It seems inevitable now that every time Quentin Tarantino releases a new movie, someone’s going to accuse him of plagiarism. In some sense, it’s his own fault as he clearly borrows from others and “pays homage” in just about every film he’s ever done. But there are always people lying in wait, trying to get free publicity out of a situation. A filmmaker named Stephen Tramontana is accusing Tarantino of pilfering ideas from his own indie horror film Grindhouse; he sent a copy of the DVD and poster to Tarantino’s production company sometime in 2003 and never heard back. However, that seems to be about the time that Tarantino came up with the idea to do his double-feature with Robert Rodriguez. Sounds a little too perfect to be mere coincidence, right?
To be honest, I’m not sure what to think here. Clearly Tramontana and his crew made a movie called Grindhouse that played in festivals throughout 2003. There’s no debating that — the title appears in the awards list for the New York Film and Video Festival in July 2003, where they won an award for Best Horror Film. However, even if they did send a copy of the movie and it did find its way into the hands of Tarantino, I don’t know that they can take credit for inspiring the entire project. Rodriguez states that it came from the fact that Tarantino used to invite him over and screen a couple of old movies, complete with trailers before and in between the films. It’s not like Tarantino stole the story from their film either… if anything, he might have simply lifted the title. Tramontana contacted Dimension Films and asked them to change the name but they simply told him he would have to take the matter to court. Plenty of movies share the same name… can you actually copyright a movie title? Given Tarantino’s reputation for stealing ideas, I can’t completely discount this claim, but it certainly sounds like someone trying to generate publicity based on the fact that the movies have the same title. What do you think, is there any validity to this? (Thanks to Goon for the heads up.)» Related Link: The Real Grindhouse