House of Pain
"Grindhouse" is the kind of experience that could only be hatched by the Hollywood outlaw minds of Robert Rodriguez ("Desperado," "From Dusk Till Dawn," "Sin City") and Quentin Tarantino ("Reservoir Dogs," "Pulp Fiction," "Kill Bill").

A loving homage to over-the-top exploitation cinema in which anything goes—from graphic gore to rampant nudity to mind-scrambling action—"Grindhouse" is actually two movies for the price of one: Rodriguez's zombie splatter-fest "Planet Terror" and Tarantino's revved-up vehicular thriller "Death Proof." Both run close to 90 minutes and are bridged by fake trailers created by some of the directors' pals in rebel filmmaking like Rob Zombie ("The Devil's Rejects") and Eli Roth ("Hostel").

"The best thing about these exploitation movies is that sometimes you'll be watching them, and at one point you just can't believe what you're watching," Rodriguez says of the "Grindhouse" template. "You say to yourself, 'Is this really happening?'"

ROSE McGOWAN (Photo: Rico Torres/Weinstein Co.)

As the movie's breakout icon thanks to a machine gun leg (yes, you read that right) she sports for most of "Planet Terror," Rose McGowan heads-up a wild cast of big names (Kurt Russell, Bruce Willis), hot young rising stars (Rosario Dawson, Marley Shelton), familiar TV faces (Naveen Andrews of "Lost," Freddy Rodriguez of "Six Feet Under") and even a chart-topping singer (Fergie). All of them get to run around covered in blood, mud and zombie splooge, while Tarantino and Rodriguez feed them badass lines and even better music.

If it sounds like the best party you weren't invited to, that's because it was. But, hey, they did find time to make a movie.