- Making a movie adaptation of Edgar Wright’s Grindhouse trailer, Don’t, would ruin its central gag and strip it of its unique charm.
- The trailer works better without a narrative, allowing for a jumble of images, ghosts, zombies, and witches, while poking fun at a specific marketing technique.
- Wright and the cast members agree Don’t is best left as a trailer, making it the “film” it was destined to be.
Making Edgar Wright’s classic trailer into a movie wouldn’t work, despite another Grindhouse preview becoming a box-office hit. Best buddies Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino teamed up during the late 2000s to make Grindhouse, a double feature celebration of the kinds of exploitation films they grew up on. Tarantino directed unique slasher Death Proof while Rodrigues helmed zombie movie Planet Terror. Despite featuring two name directors and an all-star cast Grindhouse was a total box-office bomb.
A few factors have been cited for this, including its long runtime and that modern audiences had little knowledge or nostalgia for the double feature concept. The film has become a cult favorite, however, and the various fake trailers included in Grindhouse later received their own movie spinoffs. Rodriguez made a short-lived franchise out of his wild preview for Machete, Hobo With a Shotgun is a lovingly scuzzy vigilante movie while Eli Roth’s 2023 slasher Thanksgiving has carved its way to critical and financial success.
There Are Only 2 Grindhouse Trailers Left After Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving: Will They Become Movies Too?
Following the release of Eli Roth slasher Thanksgiving, only two more fake Grindhouse trailers remain – but will they receive movie adaptations too?
Edgar Wright’s Grindhouse Trailer, Don’t, Shouldn’t Become A Movie After Thanksgiving
Arguably the best Grindhouse trailer is Don’t, Edgar Wright’s homage to the British horror movies of yesteryear. The concept behind the preview is that a American distributor is attempting to sell a very British horror movie by showing off the goriest scenes or biggest scares. The preview also removes any dialogue to hide the fact it’s a British film, which is a trick some of these old-school distributors used.
Grindhouse is available to rent or purchase from Vudu.
Don’t has an impressive list of cameos (Jason Isaccs, Simon Pegg, Matthew Macfadyen, etc), and is tied together by Will Arnett’s menacing trailer voiceover man. After Thanksgiving, there are only two Grindhouse trailers left that don’t have feature adaptations: Wright’s Don’t and Rob Zombie’s Werewolf Women of the SS. While fans of Edgar Wright’s movies might want a Don’t film, the issue is it wouldn’t work very well.
Making A Don’t Movie Would Ruin The Trailer’s Central Gag
The entire trailer is meta, with part of the humor coming from Arnett’s over-the-top narrator and the fact it’s an almost incomprehensive jumble of images. It’s possible to piece together something of a narrative from it, but it works better without one. The format allowed Wright to include everything from ghosts to zombies and witches while covering classy thespians like Isaacs or Mark Gatiss (Sherlock) in blood. Nick Frost and Simon Pegg also made cameos, though the latter is unrecognizable in his monster makeup.
To make a Don’t movie strips it of the central gag. It’s an homage to the horror films Wright grew up on while poking fun of a very specific form of marketing distributors used during this era. Rodriguez’s Machete may have inserted shots from his original preview, but it must be said, that also worked better as a trailer. Fleshing it out to feature length and loading it with ill-fitting cameos from A-list actors just robbed it of the odd purity of the original preview. Trying to impose that same sense of order on Don’t is doomed to disappoint.
What Have Don’t Filmmakers Said About Making A Movie Version
As with the other fake trailers, there were conversations about making a Don’t feature around the time Grindhouse was being released. Eli Roth once revealed he and Wright spoke of co-directing a Grindhouse sequel that featured Don’t and Thanksgiving. The film’s underperformance put paid to that, and it was another 16 years before Roth’s Thanksgiving saw the light of day. The film has received surprisingly good reviews too – but that doesn’t mean Don’t must have an adaptation too.
Speaking with Empire for a retrospective on the fake preview, Wright and several cast members broached the idea of a feature version. Gatiss recalled Wright having a blast filming the trailer, but he thinks Don’t is best left as a trailer, stating “… there’s something very beautiful about the brevity of it.” Frost joked his character “Little Arthur” deserves his very own spinoff, while Wright reflected on how the preview wasn’t even shown in the UK, since Grindhouse was sliced into two separate films for international audiences after it flopped in America. The director says:
But maybe it’s like a lot of horror films at the time that grow in legend because of their unavailability. Maybe Don’t has become exactly the film that it was destined to be.
The success of Thanksgiving proved it was worth the extended wait, and might even receive a sequel of its own. Zombie once said he’d be interested in making a Werewolf Women of the SS movie, though it appears there’s no active development on that front. The same is true of Don’t, and while the idea of Wright returning to the horror genre is exciting, it feels like the best version of his Grindhouse trailer already exists.