Planet Terror's DC2 Chemical Explained

Planet Terror DC2 Chemical Bruce Willis

Planet Terror presented an apocalypse triggered by the leak of a biochemical weapon that turned people into deformed, disgusting zombies, but what exactly is DC2? Planet Terror is Robert Rodriguez’s contribution to the horror double feature Grindhouse, with Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof being the other half of the project. The purpose of Grindhouse was to bring back the experience of watching exploitation film double features, which were characterized by poor print quality visuals and the use of themes that messed with viewers’ sensitivity.

Planet Terror achieved this with a combination of filters that made the film look damaged and the very graphic mutations caused by the DC2 chemical. The story followed a group of people who were not affected by the chemical leak and had to find a way to survive after a big part of the population was turned into zombies (or sickos, as they call them). But what is the DC2 chemical? And was there a cure for those infected?

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The DC2 chemical (codename: Project Terror) is airborne, and anyone exposed to it would turn into a zombie – except for a selected few. The origin of the chemical is unknown, but Lt. Muldoon (Bruce Willis) explained that he and his team got infected in Pakistan, right after killing Osama bin Laden. After failing to find a proper cure, they discovered that the only way to delay the mutation was by constant inhalation of the gas. Muldoon and company needed someone who could supply them with doses of DC2 on the other side of the world, and that’s where Abby (Naveen Andrews) came into play.

Planet Terror cover

Abby was a chemical engineer in possession of some DC2, but it’s unknown how he got it. He was Muldoon's supplier, but after the latter learned that Abby had an extra supply he refused to give up, he took him hostage, but not before Abby intentionally released the chemical into the air. Later on, when Cherry, El Wray, Dakota, and the rest were taken into the military base with the purpose of keeping them in quarantine, they discovered more DC2 supplies under the base, and Muldoon explained that he believed that by infecting the rest of the population they could find a cure, but that wasn’t the case. Abby was working on an antidote at his laboratory, but was killed when they escaped from the base. In the end, multiple explosions at the base released the chemical that was kept underneath, spreading more and more and infecting people all over the world.

Robert Rodriguez made a wise decision by not giving much information on the DC2 chemical, its origin, purpose, and cure, as that adds to the tension and horror of the story. Viewers learn as much about it as the characters in Planet Terror, making it an even bigger and scarier threat than it already was.

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