The new intentional schlock film, "Grindhouse," opening in April, is actually two, two flicks in one: Robert Rodriguez's "Planet Terror" and Quentin Tarantino's "Death Proof."

In the sly teaser movie trailer produced in a decades old style of sinister hyperbole, we're given the definition of the phrase "grind house."

"A theatre playing back-to-back films exploiting sex, violence, and other extreme subject matter."

Technically, the studio's explanation is misleading. The term means "continuous showings," rather than denoting cheap, slapdash action content. Most theatres were and are grind houses, regardless of their cinematic selections, "Ben-Hur" to "Bent Her."

I remember hearing the "grind house" lingo as early as 1963-64 during my adolescent years screening mainstream movies at the Emory Theatre in Atlanta, long before the R-rated era was unleashed. While today's multiplexes stop for intermissions due to operational considerations, they still grind the shows out all day and much of the night. A more exact title for "Grindhouse" would be "Exploitation."

Noted film historian Frank Thompson writes:

"You're right about the misnomer 'grindhouse.' They're misunderstanding what a grindhouse was, just as most people misunderstand what the term 'B movie' means -- they think it means 'b quality,' like meat, I guess."

I dunno nothing 'bout b-ing no meat.

Nevertheless, "Grindhouse" looks like a retro hoot, starring Kurt Russell and, as the compassionate Internet Movie Database refers to her, "a gun-legged woman named Cherry (Rose McGowan)."

I'm not a rabid fan of these demented genres, but I do enjoy the cheesy coming attractions previews. "Grindhouse" will present all-new fake-out trailers inserted before each part of the double feature. Their titles, one rumored to star Nicolas Cage as Fu Manchu, include: "They Call Him Machete," "Werewolf Women of the S.S.," "Thanksgiving," and "Cowgirls in Sweden."

Wow. It's 1975 at the gasping-for-one-last-breath downtown movie palaces all over again.

All that's missing are watered Cokes, stale popcorn, and an after-show liquor store robbery.
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