Horror Film Reviews: From Dusk Till Dawn
Tarantino, Rodriguez… need I say more? Probably not, but I will anyway. Full of violence, gore, great dialogue, the sultry Santanico Pandemonium (Salma Hayek), a young Danny Trejo (Machete), George Clooney and what my wife dubbed as, “some nasty-ass, ugly mother fucking vampires”, From Dusk Till Dawn has to be one of the most wildly-entertaining vampire flicks I’ve come across in a long time.
I first saw the gorefest when it was first introduced to the general public by way of cinemas in 1996 when I was a measly teenager, before the time of the “tween” and before Robert Rodriguez became synonymous with “kick-ass director” having just a few notches under his belt (El Mariachi, Desperado). Of course, tagging along with Rodriguez and helping to catapult his career a bit was director Quentin Tarantino who, at this time, was known for his Indy hits Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. The teaming of this dynamic duo was inevitable and they were destined to become bosom buddies to bring a generation of moviegoers Class ‘A’ entertainment.
I’m not going to sit here and say that From Dusk Till Dawn is an excellent, Oscar-worthy piece of work, nor does it try to be. What I saw was a film put together by people who wanted to entertain, gross-out and make people laugh. You want to see a drama-filled vampire flick, go see Interview with the Vampire. I’m sure that many expected Tarantino to up the ante a bit after his critically acclaimed hits ‘Dogs’ and ‘Fiction’, but we’re talking Robert Rodriguez whose no-holds-barred approach to filmmaking has certainly landed him a reputation for a bad-boy director (see, Rebel Without a Crew).
For those who have been living under a rock and have never seen this film here’s a quick break down: Perverted, clearly mental, Richard Gecko (Quentin Tarantino) breaks his brother, Seth (George Clooney) out of prison, they rob a bank, kill dozens of law enforcers and some innocent bystander/hostages to boot then make a run for the border (Mexico). Having taken a family hostage (Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis and Ernest Liu), the anti-hero brothers, Richard and Seth take shelter in an “elusive” strip joint known simply as “The Titty Twister” which is open, of course, From Dusk Till Dawn. Little do they know that this “bar” is a haven for blood-thirsty vampires. Nothing more to it, nothing less.
To say that the fun begins at the moment our protagonists come to the realization that “The Titty Twister” is a vamp’s lair would be an understatement as the fun began immediately following the ‘Dimension Films’ logo prior to the opening scene. From start to finish, the film is filled with non-stop entertainment. Of course this doesn’t mean that it is not filled with some “cheese” and perhaps could have been an early indicator of what was to come in Rodriguez’s later film Planet Terror which had him team up, once again, with director Quentin Tarantino and was part of the two-film project, Grindhouse.
Trying to keep some of the vampire lore in tact and adding their own flavor to the mix, From Dusk Till Dawn is a swashbuckling thrill ride that has viewers shrieking, all the while making us giggle and squirm at the same time. Look right, left, up and down and there is no doubt that 8 times out 10 you will see something, or someone, explode in this film. From the vampire rock-band played by Rodriguez favorite, Tito and Tarantula who flip off our band of heroes just before committing vampire suicide by self-combustion rather than die by the hands of mere mortals to the chubby kid who explodes after a crossbow penetrates him. The burning question is, “Why is everyone and everything exploding?” My answer to that is, it’s a Robert Rodriguez film! No, but seriously, I could say that it was his way, and Tarantino’s way, of doing something different, making a vampire flick like no other and making a statement in the genre. Could the film be deemed naive and foolish? Without question! But, as I previously stated, I really don’t think that anyone involved in the making of this film was aiming that high (ie., Oscar).
In the end, From Dusk Till Dawn is a popcorn flick where you can check your brain and the door and pick it up afterward. There were two other films made, a sequel and a prequel, none of which held up to its predecessor so watch those at your own risk.
Part of Disturbing Film’s Vampire Week 2012! Click HERE to read more reviews on vampire horror films.