the What is Grindhouse? featurette, and several US TV spots and trailers. The Tarantino XX: 20 Years of Filmmaking also includes an additional Extended Music Cue, which is Unexpected Violence by Ennio Morricone. Outside of that, everything else is here and accounted for in one package.

Despite my own personal mixed feelings about how well Grindhouse holds up in light of events that came much later that are not its fault, it’s still a great package that’s been highly influential on filmmakers of all sorts. Via Vision’s Blu-ray package offers the finest visual and aural quality available with all of the various versions and a massive extras package to boot, making it the definitive release of the film on Blu-ray.

- Tim Salmons

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