- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 7, 2007

Each week the Browser features some pop-culture places on the World Wide Web offering the coolest in free, interactive sounds and action.

Web double feature

The twisted talents responsible for such cinematic classics as “Sin City,” “Pulp Fiction,” “Once Upon a Time in Mexico” and “Kill Bill” combine might for a double bill of violent sleaze in the just-opened exploitation-film homage “Grindhouse.”

I have to believe directors Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez had a hand in making creative decisions for the film’s unforgettable Web site (www.grind housemovie.net/). The crazed sense of humor these guys bring to any project permeates the site.

While a grainy and scratched load screen crunches away to the sounds of a laboring film projector, burning celluloid melts away to take visitors to a spooky outside entrance to a seamy movie theater plucked right out of New York City’s 42nd Street back in the 1970s.

Once they click through doors to get inside, they will find the standard stained carpets, dirty walls, funky lightening, mangled seating and smoky atmosphere along with characters, sounds and bloody events based on the films.

Before they decide which feature to enter, “Planet Terror” or “Death Proof,” visitors can walk into the men’s room and turn on a high-voltage device that will tint the screen green, or they can click on a thug at the concessions counter who offers a fine selection of weapons.

At the counter, visitors can knock some of the armaments off of the table or use a hand (missing half of an index finger) to wield a machine gun to shoot up the place. Some items even explode on impact.

They also can pull up an old FM car radio and push five buttons to play some gothic surf instrumental music or turn a knob to tune in dialogue snippets anytime during their cyber-stop.

If moviegoers enter the “Planet Terror” screening area, they first run into a zombie ready for a snack. Luckily, another machine can be used to dispatch the undead creature into a fiery blaze of glory.

As a trailer to the film is about to begin, they can either watch it or partake in the first of three art activities, titled Create Poster.

An artisan designs a printable PDF masterpiece using backgrounds, images, words and headlines in the style of the film. He also can import his own face onto the body of one of the characters and paste him into the poster, a nice tech touch.

After that exercise, visitors can sneak back to the other film entrance, to “Death Proof,” and first pick up a cassette to listen to some dialogue gems from Stuntman Mike, the main character in that film.

Once they move into the film area, they will find the second activity, Create Trailer.

This simplified digital editor enables fans to use a bloody glove to grab and move film clips in a timeline and embellish the presentation with music, sound bites and title text to concoct the perfect “Grindhouse” promotion.

In either film area, visitors will find a staircase to the projection room, where they will meet a deranged doctor and the third, and strangest, activity, Scream Machine.

Not for the weak of stomach, this sick piece of online action requires visitors to destroy an animated and moaning zombie by terrorizing it with a choice of 20 weapons.

Six — a bolt cutter, baseball bat, blowtorch, scalpel, syringe and a box of red apples (who knew fruit was an effective weapon against the undead?) — need to be grabbed from a table and dragged into slots, and each gets a demonstration of its effectiveness.

Once that’s done, the final, mature-rated masterpiece can be viewed and e-mailed to a fellow monster fan.

Obviously, the “Grindhouse” movie site is for adult peepers only as it offers a dynamic and vicious sendup of some of the nastiest films ever made. It also offers no age-verification screen, so parents should be aware that anyone can get into the virtual theater.

Have a cool site for the online multimedia masses? Write to Joseph Szadkowski at the Browser, The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20002; call 202/636-3016; or send e-mail to [email protected] times.com). Mr. Szadkowski also writes a Web-exclusive column for the Washington Times Web site where he reviews educational software and family-friendly video games. Check it out at www.washingtontimes.com/ familytimes/romperroom.htm.


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