Maire Venegas

Written by Maire Venegas

Modified & Updated: 04 Mar 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett


The movie “Planet Terror” is a thrilling and action-packed film that has gained a cult following since its release. Directed by Robert Rodriguez, this has become a staple in the world of horror and science fiction movies. Filled with a blend of gore, humor, and memorable characters, “Planet Terror” takes the audience on a wild ride from start to finish.

In this article, we will delve into the fascinating world of “Planet Terror” and uncover 46 interesting facts about the movie. From behind-the-scenes secrets to trivia about the cast and crew, we will explore the development, production, and reception of this cult classic. Whether you are a die-hard fan or new to “Planet Terror,” this comprehensive guide will shed light on the hidden gems and fun facts that make this film a must-watch for any movie enthusiast.

Key Takeaways:

  • Planet Terror is a zombie movie with a kick-butt heroine, Cherry Darling, who fights the undead with a machine gun leg. It’s a tribute to 1970s exploitation films, packed with action and gore.
  • Directed by Robert Rodriguez, Planet Terror is part of the Grindhouse double feature, celebrating strong female characters and paying homage to classic grindhouse cinema. It’s a cult classic with a unique, gritty style.
Table of Contents

Grindhouse Tribute

Planet Terror is one half of the Grindhouse double feature, directed by Robert Rodriguez as a tribute to the exploitation films of the 1970s.

The Idea for the Movie

The idea for Planet Terror came to Robert Rodriguez when he discovered an old film reel covered in scratches and dirt, which became the inspiration for the gritty visual style of the movie.

Zombie Apocalypse

Planet Terror revolves around a group of survivors in the midst of a zombie apocalypse, following the outbreak of a deadly virus.

Rose McGowan’s Role

Rose McGowan plays the lead character, Cherry Darling, a go-go dancer who becomes a kick-ass heroine after losing her leg in a zombie attack.

Rodriguez’s Composing Skills

Robert Rodriguez composed the film’s score himself, showcasing his talents as a musician.

Explosive Action

Planet Terror is packed with explosive action sequences, including car chases, gunfights, and explosions, paying homage to the over-the-top nature of classic grindhouse films.

El Wray’s Badassery

Freddy Rodriguez portrays El Wray, a mysterious drifter with exceptional combat skills, who becomes Cherry’s ally in the fight against the zombies.

Strong Female Characters

Planet Terror features strong female characters who take charge and kick major zombie butt, challenging the traditional gender roles seen in many horror films.

Quentin Tarantino’s Involvement

Quentin Tarantino, the co-creator of the Grindhouse project, served as an executive producer for Planet Terror.

Intentional Film Flaws

To replicate the look and feel of old exploitation movies, intentional film flaws like scratches, missing frames, and damaged colors were added to the movie.

Box Office Success

Despite being a part of a double feature, Planet Terror was a box office success, receiving positive reviews from both critics and audiences.

Gore Galore

The movie is notorious for its graphic and gory scenes, which pushed the boundaries of violence in mainstream cinema.

Cult Following

Over the years, Planet Terror has gained a cult following due to its unique blend of horror, humor, and grindhouse style.

Cherry’s Leg Weaponry

Cherry Darling’s prosthetic leg is not just for walking – it also doubles as a powerful weapon, equipped with a machine gun.

The Misfit Squad

The survivors in Planet Terror form a misfit squad, including a doctor, a sheriff, a barbecue chef, and a stripper with a talent for shooting zombies.

Homage to John Carpenter

Robert Rodriguez pays tribute to legendary director John Carpenter, particularly his film Assault on Precinct 13, in several scenes throughout the movie.

Infectious Soundtrack

The movie’s soundtrack features a mix of classic rock and funk songs, enhancing the overall retro feel.

Missing Movie Reels

During the theatrical release of Grindhouse, some theaters unintentionally skipped or missed the Planet Terror reel, leading to confusion among viewers.

Zombie Makeup Challenges

Creating the zombie makeup for Planet Terror was a challenging task, as the artists had to strike a balance between horror and humor.

The Healing Powers of BBQ Sauce

In the movie, it is revealed that Cherry’s estranged husband believes that his secret recipe BBQ sauce has healing powers.

A Star-Studded Cast

Planet Terror boasts an impressive ensemble cast, including Josh Brolin, Marley Shelton, Jeff Fahey, Michael Biehn, and Bruce Willis.

Rodriguez’s DIY Approach

Robert Rodriguez utilized his “Rebel without a Crew” philosophy by writing, directing, editing, and shooting much of the film himself.

Explosive Special Effects

The movie makes use of practical special effects, with plenty of explosions, squibs, and prosthetic limbs flying through the air.

The Iconic Cherry Darling Poster

The movie’s promotional campaign featured an iconic poster of Rose McGowan as Cherry Darling, holding her machine gun leg.

Pop Culture References

Planet Terror is filled with pop culture references, paying homage to various films and genres that influenced Rodriguez’s work.

Tension and Suspense

In addition to its action-packed moments, the movie also successfully builds tension and suspense, keeping the audience on the edge of their seats.

Released as a Double Feature

Planet Terror was released as a double feature alongside Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof, creating a unique cinematic experience.

Grindhouse Trailer Homages

Between the two films, Rodriguez and Tarantino included a series of fake exploitation movie trailers, paying homage to the grindhouse genre.

Cherry’s Iconic Dance

One of the most memorable sequences in Planet Terror is Cherry’s go-go dance, which showcases Rose McGowan’s talent for dance and adds a touch of sensuality to the film.

A Love Letter to Exploitation Cinema

Planet Terror is a love letter to the exploitation cinema of the past, capturing the spirit and aesthetic of those low-budget, high-energy films.

Unique Character Names

The film features unique and memorable character names such as Dakota Block, J.T. Hague, and Abby, adding to the eccentricity of the story.

The Experimental Extended Version

There is an experimental extended version called “The Scratched Reel,” which presents the film with additional damaged film effects.

Medical Background Research

To add authenticity to the medical scenes, Robert Rodriguez consulted with his brother, who is a doctor, for research and guidance.

Rodriguez’s Collaboration with Tarantino

Planet Terror is not the first collaboration between Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino. The two had previously worked together on films like From Dusk Till Dawn and Sin City.

Rodriguez’s Directorial Style

Robert Rodriguez’s directorial style is evident in Planet Terror with its fast-paced editing, vibrant colors, and a blend of intense action and dark humor.

A Reinvented Zombie Tale

Planet Terror offers a fresh perspective on the traditional zombie tale, injecting it with humor, over-the-top action, and a strong female protagonist.

Visual Effects Challenges

Creating the visual effects for the movie was challenging, as Rodriguez wanted to maintain the gritty, low-budget aesthetic while incorporating modern techniques.

Retro Film Reels

During the opening credits, Planet Terror features retro film reels with intentional scratches and damage, further immersing viewers in the grindhouse experience.

Tarantino’s Creepy Cameo

Quentin Tarantino appears in the movie as the rapist character, The Rapist, showcasing his talent for acting in addition to his directorial skills.

A Pandemic Parody

Planet Terror can be seen as a parody of pandemic films, delving into the chaos and horror that can arise from a global health crisis.

The Planet Terror Inspiration

Robert Rodriguez drew inspiration from classic zombie films like Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead while crafting the story for Planet Terror.

Cultivating a Unique Style

Rodriguez carefully curated the film’s aesthetic by using specific lenses, lighting techniques, and color grading to create a distinct grindhouse vibe.

The Monumental Machine Gun Leg

Cherry Darling’s machine gun leg has become an iconic symbol associated with the film, representing both her strength and overcoming adversity.

Influential Sound Design

The film’s sound design plays a vital role in constructing the intense atmosphere, using sharp, exaggerated sounds to enhance the horror and action sequences.

Rodriguez’s Tarantino Tribute

By collaborating with Quentin Tarantino, Rodriguez pays tribute to Tarantino’s love for grindhouse cinema and their shared passion for filmmaking.

A Timeless Cult Classic

Planet Terror has secured its place as a timeless cult classic, beloved by fans of the grindhouse genre and those seeking an adrenaline-fueled cinematic experience.

Detailed Description of Planet Terror

Planet Terror takes place in a small Texas town that becomes ground zero for a zombie outbreak. The story follows a group of survivors who band together to fight against the flesh-eating hordes. At the center of the chaos is Cherry Darling, a go-go dancer played by Rose McGowan, who loses her leg in a zombie attack. However, she doesn’t let her disability stop her, as she replaces her missing leg with a machine gun, turning her into a formidable weapon against the undead.

The film is a love letter to the exploitation films of the 1970s, with director Robert Rodriguez paying homage to the wild, over-the-top nature of those movies. From the intentionally damaged film reels to the graphic violence and gore, Planet Terror captures the essence of the grindhouse genre. Rodriguez’s DIY approach, where he takes on multiple roles in the production process, adds to the authentic feel of the film.

One of the standout elements of Planet Terror is its strong female characters. Cherry Darling, along with other women in the film, take charge and showcase their resilience in the face of the zombie apocalypse. This subversion of gender roles is a refreshing take on the horror genre, where women are often portrayed as helpless victims.

The movie also includes Quentin Tarantino’s signature style, who served as an executive producer for the Grindhouse project. With its sharp dialogue, pop culture references, and non-linear storytelling, Planet Terror seamlessly meshes with Tarantino’s own film, Death Proof, creating a cohesive double feature experience.

Planet Terror was released as part of the Grindhouse double feature in 2007, receiving positive reviews and gaining a cult following over the years. With its explosive action, memorable characters, and unforgettable scenes, Planet Terror remains a definitive example of the grindhouse genre and a must-watch for fans of cult cinema.


In conclusion, Planet Terror is a thrilling and action-packed movie that captivates audiences with its unique storyline and unforgettable characters. With its blend of horror, comedy, and intense action sequences, it has become a cult classic in the realm of cinema. The film’s gritty visuals, stellar cast performances, and masterful direction by Robert Rodriguez make it a must-watch for fans of the genre.With its relentless pace and unexpected twists, Planet Terror keeps viewers on the edge of their seats from start to finish. Whether you’re a fan of zombie films or just looking for an adrenaline-fueled movie experience, Planet Terror delivers in spades. So grab some popcorn, dim the lights, and get ready for a wild ride through this post-apocalyptic world.


Q: Who directed Planet Terror?

A: Planet Terror was directed by Robert Rodriguez, who is known for his unique and stylized filmmaking approach.

Q: Is Planet Terror part of a series?

A: Yes, Planet Terror is part of the Grindhouse double feature, which also includes the movie Death Proof, directed by Quentin Tarantino.

Q: What genre does Planet Terror fall into?

A: Planet Terror is a blend of horror, action, and comedy, creating a unique and thrilling movie experience.

Q: Is Planet Terror suitable for all audiences?

A: No, Planet Terror is rated R for strong bloody violence, language, and some sexual content. It is not recommended for young viewers.

Q: Who are the main characters in Planet Terror?

A: The main characters in Planet Terror include Cherry Darling (played by Rose McGowan), El Wray (played by Freddy Rodriguez), and Dr. William Block (played by Josh Brolin).

Q: When was Planet Terror released?

A: Planet Terror was released in 2007 as part of the Grindhouse double feature.

Q: Are there any memorable quotes from Planet Terror?

A: Yes, one of the memorable quotes from the movie is “I’m gonna eat your brains and gain your knowledge.” It perfectly captures the quirky and entertaining tone of the film.

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