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Wednesday October 4th 2023

Death Proof | 2007

Death Proof film location: Guero's Taco Bar, South Congress Avenue, Austin
Death Proof film location: Jungle Julia meets up with her friends: Guero's Taco Bar, South Congress Avenue, Austin | Photograph: Google Maps

Half of the Grindhouse double bill (which was split into two separate films for the DVD release as it seems audiences weren’t getting the joke), the film was made in conjunction with Robert Rodriguez which seems to have determined the location, which is largely Austin, Texas.

Quentin Tarantino doesn’t seem to be so successful with joint ventures (see Four Rooms) as he is on his own. The dialogue never takes flight like Tarantino at his best – and there’s an awful lot of it before we get to the admittedly blistering action sequences.

The restaurant in which Jungle Julia (Sydney Tamiia Poitier) and her friends meet up and plan their evening is Guero’s Taco Bar, 1412 South Congress Avenue, in Austin. It’s opposite Five Oceans Home Slice, where the sinister Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell) parks up and keeps an eye on them. They move on to downing Chartreuse shots at the Texas Chili Parlor, 1409 Lavaca Street, and Mike fatefully offers a lift home to Pam (Rose McGowan).

After the savage car crash, the story supposedly moves on to ‘Lebanon, Tennessee’, though the filming continues in Austin.

Stuntwoman Zoe Bell and her friends stock up on provisions – and get this month’s issue of Italian Vogue – at the fictitious ‘Circle A’ convenience store. This was an empty store at 12226 Ranch Road 620 N at Great Valley Drive, in Austin, stocked with Tarantino’s trademark invented brands – Oak Ridge Coffee, Old Chattanooga Beer, and G-O Juice.

They discuss the merits of cult road movie Vanishing Point (do you think this might be a Tarantino favourite, then?) at The Omelettry, which used to stand at 4811 Burnet Road, Austin, before it moved to 4631 Airport Boulevard.

From here, they head off to ‘Jasper’s farm’, where the white1970 Dodge Challenger is taken for a hair-raising test drive.

The farm house is the historic Zedler Mill, 1170 South Laurel, in the town of Luling, about 40 miles south of Austin, and you can see it again as ‘The Bone Shack’ in the other half of the Grindhouse double bill, Planet Terror.

It’s off to California for the ‘Tennessee’ backroads, as Zoe plays ‘ship’s mast’, and sadistic Stuntman Mike finally gets his comeuppance. The roads are around Buellton, Los Olivos, Lompoc and Solvang in central California, the same area which is toured rather more sedately in Alexander Payne’s Sideways.